Week 1 of the college football season is finally here. We have two Big Ten football games tonight, one tomorrow and a full slate on Saturday.
The opening week of this season actually sees many critical in-conference matchups, with Wisconsin hosting Penn State, Minnesota hosting Ohio State, Northwestern hosting Michigan State and Iowa hosting Indiana.
The slate of games will tell us a lot about where teams stand after a unique 2020 season.
For the Badgers, that may not be told by the final score. However, we will see what Graham Mertz looks like in year two, how the backfield rotation shakes out and what the defense looks like after returning eight starters.
ESPN’s Bill Connelly used his SP+ metrics to predict every Week 1 game on the college football calendar.
Here are his score predictions for every Big Ten game this weekend:
Wisconsin vs. Penn State preview:
Temple at Rutgers
Dec 12, 2020; College Park, Maryland, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral (0) throws as Maryland Terrapins defensive back Nick Cross (3) defends at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Rutgers 30, Temple 21
Ohio State at Minnesota
Team Brutus quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws a pass during the Ohio State Buckeyes football spring game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch-Imagn Content Services, LLC
Prediction: Ohio State 37, Minnesota 28
Michigan State at Northwestern
Dec 12, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Davion Williams (14) attempts to tackle Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Jahan Dotson (5) during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan State 39-24. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Michigan State 21, Northwestern 18
Fordham at Nebraska
Aug 28, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) runs past Illinois defensive lineman Keith Randolph Jr. (88) in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Nebraska 48, Fordham 5
Western Michigan at Michigan
Nov 14, 2020; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Chris Evans (9) is tackled by Wisconsin Badgers safety Eric Burrell (25) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Michigan 39, Western Michigan 20
Indiana at Iowa
Nov 7, 2020; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first quarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Iowa 28, Indiana 21
West Virginia at Maryland
Oct 30, 2020; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins reacts after defeating Minnesota Golden Gophers in overtime at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Maryland 28, West Virginia 24
Oregon State at Purdue
Oct 24, 2020; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers cornerback Cam Allen (18) recovers a fumble and celebrates in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Purdue 37, Oregon State 29
UTSA at Illinois
Aug 28, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Miles Scott (85) runs past Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Illinois 31, UTSA 26
Penn State at Wisconsin
Dec 30, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; Wisconsin Badgers hold up the Dukes Cooler after beating Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Penn State 23