Big Ten football predictions: week 5

This week began the same as right after Labor Day. So I’m real surprised that we’re together this week. But how could I miss out on writing about going 6-0 last week? To be honest, it was a pretty easy week. Obviously I was going to pick Wisconsin. I picked Ohio State to score 45. The Buckeyes put up 42 in the second quarter alone. UConn stood no chance against Indiana, and Michigan State’s offense showed up. Rutgers still stinks and Nebraska played from behind most of the game, but they still managed to beat Illinois.

We’re still not completely into Big Ten play. This schedule is really messing with me. Six out of the seven games are between conference opponents, but Iowa plays Middle Tennessee. God bless the Blue Raiders. The Big Ten has a Friday night game to screw with us even more. I won’t even be able to watch the game because I’ll be at work, but I have another Saturday off that will be watching exciting Big Ten football.

18-3 is a fantastic record. Let’s keep the momentum going.

Friday, September 27

#12 Penn State at Maryland

TV Schedule: FS1, 7 p.m. CT

Stadium: Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD

Maryland finally came back down to Earth two weeks ago against Temple. The Terrapins put up over 60 points against FCS Howard and an underperforming Syracuse team. But of all teams to get its first loss to in a great start to a season, Temple was not the one it should’ve been. Penn State on the other hand rocked FCS Idaho, beat up on Buffalo but barely defeated Pitt. In two FBS games and a week off, the Nittany Lions went from 15th to 12th. Sean Clifford is a reliable quarterback who hasn’t thrown a pick yet. Former five-star recruit Ricky Slade though is underperforming a ton. If Maryland wants to bounce back and get a quality win, the offense has to run through Josh Jackson and Anthony McFarland.

Prediction: Penn State 24, Maryland 20


Saturday, September 28

Northwestern at #8 Wisconsin

TV Schedule: ABC, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI

That #8 looks mighty fine in front of Wisconsin. There was no beating Northwestern last year in the Big Ten West. This year is a different story. Jack Coan looked great against cupcakes, but he looked just as good against Michigan. Granted the Wolverines are overrated, but still. There’s no getting around the fact it was a fantastic win. Nothing is going right for Northwestern. They lost to a struggling Stanford team. The Wildcats did beat UNLV but allowed Michigan State to score 31. There has been three different quarterbacks used this season. Those three will going up against a new and improved Jim Leonard defense, and Johnathan Taylor has the Heisman wrapped up.

Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 10


Middle Tennessee at #14 Iowa

TV Schedule: ESPN 2, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

Iowa shouldn’t have a problem with Middle Tennessee. They put up 30 or more on the team they were supposed to beat and won an ugly game against rival Iowa State on the road. Nathan Stanley is easily one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten. Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young and Tyler Goodson are handling the backfield just fine. Asher O’Hara has put up a ton of yards through the air and on the ground for the Blue Raiders but only have one FCS win to show for it. A.J. Epenesa is and exciting pass rusher for Iowa that should have a big day.

Prediction: Iowa 31, Middle Tennessee 7


Rutgers at #20 Michigan

TV Schedule: BTN, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan has a nice bounce back game I guess. The Wolverines come back home, pissed. It doesn’t matter that Shea Patterson can’t win ball games through the air. Also the fact that Zach Charbonnet isn’t healthy either. No one on the defense looks all that impressive, but this is Rutgers at the Big House. The Scarlet Knights have a 48-point performance against UMass as their only highlight of the season. Isaih Pacheco is a pretty decent runner with 245 yards and four touchdowns. But their quarterback situation is not good and have no chance against Michigan.

Prediction: Michigan 35, Rutgers 13


Indiana at #25 Michigan State

TV Schedule: BTN, 2:30 p.m. CT

Stadium: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI

I’m not tempted to pick Indiana in this one only because the game is in East Lansing. But it’s also hard to shy away from the fact that the Spartans did score 31 points last week. They only did that once last season in Big Ten play and that was against Indiana. Brian Lewerke threw three touchdowns. Elijah Pitts ran for 76 yards and a score. They picked off Northwestern quarterbacks four times. Indiana has a bright side though. Their only loss came to Ohio State by a ton. Between Peyton Ramsey and Michael Penix, Indiana has a decent aerial attack. They can also pressure the quarterback. It’s going to be a lot closer than some might think.

Prediction: Michigan State 20, Indiana 10


Minnesota at Purdue

TV Schedule: ESPN 2, 2:30 p.m. CT

Stadium: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN

Purdue has one of the most exciting receivers in the country. Rondale Moore has 27 catches for over 350 yards but only two touchdowns. It hasn’t been stellar competition for the Boilermakers, but there aren’t a lot of cupcakes like some teams have had. There was a loss to Nevada, win over Vandy but got rocked by TCU. Minnesota hasn’t won by more than a touchdown all year, but their offense has been great. Tanner Morgan is a great replacement at quarterback and Mohamed Ibrahim is trying to get healthy. Both teams are coming off their bye week. Purdue desperately needs a win and can you imagine Minnesota starting out 4-0?

Prediction: Purdue 31, Minnesota 28


#5 Ohio State at Nebraska

TV Schedule: ABC, 6:30 p.m. CT

Stadium: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE

This is obviously the game of the week in the Big Ten. Nebraska’s season last year started really bad. But as soon as they took a great turn, they ran into the Buckeyes and only lost by less than a touchdown. Almost the same team returns in Scott Frost’s second season. The only hiccup was a four-point loss on the road to Colorado. I’m still a big believer in Adrian Martinez. The Cornhuskers have three great running backs and a dynamite receiver in JD Spielman. But Ohio State is still Ohio State even without Urban Meyer. Justin Fields is in the Heisman discussion. JK Dobbins hasn’t missed a beat. And K.J. Hill is reliable as ever. Chase Young already has seven sacks this season. Being in Nebraska is really intriguing, but Ohio State just has so much star power.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Nebraska 27

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