Once again, we have a Big Ten game that is COVID-ed out. This week it is Minnesota-Wisconsin. Even though this one is Minnesota’s and not Wisconsin’s fault, the third cancellation means Wisconsin is officially ineligible for the conference title game. It also makes the steal in Minneapolis even more frustrating because northwestern has now all but clenched the trip to Indianapolis. At this point the rest of the season feels like survival mode, really. I can’t even imagine what the bowl season will be like.
Nebraska (1-3) at #24 Iowa (3-2) 1pm, FOX
Iowa is playing really well and is even in the playoff top 25. That tells me Purdue would be if not for… well… you know. Their defense is playing really well and allowing Spencer Petras plenty of leeway to develop as the season goes on. Nebraska is also a complete and utter mess as evidenced by losing last week at home to Illinois by double digits. It probably means they lose big this week, then put it together next week in West Lafayette. Iowa 38, Nebraska 21
#4 Ohio State (4-0) Illinois (2-3) Noon, Fox Sports 1
Ohio State is due for their biannual weird Big Ten West road loss. Can Illinois be the team that delivers it? It sure seems unlikely, but the Illini have not been that bad winning two in a row here. They were even pretty good against Nebraska last week. It is probably not enough to knock out Ohio State, but it is a weird year and weird things can happen. Ohio State 48, Illinois 17
Maryland (2-1) at #12 Indiana (4-1) Noon, ESPN2
Maryland has missed the last two weeks due to COVID and Indiana won its moral victory Super Bowl last week. Taulia Tagovailoa is a fun player to watch and can cause a lot of trouble for the Hoosiers by running around and doing stuff. Will there be a letdown for Indiana after a strong effort in Columbus last week? They are still a very good team, but their running game has been pretty limited. I think they win, but I think we see lots of big plays both ways. Indiana 38, Maryland 31
Penn State (0-5) at Michigan (2-3) Noon, ABC
Do I do it?
Do I pull this one out?
What a mess of a game. Michigan has to be one of the few teams that feels like it is coming off of a loss despite a triple overtime win. They have been awful since week one against Minnesota. Penn State has been awful period except for the second half against Indiana. Both have looked like a complete mess for some time, but someone has to win. Michigan 21, Penn State 17
#8 Northwestern (5-0) at Michigan State (1-3) 3:30pm, ESPN2
Michigan State is another team that just looks really bad, but they still put it together enough to beat Michigan earlier. Northwestern is having one of those years where their defense is like, “Okay, we’re not giving up more than 20” and the offense is like, “Cool, we’ll just get 21.” Purdue is the only team that has scored on them in the second half, and that should continue. Northwestern 24, Michigan State 10
Rutgers (1-4) at Purdue (2-2) 4pm, Fox Sports 1
I want angry Purdue on Saturday. I want a team that comes out furious over what happened last week and just takes it out on a team. I am sorry that it is Rutgers, but they have the worst scoring defense in the conference and we have the best passing offense. I want some big plays from David Bell and Rondale Moore. I want turnovers. I want a convincing win after four close games. Purdue 42, Rutgers 28