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Big Ten Preview: Week Nine

Each of the Big Ten conference contests in bloggerific preview.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

As we approach the home stretch, there really isn't much drama in regards to either division race, just jockeying for bowl positions and eligibility.

Nebraska (3-5, 1-3) @ Purdue (1-6, 0-3)

When: Saturday, 12pm ESPNU

Line: Nebraska -9

Over/Under: 56

Nebraska is most likely on the outside of the bowl picture, needing to pull an upset along the way to change their fortunes. So, the Husker cannot afford to drop a game like this and definitively put a nail in their season. Neither of these teams are good defensively, but Nebraska has a bit more firepower on the offensive side. Purdue is coming off a bye week and the Huskers could use a break as they continue to find ways to lose, putting this game in doubt.

Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) @ Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1)

When: Saturday, 12pm BTN

Line: Wisconsin -20.5

Over/Under: 51.5

Wisconsin has been racking up the injuries this season, but the only injury that matters this week is on the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has no chance to win if Leonte Carroo does not play. Corey Clement should be returning to the Badger backfield soon, but they have not been rushing him back and their scheduled hasn't really pushed the issue as Wisconsin has been a passing team this year.

Maryland (2-5, 0-3) @ #10 Iowa (7-0, 3-0)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2

Line: Iowa -17

Over/Under: 53.5

Looking the statistics alone, this game is a terrible mismatch in an Iowa romp. The question is whether a change at the top has changed the Terps or if last week was simply the emotion of a team that desperately wants to start a rivalry. The running game could be an issue with Jordan Canzeri out for the Hawkeyes, but Akrum Wadley ran for over 200 yards in relief against Northwestern. There's also now a spotlight on Iowa and expectations for an undefeated season that could work against them.

#15 Michigan (5-2, 2-1) @ Minnesota (4-3, 1-2)

When: Saturday, 7pm ET ESPN

Line: Michigan -13.5

Over/Under: 38.5

The battle for the Little Brown Jug took a disappointing turn this week as Jerry Kill immediately stepped down from coaching Minnesota. Both teams are coming off a bye week, so it's likely there will be more than a few additional wrinkles on display Saturday. Statistically, both these team are very similar on offense. Defensively, Michigan has a significant edge, however, expect an inspired effort by the Gophers this week.