It is fun that Purdue threw a massive wrench into the Big Ten East standings last week. Can they do it again? Purdue at Ohio State might be the Big Ten game of the week as we hit the home stretch. We could use some help though. We still need Minnesota and Wisconsin to lose, both of them likely needing a pair of losses. At least they still play each other, so one of those two (or more likely four) losses will happen.
It makes for an interesting week.
#6 Michigan (8-1, 5-1) at Penn State (6-3, 3-3) Noon, ABC
This looked like a much better matchup a few weeks ago, but The Nittany Lions have fallen off after losses to Iowa and Illinois. Now they have to face a Michigan team that is merely trying to get to its annual Ohio State loss with only one more loss. Only Penn State and Maryland stand in the way, and Penn State has been exposed a bit. Also, because of tiebreakers, they probably need Michigan State to lose again. Michigan 27, Penn State 21
Northwestern (3-6, 1-5) at Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2) Noon, ESPN2
It would be really nice if Northwestern could help us out by beating Wisconsin, then losing to us in Wrigley next week. Realistically, this is a team that cannot score enough. Aside from the 21-7 win over Rutgers, the Wildcats have scored only 21, 7, 7, 14, and 12 in conference play. The Badgers have won five in a row and have given up only 23 points in their four straight Big Ten wins. Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 7
Rutgers (4-5, 1-5) at Indiana (2-7, 0-6) Noon, BTN
If Indiana loses this one they face the very real possibility, and maybe even likelihood, of going winless in Big Ten play. Even as a Hoosier hater I find that surprising. They shouldn’t be this bad. Rutgers almost certainly needs this for bowl eligibility, while the Hoosiers are another broken offense team. Has Indiana quit on the season? I certainly hope so, except for next week when they can do us a favor by beating Minnesota. Rutgers 17, Indiana 13
Minnesota (6-3, 4-2) at #20 Iowa (7-2, 4-2) 3:30pm, BTN
Here is an excellent chance to help Purdue. We want Iowa to win, and then for Minnesota to beat Wisconsin. Ideally that happens, while Indiana also beats Minnesota and Wisconsin gets upset by a Nebraska team that finally puts it all together. That opens the door fully for Purdue, as we would only need to beat Northwestern and Indiana to win the west. Let’s go, OMHR. Iowa 20, Minnesota 17
#19 Purdue (6-3, 4-2) at #4 Ohio State (8-1, 6-0) 3:30pm, ABC
Purdue is playing its best football in many years. They have had Ohio State’s number this century. I don’t think any of that will metter. This one is in Columbus, not their personal hell of West Lafayette. Purdue has won in Madison, State College, and Ann Arbor much more recently than Columbus. The Buckeyes have a ridiculously talented offense that was held in check by Nebraska, but keeping them down two games in a row is nearly impossible. Purdue will move the ball, but they can score in so many ways. Ohio State 45, Purdue 31
Maryland (5-4, 2-4) at #7 Michigan State (8-1, 5-1) 4pm, FOX
What Michigan State team do we get? What Maryland team do we get? The Terrapins have the passing game to take full advantage of an awful Spartan pass defense. The Spartans are also trying to avoid looking ahead to a huge game with Ohio State. Maryland has only really put points on the board against Indiana. Last week was a wake up for Michigan State, and I don’t see them dropping this one at home. Michigan State 34, Maryland 17