Last week was fairly run of the mill – Iowa and Minnesota played old school football, while BYU and Purdue managed to pull off some upsets. Michigan and Ohio State (and Penn State) held serve. Unlike last week, this week has a bunch of interesting games that will be pretty tough to pick. How will they go down? Let’s find out!
Big Ten Week 7 Preview
Illinois (1-4, 0-2 Big Ten) at Rutgers (2-4, 0-3)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Piscataway, NJ
Line: Illinois -6, O/U: 53.5
The Fighting Lovie Smiths are off to a rough start, having just been upset by Purdue, 34-31 in OT. Rutgers was nuked from orbit by Michigan, 78-0, so if you value your sanity, do NOT watch this game. This is one of a handful of games that I have no strong indication for. I feel like both of these teams should be better than their records indicate at this point. Having to pick someone, I’m going with Illinois. The Illini have a smidge better talent than the Knights at this point, and that’s really all that makes a difference in the pillow fight of the season.
Prediction: Illinois 31, Rutgers 24
Minnesota (3-2, 0-2) at Maryland (4-1, 1-1)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at College Park, MD
Line: Maryland -6.5, O/U: 49.5
Minnesota’s coaches pulled a weird strategy out against Iowa – against a defense that has not been stout against the run, and with a stable of good backs, the Gophers opted to pass more than run against Iowa. They lost 14-7. Maryland came into their game against Penn State receiving votes in the AP poll, only to be completely shut down 38-14. Minnesota played Penn State much more closely than the Terrapins did, and so I have to give the nod to the Golden Gophers. Tracy Claeys fixes his game plan, ad leaves College Park with a win.
Prediction: Minnesota 35, Maryland 31
Iowa (4-2, 2-1) at Purdue (3-2, 1-1)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at West Lafayette, IN
Line: Iowa -12.5, O/U: 50.5
Credit to Iowa’s coaches – they executed their game plan against a scrappy Minnesota squad for a 14-7 victory. Despite their lackluster performance so far, they’re 4-2 on the season, and not out of the B1G West race. On the other side, Purdue took down Illinois 34-31 in OT, extending the Darrell Hazell era for at least another week. For this game, the Hawkeyes are just the more complete team. Iowa improves on the season, and leaves West Lafayette with a convincing win.
Prediction: Iowa 31, Purdue 17
#10 Nebraska (5-0, 2-0) at Indiana (3-2, 1-1)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Bloomington, IN
Line: Nebraska -3.5, O/U: 56.5
Nebraska is coming off a bye week, which saw them rise from #12 to #10 in the polls without playing anyone. Makes sense. Indiana played a tough game against Ohio State, and were it not for two short touchdowns for the Buckeyes, made a more competitive match than the 38-17 final would indicate. Whereas last season Nebraska had an ungodly amount of losses by a touchdown or less, it feels like this year’s Cornhusker squad has been playing with house money a bit. This has been aided by a soft schedule (hi Maryland!), and I think they get exposed this week. Indiana is not bad on defense for once, and they take down Big Red this weekend.
Prediction: Indiana 35, Nebraska 24
Northwestern (2-3, 1-1) at Michigan State (2-3, 0-2)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at East Lansing, MI
Line: Michigan State -4.5, O/U: 42.5
Michigan State got smoked at home, 31-14, by BYU. Looking at their schedule, there are very few wins left if they keep playing the way they have thus far. This weekend might be one of them. Northwestern is coming off their bye week, but took down Iowa 38-31 in their previous outing. The Wildcats are improving, but I have to think that Dantonio rights the ship a little bit sooner or later. Sparty wins in an ugly game all around.
Prediction: Michigan State 21, Northwestern 17
#2 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) at #8 Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1)
Saturday, 8:00 PM at Madison, WI
Line: Ohio State -10, O/U: 44
Ohio State took on a scrappy Indiana squad, winning 38-17 in part to a couple short touchdowns. Wisconsin is coming off their bye week, in which – similar to Nebraska – they went from #11 to #8 without playing anyone. Their last game was a 14-7 loss to Michigan. I think the Badgers defense keeps this low-scoring, but that the Buckeyes have too much skill to lose. All I can hope is that Wisconsin pummels OSU a bit to help soften them up for their next game at Dear Old State.
Prediction: Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 17
#4 Michigan, Penn State
BSD Staff Picks
Nobody picked Purdue over Illinois last week, and only a handful of people saw a reeling Iowa team taking down Minnesota. As such, the separation in the ranks has begun to increase. The best record was 4-2 on the week, while Dlando posted a 2-4 effort. Ouch. Aaron and Dena continue to lead the pack, with Eli manning the caboose. Let’s see what the picks look like this week!
Unlike recent weeks, the majority of the games this week have dissenting opinions. Ohio State and Iowa are unanimous selections, but after that, things get tricky. Michigan State and Minnesota have the most confidence, with just two upsets picked for each. Tim, Patrick, and Stephon like BTPR over Illinois, while most people are actually taking Indiana over Nebraska. This is where the challenge starts to get interesting! On to another weekend of Big Ten action!