Set aside the Illinois game for now and let's call it a fluke. Let's suppose the Nittany Lion team we saw in the first seven weeks comes back and plays the rest of the way. How will they do over the last four games?
I'm afraid Purdue may give the Nittany Lions some serious matchup problems. Their pass happy attack is not what this defense is built to stop. Notre Dame and Minnesota lit up the secondary, and Illinois could have done some serious damage if they had a receiver that could catch the ball. Our defense is built to stop the run. Purdue doesn't run the ball and doesn't care if you stop the run. They are going to spread you out and keep throwing. I'm very concerned about our ability to stop them, and if we fall down by a couple of scores early, I don't think we can come back from behind. The Boilermaker defense is nothing to write home about, but neither is our offense. If we continue to struggle and give the ball back to that high powered offense, it may be a long day.
Wisconsin poses a different challenge. True to form, Wisconsin lines it up and pounds it into you. But I actually feel like we match up pretty well with them on defense. Freshman P.J. Hill is taking the Big Ten by storm, but he's a big back in the Ron Dayne mold. I have a suspicion if you can clog the middle and make him run sideways you may be able to stop him. What scares me most about Wisconsin is their defense. They are big and physical and our offense is not. I would bet the under on this game, but I don't see either team scoring a lot of points.
Temple should be a laugher, but then I thought that about Illinois. This team has shown no life to date, so even if we lose to Purdue and Wisconsin we should get our 6th win to be bowl eligible.
Which Michigan State will show up? The one that blew the huge lead to Notre Dame or the one that made the greatest comeback in NCAA history against Northwestern? The key to Michigan State is Drew Stanton. As he goes so go the Spartans. On that note, which Penn State team will show up? These questions will dictate who wins. If Michigan State wins their next three games against Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota there is a good chance these two teams could be playing to decide who goes to the Outback Bowl.
Temple is a definite win. I believe Michigan State is a probable win since it's in Happy Valley. Purdue and Wisconsin are tossups with the better chance of a win coming against Purdue.