We’ve reached the halfway point of the season. A lot of teams have had byes, are on bye, or will be next week. For our Boilers, a 3-4 mark is needed the rest of the way to make the postseason, and that means at least one upset is needed, possibly of a to 10 team as Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan State are a combined 17-1 on the year. Purdue is absolutely capable of 3 more wins. Of that I have zero doubt, but one probably has to come in the next three games.
Otherwise it is a thin week for the league with five teams on bye. We also get the final non-conference game of the year as Purdue’s next opponent takes on Army.
#10 Michigan State (6-0, 3-0) at Indiana (2-3, 0-2) Noon, Fox Sports 1
This is the fourth game this year against a current top 10 team for Indiana. That is an insane number for this early in the season, and they still have two more to go. If Indiana can’t beat any of them it means they must go undefeated in the other four games for their GREATEST SEASON EVER OH MY GOD ROSE BOWL to even reach the postseason. Michigan State has been the surprise of the league so far, barely scraping by in some games and blowing their opponents out in others. This could be a trap for them. Michigan State 27, Indiana 21
Nebraska (3-4, 1-3) at Minnesota (3-2, 1-1) Noon, ESPN2
Is this a bowl elimination game? If Nebraska loses they would have to upset either Iowa or Ohio State to make the postseason. Minnesota has a much easier path with Northwestern and Illinois to go, plus only Iowa as a ranked team left. A lot of the chatter is that Nebraska is a good team because they have played Oklahoma, Michigan, and Michigan State tough. They still lost, and lost to Illinois, which is… not good. They need this game or the season is a lost one for them. Nebraska 34, Minnesota 27
Rutgers (3-3, 0-3) at Northwestern (2-3, 0-2) Noon, BTN
This is pretty much a must-win for Rutgers, who has a very real shot at reaching a bowl game. They are halfway there and still get Northwestern and Illinois. They also have Indiana and Maryland as a chance for win #6. Northwestern is definitely in a “bad Northwestern” year and has been very disappointing. The 56-7 loss at Nebraska last week was pretty shocking. In all three losses they have started incredibly slow, and both wins are over an FCS team and a very bad Ohio team. Rutgers 30, Northwestern 17
Purdue (3-2, 1-1) at #2 Iowa (6-0, 3-0)
I have a strange good feeling about this one, which is probably a bad sign overall. The good news is I am not going, as I went to Iowa City two years ago and brought the loss with me. Brohm and David Bell have Iowa’s number. Until proven otherwise, I am going to assume Bell scorches their secondary like he has the last two years. I also like getting them off a bye while they had a huge game last week. You know what? Why Not? TRAP GAME! Purdue 24, Iowa 20
Army (4-1) at Wisconsin (2-3) 8pm, BTN
If I had to pick a most likely win in this next 5 game stretch it would be at home next week against Wisconsin. It is odd saying that, given the Badger’s dominance over Purdue, but they have not been good offensively so far. The three losses are to ranked teams though, and the two wins are over bad teams. Now they get a decent Army team that is running the always tricky triple option. The Black Knights only lost at defending MAC champ Ball State. Given both team’s propensity to run the ball this game might be over by 10pm. If Army wins this, Wisconsin is ripe to end the streak next week. Wisconsin 27, Army 24