A week after #chaos ruled the land, the Big Ten resumes action on the field essentially unscathed. The big dogs all won - albeit sometimes unconvincingly - and all was more or less right throughout the conference. This week brings some interesting match ups, as the middle of the conference should start to sort itself out. How will this week’s B1G games go down? Let’s find out!
Big Ten Week 8 Preview
Maryland (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at #5 Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Madison, WI
Line: Wisconsin -24
I really thought Maryland had turned a corner when they beat Minnesota, and was not going to hold a big loss to Ohio State against them. Then the Northwestern loss happened, and now I’m not sure what to make of the Terrapins. In any case, I don’t see their offense being much of a challenge for Wisconsin, and expect the Badgers to coast.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Maryland 10
Iowa (4-2, 1-2) at Northwestern (3-3, 1-2)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Evanston, IL
Line: Iowa -1
Iowa is no powerhouse, but their only two losses have come to two ranked teams. Northwestern, meanwhile, has been much more up and down throughout the season. I can’t say I really understand the line on this one, but I do know that Iowa’s defense is stout. Given what Penn State did to the Wildcats, I think the Hawkeyes win a fairly easy one.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Northwestern 14
Purdue (3-3, 1-2) at Rutgers (2-4, 1-2)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Piscataway, NJ
Line: Purdue -9.5
Rutgers won a Big Ten game! Rutgers won a Big Ten game! Rutgers may not win another Big Ten game this season! Seriously, though, the Scarlet Knight’s schedule only gets tougher from here on out. Purdue still has enough chaos in it that I think they’ll make some noise in the West. Boiler up!
Prediction: Purdue 42, Rutgers 24
Indiana (3-3, 0-3) at #18 Michigan State (5-1, 3-0)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at East Lansing, MI
Line: Michigan State -7
Put me firmly in the boat that doesn’t believe Michigan State is “back” after an abysmal 2016 season. They’ve played two supposedly good teams so far and have gone 1-1 in those games - a beat down by Notre Dame, and a sloppy win over a Michigan team that forgot how to play offense. The Spartans are probably better than Indiana, but I would not be surprised at all if the Hoosiers make this a fun game.
Prediction: Michigan State 21, Indiana 20
Illinois (2-4, 0-3) at Minnesota (3-3, 0-3)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Minneapolis, MN
Line: Minnesota -14
I think PJ Fleck will have Minnesota on the winning train sooner or later, but he just doesn’t have the horses this year. With the meat of the conference slate ahead of the Gophers, there aren’t many more chances to get to a bowl game, so this week becomes all the more important. Illinois lost to Rutgers - Rutgers! - and may lose every game from here on out.
Prediction: Minnesota 31, Illinois 17
#6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0), Nebraska (3-4, 2-2)
Rutgers messed up a lot of perfect bids last week, as four different writers went 5-1 because of the Scarlet Knights. We’re past the halfway point of the Big Ten season, and the race is as tight as ever: Clay and I are tied for first at 52-12, and a bevy of writers are right on our heels, sitting within three games. Looks like we’ll have to grind out that season victory!
For this week, the staff has unanimously decided on the following games:
- #5 Wisconsin over Maryland
- Purdue over Rutgers
- Minnesota over Illinois
- #2 Penn State over #19 Michigan
That means only two games are up for grabs.
Out of the entire staff, only dear leader Cari has picked Northwestern over Iowa. She must know something about Fitz that the rest of us don’t. She’s also on the Indiana over Michigan State train, along with Aaron and Patrick. Like I said, I expect that game to be entertaining, so the Hoosiers upending the Spartans wouldn’t really surprise me. What say you, dear reader? Did the masthead get it right?