It’s that time of year again. After an absence last year, the full Rivalry Week is back. We have Axes, Buckets, Hats, and more up for grabs.
We also have Rutgers and Maryland.
#16 Iowa (9-2, 6-2) at Nebraska (3-8, 1-7) 1:30pm, BTN
Four teams can still tie for the Big Ten West, but only three can win it. For Iowa it is simple: They need to win and have Minnesota beat Wisconsin. The downside is that eliminates Minnesota, who needs Iowa to lose, as well as Wisconsin to win and Purdue to win in order to force the one tiebreaker scenario (a 4-way) that favors them. As for Nebraska, we know what they do. If they lose this by six points or less they will go 1-8 in conference play despite outscoring their nine league opponents overall. They are currently +7 in point differential in the conference. By comparison, Purdue is only +3 and we’re 5-3. Iowa 24, Nebraska 20
#2 Ohio State (10-1, 8-0) at #5 Michigan (10-1, 7-1) THE B1GGEST, NUDEST SATURDAY YET!!!!, FOX
The winner goes to the Big Ten Championship game and has the inside track to the Playoff. The loser likely goes to the Rose Bowl unless the West winner wins in Indy. Not a bad consolation prize for the Wolverines. Ohio State is the Death Star right now and given the past 20 years in the rivalry Michigan is not the small exhaust port right below the main port. Maybe if they could borrow Ross-Ade for a day, but we’re booked. Ohio State 45, Michigan 31
Maryland (5-6, 2-6) at Rutgers (5-6, 2-6) Noon, BTN
The winner gets a bowl game because they swept a weak non-conference slate and beat Indiana and Illinois. The loser stays home. So much Detroit hasn’t been on the line since John DeLorean left General Motors. We should raise the stakes for this rivalry. The winner gets the loser’s full Big Ten Network TV share in the form of a giant novelty check at midfield. Rutgers 24, Maryland 23
Penn State (7-4, 4-4) at #12 Michigan State (9-2, 6-2) 3:30pm, ABC
Michigan State can’t win the East and is probably not going to get picked for the Rose Bowl if the Michigan-Ohio State winner wins the title game and goes to the playoff, but they are still in the running for an at large spot in one of the other big bowls. That helps Purdue too, as it adds a lot more money to the overall Big Ten bowl payouts. The Fiesta and Peach Bowls will be watching this with great interest. Michigan State 27, Penn State 21
Northwestern (3-5, 1-7) at Illinois (4-7, 3-5) 3:30pm, BTN
There is a small chance Illinois can go to a bowl game with an APR waiver and a win, but that is merely a sign we have too many bowl games. At least Illinois has shown some signs of life. They were not that far from beating Maryland, Rutgers, and Purdue, so this could easily be a 7-win team. They will be a lot better next season. Not a “win the West” team, but a better team. Northwestern is just bad and can’t pass. Illinois 17, Northwestern 13
Indiana (2-9, 0-8) at Purdue (7-4, 5-3) 3:30pm, Fox Sports 1
Indiana’s offense is very bad. If Stevie Scott doesn’t play, it is going to be worse. If Purdue gives up more than 14 points it should be embarrassed. The Hoosiers struggle to move the ball, give up a lot of turnovers, and the defense will wear down. Purdue gets up early in this one and never lets them even think of an upset. Purdue 45, Indiana 13
#14 Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2) at Minnesota (7-4, 5-3) 4pm, FOX
The tiebreakers here are a bit weird. If Wisconsin wins, they are in the Big Ten championship game. It is that simple. If Minnesota and Iowa both win, it is Iowa, as they would be all alone at 7-2. If Minnesota wins, Iowa loses, and Purdue loses, it is a three-way tie that Wisconsin win because they would have the best divisional record at 5-1 since Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa would all be 1-1 against each other. If Iowa loses, Minnesota wins, and Purdue wins it becomes a 4-way tie. Minnesota and Wisconsin would each be 2-1 against the other three teams and Iowa and Purdue would be 1-2. The second tiebreaker is then head-to-head between Minnesota and Wisconsin, which would favor Minnesota. Minnesota fans are definitely pulling for Purdue and Nebraska, but Wisconsin is inevitable. Wisconsin 30, Minnesota 24