My B1G Game of the Week: OSU vs. MSU
Zach Clark (8:01 am) @Zach_TSB


Indiana (2-1) vs. Northwestern (4-0)

2011 Records: Indiana 1-11 and Northwestern 6-7
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: Big Ten Network
Prediction: Indiana 14 Northwestern 35

I am eager for this opening B1G game, as this matchup between the Hoosiers and Wildcats will tell me what kind of team Northwestern really has.  By defeating three respectable non-conference opponents in Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College, I peg Coach Fitzgerald’s Wildcats among the B1G’s elite.  I’m not sure the B1G can even be considered to have an “elite” group, but let’s pretend.  Despite losing two weeks ago to Ball State 39-41, Indiana surprised me with how many points they put up without injured star QB Tre Roberson.  More shockingly, the Hoosiers committed zero turnovers against Ball State.  Despite the respectable play from an injured IU team, I believe Northwestern is legit and will roll.  I see a 35-14 Wildcat victory and Northwestern covering the 11-point Vegas spread.

Penn State (2-2) vs. Illinois (2-2)

2011 Records: Penn State 9-4 and Illinois 7-6
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ESPN/ESPN 3D
Prediction: Penn State 24 Illinois 14

In the Illini’s toughest B1G test at home, Vegas has set the line at 1 point with the Nittany Lions as underdogs.  It’s safe to say this matchup will not be lacking in intensity or emotion, as some offseason turmoil between coaches Bill O’Brien and Tim Beckman has surely been on everyone’s minds this week.  It’s been tough to get a good read on either team thus far in 2012, but Penn State is coming off a big victory and Illinois the exact opposite.  Penn State QB Matt McGloin has finally started to get some help from the run game, and if this continues like I expect it will, they will put up some points on this disappointing Illini defense.  Despite Illini QB Reilly O’Toole’s stellar play as of late, I think the indecision at quarterback on the depth chart and a horrible hangover from a loss to Louisiana Tech will be enough to doom the Fighting Illini. 

Minnesota (4-0) vs. Iowa (2-2)

2011 Records: Minnesota 3-9 and Iowa 7-6
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN
Prediction: Minnesota 28 Iowa 13

Man do I love college football rivalry games, and for some weird reason, the Battle for the Floyd of Rosedale is one of my favorites.  Since 1891, these crazy Hawkeyes and Gophers have been grueling over a bronze pig-shaped trophy, and Minnesota leads the overall series 61-42-2.

The Floyd of Rosedale
I expect them to improve their handle on the series and take care of business against the Hawkeyes on Saturday.  Like many teams in the B1G, the Hawkeyes have severely disappointed this year, suffering losses to Iowa State and Central Michigan and barely defeating Northern Illinois.  Minnesota on the other hand, has been very impressive, taking care of business without QB MarQueis Gray.  Sophomore Max Shortell will get the start again this week, and as long as he limits his mistakes, the Gophers should easily win that bronze pig and make the boys in Vegas look dumb in setting a 7-point spread favoring the Hawkeyes.

Marshall (2-2) vs. Purdue (2-1)

2011 Records: Marshall 7-6 and Purdue 7-6
Game Time: 3:15 PM Eastern
Channel: Big Ten Network
Prediction: Marshall 31 Purdue 42

Don’t miss this one, as two very high-powered offenses come together in West Lafayette to put on a show.  I’m a believer in the Boilermakers, and after Notre Dame’s dominating performance against Michigan last week, that 17-20 loss in week two to the Irish doesn’t look so bad anymore.  This will be the Purdue defense’s toughest challenge by far, and I could see it being a shootout.  Two weeks ago, Marshall lost to very good Ohio team 24-27, but then had to go to overtime to defeat Rice 54-51 the following week.  The line is set at 16.5 points favoring Purdue, and I’m not sure I like a Boilermaker cover here.  Sixteen and a half points seems a tad high when you’re dealing with the nation’s 16th ranked team in points scored.  I like Purdue to win, but Marshall to cover in this one.

#14 Ohio State (4-0) vs. #20 Michigan State (3-1)

2011 Records: Ohio State 6-7 and Michigan State 11-3
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern
Channel: ABC
Prediction: Ohio State 31 Michigan State 10

Here we go, the site of College Gameday and my B1G Game of the Week, our very own Ohio State Buckeyes against the Michigan State Spartans.  After telling myself to temper my expectations and that “Ohio State isn’t as good as you expected, Zach,” I, like every week, have failed and succumbed to Coach Meyer’s presser comments and am PUMPED for some Buckeye domination in East Lansing.  As some of the defensive coaches have said, this Buckeye defense is currently more fit to stop a Michigan State-like, pro-style offense than a dink and donk spread attack like OSU’s past 2012 opponents.  Coaches will make it a goal to stack the box, limit Le’Veon Bell’s yardage, and make the shaky QB Andrew Maxwell beat them.  We’re going to see this offense finally clicking and realizing their potential, the Buckeyes lead from start to finish, and a cover of the 3-point spread favoring MSU.  Or will it be like the Cal/UAB game………

Wisconsin (3-1) vs. #22 Nebraska (3-1)

2011 Records: Wisconsin 11-3 and Nebraska 9-4
Game Time: 8:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ABC
Prediction: Wisconsin 21 Nebraska 38

The battle of the B1G’s two most disappointing teams, in my opinion, takes place on Saturday night between Wisconsin and #22 Nebraska.  It’s nearly impossible to predict this game, as both teams are so hot-and-cold.  However, I’m going to pick the Huskers.  Nebraska averages 48.5 points per game (Wisconsin averages 21.5) and have a seasoned veteran at quarterback in Taylor Martinez.  Additionally, I believe the Huskers will cover the 11.5-point spread and embarrass the Badgers in Lincoln.  If this comes to fruition, the smart Badger fans should start calling for Bielema to be placed on the hot seat…



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