Ranking Big Ten Opening Week Games-LEGENDS Tier

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In what will most likely be dubbed the “Academic Bowl,” it’s a very important game for both teams.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

The Cardinal finished the season with an 8-5 overall record last season, but went just 5-4 in the Pac-12. They finished the regular season with an upset win over 8th-ranked UCLA and followed that with a win over Maryland in the Foster Farms Bowl to wrap up the 2014 season. Stanford did most of their damage on the defensive side of the football, holding opponents to an impressive 16.4 points per game and had the third-best total defense in the entire country. Head coach David Shaw will have some work to do trying to replace four of the team’s top six tacklers from last year and trying to find some sort of running game. Stanford will also have to put up more points this year if they want to find themselves in a New Year’s Day bowl game or even the College Football Playoff.

Northwestern once again has their work cut out for them this season. After starting 2014 with two losses right out of the gate, the Wildcats won their next three, including impressive wins over Penn State and then 17th ranked Wisconsin. But they would go on to end the season losing five of their final seven games. Running back Justin Jackson played well as a freshman, racking up 1,187 yards as a freshman including 162 against a tough Wisconsin defense. But their passing game was atrocious a year ago. Junior Zack Oliver will most likely get the starting nod as he takes over the 76th-ranked passing offense in the country. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald will have to somehow figure some way to turn this around or the Wildcats might be looking for a new head coach at the end of the year.

As much as I would love to see the Big Ten stick it to the Pac-12 and Northwestern does as a very slight edge with the home field advantage, I don’t see Stanford opening the season with a loss.

Next: Ranking B1G Week One Games - LEADERS Tier

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