Last week went more or less as expected – Iowa took down Purdue with relative ease, Indiana gave Nebraska a tough test, proving they’re not going to be an easy game for Penn State, and Ohio State beat Wisconsin in an instant classic. The biggest upset came from Northwestern toppling Michigan State – after a College Football Playoff appearance, the wheels have fallen off for Mark Dantonio’s squad. This week offers a handful of interesting games, and a few laughers. How will they go down? Let’s find out!
Big Ten Week 8 Preview
Rutgers (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten) at Minnesota (4-2, 1-2)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Minneapolis, MN
Line: Minnesota -17.5, O/U: 44
As expected, Rutgers got out-talented by Illinois last week, losing 24-7. Conversely, Minnesota followed in Penn State’s footsteps by running all over Maryland, beating the Terrapins 31-10. For this game, I think Minnesota continues to follow its resurgent running game, and the season-long Big Ten beat down of Rutgers continues. Rutgers leaves Minnesota with a loss.
Prediction: Minnesota 35, Rutgers 14
#10 Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2) at Iowa (5-2, 3-1)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Iowa City, IA
Line: Wisconsin -3.5, O/U: 42.5
Wisconsin played an instant classic against Ohio State last week, losing 30-23 in overtime to the Buckeyes. Despite having two losses on the season, those losses have come against two of the current top three teams in the country – and by a single touchdown in each instance. As such, they find themselves hanging on in the top 10. Iowa beat Purdue last week 49-35 in a game where the final score was much closer than the game would indicate – Iowa entered the fourth quarter up 42-14. I think Iowa is better than their early-season woes, but that Wisconsin is truly a top 10 team. Wisconsin plays in another close contest, but gets the win.
Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 17
Indiana (3-3, 1-2) at Northwestern (3-3, 2-1)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Evanston, IL
Line: Northwestern -1.5, O/U: 52.5
Indiana lost to Nebraska last week 27-22 in a game where they trailed by as many as 17 points. I’m still skeptical of Nebraska at this point as a top 10 team, but if they are actually worthy of #8 in the country, then Indiana is a top 15 team. Northwestern decided that defense was optional against Michigan State, winning 54-40. After tripping out of the gate to an 0-2 record, the Wildcats have turned things around and currently ride a two-game B1G win-streak. Regardless, I think the Hoosiers are a better team this season, and quench the suddenly high-scoring Wildcats.
Prediction: Indiana 35, Northwestern 24
Illinois (2-4, 1-2) at #3 Michigan (6-0, 3-0)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Ann Arbor, MI
Line: Michigan -36.5, O/U: 55
Hoo boy. Illinois took care of business against hapless Rutgers last week, 24-7. Michigan, coming off of their bye week, demolished Rutgers 78-0 two weeks ago. If my math is right, Michigan will win this game 61-0, using the tried and true transitive property. I don’t think it will be quite that bad, but it will be close. Michigan wins going away.
Prediction: Michigan 56, Illinois 7
Purdue (3-3, 1-2) at #8 Nebraska (6-0, 3-0)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Lincoln, NE
Line: Nebraska -24, O/U: 61.5
Purdue used garbage time to make a game against Iowa look respectable, ultimately losing 49-35. Nebraska took down Indiana 27-22, in a game that has done nothing to make me view the Cornhuskers as anything more than pretenders at this point. This game is not going to do anything to dissuade that notion for me, as Nebraska should take down the Boilermakers with ease. Big Red rolls and hangs out in the top 10 for at least another week before heading to Camp Randall next week.
Prediction: Nebraska 42, Purdue 17
Michigan State (2-4, 0-3) at Maryland (4-2, 1-2)
Saturday, 7:00 PM at College Park, MD
Line: Michigan State -2.5, O/U: 54
Where to start with this one? Michigan State is a shell of a shell of its former self. Last year the Spartans rode a stingy defense to a College Football Playoff berth – this year the Spartans cannot stop anyone from scoring, and are in real danger of missing a bowl. Michigan State lost to Northwestern last week, 54-40. Maryland lost to Minnesota 31-10. I really don’t know what to make of this game, but someone has to win. A coin flip came up heads, so I’m going with the Spartans in a close, ugly game.
Prediction: Michigan State 28, Maryland 27
BSD Staff Picks
Congratulations are in order – Aaron is the first person to have a perfect week this season, going 6-0! That has put him firmly in first place, with a two-pick lead over the pack. Not many people foresaw Northwestern beating Michigan State, but most of the remaining games went as expected. The biggest difference was the Nebraska-Indiana contest, which was pretty evenly split. Let’s see what the picks look like this week!
This week is fairly straightforward – four of the six games are unanimous in their selections. Only Tim picked Maryland in a game that gave me heartburn deciding, while five people have Northwestern beating Indiana. Of note – cue patriotic music – Garrett and Rowen have both picked your Nittany Lions to upend might Ohio State. Please, football gods, let me be wrong on this pick! On to another weekend of Big Ten action!
[Ed. Note: Eli is a terrible human who forgot to get his picks in time before release, but he also has Penn State beating Ohio State]