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Big Ten Preview: Week Six

Each of the Big Ten conference contests in bloggerific preview.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

We are now fully ensconced in the conference season, welcome to the B1G show.

Maryland (2-3, 0-1) @ #1 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0)

When: Saturday, 12pm BTN

Line: Ohio State -33

Over/Under: 54.5

This game features a number of tire fires on the field, between the Ohio State offense outside of Ezekiel Elliot and the entirety of Maryland. What's working against Maryland is this case is Michigan just whitewashed the Terps last week to the tune of 28-0 and Urban Meyer has been spending the last week answering questions about his stalling offense. Look for the Buckeyes to finally appear, for one week anyway, as the buzzsaw everyone expected entering the season.

Illinois (4-1, 1-0) @ #22 Iowa (5-0, 1-0)

When: Saturday, 12pm ESPNU

Line: Iowa -11

Over/Under: 44

Welcome to the battle of surprises in the B1G West. Iowa has gone from counting down until the end of the Ferentz era to a favorite to win the division following their victory against Wisconsin on the road in Madison. Illinois, on the other hand, has gone from punchline to threat since Tim Beckman was fired. Statistically this matchup is nearly identical, so the difference will probably hinge on turnovers.

#13 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) @ #18 Michigan (4-1, 1-0)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm BTN

Line: Michigan -7.5

Over/Under: 35

This is a huge early season B1G matchup and a defensive showcase between the first and second ranked scoring defenses in the nation. Michigan is gaining steam as a dark horse playoff candidate, because of Harbaugh and the brand name, meanwhile Northwestern is flying under the radar even while performing against better competition than the Wolverines. Points should be at a premium and far better than the "M00N" game last year, but I trust Northwestern and their ability to hold onto the ball far more than Michigan.

Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1) @ Nebraska (2-3, 0-1)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2

Line: Nebraska -1.5

Over/Under: 48.5

On the opposite end of the Illinois-Iowa game is a battle of disappointments in the B1G West. The Badgers have been floundering all year on offense, unable to get their running game going and having to rely on Joel Stave to carry the offense, which is not ideal. Nebraska is already hearing calls for change just five games in the Mike Riley era, winless in both their road games thus far. Good news for the Huskers is the game is in Lincoln, bad news is their defense is terribad this year, particularly through the air.

Minnesota (3-2, 0-1) @ Purdue (1-4, 0-1)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ESPN

Line: Minnesota -3

Over/Under: 45.5

Can Purdue finish off this year what they were so close to doing last year, where Minnesota needed a late field goal to beat the Boilermakers? Purdue made a game of it against Michigan State after trailing 21-0 and the Gophers don't have much of an offense this season and have difficulty manufacturing points. So, either the Boilermakers are turning the corner or Minnesota breaks out of their shell, regardless all signs point to an ugly affair.

#4 Michigan State (5-0, 1-0) @ Rutgers (2-2, 0-1)

When: Saturday, 8pm ET BTN

Line: Michigan State -14

Over/Under: 54.5

Michigan State has been winning ugly, but winning nonetheless, probably still getting too much credit for an Oregon victory that holds less and less water each week. Rutgers has reinstated Leonte Carroo to help lift a flailing offense coming off a bye week. While they don't have the same dominating defense we've come to expect from a Dantonio team, the Spartans should still have few issues getting the victory under the lights. The most interesting aspect of this game is it is the last of Kyle Flood's suspension, so we'll see what happens this coming week.