For the second time this season Purdue is in the pseudo-featured 3:30 Big Ten game, which is tremendous progress for us. Sure, our final two home games are the Morgan Burke Special noon kickoffs (NW is no official yet, but do you REALLY think that is not going to be at noon?), but we get the national broadcast in a featured game.
There are six Big Ten games this week with only Minnesota and Michigan State having the week off. That's good too. Minnesota needs to go sit in the corner and think about what it has done after last week.
Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) at Iowa (5-2, 2-1) Noon, BTN
Black Heart Gold Pants Preview
I still don't know how Northwestern beat Wisconsin, but for all their struggles they can still make a bowl game. They get to play Illinois and Michigan, plus games at Iowa and Purdue are likely winnable. As we have seen lately, Iowa tends to struggle a little too much with the Wildcats. The Hawkeyes, despite the loss at Iowa, control their destiny to win the West if they avoid tripping in this game. That's because they still have to play the other three contenders. Ferentz should get his team to bowl eligibility in a game between two offensively challenged teams. Iowa 21, Northwestern 14
Maryland (5-3, 2-2) at Penn State (4-3, 1-3) Noon, ESPN2
Despite Maryland just now joining the Big Ten this is a rivalry. No, really! It has a Wikipedia page and everything! Sure, Penn State is 35-1-1 all-time against Maryland and the one win came in 1961 for the Terrapins, but it probably has more of a historical base than any other Big Ten rivalry Penn State has. The two haven't played since 1993 and despite the long dominance by the Nittany Lions, I can see Maryland winning this one quite easily. Maryland 27, Penn State 24
Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1) at Rutgers (5-3, 1-3) Noon, ESPN
So Rutgers gets the same thing that we're going to go through with getting Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon back-to-back. I would like to thank them in advance for wearing down both backs as much as they can. Last week Wisconsin finally looked like the dominant Wisconsin that we're used to seeing. While the Rutgers defense has been respectable, it has gotten shredded the last two games. If it returns in some capacity this week my hope for a Purdue upset of the Badgers will skyrocket. Wisconsin 38, Rutgers 24
Indiana (3-4, 0-3) at Michigan (3-5, 1-3) 3:30pm, BTN
Are these the two worst teams in the Big Ten now? I have nothing but confusion here. Regardless, both teams probably won't be bowl eligible at the end of the year. If Indiana wins it still has some hope since the Hoosiers could win 2 of 3 from Rutgers, Penn State, and Purdue, but they lack a quarterback. Their current starter has played a full game and has 11 yards! Even then, Michigan's offense is such a mess that they could make the IU defense look good. Both of these teams are just a mess right now, but my gut says Indiana wins because they have the one advantage in Tevin Coleman. Either way, if you watch this entire game as a neutral fan your eyeballs will be bleeding at the end. Indiana 17, Michigan 14
Purdue (3-5, 1-3) at Nebraska (7-1, 3-1)
On paper this looks like it has major blowout potential. I have seen Purdue improve by leaps and bounds this year, especially since Austin Appleby took over. I have no doubt in my mind that the Boilers are 5-3 if he starts the season, as I think he beats Iowa and Central Michigan. Okay, the CMU game was just awful for everyone, but Appleby at least makes a difference against Iowa.
Unfortunately, the Nebraska defense is really, really good and I don't have any confidence in our defense. There are some pieces there, but they haven't put together a consistent outing yet. They are going to have to play at the same level they played at against Iowa (for three quarters, at least) just to have a chance.
Purdue is going to score some points, but I don't think it will be enough. This is a great offense that is really balanced and has only been contained by Michigan State. Unless the Cornhuskers completely screw up, they control this game. Nebraska 45, Purdue 28
Illinois (4-4, 1-3) at Ohio State (6-1, 3-0) 8pm, ABC
Really? THIS is your featured game of the week? You have an Ohio State team that is ramping its offense up to warp capabilities (albeit against awful teams) against an Illinois team that has played one good game in eight, even though it did come against Minnesota last week. Aside from the struggle at Penn State last week the Buckeyes have been crushing skulls since week two. They crush skulls again this week. Oho State 59, Illinois 17