Posted: Friday September 23, 2005 1:34PM; Updated: Friday September 23, 2005 5:22PM
CLICK ABOVE FOR B.J. SCHECTER'S MARQUEE MATCHUP
High Stakes I
(16) Michigan at Wisconsin
6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)
Will the real Wisconsin please stand up? After a pair of high-scoring wins over Bowling Green and Temple, the Badgers' offense was stuck in first gear in last Saturday's 14-5 win over North Carolina. Wisconsin is powered by back Brian Calhoun, a Colorado transfer who leads the nation with eight touchdowns. To beat Michigan, Badgers QB John Stocco will have to jumpstart the passing game. Michigan has won 15 of the last 17 against Wisconsin, including three straight at Camp Randall, and 23 consecutive Big Ten openers. Look for that streak to continue.
High Stakes II
(1) USC at (24) Oregon
7 p.m. ET (ABC)
Autzen Stadium (54,000)
Over the next two weeks, USC could face its stiffest tests of the season. Autzen Stadium is a difficult place to play and the Ducks' new spread offense could present problems for the Trojans' yet-to-be tested D. While this one might be close for a half, USC will face a bigger challenge next week at Arizona State.
Mismatch of the Week
Indiana State at (19) Texas Tech
7 p.m. ET (no television)
Jones SBC Stadium (52,882)
What's up with the Red Raiders' soft schedule? Texas Tech is outdoing Kansas State in lining up and thrashing patsies. Last week, Tech put up 80 on Sam Houston State. Red Raiders QB Cody Hodges will pad his stats even more in this laugher.
Under the Radar
(11) Purdue at Minnesota
Noon ET (ESPN)
A terrific matchup: Running back Laurence Maroney and the No. 1 rushing offense in the nation versus Purdue's No. 1 rushing defense. As we all know, a good defense beats a good offense every time, and I like Purdue in a close one.
(17) Michigan State at Illinois
Noon ET (ESPN Plus)
Memorial Stadium (69,249)
This is a trap game if I've ever seen one. Michigan State was terrific in its 44-41 upset at Notre Dame last week -- even though the Spartans blew a 21-point lead. But Michigan State always plays well against top-10 opponents and not so well against everyone else. The last eight times the Spartans have beaten a top-10 team, they have followed it up with a loss. If State doesn't come to play in Champaign on Saturday, the Illini's dynamic backfield duo of E.B. Hasley and Pierre Thomas will do them in. Given recent history, that's a pretty good bet.