Penn State Nittany Lions: Berkley Edwards
1. House party: If the second night game at Michigan Stadium is anything like the first, we'll all be thrilled (well, except for those Notre Dame folks). Michigan and Notre Dame delivered the drama two years ago under the lights, and the spectacle Saturday night in Ann Arbor should once again be incredible. The teams' past four meetings have all been decided by seven points or fewer (19 points total). The series sadly disappears after the 2014 meeting in South Bend, so enjoy it while it lasts.
2. Rees vs. Gardner: Notre Dame-Michigan features another appetizing quarterback matchup. While Tommy Rees remains a polarizing figure for some Notre Dame fans, it's hard to argue with what he has done against Michigan. Before last Saturday's opener against Temple, Rees' only 300-yard passing performance came against Michigan two years ago, and he led Notre Dame to victory last fall. Rees can stretch the field, as he had more passes of 20 yards or longer against Temple (7) than Everett Golson had in any game last season. Devin Gardner was Michigan's leading receiver last year against Notre Dame, but he's firmly entrenched as a quarterback. Gardner has been deadly in the red zone for the Wolverines, converting 19 touchdowns in 22 red zone trips as the starter.
3. Spartans looking for a spark: Michigan State basically has two more weeks to get its offense right before facing one of the nation's top defenses on the road at Notre Dame. The unit's opening act was highly disappointing, as Michigan State averaged just 3.8 yards per play against a Western Michigan defense that ranked 61st nationally in 2012. Head coach Mark Dantonio has kept mostly quiet about his quarterback situation this week as four players continue to get reps in practice. The Spartans need a solution there and at other offensive spots against South Florida, which allowed 56 points to McNeese State in its opening loss.
4. Illini aim to continue big-play ways: One of the nation's most feeble offenses in 2012 broke out last week against Southern Illinois, as Illinois recorded six plays of 30 yards or longer -- matching its total from all of last season! Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase recorded a career-high 416 pass yards and featured weapons like Josh Ferguson and Ryan Lankford. The question is whether the Illini can come close to that type of production against a much, much tougher opponent in Cincinnati, which held Purdue to one short scoring drive and only 226 yards last week. We'll get a much better gauge about Illinois' offensive progress against Tommy Tuberville's defense.
5. Northwestern's health: After a mostly injury-free season in 2012, Northwestern already has been bitten by that pesky bug early this fall. The Wildcats will be without starting cornerback Daniel Jones (knee) for the rest of the season, putting redshirt freshman Dwight White in the spotlight against Syracuse. Top quarterback Kain Colter (head) and running back Venric Mark (leg) both are questionable for the game. If Northwestern can survive again like it did last week against Cal, it has a chance to get healthy in the next two weeks against weaker opponents before a two-week prep for Ohio State.
7. Indiana's offensive efficiency: Kevin Wilson's Hoosiers scored touchdowns on five of their first six offensive possessions in last week's opener against Indiana State, en route to a Memorial Stadium-record 73 points. If Indiana can come close to that type of efficiency Saturday against Navy, it will improve to 2-0. Possessions likely will be limited against the Midshipmen, as Indiana found out last year when it had only 10 offensive drives in a 31-30 loss. The Hoosiers had to settle for three field goals of 30 yards or less and need to be better about punching it in against Navy. "You don't get as many at-bats," Wilson said.
8. Second chances: Purdue and Iowa didn't get off to the starts they wanted in Week 1, and neither did Nebraska's defense, which surrendered 35 first downs and 602 yards to Wyoming in the opener. Fortunately, all three teams should redeem themselves against weaker competition on Saturday. The Boilermakers need to boost quarterback Rob Henry's confidence and fix their communication problems on offense against Indiana State. Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock must rebound from his late interception against Missouri State. The Huskers defense, meanwhile, aims to clean things up against a Southern Miss team that has lost 13 straight and scored just 15 points against Texas State last week.
9. Wolverines' youth put to test: Don't be surprised if Michigan-Notre Dame comes down to how well the Wolverines' young interior offensive line performs against an elite Fighting Irish defensive front led by nose guard Louis Nix III and end Stephon Tuitt, two potential first-round picks in next April's NFL draft. Michigan will start redshirt freshman Kyle Kalis at right guard, true sophomore Jack Miller at center and redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow at left guard. They'll be challenged all night long (especially Miller) as they try to create running room for Fitzgerald Toussaint and protect Gardner.
10. Hack's home debut: Penn State fans have been waiting more than a year and a half to watch quarterback Christian Hackenberg take snaps at Beaver Stadium. They'll finally get their chance Saturday as the Lions face Eastern Michigan in their home opener. Hackenberg had a few expected hiccups in his collegiate debut against Syracuse but also showed why he can be such a special player for Penn State's offense. Head coach Bill O'Brien vows to put Hackenberg in better positions to succeed this week. Hackenberg also will have top weapon Allen Robinson at his disposal from the start, which should make a big difference.
