Each week of the 2009 college football season, I will be examining all the games that a Big Ten team plays in. All kickoff times are ET and all poll numbers are from the BCS rankings as provided by ESPN. All records are for conference play only. Week Ten is as follows:Overview of Week NineLast week, the Big Ten decided to mess with my head. For starters, Illinois decided that they wanted to beat Michigan. I mean, how the heck was anybody supposed to predict that? Then, Wisconsin, a team that lost convincingly to OSU, decided to shut out Purdue, a team that beat the Buckeyes. I know, caveman logic doesn’t work, but still. Thankfully, Penn State, OSU, and Iowa all won, keeping the conference high up in the BCS standings.Illinois (1-5) @ Minnesota (3-3)Last Saturday, Illinois decided that they were going to do the impossible. Instead of losing like they have been doing all season, they easily beat the Michigan Wolverines. This will probably fire them up, but it will do little to help this season out. Minnesota, however, has a chance at making it to a bowl game this season, and they clearly are looking forward to it. A win on Saturday, in front of a home crowd, would make them eligible for a postseason game, which is something they desperately need. Expect Minnesota, led by a strong running game, to easily score on Illinois, thus becoming bowl eligible. Illinois 10, Minnesota 24. This game will be televised on BTN at 12:00 p.m.
Indiana (1-4) vs. #21 Wisconsin (3-2)
Last Saturday, Indiana had a chance to turn the football world on its head by beating Iowa. Instead, they lost the game in the final quarter, and ended up getting embarrassed. It is clear that Indiana has some talent, but they do not have the depth needed to play an entire game, this will probably cost them for the rest of the season. Wisconsin, who is ranked again, also has that talent, but they also have the depth needed. Expect the game to be close for the first few quarters, but then a rested secondary for the Badgers should take the lead late. Also look for running back John Clay, who will rake up the yards, getting another 100-plus yard game. Indiana 17, Wisconsin 23. This game will be televised on BTN at 12:00 p.m.John Clay is going to tear it up for Wisconsin.University of Michigan (1-4) vs. Purdue (2-3)
After a great start to the year, Michigan has fallen into a deep pit. Losing to Illinois, who is easily the worst team in the conference, was just icing on their cake of despair. Purdue, likewise, has had a season that they would like to forget, though several close loses, and a beating of OSU, give them some pleasure. For this week’s game, the question simply is one of turnovers. Both teams love giving the ball away, and they both rarely love taking it back. As long as the Boilermakers hold onto the football, they should easily win the game. Michigan 14, Purdue 28. This game will be televised on BTN at 12:00 p.m.#16 The Ohio State University (4-1) @ #11 Penn State (4-1)
This is, obviously, the most important game in the Big Ten during Week 10. Not only will it decide who will be ranked higher, but it will probably also decide who is going to the Rose Bowl come January. This will be a real test for Penn State, who has only played one good team all season. That team, Iowa, easily defeated the Nittany Lions, and handed them their only loss. OSU has faced several good teams this year, and they only lost to one of them, USC, and it was close. While Terrelle Pryor might be young and play poorly, he has had some experience against good teams, which should help him on Saturday. Penn State is untested against strong teams, weak in the secondary, and not a strong running school. Expect OSU’s strong defensive line to win the game, and score some points. OSU 21, Penn State 10. This game will be televised on ABC at 3:30 p.m.No Buckeye fan wants to see this happen again.Northwestern (2-3) @ #4 Iowa (5-0)
If Iowa is looking to jump Texas to become the second team in the BCS National Championship (against the SEC champ), playing against teams like Northwestern is not going to help any. Frankly put, this should be a sleeper game, and it shouldn’t prove anything to the rest of the nation. In fact, it will probably be used by pundits to explain why the Big Ten sucks, even when they don't
. Iowa is going to run over, pass through, and just dominate the Wildcats. Northwestern’s only hope is that they score at least one point on Saturday. Northwestern 0, Iowa 28. This game will be televised on ESPN at 12:00 p.m.Michigan State (3-3) vs. Western Michigan (-)
At the start of the season, I would have laughed at this game. However, after MSU lost to Central Michigan, it looks as though this might actually be a decent competition. Michigan State allowed five touchdown passes last week, while giving up 400+ yards through the air. This is a sign of an exceptionally weak secondary, and a sign that a passing team can handle the Spartans. The Broncos are a passing team, and they should be able to utilize this sparse secondary for their advantage, grabbing some touchdowns. While the Spartans might be able to run through the Broncos, expect Western Michigan’s passing to be the factor in this game. Michigan State 17, Western Michigan 31. This game will be televised on BTN at 12:00 p.m.Another team from [insert location here] Michigan is going to take out the Spartans.Overall
Overall, this is not going to be a good week for the Big Ten. While three of their four ranked teams will win, only one of them (OSU over PSU) will be against a decent opponent. To make it worse, one of their teams will lose to an out-of-conference small school. Add to this that only two games will be nationally televised, and the conference will not come out of Week Ten looking so good. Sure, they will still have four ranked teams, but they will appear weaker in the eyes of the nation.