The first team in the 14 team Big Ten can become bowl ineligible this weekend. Purdue can become the first team to seven losses and officially clinch a seat at home for the holidays, which is sad when you consider that it is possible to schedule four wins and anyone should be able to scrape out two conference wins. Anyone except Darrell Hazell & Co.
For the second week in a row there are only five games. Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan State, and Indiana all have a seat this week. There are also three games back at noon as Morgan Burke intended for Big Ten games.
Illinois (4-3, 1-2) at Penn State (6-2, 3-1) Noon, ESPN2
Illinois is in a bit of a tough spot, needing to win two of their final five games to get back to a bowl. They are also missing Josh Ferguson and even with Purdue on the schedule they can't consider it an automatic win since the Boilers won in Champaign last year. Penn State is probably one of the more boring teams in the Big Ten too. They can beat the non-ranked teams on their schedule, but have lost both games against good teams. That probably means a win here for the Nittany Lions. Penn State 27, Illinois 21
Nebraska (3-5, 1-3) at Purdue (1-6, 0-3) Noon, ESPNU
When was the last time we have felt this demoralized about Purdue football? Has it ever happened? Nebraska has a losing record and is starting a backup quarterback in his first career start. They have an awful pass defense and no strong stud running back. Purdue is even coming off of a bye. Given all that, I still expect to get blown out, mostly because I think giving this coaching staff two weeks to "prepare" does more harm than good. I keep hoping that position coaches Marcus Freeman, terry Malone, and Jafar Williams, who have done a great job, will rebel and take over the braintrust. As long as John Shoop is in charge we know there is no glaring weakness, such as the nation's 127th rated pass defense, that he can't ignore. Nebraska 34, Purdue 10
Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) at Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1) Noon, BTN
Rutgers is another team seeking a path to bowl eligibility. They already got a needed win over Indiana and still have an Army game in their back pocket. That means a 2-2 finish against Big Ten slate of Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, and Maryland for the $300 1989 Ford Aerostar Trophy. Wisconsin's offense is one you can set your watch to. In their last five wins the have scored 28, 28, 23, 24, and 24 points. Wisconsin 25, Rutgers 10
Maryland (2-5, 0-3) at Iowa (7-0, 3-0) 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2
Is Maryland worse than Purdue? That is a cripple fight we won't get to see this year. It's unfortunate, as we would likely get to see the first Big Ten Conference game ever relegated to BTN+ and run by StudentU. Right now I would give Maryland an edge because at least they have beaten an FBS team in South Florida. It won't help them here. Iowa 34, Maryland 13
Michigan (5-2, 2-1) at Minnesota (4-3, 1-2) 7pm, ESPN
I maintain that Minnesota is not a good team. They are one-dimensional with a good defense, but have a ton of injuries. They are also playing at home this week with Jerry Kill as inspiration to keep the Jug. Sure, this could be a rockfight between two good defenses, but sometimes there is a special beauty in that. Minnesota 14, Michigan 10Cornhuskers vs Boilermakers coverage