Boy was last week a train wreck for the B1G or what!? A handful of lost games and missed opportunities brings a tattered and torn conference into a relatively straight forward weekend. Officially, the first conference game of the year begins Saturday night, and there will be a host of other games on the schedule this weekend that will provide some much needed relief.
(SIDE NOTE) Before we begin, I would just like to send a shout-out to Marching Illini Members, Alums, and Fans for getting TCR "Over the Hump" in our Facebook race with Inside NU. For those of you who want to know, we now have a 68 "Like" lead over the blog from up north and I owe some people a few shout-outs for giving us the lead.
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Houston @ #25 BYU ~ 8pm CT (ESPN)
BYU has a really good football team this season, and last week they plastered a Texas team that is arguably the best team on their schedule. As there are still a lot of games left in the season, BYU has a relatively easy rest of the way with only Virginia (who looks solid as well) standing as their toughest opponent. What happens to the playoff when an independent team runs the table? Boy I'd love to find out in the first year!
Toledo @ Cincinnati ~ 6pm CT (ESPNU)
In a weird scheduling situation, the Cincinnati Bearcats open their season Friday night against Toledo. You read that right, the Bearcats haven't played a game yet this season. Toledo is coming off a beatdown from Missouri, and would love to ruin Cincy's opener in the battle for Ohio. Watch Munchie Legaux take the field after his horrific injury against the Illini last season sidelined him for the year.
West Virginia @ Maryland ~ 11am CT (BTN)
I'm really looking into this one, as these are two teams that are both trying to make a statement in their respective conferences. First we have Maryland, who will be wearing new alternate uniforms and coming fresh off of their victory over the Bulls of USF. They are tied for the lead in the East at the moment, and want to show they belong in the B1G. On the other side, we have a West Virginia team who has Clint Trickett. This guy is in the Top 10 in the country in average passing yards (two spots behind Wes Lunt) and has no issues putting the ball in the endzone. Should be a high scoring affair in College Park Saturday morning!
#6 Georgia @ #24 South Carolina ~ 2:30pm CT (CBS)
Yes, the Illini really don't have a solid run game at the moment. They have struggled to maintain any sort of ground attack in the first two matchups of the season and it's leaving an empty feeling inside us. This is why you should watch the Georgia bulldogs. Todd Gurley is a beast, and I mean a B-E-A-S-T beast. He could have punched his ticket to the pros this season, but chose to stay with the 'Dawgs to contend in the SEC East and for a Championship. Watch him play in college while you still can, cause this guy is good.
Illinois @ Washington ~ 3pm CT (FOX)
Now before you all get riled up about me adding this game to the list, I want to say one thing. This is going to be a really really good football game. We have two power conference teams that are trying to get to a bowl game. One has the 8th best passing offense in the NCAA, the other has the 19th best rushing offense in the NCAA. Both score roughly the same amount of points per game and one gives up one less touchdown than the other (that's us if you're wondering). There will be a TON of points in this one, and hopefully the Illini can pull out a victory on the road. Either way, this is going to be a great football game.
Minnesota @ TCU ~ 3pm CT (Fox Sports1)
As the B1G's conference season draws near, it's always a good idea to watch some of the opponents that the Illini will have to face. Minnesota is the draw for us on Homecoming, and this will be a good preview of what we will have to face come October. Keep an eye on the Gophers and how they handle the offensive attack of the Horned Frogs, as there may be some clues on how Illinois can defeat Goldy and inch closer to a bowl game.
Penn State @ Rutgers ~ 7pm CT (BTN)
The Fighting Franklins are bowl eligible once again, and this week marks the return of the Penn State/Rutgers rivalry. This game surely will provide some excitement as a confident Rutgers team will try and defend home-field from Christian Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions under the lights.
As always, let us know which games you'll be watching this weekend in the comment section below!