clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The B1G Preview And Degenerate Challenge: Week 7

This banger of a week has three games with first-place teams looking to stay ahead in the conference race.

Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) is brought down by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton (94) and linebacker Isaiah Gay (92) for a loss in the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s games were interesting, but nothing like getting into the thick of the conference race with three games that can decide the rest of the season for the six teams involved. Purdue, Illinois, and Nebraska are all tied atop the Big Ten West, with Minnesota right behind them.

Michigan and Penn State, along with Ohio State, are tied for first in the East. The three teams that come out victorious in those games will have a much easier path to contending for the division, while the others will be left hoping for some good fortunes down the stretch.

The Games

All on Saturday

Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini (5-1, 2-1)

12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Minnesota -4

A team coming off a deflating home loss travels to face a team who is currently red hot, and is ranked for the first time since 2011, when the Illini started the season 6-0. Did the week off help the Gophers get over the disappointing result against Purdue? Is Mohamed Ibrahim going to play in this one? He may very well be the difference in the game.

Should you watch? No, you scoundrel! You’re busy at noon!
Prediction: Minnesota 17, Illinois 14

No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 5 Michigan Wolverines (6-0, 3-0)

12:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Michigan -7.5

One of the most anticipated games of the season, the Nittany Lions will look to avenge last season’s heartbreaker against the Wolverines. Both teams have looked unstoppable at times, and both have shown weaknesses that can fully be exploited. Penn State has not fared well against Jim Harbaugh on the road, losing two of three by at least 35 points. Can this be the season the tides turn?

Plenty of folks will tell you that if Penn State loses this game, it’ll be because of quarterback Sean Clifford. Let’s revisit Clifford’s last three games against the Wolverines:

2019: 14-25 (58%), 182 yards, 4 touchdowns (1 rushing), 0 turnovers.
2020: 17-28 (60.7), 163 yards, 1 touchdown (rushing), 0 turnovers.
2021: 23-43 (53.5), 205 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 turnovers.

Even in his worst performance against the Wolverines, a hobbled and sick Clifford still managed to complete 53 percent of his passes on nearly twice as many attempts as the previous two seasons, while committing no turnovers. Penn State may very well lose this game, but if they do, it won’t be because of Clifford.

Should you watch? Yes, of course.
Prediction: Penn State 56, Michigan 17

Maryland Terrapins (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) at Indiana Hoosiers (3-3, 1-2)

3:30 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Maryland -11

The Terps let one get away against Purdue, so their dreams of 7-1 are now dead. They can still go 6-2 before their two-game stretch against Penn State and Ohio State, but first they’ll need to handle Indiana.

Should you watch? There may be points, so yes.
Prediction: Maryland 31, Indiana 21

Wisconsin Badgers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at Michigan State Spartans (2-4, 0-3)

4:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Wisconsin -6

I reckon this is not what Fox had in mind when it scheduled this game at 4 PM, leading into the ALDS or whatever it is they have on at night that prevents them from putting college football there. These two teams were expected to repeat the success of last season, and both have sorely disappointed to this point. Can Jim Leohnard turn Wisconsin’s season around, or is the game against Northwestern a mirage? Well, they may not have to find out this week, as we know Michigan State is practically dead at this point.

Should you watch? Only if you enjoy watching Michigan State get blown out game after game.
Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan State 10

Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) at Purdue Boilermakers (4-2, 2-1)

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Purdue -13

The Boilermakers seem to have figured things out, and could be kicking themselves for letting those two initial games get away from them*. They now face a suddenly resurgent Nebraska** squad that finds itself tied for first in the West, with this game serving as the pacemaker.

*Penn State took that one, Purdue didn’t give it away.
**Against two of the four worst teams in the conference.

Should you watch? If the line is any indication, probably not.
Prediction: Purdue 35, Nebraska 20

The Picks

Picks Table

Writer Straight Up Against The Spread Score (road team) Score (home team)
Writer Straight Up Against The Spread Score (road team) Score (home team)
Northestern at Iowa (-11)
Bennett Iowa Northwestern 10 15
Dylan Iowa Iowa 3 21
Eli Northwestern Northwestern 3 0
Jared Iowa Northwestern 9 18
Lando Iowa Iowa 20 34
Marty Iowa Northwestern 9 10
Tim Iowa Iowa 7 20
Rutgers at Minnesota (-14)
Bennett Minnesota Rutgers 13 24
Dylan Minnesota Rutgers 20 16
Eli Minnesota Rutgers 16 23
Jared Minnesota Rutgers 17 24
Lando Minnesota Minnesota 17 34
Marty Minnesota Rutgers 20 23
Tim Minnesota Minnesota 13 28
Illinois (-7.5) at Nebraska
Bennett Illinois Illinois 27 13
Dylan Illinois Nebraska 38 31
Eli Nebraska Nebraska 20 23
Jared Illinois Nebraska 20 14
Lando Illinois Illinois 31 21
Marty Illinois Nebraska 24 20
Tim Illinois Illinois 31 21
Michigan State at Michigan (-22.5)
Bennett Michigan Michigan 10 38
Dylan Michigan Michigan 13 49
Eli Michigan Michigan State 13 33
Jared Michigan Michigan State 20 37
Lando Michigan Michigan State 21 38
Marty Michigan Michigan 10 35
Tim Michigan Michigan State 17 38
Ohio State (-15.5) at Penn State
Bennett Ohio State Penn State 37 23
Dylan Ohio State Penn State 35 24
Eli Penn State Penn State 56 17
Jared Ohio State Penn State 38 24
Lando Ohio State Penn State 35 21
Marty Ohio State Penn State 42 28
Tim Ohio State Penn State 37 27
Picks for each Big Ten game ordered by game and picker.