I am headed to Chicago tonight and will be up there all day tomorrow for Big Ten Basketball Media Day, so I don't have time this week to do my usual full look at the Big Ten. Instead (for those who care), here is the short, short version of each game:
Northwestern (5-2, 1-2) at Indiana (4-3, 0-3) Noon, Big Ten Network
I think you can consider the Hoosiers done for a bowl game if they lose this. I don't see Iowa or Wisconsin screwing that one up, and Even Penn State's offense can move with impunity against them. Dan Persa should break out of his post Purdue slump and have a big day as long as the Wildcats don't keep forcing the run.
Northwestern 38, Indiana 28
Purdue (4-3, 2-1) at Illinois (4-3, 1-2) Noon, ESPN2
I would love to be proven wrong about this one, but an improved defense of Corey Liuget and Martez Wilson, plus our uncertain quarterback situation, does not have me confident. Can we pull off the win? Absolutely? Unfortunately, we need too many things to go our way in order to do so. Illinois is starting to heat up, and with Minnesota and Northwestern left on the schedule they are thinking big finish.
Illinois 24, Purdue 14
#5 Michigan State (8-0, 4-0) at #18 Iowa (5-2, 2-1) 3:30pm ABC
Here you go, Sparty. If you ever want to play in the national title game, this is your chance. The Spartans will be favored agaisnt Minnesota, Purdue, and probably Penn State the rest of the way. All that's left is either angry Iowa or depressed Iowa. I hope Michigan State gets it just because I am tired of Ohio State getting all the conference glory.
Michigan State 20, Iowa 14
#11 Ohio State (7-1, 3-1) at Minnesota (1-7, 0-4) 8pm ABC
I would imagine ABC wishes it could change this game after making it a night game early in the season. This could be a bloodbath of Biblical proportions. At least Minnesota can still have good humor about its coaching search.
Ohio State 52, Minnesota 10
Michigan (5-2, 1-2) at Penn State (4-3, 1-2) 8pm ESPN
The words, "sphincter tightening" could be used to describe Michigan fans if they drop this one. Once again, michigan has a tough finishing kick and a loss here could easily lead to another 1-7 Big Ten finish. On the plus side, the state economy will be bolstered by a growing torch and pitchfork industry.
Michigan 28, Penn State 20