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The B1G Preview And Degenerate Challenge: The West Remains A Mess

The Big Ten West is currently in a six-way tie for first place.

Nov 20, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Jack Campbell (31) returns an interception for a touchdown against Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Daniel Barker (87) and offensive lineman Julian Pearl (54) in the second half at Kinnick Stadium. Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Remember last week when I sat here and said “It’s Minnesota’s division to lose?” Good times! After last week’s results, every team except Wisconsin is in a tie for first in the West. The preseason favorites, of course, sit alone at seventh in the division, sitting at 0-2 in conference play. This, and other assorted reasons, led to Paul Chryst being dismissed from Wisconsin.

Anyway, to the games!

The Games


Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-2, 0-2)

7:00 PM Eastern, FS1
Nebraska -3

Nebraska leaves Lincoln for the first time since the Dublin debacle, to face a Rutgers team desperate for a conference win. One team lacks a defense, the other lacks any semblance of offense. The Huskers, however, were able to overcome the initial onslaught at Indiana to come out victorious. Can Rutger’s defense slow the Nebraska offense enough to give themselves a chance? Let’s say yes for now.

Should you watch? Yes, there isn’t much else on the time slot.
Prediction: Rutgers 28, Nebraska 21


No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (3-2, 1-1)

12:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Michigan -22.5

Big Noon Kickoff should probably rebrand to “Big Noon Kickoff Featuring The Michigan Wolverines” at this rate. This is the fourth consecutive game on the network’s “coveted” spot, the fourth noon game in a row for the Wolverines. Indiana shouldn’t pose much of a threat for Michigan, but if they get caught looking ahead against the Hoosiers, they might find themselves sweating one out.

Should you watch? No. There are much better games at the same time.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Indiana 10

Purdue Boilermakers (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at Maryland Terrapins (4-1, 1-1)

12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Maryland -3

You have Purdue, a team looking to stay in front of the West race, and Maryland, a team looking to take the next step in the progression of the program. Both teams could get a big boost from winning this game, and can use the win to validate their seasons.

Purdue showed last week that it can grind one out, but the Boilers may need to bring back the fireworks against this Maryland team.

Should you watch? Yes. Aforementioned fireworks.
Prediction: Maryland 38, Purdue 34

Wisconsin Badgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) at Northwestern Wildcats (1-4, 1-1)

3:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Wisconsin -10.5

For whatever reason, Wisconsin regularly manages to drop games in Evanston. The Wildcats showed signs of life last week, but was that due to the weather, or is Pat Fitzgerald in the process of pulling off another division title out of thin air? On the other hand, are the past two weeks indicative of what Wisconsin is this season, or were they just unfortunate to face two motivated teams back to back?

Should you watch? No. This game is going to be an abomination.
Prediction: Northwestern 27, Wisconsin 21

No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 3-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State Spartans (2-3, 0-2)

4:00 PM Eastern, ABC
Ohio State -27

27 points is, apparently, the biggest line Michigan State has been an underdog in since 1998, against, well, Ohio State. What’s funny here is that 27 points might not be enough. Let me remind you that last season with a much better Spartan squad in tow, Mel Tucker’s team lost 56-7 to the Buckeyes.

May the lord have mercy on Michigan State’s soul.

Should you watch? We know the outcome already.
Prediction: Ohio State 70, Michigan State 10

Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at Illinois Fighting Illini (4-1, 1-1)

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Illinois -3.5

Don’t look now, but Illinois is favored against a team that has beaten them eight seasons in a row! The difference this time around is that the Illini have a balanced team, while Iowa still remains stout defensively, potent on special teams, and, well, that’s it. Expect a low scoring affair as each team tries to grind out a victory.

Should you watch? If only for the LOLs
Prediction: Illinois 13, Iowa 10

BYE: Minnesota, Penn State

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.

Check out odds for these games and others in week six. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.