We have reached the end of the road. The Big Ten title game has already been decided and it will be Wisconsin against Ohio State. That leaves only bowl games to play for this week. Some teams will be playing for a better bowl, while others will be playing just to get in. Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Iowa have already clinched bowl eligibility. The Indiana-Purdue winner will become the 8th bowl team, while Minnesota could be the 9th if they pull off a huge upset of Wisconsin.
Oh, and it is rivalry week.
Iowa (6-5, 3-5) at Nebraska (4-7, 3-5) 4pm, Fox Sports 1
Nebraska has just about quit on the year, which is unfortunate for Purdue. Their last truly competitive moment was that last drive to beat Purdue and it may cost us a bowl game. The thing is, Iowa is so craven with their playcalling they could keep Nebraska in this. The worst kept secret in the conference is that Mike Riley is gone after this game. That makes it a rather dull affair, where an Iowa loss would just clinch the most Iowa season in history. Iowa 24, Nebraska 17
Ohio State (9-2, 7-1) at Michigan (8-3, 5-3) Noon, FOX
One of the more fun stats out there is that Purdue has more wins over Ohio State since 2004 than Michigan does. This is with Purdue in a full downslide and with fewer opportunities too. The Boilers are 3-5 against the Buckeyes since 2008 (and came damn close to a win in 2012 to make it 4-4), while Michigan is 1-12. The Buckeyes have ruled this century against the Wolverines, and I don’t see any reason that changes this weekend. Ohio State 31, Michigan 13
Indiana (5-6, 2-6) at Purdue (5-6, 3-5) Noon, ESPN2
Well, we know we probably won’t get blown out, as Purdue has been competitive in every game well into the second half. The fans will bring an energy that has been missing for a while and the players will definitely play with intensity. Statistically these teams are mostly even, but the Hoosiers have played a tougher schedule. In terms of common opponents, Indiana did better against Michigan, while Purdue did better against Wisconsin. Indiana crushed Rutgers while Purdue lost to them. Both beat Illinois in dull games. I think Indiana has the better offense and it showed against Rutgers, but it feels like everything for Purdue has been building for a cathartic release this week. Spencer Evans kicks a field goal late. Purdue 27, Indiana 24
Wisconsin (11-0, 8-0) at Minnesota (5-6, 2-6) 3:30pm, ABC
Minnesota’s offense was a complete no show last week, and they have been even less competitive against the Badgers than Michigan has been against Ohio State. Wisconsin has a playoff berth on the line. They have won 13 straight. Minnesota has not shown they have the horses to win this. The overall series is tied 59-59-8, so this would be the first time ever Wisconsin has had a winning record over Minnesota. Wisconsin 38, Minnesota 10
Penn State (9-2, 6-2) at Maryland (4-7, 2-6) 3:30pm, BTN
There is a reason to keep an eye on this if you’re a Purdue fan. If the Boilers win a Penn State win gets them to 10-2, putting them in a good spot to be picked for one of the New Year’s Six big money bowls. That gets more money into the conference and moves Purdue up a slot in the bowl pecking order. The Nittany Lions should win this, too. Penn State 55, Maryland 10
Michigan State (8-3, 6-2) at Rutgers (4-7, 3-5) 4pm, FOX
So this is the rivalry game now? Michigan State always seems to get dumped on for worst rivalry week game. Penn State was manufactured and before Nebraska joined they always felt like the team left out of a rivalry. I don’t see Rutgers exactly getting its offense back on track here. Michigan State 27, Rutgers 3
Northwestern (8-3, 6-2) at Illinois (2-9, 0-8) 4pm, Fox Sports 1
Is it possible to have negative attendance for a game? I don’t see how people are going to want to go sit outside after dark in the cold of Champaign and watch this. Northwestern is the hottest team in the league right now with 6 straight wins. Illinois has already packed it in for next season. Northwestern 34, Illinois 13