- The Big Ten had an underwehlming Week 1 showing, Scott Dochterman writes. Tom Dienhart recaps Week 1 here and here and updates his B1G power rankings. More Big Ten Week 1 recap fun (or lack thereof) from Lee Barfknecht.
- Nebraska looked like it was still in training camp during Saturday's opener, Sam McKewon writes. Steve Sipple is puzzled by the Huskers' continued defensive struggles. So far so good for Nebraska freshman RB Terrell Newby.
- Michigan State needs to get creative on offense after a sluggish start. Spartans coach Mark Dantonio isn't saying much about his QB situation. Dantonio's loyalty to certain players could prove costly, Graham Couch writes.
- Michigan still stings from last year's loss in South Bend. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly downplays the Michigan rivalry. Nick Baumgarder takes a closer look at the Wolverines' impressive opening win. Michigan's young talent can help the team overcome some mistakes.
- Northwestern's two-quarterback system continues to pay off. The Wildcats reclaimed the fourth quarter Saturday at Cal. The Inside NU crew shares its thoughts on the opener.
- Urban Meyer talks about why he went for two against Buffalo. Tim May and Bill Rabinowitz debate Ohio State's performance in its opener. Zach Boren got to be a Buckeye player one last time Saturday.
- It's good that Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg has the freedom to make mistakes, David Jones writes. Offensive lineman Garry Gilliam might have saved Penn State with his open-field tackle. Penn State's versatility is paying off.
- Illinois' secondary has a lot to improve upon after the opener. Illini WR Ryan Lankford had a big day in the opener, and it could have been better.
- Wisconsin freshman RB Corey Clement learns a lesson in ball security. Things went swimmingly in coach Gary Andersen's debut at Wisconsin. Badgers senior QB Curt Phillips showed once again Saturday why he's a team-first guy.
- Purdue QB Rob Henry needs to help himself -- and get more help from his line -- to keep his job. The Boilers graded out very poorly in their opener.
- Iowa looked better Saturday but still lost to a MAC team, Mike Hlas writes. The Hawkeyes go back to the basics after their loss to NIU. One game isn't enough to write off Iowa, according to Pat Harty.
- Despite 51 points in the opener, Minnesota has some lingering questions on offense. Gophers RBs Donnell Kirkwood and Berkley Edwards are both questionable for this week with ankle injuries.
- A quick look back at Indiana's Week 1 victory. Bob Kravitz didn't learn much from the Hoosiers' season-opening win.
- Jerry Kill is tackling his epilepsy at a critical point for him and for Minnesota. Philip Nelson had a good day at the Gophers' scrimmage. Freshman running back Berkley Edwards is impressing with his speed.
- Wisconsin has a three-year window of opportunity to join the elite, thanks to its future schedules. The Badgers' quarterback race is still wide open. Dezmen Southward is ready to take the next step.
- Purdue's Raheem Mostert has switched from receiver to running back. The quarterback who best translates Darrell Hazell's terminology could end up as the Boilers' starter.
- Penn State has reduced the hitting at practice to avoid injuries. Expect Bill O'Brien to stay aggressive with his fourth-down calls this season. O'Brien's top competitor might be defensive coordinator John Butler.
- Ohio State players are trying to stay in the present. Dontre Wilson brings game-breaking speed to the Buckeyes. Some other players are getting ready to fill in for Bradley Roby, if necessary. Louisville wants to play the Buckeyes.
- Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun, who once walked out on his basketball team, has grown up and become a leader. Analyzing the Spartans' weekend scrimmage. Receiver Aaron Burbridge says he's going to have a big year.
- Iowa looks to move past last year's poor offensive showing. The Hawkeyes lost a prized recruit to Alabama. It's a sign of Iowa's growing irrelevance, Pat Harty writes.
- Indiana hopes to turn up the pressure on its defensive line (subscription required). Recapping the Hoosiers' Saturday scrimmage.
- Brady Hoke says Michigan needs to play with more speed and power. Is Fitz Toussaint the right man for the Wolverines' No. 1 running back job? Young offensive linemen could be the key to Michigan's season.
- Darby Dunnagan is blazing a trail at Northwestern as the first female video coordinator at a major conference team.
- Tim Beckman took the blame for a Rantoul scrimmage snafu. The Illini secondary is young but full of potential.
- Nebraska defensive tackle Thad Randle is hoping for a healthy season so he can show his full potential. Patience may make perfect for Taylor Martinez. Imani Cross is looking to continue his progress at running back.
- Lots of Big Ten names on this list of the 25 most intriguing quarterbacks in college football.
