For full player projections for Week One, see our player rankings section. But we thought it would be fun to look at the projections for Week One in the Big Ten (+ Notre Dame).
Penn State 40
Indiana State 10
It'll be the Rob Bolden and Silas Redd Show, as the youngsters will impress from the outset. Bolden will be in complete control, throwing for 281 yards and two scores, while Redd will gash the Sycamores for 116 yards and a score before giving way to a host of other backs. Derek Moye will lead the Lions 90 yards and a TD catch.
Taylor Martinez will lead the Husker attack with over 260 yards from scrimmage and three scores with Brandon Kinne and Kyler Reed the touchdown recipients. Rex Burkhead and Aaron Green will team for nearly 200 yards as the Huskers use a rather vanilla gameplan to pound Chatanooga into the ground.
The Blackshirts lose a shutout thanks to a late-game turnover that leads to a score with little time remaining.
Western Michigan 28
The Brady Hoke Era will kick off with a 34-28 Michigan win over Western Michigan, but Saturday’s game won’t be without some tense moments for the new-look Wolverines. The Broncos, led by veteran quarterback Alex Carder’s 263 yards and two touchdown passes, will appear poised for the upset, however an acrobatic Troy Wolfolk pick on a pass deep in his own territory will end those hopes. Jordan White will pace the WMU aerial attack with 107 yards and a score.
In a game where each ground attack will be rather ineffective (save for Denard Robinson’s 76 yards), it will be the junior Heisman candidate’s 240 passing yards and two touchdown scores that make the difference. Roy Roundtree will lead the Wolverines with 86 yards and a score.
In Marqueis Gray’s coming out party as a quarterback, it will be the junior Trojan Matt Barkley that makes the difference, helping USC withstand a game Gopher attack and post a 34-22 victory. Barkley’s 260 yards and three touchdowns (one each to the talented triumvirate of Robert Woods, Kyle Prater and George Farmer) and Dillon Baxter’s 106 rushing yards and a score will be enough to hold off the spirited Gophers.
Gray will overcome some shaky early moments and lead the Gophers to two 2nd-half touchdowns that turn a potential blowout into a one-score game before Barkley’s 55-yard strike to Farmer seals the deal.
Michigan State 45
Youngstown State 16
The Spartans will come out flying, scoring on their first three possessions, and never look back in Friday night’s opener against the Youngstown State Penguins. Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins will throw for 299 yards and three scores before giving way to Andrew Maxwell early in the second half. The balanced MSU aerial attack will be paced by senior B.J. Cunningham’s 95 yards and a score, however nine different Spartans will nab passes.
Edwin Baker will kick off 2011 with a 100-yard effort while sharing carries with Le’Veon Bell and Larry Caper, who combine for another 100, leading to 500 yards of offense from the defending Big Ten co-champs.
The Badgers will use a new formula, one part Russell Wilson and two parts punishing ground attack, that will lead to the same dish: a convincing 48-14 win over the overmatched Running Rebs from UNLV. Wilson’s 277 yards passing and two scores will lead to plenty of running lanes for Montee Ball and James White as the dynamic duo will team for 300 yards of total offense and three scores.
Nick Toon will look completely healthy, nabbing five balls for 85 yards, while the Badger defense only allows two late touchdowns long after the majority of Badger faithful begin the march to State Street for some post-game libations.
Ball State 25
The Hoosiers will stake the visitors from Muncie to a 17-3 halftime lead until the Kevin Wilson offense finally clicks in the second half, leading to a stirring 29-25 comeback victory over Ball State. Utilizing a balanced offense featuring quarterback Keith Wenning and tailback Cory Sykes, the Cardinals will appear well on their way. However the second half will tell a different story.
Quarterbacks Dustin Kiel and Edwin Wright-Baker will exploit Damarlo Belcher attacking an overmatched secondary, and a late touchdown plunge from Nick Turner followed by a Ted Bolser 4-yard score two minutes later will provide the Hoosiers with hope for the future with the understanding that there’s still a long ways to go.
Arkansas State 22
In a contest that appears it will come down to the last team with the ball would win, the Fighting Illini will pull away from a game Arkansas State squad while running away with a 38-22 win. Utilizing a balanced attack that features more than 200 yards passing and rushing, Nathan Scheelhaase and Jason Ford will gash the Red Wolves, while a 3rd-quarter A.J. Jenkins acrobatic grab will signal the end of the visitor’s upset hopes.
Ryan Aplin’s 20-of-32 performance for 232 will keep his team around, however ultimately some stalled drives will allow the Fighting Illini to eventually wear down their overmatched opponent.
Middle Tennessee State 22
In a game many expect to be an aerial shootout, it will be the Boiler ground attack and defense that leads the way in a 13-point victory. Ralph Bolden will look every bit the healthy running back, posting 105 yards and a score while Kaleb TerBush shows his ability in and out of the pocket.
Boston College 26
The Eagles will overcome the absence of Montel Harris and take advantage of a Dan Persa that isn’t quite ready to beat teams with his legs in a hard-fought win over Northwestern. Andre Williams will pace the BC ground attack with 121 yards and a score while Chase Rettig shows considerable growth, throwing for 219 yards and two scores.
Persa will keep the Wildcats in the game, throwing for 221 yards and two scores, though the inability to run the ball will stunt the Northwestern comeback attempt.
Notre Dame 28
It’ll be the Dayne Crist show in South Bend on Saturday as the senior quarterback will hold off the upset-minded Bulls with 276 yards and three scores, leaving South Florida to wonder what might have been. Cierre Wood will pace the Irish ground attack with 76 yards and a score.
The upset-minded Bulls will struggle to take advantage of two Irish turnovers deep in their own territory, and the Irish will use a considerable time of possession advantage and a defense that allows no big plays to stifle quarterback B.J. Daniels.
Ohio State 34
Highlighted by a punishing ground attack and some electricity provided by freshman quarterback Braxton Miller (in relief of Joe Bauserman), the Buckeyes will look more than ready to put a tumultuous off-season behind them while spanking the Zips 34-13.
Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry will team for over 160 yards and two scores while plowing for 5 yards at will against an overmatched defense. Starter Joe Bauserman will manage the game, tossing for 156 yards and a score, while it’ll be Miller’s 97 yards passing and 40 yards on the ground that give the Buckeye faithful a glimpse of what’s to come.
Tennessee Tech 13
Led by Marcus Coker the Iowa Hawkeyes will not look like an offense that's in rebuilding mode. Coker's 122 yards and a score will be the story, however young Mika'il McCall's bruising style will suddenly make the RB depth not that big of an issue.
James Vandenberg's 260 yards passing and two scores will feature nearly 100 yards and a score from Marvin McNutt and three impressive catches from an emerging Keenan Davis.