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Big Ten Preview: Week Nine

All 12 Big Ten teams are in action this weekend for the first time in conference play and there are several good games going on this weekend, the highlight being Michigan State's visit to Nebraska. With a couple of wins by the right teams, the division pictures could become pretty clear.

Game of the Week:

Michigan State Spartans 6-1 (3-0) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers 6-1 (2-1) - 12 PM on ESPN
Last Week: MSU won 37-31, Nebraska won 41-14
Favorite: Nebraska (-4 o/u 49)
All Time Series: Nebraska leads 3-0

Michigan State is coming off a huge last second win over Wisconsin that may have made them the favorite to win the Big Ten this year. However, things don't get any easier for them this week as they have to travel to Nebraska. The defense does get William Gholston back after his suspension for getting a little punchy with a Michigan player. Nebraska logged a big win in Minnesota last week, but really, who isn't doing that these days? MSU beat a better team than Nebraska last week, but going on the road coupled with an early start time may make it difficult for them to pull off back-to-back wins against ranked opponents.

Prediction: Nebraska - 27 MSU - 23

All the Rest:

Northwestern Wildcats 2-5 (0-4) @ Indiana Hoosiers 1-7 (0-4) - 12 PM on BTN
Last Week: NW lost 34-24, Indiana lost 45-24
Favorite: NW (-9 o/u 61)
All Time Series: Northwestern leads 44-34-1

Both of these teams are off to 0-4 starts in the Big Ten and Northwestern may be without Dan Persa this week. Even without Persa, Northwestern should roll in this game. Indiana is just that bad.

Prediction: NW - 37 Indiana - 20

Purdue Boilermakers 4-3 (2-1) @ Michigan Wolverines 6-1 (2-1) - 12 PM on ESPN2
Last Week: Purdue won 21-14, Michigan DNP
Favorite: Michigan (-14 o/u 53)
All Time Series: Michigan leads 41-14

Michigan is coming off their fourth consecutive loss to MSU, but should get back in the winning column this week. Purdue had a nice win against Illinois last week, but I'd be very surprised to see them upset Michigan in the Big House.

Prediction: Michigan - 42 Purdue - 24

Iowa Hawkeyes 5-2 (2-1) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers 1-6 (0-3) - 3:30 PM on BTN
Last Week: Iowa won 45-24, Minnesota lost 41-14
Favorite: Iowa (-15 o/u 54.5)
All Time Series: Minnesota leads 59-42-2
Trophy: Floyd of Rosedale Trophy

Minnesota scored a huge upset in this game last year, beating Iowa on the final weekend of the regular season for their first win in four years. This year they won't get so lucky. Minnesota is in the midst of one of the worst seasons in Big Ten history, and while Iowa is not as good as they've been in the past couple years, they're still good enough to pound Minnesota. James Vandenberg and Marvin McNutt are going to have another huge day.

Prediction: Iowa - 48 Minnesota - 10

Wisconsin Badgers 6-1 (2-1) @ Ohio State Buckeyes 4-3 (1-2) - 8 PM on ESPN
Last Week: Wisconsin lost 37-31, OSU DNP
Favorite: Wisconsin (-8 o/u 51)
All Time Series: 53-18-5

Wisconsin's road trip has them visiting Columbus this week, a week after they fell in East Lansing. Ohio State has had two weeks to prepare for Wisconsin, and has revenge on their mind after suffering a huge blowout at the hands of Bielema's Badgers last year. Wisconsin comes into the game a favorite, but I think Ohio State ends up exploiting Wisconsin's average defense again this week and wins a close game.

Prediction: OSU - 24 Wisconsin - 23