Week 2 make-or-break for Big Ten 

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
11:16
AM ET
Connor CookAndrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsAs new conference favorites, can Connor Cook and the Spartans show up for the Big Ten?
As we count down 50 days until the start of the 2014 college football season, ESPN Insider Travis Haney is answering at least one big question a day until South Carolina and Texas A&M’s kickoff on Aug. 28.

Heisman contenders, breakout freshmen, conference winners – it will all be covered as part of Insider’s Ultimate Season Preview.

Today’s question: In light of Ohio State QB Braxton Miller's season-ending injury and the Notre Dame academic investigation, how monumental has Week 2 become for the Big Ten?

An academic investigation in South Bend. Miller's shoulder injury in Columbus. It might seem counterintuitive after adversity hit both Notre Dame and Ohio State the past few days, but college football’s second week could be even more meaningful as a result.

Just look at the lineup: Michigan State at Oregon, Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech and Michigan at Notre Dame. It would not be an exaggeration to say each of those games could be make-or-break in terms of the College Football Playoff hopes for those three Big Ten teams.

So let’s take a closer look at how those Big Ten East Division teams have had their chances altered, for better and worse.




Michigan State Spartans

With Ohio State’s playoff chances greatly diminished sans Miller, Michigan State’s game at Oregon takes on even more meaning.