ESPN RecruitingNation has signing day covered. Follow ESPNU’s coverage, chat with analysts and get breaking news on our Signing Day Live page beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET through 7 p.m. ET. For more on what to expect on signing day, check out the Big Ten conference breakdown .
Bold prediction: Penn State will hang on to a top-25 class, even if just by the slimmest of margins. Bill O'Brien and his staff deserve all the credit in the world for having to originally put together a class after the scandal and then reshaping it after NCAA sanctions were levied in July.
Biggest need: The Illini's offense was arguably the worst in the Big Ten in 2012, and Illinois needs help just about everywhere on offense, especially at the skill positions.
Biggest recruit: Four-star athlete Aaron Bailey is the future at quarterback for Illinois, and the coaches will expect him to be ready to take the reins once Nathan Scheelhaase moves on.
Biggest need: To just put up a fence around Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. Kevin Wilson did that, assuaging defensive line concerns in the process by adding Indianapolis linemen David Kenney III and Darius Latham.
Biggest recruit: The Hoosiers are not accustomed to landing ESPN 150 prospects, but not only did they get Rashard Fant, but they got him all the way out of Georgia.
Biggest need: After having several productive running backs over the past decade, the Hawkeyes are hurting in the backfield due to injuries and off-the-field issues.
Biggest recruit: The Hawkeyes were after Berkley Edwards for a while, but once that fell through they put the screws to former Boston College running back commit LeShun Daniels. He flipped shortly after an official visit to Iowa.
Biggest need: Brady Hoke is transitioning to a pro-style offense, and he needed a pocket passer and a running back who makes his living in between the tackles.
Biggest recruit: ESPN 150 quarterback Shane Morris is that pro-style quarterback, but he is also the unquestioned leader of Team 134 and helped put together one of the nation’s top classes.
Biggest need: The Spartans will lose their top two rushers from 2012, including Big Ten rushing leader Le’Veon Bell, so running back is a priority. They are bringing in two.
Biggest recruit: ESPN 300 dual-threat quarterback Damion Terry is a capable thrower and runner, and he led his high school to a state title as a senior. Andrew Maxwell did not exactly lock down the starting quarterback job with his performance last season.
Biggest need: Donnell Kirkwood is a promising player at running back, but he struggled against some of the league’s better defenses and wore down late in the season. A complement is sorely needed.
Biggest recruit: Three-star running back Berkley Edwards is the younger brother of former Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards. Berkley is one of the Gophers’ highest-rated commitments, and running back is a position that lends itself to an easy transition.
Biggest need: Nebraska needs to return to its days of the Blackshirts, as the Huskers' defense was gashed on the ground all season. The Huskers need help along the defensive line.
Biggest recruit: Elite 11 finalist Johnny Stanton is a dual-threat quarterback, but he’s a much more polished passer than Taylor Martinez, who has taken his share of lumps since his flashy start in Lincoln.
Biggest need: Now that the Wildcats are a legitimate threat in the Big Ten under Pat Fitzgerald, the next step is to get better athletes to compete with Michigan and Ohio State. Fitzgerald is doing that with Ifeadi Odenigbo in 2012 and Godwin Igwebuike in 2013.
Biggest recruit: ESPN 300 dual-threat quarterback Matt Alviti had offers from some big programs including Notre Dame, but he chose nearby Northwestern. The Wildcats have an unsettled situation at quarterback, and as a local product Alviti could be called for by the fans if the quarterback play does not improve.
Biggest need: Linebacker was the biggest need for the Buckeyes, and after a shaky start Urban Meyer wrapped up a nice haul at the position with ESPN 150 products Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell.
Biggest recruit: It’s a tie between Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson, who are separated by just a few spots in the ESPN 150. Both have game-breaking ability as a receiver or out of the backfield.
Biggest need: Despite significantly improved play from Matt McGloin in 2012, the Nittany Lions have not been blessed with quarterbacks the past decade, with the exception of a few good seasons from Michael Robinson and Daryll Clark.
Biggest recruit: While the class did field its share of decommitments, the damage would have been irreparable if No. 1 QB Christian Hackenberg bolted. By staying on, he instilled confidence in several other recruits to stay or join him in State College.
Biggest need: The quarterback situation at Purdue has been unsettled the past few seasons, which is not good when it comes to the most important position on the field.
Biggest recruit: An Elite 11 finalist, Danny Etling stuck with the Boilermakers through the coaching change. He will be looked at as the future of the program.
Biggest need: While the Badgers always have a strong stable of backs, losing Montee Ball is going to hurt, especially in the red zone. Wisconsin addressed it with top commitment Corey Clement.
Biggest recruit: The loss of Russell Wilson left a major void at quarterback, but the Badgers landed quarterback Tanner McEvoy on Monday. McEvoy is ranked No. 44 among juco prospects nationally and the expectation is he will contend for a starting job immediately.