Big Ten Football: Week Six Predictions
Penn State (3-1) @ Indiana (2-2) Noon Big Ten Network: Penn State leads the all-time series vs the Hoosiers 16-0…the closest Indiana has come to beating the Nittany Lions in Bloomtown was a 22-18 loss in 2004. What we have here is the classic match-up of offense vs defense…The Big Ten’s number one offense in the Hoosiers and a pretty stout defensive unit in the Nittany Lions. What a lot of people need to remember is that Indiana simply refuses to play any defense whatsoever…..and really until they decide to do just that, I can’t pick them…at least until Purdue week. Look at all the Hoosier players at or near the top of the offensive stats list this week…QB Nate Sudfield is one of the top passers. HB Tevin Coleman is one of the top running backs. Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn are two of the top WR’s in the Big Ten. PSU will give up some points, but they will score more than IU…I think this should be really interesting to watch on Saturday…I like PSU to outscore the Hoosiers 38-24.
Illinois (3-1) @ Nebraska (3-1) Noon ESPNU: The Corn leads the all-time series vs Illinois 7-2-1 having gone 3-0-1 in their last four meetings…This will be the first time these two schools have met since 1986 and Illinois has only won once in Lincoln (1-5) back in 1924. Both of these teams are in the upper half of the conference in total offense and both are in the bottom half of total defense….that sets up for records to be smashed on Saturday at Memorial Stadium (Lincoln Edition). I like the home team and here’s why…when you have a game like this where you have two mostly equal squads that play offense and very little D…the home team gets an advantage…I think the Corn plays slightly better defense at home and on this day, that means the Fighting Illini will struggle to score 35 points…in fact, they won’t. Nebraska wins their second consecutive home game by beating the Illini 49-34.
Michigan State (3-1) @ Iowa (4-1, 1-0) ESPN2: The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series vs Michigan State 23-19-2….Iowa has won three of the last four meetings but has also won seven of the last eight games played at Kinnick. I read a survey last year that asked Big Ten players which Big Ten stadium was the hardest to pay in and Kinnick was the clear winner. I really think MSU QB Conner Cook has a lot in store for him this week…If I learned anything last week, it’s that Iowa has a nasty defense…they were very physical and completely defiant against the Gopher rushing attack. The same rushing attack that was averaging over 280 yards a game tallied just 30 yards against the Hawks. We know the Spartans will bring a very talented defense to the pink locker room that the visitors are assigned deep within the walls of Kinnick Stadium. I am just not so sure the QB situation is figured out yet at Michigan State….and even if it is…I don’t think this is where Cook gets his first road win. Iowa wins a slobberknocker 8-5.
Minnesota (4-1, 0-1) @ #19 Michigan (4-0) 3:30pm ABC: The Little Brown Jug goes to the winner. Michigan leads the all-time series vs Minnesota 72-24-3…this will be the 100th meeting between the two schools. Michigan has won the last five games, ten of the last eleven in Michigan Stadium and 37 of the last 40 meetings. Both Jerry Kill and Brady Hoke will find out exactly where they are in grand scheme of the Legends Division on Saturday. Either Michigan proves it isn’t as bad as the Gophers by beating them and will be in the hunt for the division title for another week or the Gophers win and relegate the Wolverines to the bottom of the Legends barrel. For the Wolverines, I would look for more backs to make catches out of the backfield and the TE’s to be a bit more involved as the Big Ten schedule gets underway and a more focused attempt to establish a running game between the tackles to back off the pass rush of the Gopher DE’s. For the Gophers, I like them to use more of a play-action type of scheme out of that pistol look to try to test the Michigan secondary…because I just don’t see them having great amounts of success running the ball vs that defense (2nd in the Big Ten vs the run) There is a significant chance of some rain Saturday so I am sure that turnovers will be a key. I like Michigan to win, but it will be close…Wolverines get the W 31-23.
#4 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) @ #16 Northwestern (4-0) 8:00pm ABC: The Buckeyes lead the all-time series vs the Wildcats 59-14-1. Ohio State has won the last four meetings, 28 of the last 29 games and has scored at least 45 points in the last four games. Granted, these two teams haven’t met on the field since 2008, but it won’t make a difference. I know a lot of people like to take Northwestern this week…and I have warned them…don’t make the same mistake I did last week picking the Buckeyes to lose. I know, I know..I hear things like “But they are on the road this week”…or “ A night game on the road is going to be tough”. People…Northwestern is a good team, they are just as good as Michigan State or Nebraska or Wisconsin or Michigan. What you will be looking at on center stage this weekend as Evanston is in the spotlight is just how much better Ohio State is than everyone else in the Big Ten. After the W this week, the Bucks will be on cruise control until their BCS birth…OSU rolls over the Wildcats 45-17.
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