Things are starting to heat up in the college football world.
It’s the middle of the season, with the conference schedule at full force, so this is the time when the contenders shine and the pretenders hide.
Unfortunately for the Big Ten, there hasn’t been much shining going on, especially in the Leaders division. A few more key matchups this week will help give us a better understanding as to who might be playing in Indianapolis later this year, but there is still a long way to go.
Here are the picks for week 7:
Iowa vs. Michigan State
- Kevin’s Pick – Michigan State 20-16
Michigan State had a really hard time with Indiana. Most of that was their game plan trying to get the passing game going (it never did) for most of it, but the running game prevailed. You can try that against Indiana, but Iowa will have to be a smash mouth affair the whole game unless they want to get upset. Iowa has had a bye week to prepare but I don’t think they will be able to finish off a victory on the road.
- Dustin’s Pick – Iowa 26-21
Michigan State has been one of those teams that hasn’t played up to typical standards so far this season. They had a tough losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State at home and struggled with Indiana in Bloomington. In my opinion, Kirk Ferentz is one of the best coaches at making adjustments throughout the course of the season. I think the Hawkeyes steal this one from Sparty.
Northwestern vs. Minnesota
- Kevin’s Pick – Northwestern 35-21
The Wildcats had a good shot to win late in Happy Valley last week but came up short. Northwestern will bounce back and take care of business in Minnesota. Side note: I think it is weird that Northwestern is one of the two Big Ten teams I have predicted to win all of their games so far this year. In all honesty, 5-1 isn’t bad. My beloved Buckeyes are the other team I have picked in all their games so far.
- Dustin’s Pick – Northwestern 31-10
Northwestern struggled last week in Happy Valley but still put up a good fight considering they played some really bad football. This shouldn’t be much trouble for the Wildcats. I think the Gophers keep it close in the first half but Pat Fitzgerald’s crew takes over the game in the third and fourth quarters.
Wisconsin vs. Purdue
- Kevin’s Pick – Wisconsin 36-24
I would love to see Purdue take their unique opportunity get a shot at the Big Ten title this year. The Boilermakers will almost certainly have to win this game to get there. But visions of Kyle Orton diving and fumbling the game away after getting a game clinching first down in 2004 against Wisconsin (link: http://youtu.be/2iHrMY9Odlw ) has me thinking otherwise. Purdue will try to get over the hump but run into it and fall on their backs again. The team that screws up the least in the 4th quarter will win this game.
- Dustin’s Pick – Wisconsin 34-28
First off, I want to personally thank Kevin for showing that infamous video that I have dreaded watching these past eight years. I was at that came and I believe total shock and dismay were the feelings that I and other Boiler fans shared when the Badgers won that game. Unfortunately, I think Wisconsin will win this game, simply because Purdue may have showed their true colors last week against Michigan. I think the Boilers will put up a fight at home, but their hopes of seeing the Big Ten Championship will be extinguished Saturday.
Illinois vs. #25 Michigan
- Kevin’s Pick – Michigan 38-13
Illinois is slowly improving but not enough to go to Ann Arbor and knock Brady Hoke’s team off their Big Ten goals. Michigan looked really good and efficient in West Lafayette last weekend. But Illinois better hope the Wolverines are looking ahead to Sparty next weekend if they have a shot at upsetting the more talented team on the road.
- Dustin’s Pick – Michigan 45-19
The only reason I think Illinois will score 19 points is because Michigan will be using second-stringers for a majority of the fourth quarter. The Wolverines look like they may have gained some momentum after last week’s victory against Purdue. As for Illinois, well, it continues to struggle in conference play.
#8 Ohio State vs. Indiana
- Kevin’s Pick – Ohio State 52-21
As far as the Big Ten is concerned this is two top offenses versus two bad defenses. But that really only means that under the lights in Bloomington it could look like Buckeye domination like we saw versus Nebraska in the 2nd half. But domination for all four quarters here? It will get ugly. Also this really is not a road game from the stand point that there will be more Ohio State fans in the seats than Indiana football fans in Bloomington. Most of the IU faithful will be waiting outside Assembly Hall for basketball midnight madness or whatever you get excited about in October when your football program is irrelevant.
- Dustin’s Pick – Ohio State 62-27
Indiana has proven it can put up a lot of points, but it has also shown it can give up a lot of points, too. Ohio State will have a comfortable lead for pretty much the entire game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter blows up after the first quarter because the Hoosiers are sticking with the Buckeyes, but when the second quarter hits, it’s game over for Kevin Wilson’s team.