Get all your Saturday work done early in the day, because at 3:30 EST is when the three games in Big Ten Country really worth watching this week come on.
Wisconsin plays host to Washington State. The Cougars are lower middle-class in the Pac-10, but that means a little bit more this year. WSU has a tough defensive line and a good passing game led by third-year starter Alex Brink. At a time of year when the running games aren't in top shape anywhere, that's not a bad combination to have to pull an upset. The Badgers still have four returning offensive lineman though, and I expect them to move the ball well enough to win. Their defensive front should also be able to pressure Brink enough to take the heat off the young safeties. This game will be on ABC.
Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech. Calvin Johnson may have gone to the pros, but Tech is still very strong in both lines. This could be a better Yellow Jacket squad then the one that beat out Miami and Virginia Tech for a division title in the ACC last year. Their conference competition is stronger, so they won't reach the same heights, but they've got enough to create a lot of problems for the youthful Irish, who will need their defense to come together quickly. I'm still going to bet that ND, with road trips to Penn State & Michigan looming, has enough of a sense of urgency, that the homefield edge of South Bend can pull them through. NBC has the telecast.
ESPN2 gets the most underrated game in the country. Illinois and Missouri hook up in their annual grudge match in St. Louis. Both teams are considered dark horses in their conference and have hopes of prestigious holiday trips. The Tigers have a high-powered passing game led by Chase Daniels. They have defensive issues, so Juice Williams will get plenty of opportunities of his own. I think Mizzou wins a shootout, but Illinois plays well enough to give hope to their fans as they head into Big Ten play. A loss in this one is no shame for either team.