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The B1G Preview And Degenerate Challenge: All Teams In Action

All 14 Big Ten teams are playing a conference opponent, as the non-conference portion of the schedule is complete.

Oct 2, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell (3) catches a pass in front of Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Justin Walley (0) during the second half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Minnesota won 20 to 13. Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Well well well! Last week in the Big Ten made a couple of things abundantly clear when it comes to the title race, and beyond:

  1. It’s Minnesota’s division to lose.
  2. Michigan State’s 2021 may have been the anomaly, not 2020.
  3. Maryland may finish 4th in the division, if not 3rd —that is, if their injuries are not serious.
  4. The East is probably winning the conference again.

Ohio State and Minnesota put away their opponents before the first quarter ended (in entirely different ways), Michigan used a bit of fortune in escaping Maryland, and the rest of the Big Ten just went about their business as the conference played the last of their non-conference opponents. It is all Big Ten all the time from here on out!

The Games

No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten)

12:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Michigan -10.5

Boy oh boy! Michigan has lost four straight at Iowa, and the Wolverines just came off a game where they survived a feisty Maryland squad. The good news for Michigan is that Maryland nearly beat them with their offense, something Iowa doesn’t have. The bad news is that, well, Iowa has not needed any sort of offense to beat them in the past. Michigan should win, finally, but I for one, don’t think it’s going to be by two scores, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Iowa somehow managed to muddy this game in the way only they know how, and come away with the victory.

Should you watch? Yes, there isn’t much else on the time slot.
Prediction: Michigan 17, Iowa 10

Purdue Boilermakers (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

12:00 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Minnesota -12.5

Purdue could be playing without several key pieces of their offense, and Minnesota is coming off a demolition of Michigan state. I don’t see how this game stays close if Aiden O’Connell and friends don’t play.

Should you watch? Iowa/Michigan or Ole Miss/Kentucky (*gasp*) should be more entertaining.
Prediction: Minnesota 28, Purdue 17

Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) at Wisconsin Badgers (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten)

12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Wisconsin -7

Well well well, if it isn’t Bret Bielema returning to Camp Randall to face his former offensive coordinator in a game that could decide which of these two teams goes bowling! Wisconsin is coming off an embarrassment against Ohio State, while Illinois blanked their FCS opponent, while also getting a few extra days to prepare for the matchup. Don’t expect the Illini to be intimidated by the environment, as their coach knows exactly what to expect.

Should you watch? This game might be an interesting alternative to the other two above.
Prediction: Illinois 27, Wisconsin 24

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

3:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Ohio State minus does it matter?

Ok let’s move this right along Ohio State by a million.

Should you watch? Are you an Ohio State or Rutgers fan?
Prediction: Ohio State who cares, Rutgers nothing.

Northwestern Wildcats (1-3, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

3:30 PM Eastern, ESPN
Penn State -25.5

The last time Penn State was this big a favorite at home against a Big Ten opponent, well, you know what happened no need to rehash. Luckily for the Nittany Lions, this Northwestern squad is incredibly more dreadful than that other team from the same state. But, if you believe in superstition, look no further than Northwestern’s 1-0 Big Ten record amidst a 1-3 start to the season to know what you need to know about the Wildcats. The two times Northwestern won the division, they did so without beating a single non-conference opponent.

Should you watch? Yes.
Prediction: Penn State 56, Northwestern 17

Michigan State Spartans (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at Maryland Terrapins (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten)

3:30 PM Eastern, FS1
Maryland -8.5

Boy how the turn tables! Before the season began, it was Michigan State who was expected to roll in this contest. Now, not many would be surprised to see the Terrapins take the Spartans to the woodshed the way Washington and Minnesota did in the previous two weeks. This is a pivotal game for both squads: For Michigan State, it’s the game that could derail the season (they play Ohio State next). For Maryland, it’s the game that could jumpstart their breakthrough season (they play Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, and Wisconsin after this one). Not only that, but neither team wants to start 0-2 in conference play.

Should you watch? If you weren’t already committed, probably.
Prediction: Maryland 38, Michigan State 17

Indiana Hoosiers (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten)

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Nebraska -5.5

Did the bye week calm the Huskers down, or did they just get an extra week to stew in the beatdown they took from Oklahoma? Indiana is coming off their own beatdown at the hands of Cincinnati, so it’ll be interesting to see which team comes out more motivated in this one. Logic would dicated it’s the Hoosiers, as they still have the possibility of a bowl game in front of them, but Nebraska still has a lot of talent, even if it may be less motivated at the moment.

Should you watch? It’s the lone Big Ten game of the evening, and points may be aplenty.
Prediction: Indiana 41, Nebraska 38

The Picks


The Standings

Moving forward, standings will come out in a separate post. Stay tuned!