We’re almost to the end. Even if Purdue plays and wins the last three games to go 5-3, a best case scenario at this point, what did we accomplish? Will there even be bowls? At least it would show progress and a promising look to next year. We now have multiple players opting out like Jared Sparks and every week feels like it hangs by a thread. We have already lost two games again this week and it is a farce that Ohio State could get locked out of the Big Ten title game if it simply doesn’t play one of its next two.
When I spoke with the Corn Nation guys this week they pointed out that the entire year felt like a glorified exhibition. It is like spring football on steroids. We’re not scrimmaging against ourselves, but against someone else every week. The Big Ten has also been baaaaaaaad. We have one excellent team in Ohio State, three pretty good teams in Iowa, Indiana, and Northwestern, one team that might be good, but never plays in Wisconsin, and the rest are varying levels of butt each week. How varying? Michigan State beat Northwestern but lost to Rutgers. Purdue beat Iowa but lost to Rutgers. Illinois blew out Nebraska and beat Rutgers, but lost by 27 to Minnesota.
How much red ass do we see this week?
#4 Ohio State (4-0) at Michigan State (2-3) Noon, ABC
As long as this game is played, Ohio State should win. That is where the Buckeyes are right now: Can they get the games they need to make the playoff? They are going to be heavily favored in each. There is also the factor that even if Michigan cancels next week the conference is going to do everything in its power to get them a sixth game even if it means shifting opponents before the title game in Indy. Ohio State 45, Michigan State 21
Penn State (1-5) at Rutgers (2-4) Noon, Fox Sports 1
Rutgers is not a bad team. They are not necessarily good, but they aren’t bad, and they are about 3 plays from being 4-2. Even with the win last week Penn State is a mess and has not been playing with the intensity that Rutgers has. The Scarlet Knights know this is an excellent opportunity to get a win and keep positive momentum on their rebuild. Rutgers 31, Penn State 27
Nebraska (1-4) at Purdue (2-3) Noon, BTN
Somewhere, Morgan Burke is smiling. Purdue is playing at home, at noon, on BTN. Maybe that will help by being relegated to our usual corner of the TV after three home games that started at 3:30pm or later. I doubt it because of Bob Diaco. Nebraska runs a read option that favors the quarterback keeper and their top running back is out. We know what is coming. Diaco’s defense won’t stop it. We will still score, but not get enough stops in another one possession loss. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Nebraska 38, Purdue 34
#12 Indiana (5-1) at #16 Wisconsin (2-1) 3:30pm, ABC
Here is a pretty compelling game as Indiana faces a pretty strong test against a team that has stopped and started so many times this year it is like they are learning to drive a stick. Jack Tuttle also takes over at quarterback full time. How does he look in place of Michael Penix Jr.? Knowing our luck, he will struggle, then throw for 4 TDs and run for two more against Purdue. He probably won’t struggle though as Indiana is legit good. Indiana 34, Wisconsin 27
#19 Iowa (4-2) at Illinois (2-3) 3:30pm, Fox Sports 1
At least the Iowa win looks really good right now. It seems like they just needed a week or two to truly round into form. Illinois is playing with some confidence now too. There will be a lot of running in this one. That means this game could get done in under three hours. I think we get an Iowa win on their way to 7-2 and a decent bowl game if such things still exist. Iowa 24, Illinois 14