Around the Big Ten: Week 9

Audio/Story posted October 27, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Tom Shively

PODCAST:

Joe Esquivel-Murphy, Zach Seyko, Will Desautelle and Jack Raynor tell you everything you need to know about this week's matchups around the Big Ten.

 

As October winds down, we are starting to find out the identities of each team. Ohio State’s loss last weekend shoved Michigan into the spotlight as the Big Ten’s best, while five teams have checked into the AP Top 25, including Penn State’s first ranking since 2011. Here are the games to watch for this Saturday as well as picks for all six games.

No. 7 Nebraska (7-0, 4-0 B1G) at No. 11 Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2 B1G), 8 p.m. ET

Big Ten West supremacy is on the line in this primetime showdown as the Badgers are playing their fifth game against a ranked team. Wisconsin is the highest-ranked two-loss team in the nation and can take a huge step towards a New Year’s Six bowl if they prevail. The key matchup is Nebraska’s offense against Wisconsin’s defense, as the Huskers rank third in the Big Ten in scoring while the Badgers lead the conference in scoring defense. The Huskers can plant themselves firmly in the driver’s seat to the Big Ten Championship Game if they can walk out of Camp Randall with a victory.

No. 2 Michigan (7-0, 4-0 B1G) at Michigan State (2-5, 0-4 B1G), 12 p.m. ET

We all remember the botched punt on the last play of the game that led to a Michigan State victory last year in Ann Arbor, but the Spartans are no match for Michigan this year. The depleted Michigan State defense is going to have a lot of trouble trying to stop the balance of Michigan’s attack. However, don’t be surprised if this is close, as the Wolverines are playing only their second road game this season in a hostile environment, having lost in their last four trips to East Lansing.

No. 24 Penn State (5-2, 3-1 B1G) at Purdue (3-4, 1-3 B1G), 12 p.m. ET

On paper, the Nittany Lions should cruise, but they need to be careful to avoid a letdown after a milestone upset over then-No. 2 Ohio State at home. The Boilermakers gave Nebraska some trouble last week in Lincoln and are still hungry for their first win under interim head coach Gerad Parker. Purdue quarterback David Blough has already eclipsed 2,000 yards passing, but his 11 interceptions are tied for the conference lead. Saquon Barkley should have a dominant day as Purdue’s rushing defense ranks last in the Big Ten, surrendering 214.5 yards per game.

Northwestern (4-3, 3-1 B1G) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1, 3-1 B1G), 3:30 p.m. ET

The Wildcats have turned their season around dramatically, winning three in a row and four of their last five since a disastrous 0-2 start. They will be tested in Columbus, however, as the Buckeyes will look for a bounce back game after their first true road loss under Urban Meyer. Meyer made it a point of emphasis to get Curtis Samuel more involved on offense this week, as he is the best playmaker on the team. The key for the Buckeyes will be keeping J.T. Barrett upright, as he was sacked six times in last weekend’s loss. Northwestern is last in the Big Ten in total offense, meaning the Ohio State defense could be in for a field day.

Game Picks

Penn State over Purdue

Minnesota over Illinois

Indiana over Maryland

Michigan over Michigan State

Ohio State over Northwestern

Wisconsin over Nebraska

 

Tom Shively is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at shivelyt97@gmail.com