Friday, September 26, 2008

Your Week Five Big Ten Preview

Conference play has finally started in the Big Ten! Well, not until Saturday but still...!!! Two big games this weekend with Big Ten Championship implications.

The premier game of the weekend in the Big Ten is Illinois at Penn State. This is a night game in Beaver Stadium, so it won't be easy for Illinois to go in there and come out with a win. But the Illini showed last season that they can win big games on the road when they won in the toilet seat in Columbus. Last I saw, the line on this game had Penn State giving about 15 points. I've said before I think Penn State is overrated based on its cupcake schedule so far. Look for Illinois to keep this one close by putting a lot of points on the board, then pull off the upset in the end.

Wisconsin, the highest rated team in the Big Ten, travels to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines. In the last 17 games played at Michigan Stadium, Michigan is 16-1. The times they are a changing though, and Wisconsin comes in as about a touchdown favorite, sporting a 3-0 record and a top-ten ranking nationally. Michigan has a top five defense in the country against the run this year, but sack yardage accounts for most of the success. Stopping P.J. Hill and company behind Wisconsin's line of athletic Manginos will be the key to the game. For Wisconsin, the key will be slowing down the spread offense, which the Badgers have struggled with in the past, and forcing turnovers to set up a short field for the offense.

Purdue travels to Notre Dame in the Irish's third straight match-up with the Big Ten. Notre Dame looked awful last weekend against MSU, with an offense consisting of runs for little to no gains, followed by prayers lobbed up to receivers downfield by Jimmy Clausen. The only time ND was productive was with short, quick passes. Those quick strikes hurt Purdue last weekend against CMU, so if Notre Dame comes out with a good gameplan, they have a good chance. But hey, it's Weis. Purdue wins.

Northwestern travels to Iowa, the Buckeyes will host Minnesota, and Michigan State plays at Indiana. Picks?

  • Illinois- 38 Penn State- 34
  • Wisconsin- 27 Michigan- 21
  • Purdue- 30 Notre Dame- 16
  • Northwestern- 20 Iowa- 27
  • Ohio State- 42 Minnesota- 17
  • Michigan State- 38 Indiana- 14


eeks63 said...

Penn State may have had an easy schedule, but hey killed every team on it, including Oregon State, who smacked around USC last night.

I'm an Illini Alum, referred to this site by fellow alum Ethan.

I'ved watched every second of the Illini this season and they look soft. When Eastern and Louisiana run all over you, Penn State will be a challenge. I hope they can keep it close and win it in the fourth. But to be honest, I'm not too confident.

Stormin' Norman Disciple said...

On the other hand they put up a decent fight against Mizzou, a very good team. Perhaps they just play to the level of their competition. Do you really think they are going to just roll over to PSU?

Ethan said...

Agreed that they play to the level of their competition. Seems like it's an ongoing trait of both illini bball (when they were good) and football. Either way, i agree with all of StevieY's picks.

StevieY19 said...

That Oregon State result is troubling to my predictions. I made them before the game last night. Oops. Anyway, I still say this game is a toss-up. I think I'm mostly bitter against PSU because I can't get JoePa's performance on that Big Ten Network commercial out of my brain. "Come to Penn State!!!" God, he's a relic.

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