Around the Big Ten: Football - Week 8
Host Charlie Knezevic and analysts Ben Geller and Ben Serfass preview the upcoming Big Ten football games and review last week's action within the conference:
It’s another week of Big Ten football, and the divisional races are beginning to take shape. With a wide range of intriguing games this week, let’s jump right into what’s going on around the conference.
No. 4 Ohio State at Northwestern
The dominant Buckeyes return from their bye week to face a struggling Northwestern team, also coming off a bye following a 13-10 loss to Nebraska. It’s hard to see how the Wildcats will be able to make this one competitive, especially considering their immense difficulty moving the ball and scoring points on a consistent basis. The most points that Northwestern has posted in a Big Ten game this season is just 15. On the flip side, Justin Fields leads one of the five best offenses in college football. Expect Ohio State to win in convincing fashion.
Purdue at No. 23 Iowa
Iowa will play host to a Purdue team that picked up just its second win of the season against a Maryland team that has looked nothing like the once-promising team that opened the season. Jack Plummer straight up shredded the Terps with over 400 yards, three touchdowns and an 80% completion rate. Iowa continue to struggle on offense and is being kept afloat by a defense that held Penn State to 17 points last week and Michigan to 10 the week before. The Hawkeyes deserve the edge here at Kinnick Stadium because Purdue just isn’t trustworthy enough.
No. 20 Minnesota vs. Rutgers
The Gophers come into this week ranked and undefeated at a time when many of the top teams start beating up on each other. There’s no spread on this game yet according to ESPN’s PickCenter, but it’s probably close to Minnesota by 1000. So much has gone wrong for the Scarlet Knights this season, and it should be pointed out that ESPN lists their home venue as HighPoint.com Stadium, despite its name being changed to SHI Stadium this year. Beyond that silliness, Rutgers had some of its best players choose to redshirt after a coaching change was made. There’s just no way that this is the game that Minnesota finally loses. Mark Penn State on the calendar in that regard.
No. 6 Wisconsin vs. Illinois
Illinois actually gave Michigan a decent fight last week, scoring 25 unanswered points before finally ceding control. Illinois is a team that many thought was ready to take a step forward under Lovie Smith, but that hasn’t happened this year. Wisconsin is one of the most physical teams on either side of the ball, and this game has 200-yard Jonathan Taylor performance written all over it. The Badgers should cover.
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State
This is game of the week. College Gameday will be in State College on Saturday, and ESPN’s top announcing crew will have the call. Penn State is a decent enough favorite, and with the inconsistencies that the Wolverines have had on offense, it’s fairly understandable why the experts feel that the Nittany Lions should win comfortably. Michigan will probably come in focused early on, but it’s the attacking Penn State defense and an offense that is molding its identity with each passing week that will be able to pull out a statement win with a strong second half.
Other Big Ten games in Week 7:
Indiana at Maryland
Jeremy Ganes is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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