clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The B1G Preview And Degenerate Challenge: Conference Play Is Underway

Ohio State hosts Wisconsin in the marquee game of the week.

Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Jeff Okudah celebrates a third down stop during the second quarter of the NCAA football game against the Wisconsin Badgers. ADAM CAIRNS/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

We are three (and a zero) weeks in, and the picture is starting to get clear! Michigan and Ohio State have been viewed as the class of the Big Ten so far, but its performance against Auburn on the road has placed Penn State squarely in the conversation. On the other side of the conference, Minnesota remains the lone undefeated team in the West, and now they travel to put their record on the line against a Michigan State team that, seemingly, is still unable to defend the pass. How will Chris Autman-Bell’s injury affect the game? We’ll find out!

Of course, the game of the week, or at least what we think the game of the week is as of right now, will be played later on Saturday by Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Badgers have not beaten the Buckeyes since 2010 (yes, the 2011 team with Russel Wilson failed to beat Ohio State), and this year, the Badger offense is a tad better than it usually is, but the defense is a tad worse. Might that be the formula to finally get a win? We shall find out!

The Games

Thursday

Chattanooga Mocs (3-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-1)

8:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Illinois -20

I’ve been told Chattanooga is one of the good FCS squads, so maybe they’ll give Illinois a game. Unlike his counterpart in Pat Fitzgerald, Bret Bielema is not known for falling prey to the FCS squads. After all, he’s the one who implemented the “flatten lesser competition” tradition at Wisconsin.

Should you watch: It’s worth a look if the other two games prove to be boring.
Prediction: Illinois 33, Chattanooga 10

Saturday

Maryland Terrapins (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

12:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Michigan -17

Michigan is pretty good. They were pretty good last year too. How good? We’re about to find out when they face a real team.

Take the sentence above, replace “Michigan” with “Maryland,” and acknowledge that SMU is a real team.

Should you watch: You have other priorities at this time.
Prediction: Michigan 34, Maryland 27

Central Michigan Chippewas (1-2) at No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0)

12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Penn State -28

The trendy word after the Auburn game has been “letdown.” Penn State will be riding high off that win, and they’ll come out sluggish against a Central Michigan team that can score if given the chance (or if it’s the fourth quarter and Oklahoma State is playing the team managers).

I myself am curious to see who comes out for Penn State. Many years before we’ve seen the Lions be unable to shake off a loss, or come out, uh, disinterested after a big win, so this is a perfect opportunity to prove this year is different.

Should you watch: Yes, of course!
Prediction: Penn State 56, Central Michigan 17

Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State Spartans (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

3:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Minnesota -3

This game would have been a lot more interesting if Washington hadn’t exposed Michigan State’s secondary for what it still is:

Stop sign, turnstyle, traffic cone, scarecrow, banana peel, acting as an offensive line.

The astute in the group will notice that the image above is how we’ve described Penn State’s offensive line over the past who knows how many season. It’s that bad.

However, Minnesota did lose its best wide receiver for the year, the Spartans still have hope!

Should you watch: It’s the better of the two games on the 3:30 slot.
Prediction: Minnesota 31, Michigan State 27

Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) at Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1)

3:30 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Cincinnati -16.5

I don’t think this game will get out of hand the way last year’s game did. Cincinnati lost a ton of talent to the NFL, and they’ve already lost a game to Arkansas to boot. Indiana has also found a way to keep games close enough (mostly by making miraculous comebacks in the fourth quarter, but I digress), so maybe history repeats itself here.

Should you watch: If the Minnesota/Michigan State game turns out to be a dud, this one might be good.
Prediction: Cincinnati 28, Indiana 24

Iowa Hawkeyes (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

7:00 PM Eastern, FS1
Iowa -7.5

This game will go one of two ways: It’s going to be the abomination only fans of each team and the sickest of sickos will watch, or it’s going to be a barn burner that will put the other games in the time slot to shame. I’m going with the former.

Should you watch: If you’re into torture masquerading as defense, sure!
Prediction: Iowa 10, Rutgers 8 (7OT)

Wisconsin Badgers (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

7:30 PM Eastern, ABC
Ohio State -18.5

We know the script here. Wisconsin will play Ohio State even in the first half, then Ohio State pulls away in the second to make the score look worse than it really was. Can Wisconsin’s defense actually replicate what Notre Dame did, but continue to score into the second half? If they can do that, they can flip the script. Otherwise, well...

Should you watch: Haven’t you heard? It’s the marquee game of the week!
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 20

Miami (OH) Redhawks (1-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (1-2)

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Northwestern -7

How Northwestern continues to be favored over anyone is beyond me at this point. Then again, maybe this is just all part of the plan. For those of you paying attention, Northwestern has failed to beat an out of conference opponent in each of their two division-winning seasons (yes, in 2020 they did so by not actually playing any non-conference games, but still).

