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Big Ten Preview: Week Four

Each of the Big Ten conference contests in bloggerific preview.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We're entering the last days of the out of conference and prepare to dive into the B1G season next week. Barring a disastrous week, the B1G should find themselves in far better position than they're used to the past several years entering conference play. Which brings us back around to good ol' Bert, continuing to make friends everywhere he goes. The B1G has seen this show before, his pattern is clearly defined, put foot in mouth, fail to back up talk ( <3 you, Kliff), whine and cry afterwards.

Kansas @ Rutgers

When: Saturday, 12pm BTN

Line: Rutgers -12.5

Over/Under: 65.5

The battle for Charlie Weis between his past and future employers. This game is the college football equivalent of staring into the abyss. The best thing I can say about this game is we've got more Norries Wilson press conferences to look forward to; beyond that, no one wins.

#22 BYU @ Michigan

When: Saturday, 12pm ABC

Line: Michigan -5.5

Over/Under: 44.5

Hey, remember when Penn State was independent and played all sorts of opponents? BYU has started the season playing Nebraska, Boise State, and UCLA, winning two of those three. Now, the Cougars head to Michigan before their season settles down. The Wolverines finally get another chance against a program with a pulse, again from Utah, to see how much they've progressed since their opener against the Utes.

Central Michigan @ #2 Michigan State

When: Saturday, 12pm ABC

Line: Michigan State -26.5

Over/Under: 54

Michigan State has been steadily climbing the rankings and may actually be the best team in the B1G this year. Central Michigan haven't done much of anything this season, losing even to a ravaged Syracuse team. If things continue this way, it will be interesting to see how long it is until the Spartans start siphoning votes from the Buckeyes.

Southern Miss @ Nebraska

When: Saturday, 12pm ESPNNews

Line: Nebraska -21.5

Over/Under: 68

Husker fans ran Bo Pelini out of town because of his inclination to finish 9-4; now they'll be fortunate to finish that well this year. Nebraska made a game of it against Miami after getting run out the stadium to start. This week against Southern Miss should be a much better match for them--however, another loss may turn this season very ugly for Mike Riley.

Bowling Green @ Purdue

When: Saturday, 12pm BTN

Line: Bowling Green -2.5

Over/Under: 75

Bowling Green is looking to move to 2-0 and first place to themselves in the B1G this week against Purdue. Unfortunately, the Falcons have no wins outside the B1G. The Boilermakers are looking for their first win against any Division I-A FBS competition this season.

Indiana @ Wake Forest

When: Saturday, 12:30pm ESPN3

Line: Indiana -3.5

Over/Under: 56

Indiana is facing a bit of unexpected pressure this week for a game against Wake Forest of all teams. Why is that? The #IUFB4GameDay campaign that has taken off in the past week. Crimson Quarry has been at the forefront of this effort. "Chaos Team" has a way of making things exciting; here's hoping they can take this one in a walk.

Maryland @ West Virginia

When: Saturday, 3pm FS1

Line: West Virginia -17

Over/Under: 57

Maryland has not looked particularly good this year, but West Virginia hasn't played anyone of note in 2015. Dana Holgorsen's high powered offense is looking for a defense that doesn't make every game a track meet and thus far has been up to the task. The Terps are looking for any consistent offense and can't afford to get into said track meet.

North Texas @ Iowa

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ESPNU

Line: Iowa -24.5

Over/Under: 54.5

Iowa has been one of the most surprising team this season. I keep expecting old, reliable Ferentz to return, but maybe he's actually acknowledged his many legitimate criticisms and worked to fix those issues (at least long enough to earn another extension). The Hawkeyes should have little trouble against an abysmal North Texas squad this week.

Ohio @ Minnesota

When: Saturday, 3:30pm BTN

Line: Minnesota -10.5

Over/Under: 47

Minnesota's defense has been pretty good this year, but their offense cannot score points. Every week has been a dogfight for the Gophers, regardless of the level of competition. So, this line seem very high against Ohio, as Frank Solich has the Bobcats 3-0 and chugging along.

Western Michigan @ #1 Ohio State

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2

Line: Ohio State -31.5

Over/Under: 60.5

Ohio State didn't blow out Northern Illinois and started the rumblings of discord. Look for Urban Meyer to try and make a statement by destroying Western Michigan in a way that Michigan State did not earlier in the year. The Broncos have been a mixed bag this season finally getting their first win last week.

Middle Tennesee @ Illinois

When: Saturday, 4pm ESPNNews

Line: Illiinois -6

Over/Under: 61.5

Middle Tennessee isn't a joke this year, scoring 70 or more points in two of their three games. North Carolina dominated the Illini last week and under Beckman would be in a demoralized death spiral already. Illinois can't lose focus this week, lest the Blue Raiders run away from them.

Ball State @ #17 Northwestern

When: Saturday, 8pm BTN

Line: Northwestern -20.5

Over/Under: 50.5

Northwestern is riding high so far this season, yet is still ranked below USC in the Coaches' Poll despite beating the same Stanford team that just defeated the Trojans. Point being, ban preseason polls. This week, the Wildcats take on a Ball State team that puts up and gives up a ton of yards, while Northwestern seems to have a stronger defense thus far.

Hawaii @ #22 Wisconsin

When: Saturday, 8pm BTN

Line: Wisconsin -24.5

Over/Under: 50.5

Why did Wisconsin bother with a home-and-home series with Hawaii? Wouldn't it have been better to go with two road games in Hawaii? The Badgers still don't have their run game sorted out, which is still in disarray after three games and probably needs to be solidified before entering conference play if Wisconsin is serious about winning the B1G.