The Big Ten has quietly become – in my opinion – the best conference in America. Following the release of the College Football Playoff committee rankings, the B1G has five teams in the top 12. The SEC is right behind, with five teams in the top 13, but that’s to be expected at this point. The other point of note – two of the top 10 B1G teams are from the oft-denigrated West division. There are a lot of important games this week, with playoff implications. How will they go down? Let’s find out!
Big Ten Week 10 Preview
Indiana (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) at Rutgers (2-6, 0-5)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Piscataway, NJ
Line: Indiana -14, O/U: 55.5
Indiana got a fight from Maryland, but used an explosive second half to put away the Terps, 42-36. Rutgers finally had a bye week, but most recently lost 34-32 to Minnesota on a last-second field goal. I think Indiana is just a better team across the board than Rutgers at this point in time, so I’m going to take the Hoosiers to win in New Jersey.
Prediction: Indiana 35, Rutgers 20
Michigan State (2-6, 0-5) at Illinois (2-6, 1-4)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Champaign, IL
Line: Michigan State -9.5, O/U: TBD
Michigan State put up a fight against Michigan before succumbing 32-23. Illinois got pounded by Minnesota 40-17. Weirdly enough, there is no consensus spread or over/under for this game at the time of writing. One outlet is reporting Michigan State -9.5, which seems like a lot for a team like the Spartans. Still, I think this is one of two games left on the schedule that are winnable for Sparty, so I’ll say they take it.
Prediction: Michigan State 27, Illinois 20
#8 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2) at Northwestern (4-4, 3-2)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Evanston, IL
Line: Wisconsin -7, O/U: 41.5
Wisconsin got into a West division fight with Nebraska last week, ultimately getting a 23-17 win in overtime. Northwestern gave suddenly-reeling Ohio State a fight, only to lose 24-20. Northwestern is one of those sneaky good teams this year, despite their 0-2 start to the season. Still, I think Wisconsin is destined for a rematch with either Michigan or OSU in the B1G Conference Championship Game, and they win this one.
Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 17
Maryland (5-3, 2-3) at #3 Michigan (8-0, 5-0)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Ann Arbor, MI
Line: Michigan -31, O/U: 54
Maryland took a lead into halftime against Indiana, but allowed 26 points in the second half, losing 42-36. Michigan looked somewhat mortal against Michigan State, winning 32-23, although the final score is closer than the actual gameplay would indicate. Michigan, to me, feels like a team of destiny at this point. While I’d love for them to drop a game before losing to Ohio State, thus sending us to the B1G championship game, I just don’t see it happening. Michigan wins big, with Harbaugh going for style points after being dropped from #2 to #3 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.
Prediction: Michigan 56, Maryland 10
Purdue (3-5, 1-4) at Minnesota (6-2, 3-2)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Minneapolis, MN
Line: Minnesota -17, O/U: 57
Purdue was feisty against Penn State in the first half, and was a missed field goal from taking the lead into the break. Then the second half happened, Purdue got Barkley’d, and the rest is history. Minnesota routed Illinois 40-17, though the game was only 21-14 entering the fourth quarter. It’s still a long-shot, but Minnesota can still make some noise in the B1G West. I think the Gophers run wild on Purdue, a la Penn State from last week, and win a laugher.
Prediction: Minnesota 37, Purdue 21
#10 Nebraska (7-1, 4-1) at #6 Ohio State (7-1, 4-1)
Saturday, 8:00 PM at Columbus, OH
Line: Ohio State -17, O/U: 52
A week after looking not-so-good against Purdue, Nebraska put up a strong fight against Wisconsin, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Ultimately the Cornhuskers lost 23-17, but I’m a little less skeptical of them than I was a week ago. Ohio State, meanwhile, looked pedestrian against Northwestern, winning 24-20. If they keep winning, The Game will have huge B1G and playoff implications, but they have not looked very good of late. I’m going to take the Buckeyes here, as I think Urban gets his team back on track, but I am not super confident in this pick.
Prediction: Ohio State 31, Nebraska 24
BSD Staff Picks
Last week was a great week for a lot of people – all told, 10 members of the staff had a perfect week. That means people like me, who had a not-bad 5-1 outing, actually lost a spot. Ah well, c’est la vie. Aaron has taken a two-game lead over Dena, while Dlando is lagging along behind the pack. Only a few weeks of B1G football remain, so those looking up at Aaron have some work to do!
Unlike most weeks, this week is going to be just about straight chalk, according to the masthead. Of the seven games this weekend, only one game is not unanimous, and that game has just one dissenting pick – Aaron has picked the Northwestern Wildcats to beat the Wisconsin Badgers. I’d poke fun at him, but he’s beating me by four picks so far on the season, so at this point he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. On to another weekend of Big Ten action!