College football is back! The 2019 college football season has many headlines and things to look forward to. The Big 10 will be playing out of conference opponents this week. Here is a preview and prediction of each week one Big 10 West game:
South Dakota St. (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0)
When: Thursday, August 29 | 9:00 PM EST
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are a team to reckon with in the FCS. Last season, they lost in the semi-finals to North Dakota State, who have won seven titles in the last eight years. Quarterback Taryn Christion has graduated, and will likely hand the ball over to redshirt freshman J’Bore Gibbs. How Gibbs can perform against a big-time school at Minnesota can be a big factor in this one.
The Golden Gophers are 12-13 after two seasons under P.J. Fleck, including a 34-10 win over Georgia Tech in the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl. Minnesota went into 2018 as the youngest team in the nation, which is a reason why there is some excitement for the majority of the team returning this season.
Prediction: Minnesota should take this one. However, don’t be surprised if the Jackrabbits come out strong and give Minnesota a tough victory.
#19 Wisconsin (0-0) at South Florida (0-0)
When: Friday, August 30 | 7:00 PM EST
Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin Badgers will head to Florida to take on the South Florida Bulls. The Badgers can quite possibly have a more well-rounded offense this season with a veteran receiving core. They also named Jack Coan their starting quarterback, but 4-star Graham Mertz can see time this year as well. If they can rely on their passing game, it could help Jonathan Taylor have more in the tank when he gets the ball.
South Florida won their last five games of the regular season in 2018. They had a chance to end the season on a high note in the Gasparilla Bowl, but they lost 38-20 to Marshall. This team hasn’t won a football game in over 10 months, so getting back on the field for a fresh start can motivate this team to start the season off right. Senior quarterback Blake Barnett will have his hands full against a consistently stingy defense in Madison.
Prediction: Wisconsin should be able to win this one on the road. One of the biggest deciders will be South Florida’s offense against the Badgers’ defense.
Purdue (0-0) at Nevada (0-0)
When: Friday, August 30 | 9:30 PM EST
Purdue beat Nevada 24-14 in 2016 en route to a 3-9 season. The Boilermakers have improved since then, and have high hopes for another bowl run in 2019. Sophomore wideout Rondale Moore had 114 receptions last season, the most in the FBS. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar should be the starter this year as he has experience from the past few seasons behind David Blough.
The Wolf Pack ended 2018 with a record of 8-5, including a bowl win over Arkansas St. They’ll look to continue this momentum with a week one win at home over Purdue.
Prediction: Purdue could take this one by double digits. A lot will have to go right for the Wolf Pack if they want to come out on top of this one.
Akron (0-0) at Illinois (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 31 | Noon EST
Both of these teams will want to start out 1-0, as they should statistically have a hard time making a bowl game. This is especially true for Illinois, who will be playing in a tough Big 10 conference. In 2018, both Akron and Illinois ended up going 4-8. They’ll both want to outperform this record in 2019. A win in week 1 will be a great start in accomplishing that.
Prediction: Illinois is a heavy favorite in this one for multiple reasons. They’re at home, and they are returning some starters this season who have experience at the division one level. They shouldn’t find it too difficult taking a week one win.
South Alabama (0-0) at #24 Nebraska (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 31 | Noon EST
South Alabama went 3-9 last season. All three teams they beat finished the season below .500. After a shaky 2018, the Jaguars will want to rebound for 2019. They’ll have a tough time doing so as Nebraska has a lot of hype heading into the season.
After going 4-8 last season, the Cornhuskers find themselves ranked 24 in the AP poll. Head coach Scott Frost has this team in a favorable spot, as some predict them winning the Big 10 West and making the conference championship game.
Prediction: Nebraska may have a slow start, but they shouldn’t have much of a problem securing an easy win over South Alabama.
Northwestern at #25 Stanford
When: Saturday, August 31 | 4:00 PM EST
Northwestern is a pretty unpredictable team. Last year, they lost to Akron then ended up making the Big 10 championship which they lost to Ohio State. This year they open up on the road against a ranked opponent in Stanford. This provides a great opportunity for this team to set the tone for the season. A week one win will certainly help in a possible repeat in the Big 10 West.
Stanford has a tough start to their schedule. They play Northwestern, USC, #17 UCF and #11 Oregon in their first four games. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in the backfield with Bryce Love heading to the Redskins. This isn’t a game Stanford should overlook, as Northwestern could certainly hang around.
Prediction: Northwestern could pull out a close one here. A reason could be that Stanford may somewhat overlook this game since they have some ranked opponents coming up. Don’t be surprised if Northwestern comes away with the early-season upset.
Miami (Ohio) (0-0) at #20 Iowa (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 31 | 7:30 PM
The Redhawks finished the season at .500, but still missed a bowl game. This likely left a feeling of unfinished business with this team, which they could use as fuel against the Hawkeyes. They’ll have to figure things out at the QB spot, as all of their quarterbacks are listed as underclassmen.
Iowa went 9-4 in 2018, including an impressive Outback Bowl win over Mississippi State. The team is ranked #20 in the AP poll to start out 2019. A consistently talented defense along with senior Nate Stanley under center gives people reason to think this team can succeed in 2019.
Prediction: Miami (Ohio) may find it difficult to even reach double digits with their inexperience at quarterback, not to mention they’re on the road against one of the better defenses in the nation. Iowa should win big in this one.
Feature Image Courtesy of greenbaypressgazette.com