Except for the Minnesota-Northwestern game this week is a fairly unbalanced one in Big Ten play. In there of the five games you have a big road underdog and in the case of Wisconsin-Illinois the Badgers are likely a big favorite in Champaign. It is probably going to be a dull week, but we could be in for some surprises.
Purdue (1-5, 0-2) at Michigan State (5-1, 2-0) Noon, Big Ten Network
If Ricardo Allen is going to get his fifth career interception returned for a touchdown it will be in this game. I say that because all four of them have come against a school beginning with the letter M (Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Marshall). MSU is the only "M" school we play this season. The Spartans have also given him one before.
Unfortunately, I fear he is going to need a lot of pick-sixes to keep this one close. I like that Greg Hudson is changing up the defense and it should be effective in the long run, but we do not have any kind of an offense that can move against an MSU defense like this. Their offense can bide time to figure things out if they struggle. Our offense barely gets out of its own way. Shilique Calhoun has as many touchdowns this season as Purdue has rushing TDs as a team, and Calhoun is a defensive end.
We're in for a very long day in East Lansing. Michigan State 45, Purdue 0
Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) at Northwestern (4-2, 0-2) Noon, ESPN2
Are the Wildcats in the middle of a Fumble-esque fall? Just two weeks ago at this time we were talking about a potential Big Ten title for them. Now they could be in freefall if they drop this one, as a nasty slate of at Iowa, at Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan State follows.
This should be the type of game Northwestern can win. The Golden Gophers have been unable to run the ball effectively since Big Ten play began and have only managed 20 points. They are also under a new head coach for the remainder of the season with Jerry Kill taking the rest of the year off due to his seizures.
This is a game that Gary Nord would love as both teams are employing a multiple-QB look. For Minnesota it is Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner. For Northwestern, it is Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian. Who has the better Nordfense? Northwestern 31, Minnesota 20
Indiana (3-3, 1-1) at Michigan (5-1, 1-1) 3:30pm, Big Ten Network
Despite returning to Indiana form last week, most fans of the Hoosiers have been rather feisty in advance of their trip to Ann Arbor. Indiana has not beaten the Wolverines anywhere since 1987, haven't won in Ann Arbor since 1967, and have only beaten them nine times in their history. Still, the greatest win in IU football history over a lousy, sanction-riddled Penn State team coupled with Michigan losing to the same Penn State team a week later has given IU fans hope for an upset.
Fitzgerald Toussaint was held to 27 yards on 27 carries last week, but that won't happen again. The Indiana run "defense" is the cure for all ailing running games, as proven last week by Michigan State. All that Devin Gardner has to do is avoid throwing interceptions and we could be in for a fun shootout. In that case, I have to side with history. Michigan 42, Indiana 35
Iowa (4-2, 1-1) at Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2
Both Wisconsin and Northwestern have proven that you have to kill Ohio State. You cannot get a lead on them and wait for them to die. Yes, Braxton Miller is a worse quarterback than the guy backing him up, but he is still a dynamic runner with Carlos Hyde punishing defenders to help him out. The defense has been suspect, but no one has consistently held their offense in check.
I don't think Iowa has the offensive versatility and creativity that Wisconsin and Northwestern had in their near misses. I can't not pick Ohio State here, mostly because they are just bigger, stronger, and faster than the Hawkeyes. It looks like the Buckeyes will roll just two weeks before Purdue Harbor 2: Urban's Reckoning.
Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1) at Illinois (3-2, 0-1) 8pm, Big Ten Network
If Chris Borland of the Badgers is trying to win the award for the nation's best linebacker he is certainly trying to add to his versatility. Wisconsin has revealed that he may attempt any long field goal attempts against the Fighting Illini on Saturday night, which is just about as odd as it sounds.
That is probably the most interesting thing in what will likely be a dull night game. I don't think Illinois is as good as we all thought when they beat Cincinnati, mostly because Purdue has looked awful and Cincinnati went on to lose to a very bad South Florida team. They're getting better, but they are still riding a 15 game conference losing streak. Their bowl eligibility rides on them getting three conference wins, but their best chances are at Indiana, Penn State, and Purdue. Not at home against Wisconsin. Wisconsin 31, Illinois 17
More from SB Nation College Football
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- The Alphabetical previews Week 8
- Bud Elliott and Dan Rubenstein pick the top games
Week 8 College Football TV Schedule, channels, odds, and more
|GAME||NETWORK||LINE (O/U)||TIME (ET)|
|#15 Georgia at Vanderbilt||UGA -7 (62)||12:00 PM|
|#11 South Carolina at Tennessee||
||USC -7.5 (54.5)||12:00 PM|
|#16 Texas Tech at West Virginia||TTU -5 (57.5)||12:00 PM|
|TCU at #21 Oklahoma State||OSU -7 (62)||12:00 PM|
|Navy at Toledo||TU -9.5 (55.5)||12:00 PM|
|Minnesota at Northwestern||NW -12 (53.5)||12:00 PM|
|Purdue at Michigan St.||MSU -27.5 (42.5)||12:00 PM|
|Connecticut at Cincinnati||CIN -14.5 (45.5)||12:00 PM|
|Charleston Southern at Colorado||CU -20 (51)||2:00 PM|
|Indiana at Michigan||UM -9.5 (68.5)||3:30 PM|
|#24 Auburn at #7 Texas A&M||A&M -14 (73)||3:30 PM|
|#9 UCLA at #13 Stanford||
|STAN -5.5 (53)||3:30 PM|
|Iowa at #4 Ohio St.||
|OSU -18 (55.5)||3:30 PM|
|#18 Oklahoma at Kansas||OU -23.5 (49)||3:30 PM|
|BYU at Houston||BYU -9.5 (62.5)||3:30 PM|
|Maryland at Wake Forest||MD -5 (51)||3:30 PM|
|#20 Washington at Arizona St.||ASU -3.5 (67)||6:00 PM|
|Arkansas at #1 Alabama||BAMA -28.5 (48.5)||7:00 PM|
|#6 LSU at Ole Miss||LSU -10 (60)||7:00 PM|
|Iowa St. at #12 Baylor||BU -33 (76.5)||7:00 PM|
|USC at Notre Dame||
||ND -3 (51)||7:30 PM|
|#5 Florida St. at #3 Clemson||
||FSU -3 (64)||8:00 PM|
|#25 Wisconsin at Illinois||WIS -14 (56.5)||8:00 PM|
|Nevada at Boise St.||BSU -23 (68.5)||8:00 PM|
|Washington St. at #2 Oregon||ORE -39.5 (73)||10:00 PM|
|Utah at Arizona||AZ -4 (69.5)||10:00 PM|
|Oregon St. at California||OSU -10.5 (69.5)||10:30 PM|