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Big Ten Preview: Week Five

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Each of the Big Ten conference contests in bloggerific preview.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the B1G season, where everyone is chasing the Nittany Lions. At the end of Saturday, sadly, Penn State will no longer be sitting in first by themselves.

Purdue @ #2 Michigan State

When: Saturday, 12pm ESPN2

Line: Michigan State -21

Over/Under: 55.5

This week's Misery Index raised an interesting question: Is Purdue better coaching situation than a MAC program? The article used Darrell Hazell's record against MAC teams while coaching in the MAC versus his time at Purdue as the basis for comparison, but could be expanded to most anything relating to Purdue. For all the B1G money the school collects, they don't seem to be using it to be competitive on the field other than basketball. On the other side, Michigan State spent years playing little brother, now Dantonio has them contending for conference titles playoff berths.

Minnesota @ #16 Northwestern

When: Saturday, 12pm BTN

Line: Northwestern -4

Over/Under: 40.5

This seems like a peculiar line for this game. Minnesota hasn't won a game by more than three this year and Northwestern's defense hasn't let teams do much of anything this year. Perhaps this is a case of familiarity of conference opponents, but the Gophers just don't seem to be following the trajectory the history of Jerry Kill would indicate entering the season. Meanwhile, the early returns before conference play is this could be a special season for the Wildcats.

Iowa @ #19 Wisconsin

When: Saturday, 12pm ESPN

Line: Wisconsin -7

Over/Under: 46

Statistically, these two teams are very similar thus far this year, but offensively it's the numbers that are turning heads. You've got the lack of rushing dominance by the Badgers and the actual presence of any offense at all for Hawkeyes under Ferentz. Both defenses have been excellent, so it will be interesting to see how this game plays out.

Nebraska @ Illinois

When: Saturday, 3:30pm BTN

Line: Nebraska -7

Over/Under: 57.5

Nebraska is a favorite on the road in Champaign, this seems like something from last year under the old staffs. Outside of the North Carolina game, the Illini have had far more teeth than they did with Tim Beckman. The Huskers don't seem the same under Mike Riley either and the early returns are disappointing, but if he can pull it together for the conference slate the B1G west would appear by ripe for the picking.

#1 Ohio State @ Indiana

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2

Line: Ohio State -21

Over/Under: 66.5

College Gameday spurned #IUFB4Gameday, instead opting to visit the Notre Dame-Clemson game. As punishment, they will be sitting in a monsoon and the cherry on top would be a Hoosier upset. The Buckeyes have been nowhere near as dominant as they were expected to be and the passing attack has been much less dynamic compared to last year. That shouldn't be much of an issue against Indiana's terrible defense. Can Ohio State's defense keep the Indiana offense corralled enough to avoid a track meet?

#22 Michigan @ Maryland

When: Saturday, 8pm ET BTN (Ed.- The Michigan-Maryland game has been rescheduled for noon due to anticipated inclement weather).

Line: Michigan -16

Over/Under: 43

Maryland is in free fall, so very little would take the shine off of Harbaugh more than to drop this game in his B1G coaching debut. Neither offense has been impressive for anything other than their frequent ability to turnover the ball. The Terps will need to field something other than the dumpster fire they've trotted out for defense this year in order to pull off such a feat, even moreso given the Wolverines defense has been lights out