Entering the final stretch of the Big Ten season and our picks contest, the conference features some key match ups this weekend.
Highlighting the day, at least for fans of the Leaders division, will be the Wisconsin vs. Indiana game, as the winner of this contest controls their own destiny at a chance to compete in the Big Ten Championship game.
It should be an interesting week in the conference, as some teams continue to fight for positioning, while other squads fight for bowl eligibility.
Here are our selections for the upcoming week:
Wisconsin vs. Indiana
- Kevin’s Pick – Wisconsin 45-30
Living in Indiana, I kind of wish IU would take advantage of their opportunity to make the B1G Ten championship unlike Purdue. But just like the Boilers in big games, they will fall on their faces. It is worth watching though. I do not expect the game to be a blow out by any means. The Hoosiers defense will not be a difference maker like they need them to be to pull this one out. But heck, like I said it is a worthwhile watch and I could be wrong.
- Dustin’s Pick – Wisconsin 27-19
Typically, when people believe a game is going to be an offensive shootout, it turns the other way. I think this will be a great game, considering IU’s two-game conference winning streak has given them some momentum and they will be in front of a home crowd. I think Montee Ball will be the difference in the game and Indiana will come up short in this one.
Purdue vs. Iowa
- Kevin’s Pick – Iowa 16-13
Boringest (not a word) game of the week. Iowa will get closer to the Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Meanwhile Purdue will see their Pizza Bowl hopes shattered and Danny Hope’s job will go up in flames. Speaking of Purdue I still have no confidence Morgan Burke will find a good replacement after this season so Hope has that little candle not to blow out yet. Really who would want the Boilermaker football coach job while he is the A.D.? Could we see a Kansas State type situation where Joe Tiller comes out of retirement? That might be the best case scenario.
- Dustin’s Pick – Purdue – 21-14
Ugly, ugly, ugly game. Did I mention this game will be ugly? This is a battle of two disappointing teams and it will be no fun to watch. Having said that, I think Purdue keeps its bowl eligibility hopes alive this weekend with a victory, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawkeyes win the game. It will depend on what Iowa team shows up on Saturday.
#24 Northwestern vs. Michigan
- Kevin’s Pick – Northwestern 35-31
Northwestern on the road in Ann Arbor? Granted they have only beat the Wolverines twice in the last eleven years. But I’ll make this pick because I have confidence in Northwestern’s offense. They played Penn State well on the road a couple weeks ago and Denard Robinson being banged up will be a factor unlike last week against Minnesota. But the Wildcats are much better than the Gophers and might find themselves in a pretty good bowl game this post season.
- Dustin’s Pick – Michigan 42-24
The Wildcats struggle on the road, especially in hostile environments like the Big House. Michigan will put on an offensive display and this game won’t provide much entertainment after the first half. I like Michigan’s chances to steamroll the Wildcats at home.
Minnesota vs. Illinois
- Kevin’s Pick – Illinois 23-20
The Illini will finally get a B1G Ten win. I had a lot of confidence in Minnesota last week and I had equally the lack of confidence in Illinois all year. This will be the opposite pick (I guess). Illinois is at home. That’s kind of the only thing they got going for them. That and they finally play a team with less talent than them. Maybe not at the QB position but they will pull it out at home.
- Dustin’s Pick – Minnesota 17-16
Another battle of two struggling teams and another ugly game in conference play. We all know Illinois is bad, but I think the Illini make this game interesting. Minnesota hasn’t played well on the road, or at home for that matter, but the Golden Gophers will grab their second conference win of the season on Saturday.
Penn State vs. #16 Nebraska
- Kevin’s Pick – Nebraska 24-21
Nail Biter just like Bo Pelini like to tease his fans with. They are on their way to the B1G Ten title game and they should not let post season ineligible Penn State get in the way of that this weekend. The Nittnay Lions had a rough time at home against Ohio State and going to Lincoln will prove that the Cornhuskers are the second best team in the conference this year. Good luck to whoever emerges on the other side for the title game.
- Dustin’s Pick – Nebraska 28-25
I’d really like to see Nebraska keep winning, just so the Big Ten has reasonable representation in the Rose Bowl this year. The Huskers are riding high on momentum and have a really good shot to win out. Penn State will be pesky and stick around the whole game, but Nebraska will hang on to get the win.