The arrival of conference play was much needed for the Big Ten … mainly so the nation wouldn’t notice how poor the conference is this year.
While last week’s slate of games was highlighted by Ohio State versus Michigan State, this week has a couple intriguing games, some of which have conference championship implications.
Kevin and I are still debating on a good wager for this competition, and we apologize for that delay. Let’s face it though: it will basically be the two of us agreeing on what MY doom will be at the end of the season.
While you wait for the bet to finally be made, take a look at our predictions for week 6:
Michigan State vs. Indiana
- Kevin’s Pick – Michigan State 28-6
Michigan State is reeling after two big losses at home to Notre Dame and Ohio State. Sparty needs to rally around something and the Hoosiers the lack of talent in Bloomington could give them a confidence boost. A boost in the form of having an easy time forcing 3 and outs with their defense and a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell rushing and receiving out of the back field.
- Dustin’s Pick – Michigan State 33-10
Indiana showed some fight last weekend against Northwestern, but they are battling a completely different monster this week. Le’Veon Bell needs to be the primary offensive target for the Spartans, especially against such a weak Indiana defense. This game shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Sparty.
#24 Northwestern vs. Penn State
- Kevin’s Pick – Northwestern 30-28
Northwestern has only won once in Happy Valley and 3 times in this short Big Ten series (3-12 overall). I continue to believe Northwestern can win the Big Ten Legends division while everyone is talking about what surprise team will represent the Leaders division. It will be another close game, something the Wildcats have gotten used to this year. A game winning field goal late in the 4th quarter could be the difference.
- Dustin’s Pick – Penn State 24-19
This will be a great game in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions have gained some momentum winning their last three games and appear to be headed in the right direction, despite all of the off-the-field issues. I think Northwestern is a good team and a strong candidate for representing the Legends division in Lucas Oil Stadium in December, but Beaver Stadium is too hostile of an environment for Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats. Another close game, but the Cardiac Cats will fall short this time.
Illinois vs. Wisconsin
- Kevin’s Pick – Wisconsin 24-10
Wisconsin has to put the comeback loss in Lincoln behind them. Looking forward they can still represent the Leaders in the Big Ten Championship and possibly get a rematch against Nebraska, similar to the situation they had with the Spartans in 2011. Illinois should be a tasty treat at home. It will be ugly and they won’t look Championship game worthy quite yet. Doesn’t matter we are only in the first weekend of October.
- Dustin’s Pick – Wisconsin 37-7
Illinois is just plain bad. The Illini can’t score on offense and can’t stop anybody on defense. The Badgers have had their struggles offensively, but played much better last Saturday on the road against Nebraska. This will be another big win for the Badgers and another embarrassing loss for the Illini.
Michigan vs. Purdue
- Kevin’s Pick – Michigan 41-39
I expect this to be a very exciting late afternoon game Saturday. Anybody who complains the Big Ten is boring should probably watch this affair. There will be some sloppy plays and Denard Robinson may throw enough INTs for Purdue to win this game. But I can also see Denard making a big play late with his feet that ends up being the difference. I also don’t expect either defense to show up. The last team with the ball will win in West Lafayette this weekend.
- Dustin’s Pick – Purdue 35-31
This is a huge game for the Boilermakers, especially considering they have Wisconsin and Ohio State in the following weeks. Michigan has been less than impressive this season, but you can never count out Denard Robinson. This should be a great game with a lot of scoring. I think, on their home turf, the Boilers will get the win this weekend and head into next week with a ton of momentum.
#21 Nebraska vs. #12 Ohio State
- Kevin’s Pick – Ohio State 35-31
I believe this is the best rivalry that Nebraska will develop as they continue to cultivate their new Big Ten history. Revenge is on the mind of the Buckeyes who blew a 21 point second half lead and lost in Lincoln. Carlos Hyde and Rex Burkhead looked great last year in the rain for their respective teams. This time though it could be the difference between the quarterbacks under the lights in Urban Meyer’s first Big Ten home game. If it does come down to Braxton Miller versus Taylor Martinez, I will take the Buckeyes at home the majority of the time.
- Dustin’s Pick – Ohio State 23-20
After last week’s win against Michigan State, I am convinced the Buckeyes are the best team in the conference. Urban Meyer has done a nice job in his first year at Ohio State and should be off to a 2-0 start in league play. Nebraska is playing well right now, but the Horseshoe is too much for a team that isn’t as talented as it has been in past seasons. Should be a fun one, but OSU is victorious.
- Kevin – 47
- Dustin – 38