No. 10 Washington State (2-0) at No. 6 Ohio State (2-0) – 3:30 p.m., ABC: The Horseshoe will be packed this Saturday when the highly touted Cougars of Washington State visit Columbus in a game that has the makings of a huge nonconference showdown, as well as having possible BCS implications.

Paul Wong
AP PHOTO
No. 6 Ohio State will test its perfect record and potent offense against Washington State this weekend, when the Cougars visit Columbus in a highly-anticipated nonconference battle.

Freshman running back extraordinaire Maurice Clarett had a mediocre performance against Kent State after looking like the second coming of Archie Griffin, when he rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns in his first game, against Texas Tech.

Washington State’s stellar defensive line should prove a big test for Clarett and will force Ohio State to have a more balanced attack in what should be a closely contested game. The advantage goes to the Buckeyes, who are playing at home and should send the Cougars packing with a strong defensive effort and a solid performance from Clarett.

Ohio State 24, Washington State 17

No. 8 Nebraska (3-0) at Penn State (1-0) – 8 p.m., ABC: This battle between two of the most storied programs in college football should be a marquee matchup, right?

It’s doubtful. The Cornhuskers will invade Beaver Stadium Saturday night and should roll over the Nittney Lions like a tornado through a drought-stricken prairie.

Penn State barely hung on to beat Central Florida 27-24. Nebraska is coming off a 44-13 victory over Utah State and is led by Dahrran Diedrick at running back. The Nebraska offense scored on five of its first six possessions and the defense recorded six sacks in a very complete effort. Penn State, while still having the reputation of a football powerhouse, has dropped off the national radar in the last few years and has even ceased to make noise in the Big Ten.

Let me tell you folks, Central Florida is no Nebraska. Penn State may keep it close in the first half due to the home crowd but look for the Cornhuskers to roll.

Nebraska 42, Penn State 13

California (2-0) at No. 15 Michigan State (2-0) – Noon, ESPN2: Due to NCAA violations, California has been banned from participating in a bowl game this year, as if they had a chance of making it to one anyway. Last year, the Bears were 1-10, so they were happy to make a fresh start this year with new coach Jeff Tedford. Surprisingly, California has won its first two games this year, and are playing for pride much the same way as Alabama.

Michigan State is coming off a lackluster performance, in which it gave up 137 first-half rushing yards to Rice.

Look for the Spartans to come out a lot sharper this week and put away the Bears early with a quick offensive outburst from quarterback Jeff Smoker and receiver Charles Rogers, the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.

Michigan State 49, California 14

Indiana (1-1) at Kentucky (2-0) – 7 p.m.: In coach Gerry Dinardo’s first road game last weekend, his Hoosiers committed four turnovers and gave up 500 yards of total offense in a 40-13 loss to Utah. Indiana is really struggling this year without the services of standout quarterback Antwan Randel-El, who is now in the NFL.

Kentucky, on the other hand, has been an early season surprise and after looking very good in an upset victory over Louisville and a 77-17 rout of Texas El-Paso. Super-sized quarterback Jared Lorenzen may be bigger than Indiana’s linebackers, but it is Lorenzen’s strong arm that will power the Wildcats. Look for Dinardo’s woes to continue as Kentucky will hand Indiana another embarrassing loss.

Kentucky 38, Indiana 12

Duke (1-1) at Northwestern (0-2) – 1 p.m.: What a matchup. The two worst teams from the Big Ten and the ACC will square off in Evanston this Saturday as they look to improve their dismal records. Somebody’s got to win. Duke actually won a game this year, ending a 23-game losing streak that was second only to Northwestern’s 34 straight losses from 1979-1982. Look for Duke to come away with their second victory of the season, but the only real question is whether the score will be higher than the attendance.

Duke 17, Northwestern 13

Northern Illinois (1-1) at No. 22 Wisconsin (3-0) – 12:10 p.m.: Barry Alvarez’s Wisconsin team is coming off of a 34-17 win over West Virginia, in which quarterback Brooks Bollinger passed for 218 yards and two touchdowns as the Badgers won their third consecutive game. The Badgers will roll to their fourth straight win even though last year’s Big Ten rushing leader Anthony Davis has struggled of late.

Wisconsin 35, Northern Illinois 6

Western Michigan (1-1) at Purdue (1-1) – 2 p.m.: Purdue lost a tough game last Saturday 24-17 to Notre Dame, a team that has still yet to score an offensive touchdown. The Boilermakers committed four turnovers that resulted in all three of the Fighting Irish’s touchdowns on the day. Western Michigan took a beating last Saturday in the Big House, and Purdue should come away with an easy win.

Purdue 27, Western Michigan 17

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