Kind of a crazy week in the Big Ten last week, with Northwestern going on the road and beating Iowa after starting 1-3 in the season, Indiana beating Michigan State at home, and how about that Michigan-Wisconsin game? I’m sorry, Ohio State, but your defense is not one of the top two in the Big Ten just because you shutout Rutgers. This week is a bit of a calmer week in the Big Ten with Northwestern, Nebraska and Wisconsin on bye along with Michigan State playing a non-conference game, but there is still a few games worth watching. Let’s take a look at the Big Ten schedule for Week 6.
BYU, at 2-3, this season heads to Michigan State to take on the .500 Spartans. Yeah, after beating Notre Dame and having everybody believe that they were still for real and rising up to #8 in the country, they got torched by Wisconsin the next week and embarrassed even more by losing to Indiana (who lost to Wake Forest by the way). The Big Ten East is going to come down to Michigan or Ohio State now, but Michigan State still needs to try to save its’ season, and perhaps gain enough confidence to knock off one or both of those teams. They still have the talent to do it, and Mark Dantonio is the most underrated coach next to Paul Chryst in the Big Ten. Final Score: Michigan State 27, BYU 20.
Battle for the Basement
It’s amazing how a game that impacts the standings so much can take place this early, but this game of Purdue travelling west to Champaign, Illinois (to take on Illinois) very much affects the standings. The only catch is, it affects the part people don’t care about, the bottom. That’s right, this game very well could determine who finishes last in the Big Ten West, as they are both clearly below the other five teams in the division. Yeah, Minnesota is 0-1 to start Big Ten play, but they also have the same amount of wins overall as both of these teams combined. Illinois has already played decent competition in North Carolina and Western Michigan, so they might not be as bad as you’d think. Overall, this will be a close game, but so would Eastern Michigan vs. Central Michigan and nobody wants to watch that. Final score: Illinois 24, Purdue 19.
How Long Can it Last
Maryland is undefeated so far this season, yeah, undefeated. Who knew? After taking down Howard, FIU, UCF AND Purdue, Maryland has cruised to 4-0 (please realize the sarcasm). Now, they have by far their toughest test of this still early season, as they are traveling to State College to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State has a beast at running back in Saquon Barkley, and the Big Ten pass yards leader in Trace McSorley, so the game will be up to Maryland playing defense. However, Penn State has one of the most faithful crowds among college football, and they are desperate for something to cheer about. A win Saturday will bring them back to 4-2, which is right where Penn State always seems to be. I don’t think Penn State is bad as people think, and I think Maryland still hasn’t proven anything. I’ll go with a final score of Penn State 33, Maryland 24
I Can Do Better
After getting steamrolled by Ohio State last weekend with a 58-0 loss in Columbus, Rutgers now has to play Michigan back in New Jersey. After Michigan just took down Wisconsin at home, although not by much, people around the country finally believe in this team. Now, they are heading into Rutgers to face what Ohio State left behind to try to beat this team even worse than the Buckeyes did. I believe the score was 51-0 late in the third quarter, so Ohio State literally spent a quarter just not letting Rutgers score. Michigan wants to prove it belongs with Ohio State, and would like to find a way to dominate Rutgers as well. Meanwhile, Rutgers is just trying to save face, as losing in that manner is just heartbreaking, no matter how bad of a team you actually are. Losing by almost 60 and not scoring is embarrassing, and I don’t think Rutgers will do that at home. Michigan can’t do better this week, but they’ll still cruise to a win. Final score: Michigan 48, Rutgers 14.
Is It a Five Team Race?
After losing a nail-biter to Penn State last weekend, the Minnesota Golden Gophers head home to face a Hawkeyes’ team that clearly is not what people thought they could be (it turned out to be Nebraska instead). Iowa has now lost their last two home games, and are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, and trying to avoid going 1-2. Minnesota, meanwhile, wants to be part of the race for the Big Ten West, and a defeat of Iowa should accomplish that. Not only that, but Iowa would also likely fall out of the picture. With WR Matt VandeBerg out, Iowa can’t afford any more losses, especially with Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan still on the schedule. Quarterback C.J. Beathard needs his best game yet, and the defense needs to find a way to return to its’ former self. Quarterback Mitch Leidner is the key for the Gophers, and he needs his best game yet as well. I don’t believe it is a five team race, and Minnesota is still a year or two away. Final score: Iowa 27, Minnesota 20.
Game of the Week
This very well could just wind up being another blowout by the Ohio State Buckeyes, but I think Indiana is flying too high right now to let that happen. I’ll never understand how Indiana allowed Wake Forest to beat them, but they made up for it against Michigan State. Michigan State may be overrated, but the program is still a strong one, and a win like that for the Hoosiers might finally bring them over the 6-6 hump they have been hanging around for the past 500 seasons. Ohio State, especially in Columbus, is a different animal entirely, and JT Barrett & Co. should still win this game. I just want to see how Indiana plays after their win. They do have the second most pass yards and have the third leading rusher among the Big Ten, so the offense is there to challenge the Buckeyes’ defense. The question is, does Indiana have enough defense to stop Ohio State? The answer is no, and the final score will resemble a shootout of sorts, with Ohio State 49, Indiana 28.
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