Purdue can clinch bowl eligibility this week! I actually bought tickets to the Indiana game last night expecting it to be a game for a better bowl instead of one just to get to a bowl! What is happening? It is strange because we haven’t been in this position since 2007. When we went to bowl games in 2011, 2012, and 2017 we needed to beat Indiana all three times to get the necessary 6th victory. Now we can have it well before we go to Bloomington.
Across the Big Ten itself there is plenty to watch this week. Ohio State can win back the THE. Northwestern can all but clinch the Big Ten West. Rutgers… is going to get annihilated again.
#10 Ohio State (8-1, 5-1) at Michigan State (6-3, 4-2) Noon, FOX
Ohio State can gain back the THE. Michigan State still has it after winning it from us, but if they lose this it goes back to Ohio State until they lose to us again (2021 at the earliest) or they suffer an “equally calamitous loss”. Because of that, I am pulling for the Spartans. This would be the last chance OSU has to win it back until next season at the earliest, and if MSU loses it in a bowl game to an out of conference foe the chase begins. Michigan State 24, Ohio State 20
Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2) at #20 Penn State (6-3, 3-3) Noon, ABC
This was supposed to be the Big Ten championship game at one time. Now neither team is likely going to win their division. Wisconsin pulled out just enough to win last week against Rutgers, but Penn State got smoked. Which team is more overrated? With the Nittany Lions playing at home I give them a slight edge. Penn State 20, Wisconsin 17
Maryland (5-4, 3-3) at Indiana (4-5, 1-5) Noon, BTN
This is likely Maryland’s best shot at a bowl game, while Indiana needs this one and the Bucket for a bowl because they are not winning at Michigan. Maryland closes with Ohio State and Penn State, so a win here is probably needed. Neither team is exactly playing well on offense, either. I give Indiana and edge because their defense has had some moments this year. Either way, expect some weird stuff to happen in this one. Indiana 17, Maryland 13
Illinois (4-5, 2-4) at Nebraska (2-7, 1-5) Noon, BTN
The Illini vented on Minnesota last week. Nebraska’s offense has been pretty solid for a few weeks, too. Expect some points to be put up because both defenses are pretty lousy. There are going to be a ton of big runs in this one and I put the over/under on 40+ yard plays at 9. Nebraska 52, Illinois 42
#4 Michigan (8-1, 6-0) at Rutgers (1-8, 0-6) 3:30pm, BTN
There is going to be so much blood. Michigan 63, Rutgers 0
Northwestern (5-4, 5-1) at Iowa (6-3, 3-3) 3:30pm, FOX
Purdue needs an Iowa win here to open the door to the Big Ten West. We would still need to win out then and have Minnesota or Illinois upset the Wildcats too, but stranger things have happened. I mean Northwestern has a loss to Akron and nearly lost to both Nebraska and Rutgers. As long as Iowa keeps the door open we have hope. Iowa 27, Northwestern 24
Purdue (5-4, 4-2) at Minnesota (4-5, 1-5) 3:30pm, ESPN2
Purdue is expected to win here. We’re facing a team that just gave up 55 to Illinois and is trying to change its defense on the fly. How are they going to deal with Rondale Moore and D.J. Knox? How are they going to handle Terry Wright and Isaac Zico? What about Jared Sparks? Brycen Hopkins? Markell Jones? David Blough? Purdue has a ton of weapons right now. As always, if Blough leads an early scoring drive he’ll be off and running. Purdue 48, Minnesota 31