The Big Ten and Their Easy Weekend: The Big Ten’s Four-Ranked Football Teams Probably Won’t be Challenged Saturday.

The Big Ten's Four-Ranked Football Teams Probably Won't be Challenged Saturday.
The Big Ten and their Easy Weekend: The Big Ten's Four-Ranked Football Teams Probably Won't be Challenged Saturday.

All 14 Big Ten football teams will be in action this Saturday, with the top-ranked teams in the conference are all double-digit favorites. That means it should be a good day for the conference’s upper echelon — No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 14 Illinois, and No. 16 Penn State. Each of those teams is a double-digit favorite this weekend. 

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Ohio State and Michigan will cruise past Northwestern and Rutgers. Penn State should rebound from its fourth-quarter collapse last week against Ohio State and beat Indiana. Resurgent Illinois should beat a decimated Michigan State team that’s reeling from the eight suspensions handed out by Coach Mel Tucker in the aftermath of a post-game tunnel altercation with Michigan players last week at Michigan Stadium following the Spartans’ loss to the Wolverines.

A few storylines are brewing for Saturday. Can Michigan State score against Illinois? The Illini lead the nation in scoring defense (8.9 points per game), total defense (224.5 points allowed per game), and interceptions (15). 

A sellout crowd is expected to pack Memorial Stadium in Champaign for the game. It’ll be interesting to see how many stick around for the entire game if the weather forecast of rain and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour materializes.

 

The Kicker is a Bright Spot for the Hawkeyes

 

Iowa has struggled to score points this season. 

The Hawkeyes’ best weapon appears to be placekicker Drew Stevens. He was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week last week after kicking four field goals (29, 24, 54, and 25 yards) in Iowa’s 33-14 win over Northwestern. Stevens’ 54-yarder tied for the seventh-longest field goal in Iowa team history and was the longest field goal by a Hawkeye since Marshall Koehn booted a 57-yarder in 2015. Stevens is 11-for-12 on field goals this season. 

He’s given Iowa fans something to cheer about in a down season. But if he’s the Hawkeyes’ best offensive weapon Saturday against a high-scoring Purdue team, it will be a long afternoon for Iowa.

Of the seven Big Ten games Saturday, six matchups feature divisional rivals. The only game between teams not in the same division is Ohio State at Northwestern.

 

Big Ten football games Saturday and picks

 

  • — No. 2 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0) at Northwestern (1-7, 1-4), noon EDT, ABC (Take Ohio State -38)
  • — Iowa (4-4, 2-3) at Purdue (5-3, 3-2), noon EDT, FOX Sports 1 (Take Purdue -3)
  • — Minnesota (5-3, 2-3) at Nebraska (3-5, 2-3), noon EDT, ESPN2 (Take Nebraska +16)
  • — Maryland (6-2, 3-2) at Wisconsin (4-4, 2-3), noon EDT, Big Ten Network (Take Wisconsin -4)
  • — Michigan State (3-5, 1-4) at No. 16 Illinois (7-1, 4-1), 3:30 p.m. EDT, Big Ten Network (Take Illinois -17)
  • — No. 15 Penn State (6-2, 3-2) at Indiana (3-5, 1-4), 3:30 p.m. EDT, ABC (Take Indiana +14)
  • — No. 5 Michigan (8-0, 5-0) at Rutgers (4-4, 1-4), 7:30 p.m. EDT, Big Ten Network (Take Michigan -25.5)

 

How I did last week (4-1)

 

  • — Ohio State 44, Penn State 31 (I took Penn State +15.5) WIN
  • — Minnesota 31, Rutgers 0 (I took Minnesota -14.5) WIN
  • — Illinois 26, Nebraska 0 (I took Illinois -7.5) WIN
  • — Iowa 33, Northwestern 13 (I took Iowa -11.5) WIN
  • — Michigan 29, Michigan State 7 (I took Michigan State +22) PUSH
  • — Bye: Indiana, Maryland, Purdue, Wisconsin
  • — My season record: 6-3-1

 


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