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The B1G Preview: A Tale of Two Conferences

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Or: the haves vs the have nots

NCAA Football: Michigan at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

I noticed something interesting for this week’s set of games: three games (including Penn State) feature teams from the Beast of the East: Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. In those games, the average betting line is 23 points.

The other two games? 4 points. And that includes a ranked Purdue team! Just goes to show how the conference has a few teams that are REALLY good and it just so happens that they’re all in the East. And they all have to play each other in the next few weeks. How fun!

Northwestern (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at #6 Michigan (6-0, 3-0)

Noon Eastern, FOX
Michigan -23.5

Perhaps I’ve judged Northwestern too harshly. It’s not their fault they had preseason B1G West championship potential foisted upon them. They’ve somehow crawled back to .500, thanks to a fairly stout defense. I’m still not sold on Michigan, as I think their passing game is suspect at best. Still, I don’t know that the Wildcats have enough firepower of their own to overcome the Wolverine defense.

Should You Watch? Nope, you’ll be watching Penn State - Illinois, ya dumb dumb.

Prediction: Michigan 24, Northwestern 10

Wisconsin (3-3, 1-2) at #25 Purdue (4-2, 2-1)

3:30 PM Eastern, BTN
Wisconsin -3

Purdue is my new favorite team in the West! Boiler up baby! This one for me is a coin flip. Wisconsin still has a fantastic defense, but Graham Mertz and Co. are still pretty bad on offense. Purdue shut down Iowa’s (admittedly not great) offense, and David Belled (verb) the Hawkeyes to death. I expect a low-scoring game either way. A coin flip comes up Badgers, but it’s going to be a tough game no matter what.

Should You Watch? Yes, Sir/Ma’am.

Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Purdue 14

Maryland (4-2, 1-2) at Minnesota (4-2, 2-1)

3:30 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Minnesota -5

Again, I might have been a bit too hard on Minnesota after they lost to Bowling Green. Which is a pretty egregious loss, don’t get me wrong. But they’re sitting at 4-2, and actually control their own destiny in the West. Maryland I’m more ambivalent about, but that has more to do with some injuries they’ve suffered. Another coinflip, and I’ll go with the Gophers in another close game.

Should You Watch? Maybe switch back and forth between this one and Wisconsin-Purdue?

Prediction: Minnesota 21, Maryland 20

#5 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0) at Indiana (2-4, 0-3)

7:30 PM Eastern, ABC
Ohio State -21

I think Indiana is not a bad team, led by a surprisingly good defense. I think their offense is snake-bitten more than anything else. That being said, Ohio State’s offense is chugging along, and their defense seems to be sorting things out. In a strength-on-strength matchup, I’ll go with the 5-star-at-every-position team.

Should You Watch? Yup!

Prediction: Ohio State 35, Indiana 17