Harold Shelton III, BTN Studio Researcher, September 16, 2016

In my weekly research of Big Ten football, I come across plenty of information. Here's my look at few gems ahead of Saturday's actiopn, which includes four games on BTN/BTN2Go. They are Colorado at Michigan, Duke at Northwestern, Georgia State at Wisconsin, and Temple at Penn State. Full schedule is right here.


And now, the stats.

For the first time in the 80-year history of the AP Poll, the top three 3 teams are playing true road games against ranked teams. That includes Ohio State playing at Oklahoma for the first time since 1983. The Buckeyes are favored in that game, marking just the third time in 106 games that Oklahoma has been a home underdog and for the first time since 2000 against Nebraska. A win by Ohio State and losses by Alabama and Florida State can vault the Buckeyes back to No. 1 in the poll, a spot they held for the first 10 polls of last season.

This is a matchup of two of the titans of the college football world. They were recently named the 2 best programs in the AP Poll era, with the Buckeyes ranking first and the Sooners coming in right behind them. They have combined for 205 No. 1 rankings in the AP Poll, 12 AP national titles, and 81 conference titles (Ohio State?s 2010 conference title later vacated).

Also, Michigan and Colorado?s explosive offenses square off in Ann Arbor in their first meeting since 1997. This will be only the seventh FBS matchup dating back to 1980 between two teams averaging at least 50.0 points per game (minimum two prior games for both teams). The Wolverines have scored 114 points this season, which is the fifth-highest by a Big Ten team since 1980 through the first two games and their most in the first 2 games of a season since 1914 (fourth-most in school history).

For Michigan State and Notre Dame, they square off for the first time in three years and for the 78th time overall. It?s the 50-year anniversary of the ?Game of the Century? which featured No. 1 Notre Dame at No. 2 Michigan State, which was the first No. 1 vs No. 2 game ever. The Spartans have lost three straight in this rivalry, all to Brian Kelly. Brian Kelly is the only coach to beat Mark Dantonio three straight times since he became MSU head coach. Kirk Ferentz is the only coach with more wins over Dantonio in that span. This is the first time in sixyears and the fifth time since 2000 that the conference has been involved in multiple regular season non-conference Top 20 matchups in the same week (OSU at Oklahoma, MSU at Notre Dame).

Wisconsin faces its final tune-up as they host Georgia State. They haven?t their highest ranking in five years and they are trying to extend their non-conference home win streak to 37 games. The current streak of 36 games is tied for the sixth-longest in FBS history. Wisconsin has not lost a non-conference home game since 2003. Starting next week, they will face four straight Top 13 teams to start conference play.

Iowa needs to avoid the trap this week as they host North Dakota State. The Bison have won the last five FCS titles and have beaten 5 straight FBS opponents. The Hawkeyes are riding high though, winning 14 consecutive regular season games, which is the second-longest active streak in the nation. The last time the Hawkeyes won 15 straight regular season games was a 20-game streak from 1920-23.

Penn State looks to bounce back against Temple. They lost at Pitt last week and lost at Temple last year. The last time the Nittany Lions lost two straight games against the Owls was in 1931-32. The Nittany Lions are 24-0-1 at home against Temple, including a current 20-game win streak.

Mike Riley gets reacquainted with Oregon once again. The second-year Nebraska coach faced the Ducks 14 times as Oregon State head coach, going 4-10. Even though he hasn?t had a lot of success against Oregon, he?s had success beating ranked teams. He has 14 wins against ranked teams while coaching an unranked team, which is tied for the second-most by a coach since 1995. The Cornhuskers will have a sellout crowd to see this game for the 350th straight time.

Oregon will try to reverse a trend of Pac-12 teams not playing well in Big Ten venues. Since 2010, Pac-12 teams are just 5-10 in road games against Big Ten teams, which includes the Ducks loss at Michigan State last season. The Ducks will host the Cornhuskers next season.

For Illinois, this is the Illini's sixth meeting with Western Michigan. Illinois has won four of the previous five meetings with the last game coming at home in 2012. The Fighting Illini are 4-0 against the Broncos in Champaign. The only loss came in 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit. Most of these matchups have been close and the odds makers think this one will be as well. The surprising thing is that Western Michigan is favored, becoming the third MAC team in the last five seasons to be favored against a Big Ten team. Illinois receiver Justin Hardee was very outspoken about that fact.

For Maryland, points have seemed to come easy for Maryland so far this season. The Terrapins rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 46.5 points per game. Maryland?s 93 total points this season are its second-most through 2 games in a season in program history and its most since the Terps scored 106 points under Curley Byrd in 1927. Maryland has been exceptionally good in the first half this season, outscoring its opponents 66-7. Only Michigan has a higher point differential in the first half of games among Big Ten teams and only four teams have a better differential nationally.

For Northwestern, this is the Wildcats 18th meeting with Duke. Northwestern leads the all-time series 9-8, including winning the last meeting 19-10 last season in Durham. The Wildcats have won the last two and seven of the last eight meetings overall against the Blue Devils. This will be the first time these teams have played in Evanston since 2007, which was also the last time Duke beat Northwestern.

For Rutgers, this is the second game of three straight home games for the Scarlet Knights and a stretch of five out of six games at home. A win here would be big for any bowl hopes for Rutgers. The next three games after New Mexico consist of three ranked Big Ten teams in Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan, games the Scarlet Knights will surely be heavy underdogs in. They also have Minnesota and Michigan State on the road later in the season. Rutgers would not mind going into this stretch 2-1.