Despite many discussions about whether or not teams should be playing in the fall with the threat of COVID-19, the college football season has been going for over a month. However, some of the biggest teams in the sport are just beginning their season. This Saturday, Big Ten teams will begin a conference-only schedule. This looks promising for college football because of some powerhouse teams, especially Ohio State. Austin Bebout, a running back for the Panthers, says, “Having the Big Ten back brings optimism of the chance we have a spring season.”
Week One Matchups
#5 Ohio State 52 vs Nebraska 17
Ohio State was a strong contender for a national championship last year before being knocked off by the Clemson Tigers in the semifinals. The team will be bringing back Heisman candidate and quarterback Justin Fields to lead the Buckeyes. Fields looked sharp in the season opener completing 20 of 21 passes for 276 yards and 3 total touchdowns. The star-studded Buckeyes also had the 5th ranked recruiting class in the country. The second-year head coach, Ryan Day, has put his team in a great place to contend for a championship in the coming years. This makes them heavily favored going into their first game against Nebraska.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have seen steady improvements since the hiring of Coach Scott Frost. In his previous job, he turned the UCF Knights from having 0-13 seasons to a 12-0 team just two seasons after getting the job. Nebraska is optimistic about Frost’s potential to do the same for their program. Although they suffered a tough loss to the Buckeyes, the team has continued to show improvements since his arrival and will be a team to keep an eye on in the future. Quarterback Adrain Martinez will be the key factor in how successful the Cornhuskers will be this season. Nebraska will need to improve more if they want to be competitive in the Big Ten.
#18 Michigan 49 vs. #21 Minnesota 21
The Michigan Wolverines have become a decent team under Jim Harbaugh, who is the former head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers. Michigan has always been known as a football powerhouse school, and with Coach Harbaugh, they are 47-18 overall. However, despite having a good record, Michigan has failed to win big games with a record of 10-14 against top 25 ranked teams. The Wolverines are also 0-5 in “The Game” against rival Ohio State in the Harbaugh era. Despite consistently losing big games, the Wolverines are still bringing in top recruits and are considered a powerhouse. Against Minnesota, Michigan’s quarterback, Joe Milton, looked strong in the season opener by throwing for 225 yards and adding 52 yards on the ground. The Wolverines were also able to make big plays on defense and special teams to help lead them to a win.
The Minnesota Gophers are a team that has shown strides of improvement over the last few years under Coach P.J. Fleck. Fleck was even selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year after winning 11 games last year. Fleck’s coaching abilities have attracted many top recruits to come to play for the Gophers. The Gophers will have quarterback Tanner Morgan and wide receiver Rashod Bateman to look forward to this year. Against the Wolverines, the Gophers were dominated in every aspect of the game. This game is a disappointing start to the season for a team that had high expectations.
Week One Upset
The Penn State Nittany Lions were a team many analysts thought highly of entering the 2020 season. The Lions had a chance to end the game by running out the clock but running back Devyn Ford scored a touchdown. This allowed the Indiana Hoosiers to get the ball back and march down the field to tie the game. After Penn State scored a touchdown, they went up by 7. Indiana would answer with a touchdown of their own, but they decided to go for the 2-point conversion, winning them the game. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr scrambled to the left and dove for the endzone, knocking down the pylon for the win in overtime.
College Football Playoff
Many fans and experts have questioned what the return of the Big Ten could mean for the College Football Playoff. Many people will argue that since the teams in the Big Ten will only be playing 8 games, there will not be enough evidence to prove a team worthy of one of the four spots. However, with the strength in the conference this year, the winner should deserve a spot in the College Football Playoffs.
Bringing back Big Ten football has not only brought back good football games, it has also brought hope to college athletes that have yet to start their seasons.
Media by Paul Garrett.