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Big Ten Preview: Week 11

I'd think Stanzi would approve of this.
I'd think Stanzi would approve of this.

Well it'll be nice to watch some football on Saturday.

Game of the Week:

Michigan State Spartans 7-2 (4-1) @ Iowa Hawkeyes 6-3 (3-2) - 12 PM on ESPN2
Last Week: MSU won 31-24 Iowa won 24-16
Favorite: MSU (-3 o/u 47)
All Time Series: Iowa leads 22-18-2

The winner of this game will be the favorite to win the Legends division. Michigan State struggled with Minnesota at home last week, and do not play as well on the road as they do at home. Iowa rebounded from their ugly loss to Minnesota and beat Michigan last week. HB Marcus Coker has run for at least 120 yards in each Iowa game since the loss to Penn State, but he's going to find it tough to run against the Big Ten's second ranked run defense.

Prediction: Iowa - 24 MSU - 20

All the Rest:

Rice Owls 3-6 (2-4) @ Northwestern Wildcats 4-5 (2-4) - 12 PM on BTN
Last Week: NW won 28-25 Rice won 41-37
Favorite: NW (-16 o/u 67)
All Time Series: Rice leads 4-2

Rice has beaten one Big Ten team this year, but I have a hard time believing they'll beat Northwestern too. Northwestern got a huge win at Nebraska last week, so they may have the hangover effect for a noon kickoff against a small-time opponent. Even so, I'd be stunned if Northwestern lost this game.

Prediction: NW - 38 Rice - 24

Ohio State Buckeyes 6-3 (3-2) @ Purdue Boilermakers 4-5 (2-3) - 12 PM on BTN
Last Week: OSU won 34-20 Purdue lost 62-17
Favorite: OSU (-7 o/u 46)
All Time Series: OSU leads 38-13-2

Purdue is getting desperate to get bowl eligible. They hung with Wisconsin for a quarter last week before Montee Ball broke the game open. This week they have another chance at knocking off one of the better teams in the Leaders. A win against Ohio State would end any chance they had at winning the division. Ohio State is on a three game winning streak, but their passing offense is ugly. How long can this last?

Prediction: OSU - 21 Purdue - 17

Wisconsin Badgers 7-2 (3-2) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers 2-7 (1-4) - 3:30 PM on BTN
Last Week: Wisconsin won 62-17 Minnesota lost 31-24
Favorite: Wisconsin (-27 o/u 63.5)
All Time Series: Minnesota leads 57-53-8
Rivalry Trophy: Paul Bunyan's Axe

Minnesota has actually been playing some pretty good football over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, if they find themselves down in this game, Bielema will keep the pedal down and try to turn this game into a blowout. It'll probably end up there, but I think Minnesota will keep it close for a little while.

Prediction: Wisconsin - 45 Minnesota - 24

Michigan Wolverines 7-2 (3-2) @ Illinois Fighting Illini 6-3 (2-3) - 3:30 PM on ESPN
Last Week: Michigan lost 24-16 Illinois DNP
Favorite: none (o/u 49.5)
All Time Series: Michigan leads 67-23-2

Illinois has had a week to stew over their loss to Penn State. After starting the season 6-0, they have zooked their way to 6-3. A win against Michigan would go a long way towards righting the ship for the Fighting Illini. Michigan controlled their own destiny in the Legends Division up until last week. Then they dropped a close game to Iowa that ended on a controversial call. They need to beat Illinois this week in order to stay in the Legends race.

Prediction: Michigan - 28 Illinois - 20

Bye: Indiana