Three thoughts to kick off a fine Tuesday morning.
The timing of Penn State's bowl ban being lifted coincides nicely with Saturday's trip to Rutgers. We knew the Scarlet Knights faithful would be geared up for Rutgers' Big Ten debut against the program of record in the Mid-Atlantic region. Now Penn State fans will be even more energized as their team is eligible for a Big Ten championship and a postseason berth. I'll be at a non-Big Ten venue on Saturday night, but I can't wait to see the images from Piscataway, as High Points Solutions Stadium will be rocking for the first conference game of the season. Good times.
The Big Ten's Week 3 schedule lacks the national showcase opportunities we saw in Week 2, but there are some sneaky good matchups that could help or hurt the league's profile. Illinois aims for a bowl-boosting road upset against Washington, which has struggled in its first two games under new coach Chris Petersen. West Virginia, which visits Maryland on Saturday, looks much improved after testing Alabama in Week 1 and thumping Towson. Minnesota tries to validate its stock with a road win against TCU, while Iowa faces an Iowa State team that nearly stunned Kansas State last week. Notre Dame is a heavy favorite against Purdue, but the Boilermakers have given the Irish their best shot in recent years.
Perhaps we should expect this early in the season, but it seems like Big Ten coaches are being outwitted quite a bit by their opponents. In Week 1, Northwestern's staff admitted it didn't expect Cal to use freshman quarterback Luke Rubenzer as a complement to Jared Goff. Now Ohio State's coaches say they didn't expect Virginia Tech's defense to load the box so much or Hokies quarterback Michael Brewer to move around so much in the pocket. "That is the first time I've seen that kind of defense, maybe in our coaching career, where they were all [within] six yards [of the line of scrimmage]," Urban Meyer said. Meyer is a big fan of hyperbole, so take that into account. I just wonder when Big Ten teams will get the schematic edge in some of these games.
To the links ...
Brady Hoke says the true fans will stick with Michigan despite its struggles.
A look at where Ohio State goes after its first regular-season loss under Meyer.
A look back at the Rutgers-Penn State trash talk as a rivalry builds.
After the Oregon letdown, Michigan State focuses on stopping the big play.
Nebraska's latest injury report is a bit of a mixed bag.
Darrell Hazell is undecided on Purdue's top QB for the Notre Dame game.
Illinois aims for just its fifth 3-0 start in the past quarter-century at Washington.
Wisconsin's early season adversity could pay off later this fall.
An interesting take on why Iowa State (not Iowa) should drop the Cy-Hawk game.
The Daily Gopher looks ahead to the TCU game.
Breaking down the film of Northwestern's latest ugly loss.
And, finally ...
Doug Lesmerises' genius plan to fix the Big Ten.