By Adam Hoge–
Get ready for this weekend’s Big Ten action with this weekly Big Ten Football Report and predictions:
Two losses for me last week as I didn’t see Purdue beating Northwestern and I didn’t have the guts to pick Illinois over Penn State despite predicting a close game. Let’s get to this week’s picks:
Michigan State 23, Illinois 21: This is the type of game a typical Michigan State team would lose, but there is something different about this year’s group. Sometimes in sports things just line up in place to make a great story and it seems like that is what is happening with the Spartans this year after Mark Dantonio rebounded from a heart attack. Of course, great stories are often derailed and the Illini feel like they have their own bestseller in the works right now. The difference in this one, however, is that Michigan State has linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon going up against a freshman quarterback in Nathan Scheelhasse.
Purdue 28, Minnesota 21: I bet you didn’t know the Boilermakers are 5-2 in their last seven Big Ten games. In September, things looked bleak in West Lafayette, but in the big picture, Danny Hope is doing a decent job with a very banged up squad. Last week’s win in Evanston was very impressive. Meanwhile, the Gophers have quit on Tim Brewster and his post-game outburst in the direction of Bret Bielema last week was a sign that he has lost it. Brewster had a right to be upset about Bielema going for two with a 25-point lead, but he has much bigger things to worry about — like why was his team down 25 points to begin with?
Indiana 38, Arkansas State 24: The Red Wolves are 2-4 and it’s not like they’ve been playing world-beaters. Other than a trip to Auburn, Arkansas State has been losing to the likes of Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy and Louisville. Of course, the Hoosiers didn’t really play anyone tough when they got off to their 3-0 start and reality has set in after back-to-back losses to Michigan and Ohio State. Still, quarterback Ben Chappell can put up points in a hurry and this Arkansas State team is no better than the three other non-conference foes the Hoosiers have already beat.
Iowa 34, Michigan 10: I might be on the Denard Robinson bandwagon, but at no point have I ever been on the Michigan bandwagon. I’m a defensive guy and I’ll never say a team is good when it ranks 74th overall in scoring defense (26.8 points per game). This looks like an awful matchup for the Wolverines because Michigan State proved last week that their prolific offense can be slowed down and Iowa might have the best defense in the entire country. Ricky Stanzi should have a huge day throwing the ball against Michigan’s bad pass defense and the Hawkeyes will roll in Ann Arbor.
Game of the Week – Ohio State 17, Wisconsin 13: This is a night game at Camp Randall and the Badgers will have all the intangibles in their favor. Wisconsin certainly has the talent to beat Ohio State and the Buckeyes have not played like the No. 1 team in the country in my opinion. But the Badgers have yet to put together a full 60-minute performance and that is exactly what they will need to beat the Buckeyes. Wisconsin is tied for the fewest penalties in the country and is second in turnovers with just four on the season. Those trends will keep the game close, but Terrelle Pryor already has a win at Camp Randall — a night game in 2008 when he was only a true freshman. (For more on this game click on the audio above, which also includes my Matchup-to-Watch and Local Storylines.)
Bye: Northwestern, Penn State
Get more college football coverage from Adam Hoge by following him on Twitter @AdamHoge670.