Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, June 4, 2015
The final week before all-out Big Ten action typically features a less-than-stellar slate of games, and this year will be no different.
The headliners are pretty good, with Maryland traveling to West Virginia and Michigan hosting BYU. After that, well, just check out my full ranking of the Week 4 games at the bottom of this post.
Game of the week: Going to West Virginia will be difficult for Maryland. These old rivals played a barn-burner last year that the Mountaineers won in College Park, 40-37, on a last-second field goal. Dana Holgorsen has WVU trending in the right direction and has 16 starters back. But both lines need to come together and the QB spot needs to develop. These schools have played 51 times, with the Mountaineers winning eight of the last nine encounters. Maryland hasn?t won in Morgantown since 2002.
Best quarterback matchup: Western Michigan?s Zach Terrell vs. the Ohio State quarterbacks. Terrell, a junior, passed for 3,443 yards with 26 touchdown tosses and 10 picks and paced the MAC in passing efficiency last year. And he has both of this top wideouts back in Corey Davis and Daniel Braverman. The Buckeyes have three legit options in J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller. It?s like choosing between steak, lobster and prime rib.
Best head coach matchup: How about BYU?s Bronco Mendenhall vs. Michigan?s Jim Harbaugh? Not bad. Since becoming head coach in 2005, Mendenhall has guided the Cougars to seven straight bowl invitations, two outright conference championships and has a 90-39 record in 10 seasons. Harbaugh brings a glossy resume to his alma mater that includes a Super Bowl trip with the 49ers in the 2012 season and an Orange Bowl bid in the 2010 season with Stanford.
Best coordinator matchup: Dana Holgorsen runs his own offense at West Virginia. And, he?s good at it, enjoying a bounce-back season in 2014. WVU finished in the top 10 nationally in passing and was No. 12 in total offense (499.8 ypg). It will be a challenge for Maryland defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski, who is in his first season running the Terps defense and a new 4-3 scheme.
Upset alert: It may not be much of an upset if BYU wins in Ann Arbor. Still, Michigan needs to protect its turf. Bronco Mendenhall has a good team with nine starters back on offense and eight on defense from an 8-5 squad. Stud QB Taysom Hill is back from injury, which should be a huge concern for the Wolverines. He was a legit Heisman contender before going down last year. These teams have played just once, with BYU taking a 24-17 win in the 1984 Holiday to claim the national title.
Factoid: When North Texas travels to Kinnick Stadium, it will be a homecoming for Dan McCarney, an Iowa alum and former Hawkeye assistant from 1979-89 under Hayden Fry.
Ranking Week 4 Games
1. Maryland at West Virginia
2. BYU at Michigan
3. Indiana at Wake Forest
4. Kansas at Rutgers
5. North Texas at Iowa
6. San Diego State at Penn State
7. Ohio at Minnesota
8. Bowling Green at Purdue
9. Central Michigan at Michigan State
10. Western Michigan at Ohio State
11. Middle Tennessee State at Illinois
12. Southern Miss at Nebraska
13. Hawaii at Wisconsin
14. Ball State at Northwestern
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.