Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, September 6, 2017
Week One is in the books. And, it was an interesting beginning for the Big Ten, which showed lots of promise. Many teams looked good, including Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan. Still, questions loom as the season is still out of focus. Here is what I am buying and selling right out of the gate.
No Big Ten team was more impressive in Week One than Penn State.
BUY. Opening-game hiccups? Jitters? Kinks to work out? No, no, no. The defending Big Ten champs looked like they were in midseason form in destroying Akron, 52-0. Penn State had 569 yards and yielded just 159. The offense looks like one of the best in the nation. And the defense could be better than expected. NEXT!
Maryland will be OK no matter who plays QB.
BUY. Tyrrell Pigrome is out for the season with a knee injury. Horrible. This after he won the job coming out of camp and looked good in the stunning 51-41 win at No. 23 Texas. The 5-11, 196-pound sophomore hit 9-of-12 passes for 175 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 51-41 win in Austin. He also ran 11 times for 64 yards and a score. He left the game in the third quarter with an injury, and word came down Tuesday that Pigrome?s season is finished. Too bad. But have no fear. The Terps look to have another promising signal-caller in Kasim Hill, a true freshman who come on to finish the job at Texas by hitting all three of his passes for 44 yards and running for 14 yards and a score. Hill is dynamic athlete who is an even better passer than Pigrome. The Terps will need to rely on the run game as Hill develops.
Ohio State?s passing game has improved.
SELL. Yes, the Buckeyes overwhelmed Indiana, 49-21. And the Buckeyes had 596 yards of offense with 304 coming through the air. But OSU still has more to prove in the vertical passing game. There still wasn't enough success in the downfield passing game, which was an issue last year and was a big reason why Kevin Wilson was brought in as coordinator. A visit from Oklahoma this week would be a good time to start connecting deep.
Michigan?s defense will be OK.
BUY. There was much hand-wringing in Ann Arbor about a defense that had just one starter back. But the Wolverine defense excelled in an opening 33-17 win vs. Florida in Arlington, Texas. The Gators had just 192 yards and didn?t score an offensive touchdown. Devin Bush, Tyree Kinnel, Chase Winovich and Maurice Hurst, among others, excelled. Coordinator Don Brown looks to have the makings of another nice defense even with stars like Taco Charlton and Jabrill Peppers gone.
Purdue will win more than three games.
BUY. Yes, the Boilermakers appear to have a pulse. When does a loss feel like a win? When a program that went 9-39 the last four years pushes the No. 16 team in the nation led by the defending Heisman winner to the brink. First-year Boilermaker coach Jeff Brohm probably isn?t into moral wins. Still, Purdue pushed Lamar Jackson and Louisville to the limit before falling, 35-28, in Indianapolis. The Boilers handled adversity, showed offensive creativity and stood strong on defense while not yielding big plays. This team looks primed to be better than many people think.