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Wisconsin Badgers Rooting Guide: Week 6

Plenty of B1G games this weekend — why spend time with your family?

Patrick Barron

Stupid bye week.

For all of last week’s offensive woes (and woe, there were many) this has been a very fun Badger team to watch. With the upcoming holiday weekend perfect for kicking back, cracking a cold beverage and watching the boys in cardinal and white, it is a near tragedy that the off-week falls early this year.

Regardless, there are other teams playing football in the Big Ten to offer us some modicum of solace. If we are being honest, it’s kind of a dog week for the conference. Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern are all on byes. The remaining ranked teams — the ones in Ohio and that state slightly north of Ohio -- play Indiana and Rutgers, respectively.

To top it all off, the Packers don’t play until Sunday night, so, if you absolutely had to pick a weekend to clean the gutters or wash the car or put the boat away this might be the one to do it. If nah, then here is the banquet you have in store:

Iowa vs. Minnesota 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN 2

Iowa (3-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) travels to Minneapolis to take on the Gophers. Iowa, well, Iowa’s had a rough year. They gave Kirk Ferentz an interesting contract extension and then promptly lost to North Dakota State. They also lost to a Northwestern team that probably wouldn’t make the top three in the MAC (note: I am still terrified of the Badgers upcoming trip to Evanston).

The Gophers (3-1, 0-1) have made the rounds on the “State” schools, defeating Oregon State, Indiana State, and Colorado State before dropping a 29-26 loss to Penn State in Happy Valley. Minnesota has gotten some dark horse buzz as a potential Big Ten West champion, which means they’ll probably finish sixth (note: Kirk Herbstreit’s Twitter is @kirkherbstreit).

Who Should I Root For?

Meh? Somebody is walking out of here with two conference losses and that’s swell by me. In a vacuum, I’d say that the Badgers are better off with an Iowa loss, but man, I’m kind of okay either way.

Maryland vs. Penn State 12:00 p.m. ET on BTN

Maryland (4-0, 1-0) is kinda good this year. Head coach D.J. Durkin has the Terps playing well with wins over national powerhouses Howard, Florida International, Central Florida, and Purdue.

Penn State (3-2, 1-1) is not particularly good this year. They’ve already played James Franklin into an early season vote of confidence, with losses to rival Pitt and Michigan bracketed by wins against Kent State, Temple and Minnesota.

Who Should I Root For?

Maryland, obviously. Any opportunity for the football world to Fear the Turtle must be maximized. I spoke to the biggest Terps fan I knew to get the lowdown on this game and was somewhat shocked to learn that there is apparently a long standing blood feud between the schools (lopsided as it may be, as Maryland has won only twice since 1917). Terrapin Nation is fired up and ready for the Nittany Lions.

Purdue vs. llinois 3:30 p.m. ET on BTN

Purdue (2-2, 0-1) is pretty much exactly what we expected at the start of the year. They lost to Cincinnati and Maryland while defeating Eastern Kentucky and Nevada. I feel it important to note that the Maryland loss was 50-7.

Illinois (1-3, 0-1) is struggling under Lovie Smith. They beat Murray State and were thrashed by North Carolina, Western Michigan, and Nebraska by a total score of 113-48 (closest loss was a 34-10 waxing at home to Western Michigan). Blame is going around, from the existence of directional Illinois schools (weird) to the running game, which never bodes well.

Who Should I Root For?

This is kind of the poor, sad puppy bowl. I’m guessing this is each team’s chance for a Big Ten win this year. In terms of pure self-interest and schadenfreude, Purdue’s the pick, I guess.

BYU vs. Michigan State 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN 2

BYU (Independent, 2-3 overall) does not have a conference but they do have a pretty tough schedule, with losses against Utah, UCLA and West Virginia bracketed by wins against Arizona and Toledo.

Michigan State (2-2, 0-2) needs to get right and this might be the week against a BYU team that gave up 53 points against Toledo at home. Sparty lost to Indiana 24-21 last week, so expect angry green men on Saturday.

Who Should I Root For?

As much as it would be nice to watch the tailspin continue, the more Michigan State loses, the less impressive that big win looks. I’m pulling for Sparty to right the ship and get back to their winning ways against the boys from Provo.

Indiana vs. No. 2 Ohio State 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Indiana (3-1, 1-0) has looked spry this year with wins over Florida International, Ball State, and last week’s upset over Michigan State. It’s only loss came against an undefeated Wake Forest team. The Hoosiers dare to dream as the match up with the No. 2 Buckeyes in Columbus.

Ohio State has run the table thus far with wins against Bowling Green, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rutgers. They are a very good football team. Also, there’s this.

Who Should I Root For?

I don’t know about you, but I want Ohio State undefeated (and No. 1, if possible) coming into next week’s sold out throwdown in Madison under the lights.

No. 4 Michigan vs. Rutgers 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN 2

Michigan (5-0, 2-0) is also a good football team, as we all saw last week. There is always a risk of letdown after a physical match up like the one they had last week with the Badgers, but the king of khaki no doubt kept his boys fresh with an ever more intricate set of special drills.

Rutgers (2-3, 0-2) is trying, man, they’re trying. They beat Howard AND New Mexico for crying out loud. Sure, those losses against Washington (48-13), Iowa (just 14-7 - come on, that shows progress), and Ohio State (58-0) aren’t the best look but they are trying hard.

Who Should I Root For?

I like my vengeance served cold. As much as I like former defensive coordinator Chris Ash and wish him well, I want Michigan to win out so UW can get another piece of them in Big Ten title game. The Badgers are the ones who knock, Captain Completion, remember that.