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Big Ten Preview: Week Six

The biggest week in jNW history is here!

David Banks

This week's huge. A serious contender for the B1Ggest game of the year, a serious candidate for the conference game of the year, and a Penn State game! There is happiness. Much happiness. I'm ready for some football, are you?

To the games!

Saturday, October 5

Penn State @ Indiana, Noon

I'm going to this game, not because I want to go to see PSU play, but because I want to try and sneak into Assembly Hall and get some jumpers up. Tell me shooting around in Assembly Hall wouldn't be awesome. And the Hoosiers gym is on the way there! So much basketball, you guys.

As for the game, there will be points. Lots and lots of points. Penn State's offense hasn't faced a defense quite as derp as Indiana's except for MAYBE Eastern Michigan. Not even Kent State has allowed as many PPG as Indiana. Also, did you know Penn State is 13th in the country in points allowed per game, and that's including when they got Bortles'd. Not bad.

Indiana's offense isn't as good as UCF's, but its tempo is much faster and it has plenty of balance. The team is 8th in the country in passing YPG, and 11th in scoring offense. Tevin Coleman is a hidden gem at RB, and Nate Sudfeld has been a really nice quarterback.

Despite this, Penn State is the best defense Indiana has played this year. Indiana's gonna get theirs. Penn State is just gonna get a lot more.

Prediction: Penn State 45, Indiana 28


Illinois @ Nebraska, Noon

I love this game so much. Not because it's going to be a good game -- it's not, Nebraska is going to win -- but because we have two clinically insane coaches going against each other. Tim Beckman is like a girlfriend who you break up with that still loves you: "WHY DOES HE HATE ME? DOESN'T HE UNDERSTAND I LOVE HIM! I'M PERFECT! WE'RE PERFECT! HE DIDN'T ACTUALLY LEAVE ME! I'M GOING TO GO STAND OUTSIDE OF HIS HOUSE UNTIL HE COMES OUT THEN RUN AWAY BEFORE HE SEES ME!"

However, his insanity looks tame compared to Bo Pelini. If he were admitted to the hospital from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," even the really weird people would say "that Pelini dude's insane." Bo Pelini will use your intestines as sausage casings. He's crazy. I love it.

My main prediction is that the two of them will Mortal Kombat each other, with Pelini coming out on top. As for the game, Illinois' defense couldn't stop a nosebleed on Voldemort and the game is in Lincoln. I think Nebraska runs all over Illinois, and while Illinois puts up some points against the meh Huskers' defense, it's not enough.

Prediction: Nebraska 35, Illinois 24

Watchability: On during the Penn State game, but not a bad game to DVR.

Michigan State @ Iowa, Noon

*stabs self in eye* You should be required to wear a hazmat suit if you watch this game. This game has the potential to be the B1Ggest game of the year: Lots of runnin' and defendin', no passin' or scorin'. I wouldn't be surprised if Iowa's Jake Rudock and Sparty's Connor Cook/Andrew Maxwell combine to go 12-40. But I would be surprised if Jeremy Langford/Nick Hill and Mark Weisman don't combine for 300 rushing yards and 3 TD's.

I literally have no basis for picking Michigan State in this game other than they've had a week to prepare and that Mark Dantonio is a better coach than Kirk Ferentz. However, in the grand scheme of things, that's like saying a 6th grader's penmanship is better than a 4th grader's penmanship, so it doesn't mean much.

Prediction: Michigan State 17, Iowa 10

Watchability: On during the Penn State game, but even if it wasn't, GOD NO AVERT YOUR EYES.

Minnesota @ #19 Michigan, 3:30 p.m.

I Mark May'd myself last week. No, I didn't tweet out every single draft that I've ever composed and set myself up for ridicule from the Mothership. What I mean is, after never picking one team to win, I finally picked a team to win...and they promptly lost.

The team in question was Minnesota, who I picked to beat Iowa. They didn't. Dammit. I guess this means I can go back to picking against them, right? WOO!

The only way I see Minnesota winning this game is if they force a ton of turnovers, which isn't out of the question because Devin Gardner, but I can't imagine it happening. Michigan is so talented that it'll be really tough for a scrappy but far less talented Minnesota team to pull the upset. The Gophers get some yards on the ground between QB's Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner, along with RB's David Cobb and Rodrick Williams, but this isn't happening.

Prediction: Michigan 38, Minnesota 17

Watchability: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...nah

#4 Ohio State @ #16 Northwestern, 8:00 p.m.

Game of the Year potential in this one, IMO. There will be points, lots and lots of points. These two teams want to get out and go on offense, and hope their defenses do juuuuuuust enough to help them out.

I'm actively looking for reasons to pick against Ohio State, but I just can't do it. Here's why:

  1. We have years and years of evidence that Northwestern loves to shit the bed in big games. This team is certainly better than most of those teams, but I can't shake that bad taste in my mouth.
  2. There isn't much pressure on Ohio State in this game, aside from the "we want to win a national title" pressure that is on the team every week, but Northwestern? Tons of pressure. This is arguably the biggest game in school history. Gameday will be there. It's a night game against one of the best teams in the country. They could possibly jump into the top 10 with a win. I don't know how the team will react to this uncharted territory.
  3. The Gameday picker will, in all likelihood, be one of these three people: Mike Greenberg, Michael Wilbon, or Darren Rovell. I like Greeny and occasionally tolerate Wilbon, but still. UGH.
I think both teams put up tons of points, and the O/U that I just found of 61 gets smashed. In the end, I just don't want to bet against Urban Meyer. Northwestern will lose one conference regular season game this year. This is that game.

Prediction: OSU 42, jNW 38

Watchability: If I didn't hate both teams, I'd watch every second and be enthralled.

See y'all in Bloomington. Go State, Beat the Hoosiers.

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