Each week of the 2009 college football season, I will be examining all of the games that a Big Ten team plays in. All kickoff times are ET and all poll numbers are from the coaches poll as provided by ESPN. All records are for conference play only. Week 5 is as follows:
Overview of Week 4
Last week, I did very well on my picks. With almost all of them, I picked the right team, though not always by the right points. However, Iowa surprised me (as they surprised everybody else), and beat Penn State again. Maybe Penn State just sucks, or maybe Iowa rocks — I think that they are both just mediocre. Overall, I went 5-1 for my picks, missing only the Iowa game.
Michigan State University (0-1) vs. #20 University of Michigan (1-0)
Michigan, which has now more wins this season than last, is on a roll this year. They are alternating dominating and barely winning games, but they are a generally well rounded team. In both the Notre Dame and the Indiana game, they were very close in the end, but won simply by Michigan's fortitude (and a bad call by the refs). Michigan State, on the other hand, is just plain sucking. While they lost to their new interstate rival — Central Michigan — the school is looking to get back by beating this rival and winning the Paul Bunyan-Governor of Michigan Trophy; they won't. MSU 10, Michigan 42. This game will be televised on BTN at 12 p.m. Saturday.
Illinois (0-1) vs. #13 Penn State (0-1)
Last week, we learned exactly how overrated Penn State was. Having played several pushovers, they thought that they were hot stuff, only to be destroyed by Iowa. Illinois was similarly disappointed, being shut out by OSU, and really playing horribly. Penn State was able to drive down the field with ease, while Illinois couldn't move a muscle. Both teams, however, had a very porous secondary and allowed 300+ yards. Expect to see Penn State using their offense to decimate Illinois secondary, and shut out the Fighting Illini for their second straight game. Illinois 0, Penn State 28. This game will be televised on ABC at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Northwestern (0-1) @ Purdue (0-0)
Purdue and Northwestern: the meeting of two horrible teams in the Big Ten. Both teams are playing badly this season, and losing to teams that they should beat. Purdue, who had a glimmer of light with their close loss to Oregon, has sunk into the abyss, while Northwestern never even had a glimmer. With both teams passing like crazy, expect many screen passes and slant-routes during this game. However, while both can pass, neither team can run, or even stop the run. Whichever team figures out how to move the ball on the ground first, will win. With home field advantage, I expect this to be Purdue. Northwestern 21, Purdue 31. This game will be televised on BTN at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
#9 The Ohio State University (1-0) @ Indiana (0-1)
The Buckeyes are on a roll, shutting out two teams in a row, and starting to show that the loss to USC was just a fluke. They are looking to keep moving up in the polls, and showing the nation that they have one of the best, if not the best, defenses in the country. Indiana also has something to prove – after losing to Michigan on a blown call, they are hoping to come out with a victory. That said, however, there is no way that they will get it. While Indiana picked up hundreds of yards in their other games, they have never faced a defense like Ohio State's. Allowing just over 250 yards a game, the defensive line will smother the Hoosiers, and keep them stagnated. Expect a domination by OSU, but not a shutout. OSU 56, Indiana 10. This game will be televised on BTN at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Wisconsin (1-0) @ Minnesota (1-0)
Hey, look at this, we have another rivalry game about a mythical dude. The battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe is a classic Big Ten rivalry, and one the Wisconsin is easily dominating, 34-24-3. Obviously, they want to continue this streak. With 400+ yards, and 4 takeaways from MSU, they have the tools needed. Minnesota, however, also has these tools – with 350+ yards and 3 takeaways from Northwestern. Both teams also have porous defenses, as both allowed more yards than their own offense gained. Expect a strong passing game from Wisconsin, and a powerful running game from Minnesota. While I expect that the game will be high scoring, Minnesota's ground game, combined with the home-field advantage, should give them the win. Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 38. This game will be televised on ESPN at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
#17 Iowa (1-0) vs. Arkansas State
This seems to be an unfair game, as you have a highly ranked team up against a nobody. Sure, Arkansas State shut out Mississippi Valley State, but who the hell is that? Meanwhile, Iowa went into Happy Valley, and systematically destroyed Penn State. See, an unfair game. Frankly, two stats should show you how bad this game will be: Iowa has 300 yards against PSU while Arkansas State allowed over 500 to Troy. Arkansas State has no chance on Saturday, and they will be decimated in Iowa's rush to the top-10. Iowa 75, Arkansas State 10. ESPN must love showing murders, as this will be televised at 12:05 p.m. nationally.
Overall, expect Week 5 to be a pretty basic game for the Big Ten. Their ranked teams will dominate, and everybody will win like they should. The only close game with be for the Paul Bunyan Axe, which Minnesota will win. In their one non-conference game, the Big Ten will easily grab victory. With half of their games being shown nationally, expect a strong showing from the conference, and an increase in standings. Also expect the 4 currently ranked teams to move up higher, and a 5th (Minnesota) to jump into the polls.