Should you watch: If Miami Ohio is doing the thing, then you most definitely should!
Prediction: Northwestern 31, Miami (OH) 27

Florida Atlantic Owls (2-2) at Purdue Boilermakers (1-2)

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Purdue -20

Purdue could easily be undefeated right now. They should at least be 2-1. But self-inflicted wounds keep getting in the way when things matter most. Florida Atlantic can score with the best of them, so I’m not sure that 20 points is realistic here for the Boilers.

Should you watch: No, the other three games will provide more entertainment in their own ways.
Prediction: Purdue 45, Florida Atlantic 28

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)
Iowa (-7.5) at Rutgers
Bennett Iowa Rutgers 16 12
Clay Rutgers Rutgers 17 13
Dylan Iowa Rutgers 8 6
Eli Iowa Rutgers 10 8
Jared Iowa Rutgers 17 10
Lando Iowa Iowa 21 10
Marty Rutgers Rutgers 17 21
Tim Iowa Rutgers 16 13
Minnesota (-3) at Michigan State
Bennett Michigan State Michigan State 23 28
Clay Michigan State Michigan State 20 23
Dylan Minnesota Minnesota 38 31
Eli Minnesota Minnesota 31 27
Jared Minnesota Minnesota 28 20
Lando Minnesota Minnesota 21 17
Marty Minnesota Minnesota 24 19
Tim Minnesota Minnesota 31 24
Miami OH at Northwestern (lol)
Bennett Miami (OH) Miami (OH) 27 23
Clay Northwestern Northwestern 17 24
Dylan Northwestern Miami (OH) 17 20
Eli Northwestern Miami (OH) 27 31
Jared Northwestern Miami (OH) 20 24
Lando Northwestern Miami (OH) 17 21
Marty Northwestern Northwestern 14 24
Tim Northwestern Northwestern 14 24
Wisconsin at Ohio State (-19)
Bennett Ohio State Ohio State 17 45
Clay Ohio State Ohio State 17 38
Dylan Ohio State Ohio State 13 41
Eli Ohio State Wisconsin 20 38
Jared Ohio State Wisconsin 20 37
Lando Ohio State Ohio State 17 45
Marty Ohio State Wisconsin 20 35
Tim Ohio State Ohio State 17 41
Indiana at Cincinnati (-16.5)
Bennett Cincinnati Indiana 16 28
Clay Cincinnati Cincinnati 14 34
Dylan Cincinnati Cincinnati 13 33
Eli Cincinnati Indiana 24 28
Jared Cincinnati Indiana 20 30
Lando Cincinnati Cincinnati 10 31
Marty Cincinnati Indiana 21 27
Tim Cincinnati Cincinnati 17 35
Maryland at Michigan (-17)
Bennett Michigan Michigan 24 45
Clay Michigan Michigan 28 45
Dylan Michigan Michigan 48 20
Eli Michigan Maryland 27 34
Jared Michigan Michigan 17 38
Lando Michigan Michigan 10 35
Marty Michigan Maryland 24 38
Tim Michigan Michigan 17 45
Central Michigan at Penn State (-28)
Bennett Penn State Central Michigan Shhh! Shhh!
Clay Penn State Central Michigan 13 48
Dylan Penn State Penn State 14 49
Eli Penn State Penn State 17 56
Jared Penn State Penn State 14 49
Lando Penn State Penn State Shhh! Shhh!
Marty Penn State Penn State Shhh! Shhh!
Tim Penn State Penn State Shhh! Shhh!
Chattanooga at Illinois (No Line)
Bennett Illinois Illinois 16 34
Clay Illinois Illinois 27 35
Dylan Illinois Illinois 17 38
Eli Illinois Illinois 10 33
Jared Illinois Illinois 20 31
Lando Illinois Illinois 7 24
Marty Illinois Illinois 6 33
Tim Illinois Illinois 10 41
Florida Atlantic at Purdue (-20)
Bennett Purdue Purdue 20 42
Clay Purdue Purdue 13 37
Dylan Purdue Purdue 16 38
Eli Purdue Florida Atlantic 28 45
Jared Purdue Purdue 20 42
Lando Purdue Florida Atlantic 17 31
Marty Purdue Purdue 17 38
Tim Purdue Purdue 17 45
Picks for each Big Ten game ordered by game and picker.

The Standings

The results are in! Through three and a zero weeks, here’s how things shake out:

  1. Dylan: 239 points
  2. Eli: 231 points
  3. Marty: 219 points
  4. Jared: 209 points
  5. Tim: 205 points
  6. Bennett: 189 points
  7. Clay: 186 points
  8. Lando: 158 points

A breakdown of how each person picked and how many points they got each week is upcoming in a separate post.