Big Ten football predictions: Week 7

Last week featured either blowouts or low-scoring, close games. There was one non-conference game and Jonathan Taylor scored five touchdowns. Purdue was never in the game against Penn State. Maryland did take advantage of their bounce-back game against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have turned into the Miami Dolphins of the Big Ten.

Illinois did hold a lead against Minnesota for a little bit, but a 24-7 second half made me lose another pick where I went against Minnesota. Michigan’s defense finally showed up and beat Iowa by a touchdown. Northwestern’s defense showed up, but their offense is still a wreck. We had another primetime game that turned into a lopsided victory.

We have all conference games this week. And it’s my first Saturday that I work since football season started. I don’t work until 4, but the Badgers play at 2:30. Michigan State at Wisconsin is certainly going to be a great game. But the only game featuring two ranked teams is Penn State at Iowa. That game is at 6:30 and I’ll miss it completely. Maybe I’ll DVR it on my Hulu Live. Yes, I have that ability now.

I went 5-2 last week because somehow Minnesota is 5-0 and Iowa couldn’t do what Wisconsin did. My overall record is at 29-6. This is my last guaranteed week for a couple weeks.

Saturday, October 12

#16 Michigan at Illinois

TV Schedule: ABC, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

It was a big defensive battle between Michigan and Iowa. Shea Patterson looked like the normal Shea Patterson, but the defense really stepped it up. Iowa has had a really nice offense. Michigan’s defense finally showed up. They sacked Nathan Stanley eight times and three different guys came up with picks. Illinois is starting to look like the Illinois we’re used to seeing. Their first two losses came by four points or less. Then they got blown out by Minnesota. But Brandon Peters is showing a lot of promise at quarterback. Reggie Corbin is a great ground threat and Ricky Smalling can catch the ball. The defense will struggle if Shea Patterson gets things going.

Prediction: Michigan 31, Illinois 14


Rutgers at Indiana

TV Schedule: BTN, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN

Indiana is on the positive side of a winning record right now. It looks like the Hoosiers are rolling with Michael Penix Jr. The three wins have came to Ball State, UConn and an FCS. Michigan State and Ohio State are their only two losses. Pretty respectable. Penix has six touchdowns to two picks with a cool-named wide receiver in Whop Philyor who has 31 receptions this season. Indiana should have no problem cutting their magic number to two for becoming bowl eligible. Rutgers quarterback situation is awful. They have just one guy in Isaih Pacheco who is capable of doing anything on the ground and two receivers who have caught double-digit receptions. Three guys on the Hoosiers defense have a combined seven sacks. Being in Indiana is a real bonus.

Prediction: Indiana 34, Rutgers 14


Maryland at Purdue

TV Schedule: BTN, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN

Maryland had the perfect get-right game last week. They went ahead and beat the Miami Dolphins or I mean Rutgers. Josh Jackson did alright throwing two touchdowns, but hurt his ankle in the process. Tyrell Pigrome managed to finish the game that was already out of hand. Purdue is a tad better than Rutgers. Not by much though. Jack Plummer is the new starting quarterback for Purdue. Surprisingly the guy didn’t throw a pick against Penn State, but a lot of that had to do with the Nittany Lion pass rush. The Terrapins have a guy in Keandre Jones who has 4.5 sacks himself this season.

Prediction: Maryland 38, Purdue 20


Michigan State at #8 Wisconsin

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

Stadium: Camp Randall, Madison, WI

This is the game that Erik and the guys in his family are going to. Usually I go. But I’m being more of a family man. It’s the fiance’s weekend to work, our only babysitter is out of town and there’s the surgery now. Each of the last two weeks teams have been able to run up the score on Michigan State. They managed to put away Indiana after giving up 31, but lost 34-10 to Ohio State. JK Dobbins ran all over this defense. Jonathan Taylor is obviously the better running back, but Ohio State has a slightly better offense. Jack Coan had a near perfect performance in a bounce back game, but it was to Kent State. It’s weird to think that Wisconsin gave up one extra point to Northwestern than Michigan. But three shutouts in five games is impressive. And Michigan State’s offense has known to struggle.

Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan State 13


#10 Penn State at #17 Iowa

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

Stadium: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

Penn State just keeps climbing up the polls. What’s their best win? Home against Pitt. Or at Maryland. Neither sound great, but they’re one win away six. The Nittany Lions are the least sexiest top-10 team right now. Sean Clifford is quickly moving himself into discussion as a top-five quarterback in the Big 10. He’s a great dual threat. Nathan Stanley on the other hand is moving out of the top-five. I understand Michigan has potential on the defensive end, but they hadn’t shown it before last week. I would normally pick Iowa at home in a bounce back game. But Penn State’s defense is incredible. Two guys have five sacks apiece. John Reid is a terrific defensive back.

Prediction: Penn State 17, Iowa 10


Nebraska at Minnesota

TV Schedule: FS1, 6:30 p.m. CT

Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

Minnesota could become bowl eligible quicker than they have ever been in probably 10 years. Nebraska will be their best opponent to date. The Golden Gophers offense just keeps improving week in and week out. Tanner Morgan is doing just fine at quarterback. Rodney Smith Is a very reliable running back and Morgan has some nice guys to throw to. P.J. Fleck is finally figuring it out. The defense has some takeaways, but their giving up points. They are playing a very up and down Cornhuskers team that only has two losses. They’ve already reached their win total from last season. Adrian Martinez needs a good win under his belt. He’s one of the best dual threat quarterbacks out there. And three other running backs are great in the backfield. Both defenses are great at takeaways, but give up a lot of points. I can’t try and pick against Minnesota again, can I?

Prediction: Minnesota 35, Nebraska 31

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