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 Twelve is as follows:
Overview of Week Eleven
Last week, the Big Ten worked out several of its kinks. OSU won yet another conference title, as they defeated Iowa in overtime (closer than I expected) – I, along with thousands of my closest (and drunkest) friends, rushed the field after the game. While Penn State and Wisconsin won (as expected), Purdue decided to lose again, this time to Michigan State. All-in-all, it was a good week for the conference, as they kept four teams ranked, and still have 3 in the top 15 (with Wisconsin at #16).
#10 The Ohio State University (6-1)@ University of Michigan (1-6)
Well, we might as well start this week's preview out with the most important game of the week: The Game. While The Game is considered the greatest rivalry in all sports, it has been lackluster as of late. This week's version has a horrific Michigan team up against a strong Ohio State team, so it should be in a sad state. While OSU already has the Rose Bowl berth, they still could keep Michigan from being bowl eligible if they win. With no defense, and a stagnating offense, the Wolverines have absolutely no chance on Saturday, and the Buckeye players should be heading home with yet another charm. OSU 28, UM 10. This game will be televised on ABC at 12:00 p.m.
The Game has no trophy, but for each win, members of the Buckeyes get a gold pants charm
#13 Iowa (5-2) vs Minnesota (3-4)
Even though they lost the automatic BCS berth last week, the Hawkeyes still have a chance to make it to a BCS game this season. To do so, they must first get by a tough Minnesota team. Sure, the Golden Gophers have not shown up strongly on the scoreboard during their games, but they have a strong defense, and a decent offense. With Iowa's starting quarterback gone, Minnesota might have a chance to keep the game close. Even if it is close, however, Iowa still will be fielding a better team. If they can keep their turnovers to a minimum, the Hawkeyes should be going home with Floyd, and a probable BCS berth. Iowa 24, Minnesota 21. This game will be televised on ESPN at 12:00 p.m.
The trophy for this rivalry is a bronze pig named The Floyd of Rosedale.
#14 Penn State (5-2) @ Michigan State (4-3)
While Penn State still has a chance to get into a BCS game, the odds are very slim. Either Iowa must lose, or Penn State needs to dominate over Michigan State. With a potent offense led by their strong running game, the Nittany Lions have a chance at doing just this. The Spartans have allowed roughly 300+ yards a game, which will not win this one for them. If they want a chance for the win, they need to be able to stop the run, and keep a close secondary. Both of these are a rarity for Michigan State, so they have almost no chance for the upset. Though Penn State should easily beat Michigan State, it will not be by enough to jump Iowa for the BCS spot. PSU 28, MSU 17. This game will be televised on ABC at 3:30 p.m.
The trophy for this rivalry is a wooden box with statues, pictures, and dates on it called The Land Grant Trophy.
Purdue (4-7) @ Indiana (4-7)
With neither team able to be bowl eligible, this would normally be a boring game. However, there are bragging rights riding on this, and a huge revenge factor for Indiana. After getting embarrassed (62-10) last year, the Hoosiers will be looking to take the Boilermakers out. With a strong passing game facing a weak secondary, Indiana might have the chance. However, their running game will be non-existent, as Purdue has done well at stopping all ground movement. Indiana's only liability is their defense, which is on and off this year. If the defense shows up, and in a rivalry game it will, they should win. Purdue 10, Indiana 28. This game will be televised on BTN at 3:30 p.m.
The trophy for this rivalry is one of the oldest trophies in all of football; an old bucket with bronze chains called The Old Oaken Bucket.
#16 Wisconsin (5-2) @ Northwestern (4-3)
The only non-rivalry game of the week promises to be a good one. Both Wisconsin and Northwestern are fielding decent teams, and both have the offensive power to get it done. While Wisconsin has a better defense, the Wildcats have a fairly good one. With the two teams being evenly matched, Saturday's game will be one of quarterbacks. If Scott Tolzien continues his domination, then the Badgers should have this in hand. If he can't get his passing down, then Mike Kafka has a good chance at leading his team to another upset. While the game might be away, I believe that Tolzien will get another 4+ TD game, and lead the Badgers into another victory. Wisconsin 37, Northwestern 21. This game will be televised on BTN at 3:30 p.m.
Illinois has the week off.
Overall, this should be yet another good week for the Big Ten Conference. While their main teams will continue to win, the national exposure should help to lift the conference in the eyes of the nation (I can hope, can't I). After Week Twelve, the Big Ten should still have four ranked teams, all of which will be within the top 15. They will also have two BCS bowl bids and seven of their 11 teams will be bowl eligible.