Welcome back to the Big Ten weekend preview! This weekend’s games are mostly lackluster, especially in the east, but there are games with west division repercussions.
Let’s dive in.
1. Illinois at Iowa, 2:30 P.M. on FS1 (Iowa -3.0)
Iowa still has locked down a share of the Big Ten West title, but they haven’t yet booked their trip to Indy. On Saturday, they can do just that with a win at home against Illinois.
Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska all have a small window to make it to Indy but it depends on everyone helping each other. First and foremost, Illinois must beat Iowa on Saturday. Iowa beat Rutgers 22-0 last Saturday, but also lost cornerback and punt returner Cooper DeJean to a season-ending injury this week in practice.
Illinois is coming off an overtime win against Indiana last Saturday and is expected to have starting quarterback Luke Altmeyer back from injury. Not sure if Illinois can get the job done, but I can assure you it will be a low-scoring game, which means it should be a close game.
2. Nebraska at Wisconsin, 6:30 P.M. on NBC (Wisconsin -5.5)
Like I said above, somehow, despite both teams losing in back to back weeks, Wisconsin and Nebraska both could still grab a share of the West.
For Nebraska, they need to win out and Illinois needs to win out. For Wisconsin, they need to win out, they need Illinois to win out, and they need Nebraska to beat Iowa.
Of course, the key is that Illinois would need to beat Iowa in Iowa City. I am not sure that will happen, which means this game would be irrelevant and sent down to No. 7 in this weekend preview. Neither of these teams have earned this and both are bad.
For more information on Saturday’s game, head on over to our home site.
3. Michigan at Maryland, 11:00 A.M. on FOX (Michigan -19)
Jim Harbaugh is suspended which means Maryland might have a chance??? Wouldn’t that be something if Maryland knocked off Michigan a week before they were supposed to play Ohio State?
A couple things are going in Maryland’s favor. First, they are coming off a win. Second, they are playing at home. Third, Michigan is coming off an emotional win last week against Penn State.
Other than that, everything favors Michigan. But, who knows, maybe Maryland can catch “America’s team” looking ahead.
4. Purdue at Northwestern, 11:00 A.M. on BTN (Purdue -3.0)
Purdue is somehow favored in this one? Does that make sense to anyone?
I suppose if you saw Purdue demolish Minnesota last weekend, you might think they have a chance here. But, Northwestern can guarantee bowl eligibility this week. I doubt that they let that slip. Unless someone knows something that I don’t?
5. Michigan State at Indiana, 11:00 A.M. on BTN (Indiana -3.5)
This game is only this high because of the spread. That’s it. Neither of these teams are good. Neither are interesting. But. unfortunately, this is the state of the Big Ten before rivalry week. There aren’t any other games that are projected to be close.
6. Rutgers at Penn State, 11:00 A.M. on FS1 (Penn State -19.5)
Both of these teams are coming off losses and neither team is in the conversation for winning the East. Penn State can essentially sleep walk into their New Year’s Six bowl game. Rutgers is bowl-eligible. This game is meaningless except for bowl positioning.
7. Minnesota at Ohio State, 3:00 P.M. on BTN (Ohio State -27.5)
Minnesota loses back to back to Illinois and Purdue and then has to play Ohio State? What a disaster season for P.J. Fleck. At least they beat Iowa?
Anything is possible in the wild, wild west. Ohio State should cover with ease while Minnesota just tries to stay healthy for Axe week.