Game of the Week:
Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois
Western Michigan running attack isn't much, meaning that the Broncos need a big game from quarterback Tim Hiller if they are to win this showdown with their MAC West rival. Hiller has been consistent this season, throwing for eight touchdowns and only three interceptions. Hiller's 66% completion percentage is decent, but he may be without his leading wide receiver Juan Nunez, who has a bruised knee and is listed as questionable for the game. Northern Illinois pass defense is shaky at times, and their pass rush is nothing special. Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle carved up NIU's secondary last week, and Hiller is better than Enderle. Unless NIU has dramatically improved their pass coverage in one week, look for the Broncos to come away with a win on Saturday.
Best Mid Major vs. BCS Game:
Arkansas State vs. Iowa
After passing its first Big Ten road test, Iowa now looks to avoid an upset against a non-conference opponent. The 13th ranked Hawkeyes look to open 5-0 for the first time since 1995. Last week's victory kept the Hawkeyes tied with Texas for the nation's second longest winning streak at eight. Iowa has been relying on its defense while their offense looks to find consistency. The ground attack has been more productive than the passing game, with freshman Adam Robinson running for 321 yards and four touchdowns, and freshman Brandon Wegher adding 220 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns. Arkansas State will be facing an Iowa team that has not allowed a rushing touchdown since the third quarter of last years win over Penn State. The Red Wolves are averaging 190.6 yards on the ground. Arkansas State led Troy last week 23-10 before losing their Sun Belt Conference opener. Expect an easy win for Iowa as Arkansas State has been outscored 121-22 in its last four road games against top 25 teams. The Red Wolves are 0-4 against Big Ten opponents.
Here's your chance, now show us what you can do:
Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs and Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson are under the spotlight this weekend. Both guys are Georgia natives, and both players are a great fit for their team's option based offenses. Jefferson missed Air Force's win over San Diego State last week, but is expected to play this week against the Midshipmen. Any team is going to suffer when their quarterback makes mistakes, but in an option-based attack, precision play by the quarterback is crucial. That will be the case in the first round in the hunt for the Commander-in-Chief's trophy. Dobbs is Navy's leading rusher, while Jefferson has had much more success through the air this season for the Falcons. Look for an exciting matchup between two hungry quarterbacks.
Mid Major Madness Picks of the Week:
Utah State 24 BYU 34
UC Davis 21 Boise State 38
SMU 17 TCU 38
Houston 28 UTEP 14
East Carolina 21 Marshall 28
Colorado State 27 Idaho 31