Welcome to Big Ten semifinals week.
More games have been cancelled this week, both around the nation and in the Big Ten. We lost Maryland-Michigan State, but given how poorly Michigan State has played I don’t think that is a great loss. We also have the de facto Big Ten semifinals with Northwestern-Wisconsin in the West and Indiana-Ohio State in the East. There are, of course, a lot of other variables there too. If Wisconsin has one more game cancelled they are out no matter what. The same is true for Ohio State if they have two more cancelled.
At this point why are we even still doing this? Well, we are, so here is your preview of the week:
Purdue (2-1) at Minnesota (1-3) 7:30pm, BTN
A night game in the cold in Minneapolis? The Gophers coming off a game where their defense was awful and their offense did nothing? Purdue needing a win? We have seen this before. Two years ago in a similar situation Purdue went to Minnesota and got roasted. Now the Gophers are struggling again, but they still have Mohamed Ibrahim as the best running back in the Big Ten and Rashod Bateman as the best receiver in the Big Ten. We never stop red hot Big Ten running backs. The Gophers will roll tonight. Minnesota 38, Purdue 24
#9 Indiana (4-0) at #3 Ohio State (3-0) BIG NUDE SATURDAY, Noon, FOX
I called my shot on Twitter last week and I will call it again here: Indiana is going to beat Ohio State. The Hoosiers are having one of those weird magical seasons out of nowhere like Northwestern in 1995. It isn’t even as out of nowhere as one would think after they won eight games a year ago. The Hoosiers are legitimately good and they know they are good. They are playing with a ton of confidence. Ohio State always has on clunker and this is it. Indiana 31, Ohio State 28
Illinois (1-3) at Nebraska (1-2) Noon, BTN
Don’t threaten me with this game. Both teams won in somewhat surprising fashion last week. Neither team has looked great. Illinois may have found something with Isaiah Williams at quarterback (no relation to the infamous Juice Williams from what I can see). Nebraska did everything in its power to give last week’s game to Penn State. This could be a good, old fashioned suck off. Nebraska 23, Illinois 17
#10 Wisconsin (2-0) at #19 Northwestern (4-0) 3:30pm, ABC
This could be really, really good. Northwestern is in one of those years where they just win close games. Wisconsin has only played two games, but has looked really, really good in both. I was really impressed with Northwestern’s defense last week, especially against the run. Purdue couldn’t get anything going, and this was after we had proven we had at least something in the running game. Graham Mertz is on fire though. Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 24
Iowa (2-2) at Penn State (0-4) 3:30pm, BTN
Penn State is really, really bad. Iowa is not too bad. In fact, they are just a couple of mistakes from being 4-0 instead of 2-2. They definitely could have beaten Purdue and Northwestern. With Penn State it is almost like they have fallen completely apartment since Michael Penix Jr. dove for the pylon. That, combined with the salty Kirk Ferentz we got last weekend, gives me full confidence in Iowa here. Iowa 21, Penn State 10
Michigan (1-3) at Rutgers (1-3) 7:30pm, BTN
I have to say this: Rutgers is entertaining as hell and I am worried about them coming to Ross-Ade next week. They play really hard and will make you work your ass off all night long. Sure, Michigan State is bad, but they have been feisty against Indiana, Ohio State, and Rutgers and they are going to make you earn anything you need from them. With a Michigan team in complete disarray I think the Scarlet Knights can get an upset. Rutgers 20, Michigan 17