Thursday, October 05, 2006

Week Six - Get Gamm Previews ...
Purdue at Iowa
Indiana at Illinois
Penn State at Minnesota
Northwestern at Wisconsin
Bowling Green at Ohio State
Michigan State at Michigan (tiebreaker)

Purdue at Iowa
Not much time for either team to lick its wounds after rather resounding losses last week. Purdue never quit against Notre Dame but if not for a very average Notre Dame defense, would have been further out of it than they were. Iowa saw what the rest of the nation had before - Ohio State is clearly the best team in the Big Ten and the country.

Put last week aside though, because these teams are playing a key game in the overall race. Chances are neither will win the Big Ten, but Iowa still could run the table and Purdue is one of just three unbeatens in the league. Both teams can move the ball a bit, but Iowa has the far better defense. If Purdue can manage the clock and mix up the aerial attack with the ground game, the Boilermakers could do the unthinkable and hang a second straight home loss on Drew Tate and company. However, I see the Iowa passing game taking advantage of a below average (at best) Purdue secondary and after a quarter or so of shaking off last week's loss, taking control in this tilt. Iowa 27 - Purdue 17.

Buckeye Nation says ... Hawkeyes come off the big loss to OSU after Beano and Corso got their hopes up high. The Hawkeye Crowd starts out a little flat, but rallies as their team does over an improving Boilermaker squad. Iowa 32 - Purdue 24

Indiana at Illinois
When I wrote my preseason previews, I noted this game as one that could help either team to a better than expected season. Well that certainly is the case for the Illini, who despite getting hammered by Rutgers, handled by Syracuse and beat up on by Iowa found a way to beat a down Michigan State team. Win this one and suddenly the Illini are 3-3 with at least a couple of winnable games left on the slate. On the other side of the coin, there is Indiana. The Hoosiers looked solid in starting 2-0 but switched quarterbacks and have since been beaten by a 1-AA squad, a not so good UConn team and obliterated by Wisconsin. Both teams sit 2-3 but are heading in opposite directions.

I think the move to Juice Williams at quarterback was huge for the future of the program. Illinois is hungry to build on just their second Big Ten win in the last 26 tries and will have an inspired home crowd behind them. Indiana is growing and building as well, but might be better served to have Blake Powers taking the snaps if the Hoosiers want to win now. In a good game between two not so good teams... Illinois 24 - Indiana 20.

Buckeye Nation says ... The Illini comes home to celebrate, but the Hoosiers aren't popping any corks. Still the home team prevails in the end. No worries about any flag plantings in Champaign... Illinois 24 - Indiana 17

Penn State at Minnesota
This one is a key early season battle for bowl positioning. Not so much who would go to a better bowl if they wound up tied, that is a no brainer (Penn State). Rather, the winner has a much better chance to actually make a bowl game. Minnesota is about where I expected them to be. Not a bad team, but not quite good enough to compete with the likes of Cal, Michigan or even Purdue. Penn State is not the team I expected. I didn't forsee quite as many challenges on offense or on the defensive front. The Nittany Lions got pasted by Notre Dame but did, despite what the scoreboard says, play OSU as tough as anyone has all season. Their wins are over very unimpressive Youngstown State and Northwestern and a pretty good Akron team.

This game will be a good test of the Nits. Penn State has Michigan coming to town next weekend and will get a chance to face a good, solid offensive attack to prepare. Minnesota really only has one more "easy" league game on the slate (vs. Indiana) as well as a contest with North Dakota State so these winnable games are musts if they are to keep the current Gopher bowl streak alive. I'm torn on this one mostly because of the unpredictable Penn State offense. That said, PSU has the better defense and doesn't defense win games? Penn State 23 - Minnesota 21.

Buckeye Nation says ... No one can quite figure out the Gophers, but it's doubtful they can pull the trick on JoePa...even at home, although they'll make it close as PSU peeks a little bit ahead to next week against UM. Penn State 23 - Minnesota 20

Northwestern at Wisconsin
Avert your eyes if you cheer for the Wildcats, this one could get ugly. While Northwestern has shown flashes of decency at times they are struggling in all phases of the game. Meanwhile, after a slugglish performance at Michigan, Wisconsin seems to have found its stride in a dominating win over Indiana. Northwestern and Indiana are about on par and this one is in Madison. I could write more, but really, there isn't much more to say than send it in for Big Red... Wisconsin 45 - Northwestern 13.

Buckeye Nation says ... Wisconsin rolls out the barrel with the Wildcats in town. The Cheeseheads celebrate. Wisconsin 26 - Northwestern 17

Bowling Green at Ohio State
Okay, so there is less to say about this one than Northwestern v. Wisconsin! Bowling Green is not the offensive power they've been in recent history. Ohio State is good. Damn good. This is the first breather they get in a tough early season slate. The Buckeyes can't look all the way to November 18 and expect to remain unscathed, but they can look past this one and still cover the spread. Ohio State 48 - BGSU 9

Buckeye Nation says ... This was to be the Buckeyes' Bye Week until the NCAA voted in the 12th game. The way the Falcons are playing this season, it still likely is a Bye week for OSU. The Falcons would have rather played OSU in 2004, and Wiscy in Cleveland with the 2005 team, not 2006. The Number 1 team in the country rolls BGSU. Buckeyes 42 - Bowling Green 6

Michigan State at Michigan
It really is amazing how fragile the Spartans' psyche is. As sure as I am breathing, holding on for the W over Notre Dame would have led to a victory over Illinois and this game getting national attention ... for the right reasons. Instead, it is getting attention because the schizo Spartans have again pulled off two parts of their typical trifecta. That is, they've blown the big lead in a game that could have been a season changer. They've lost in unspeakable and embarassing fashion to a team they have no business losing to. All that remains is the predictable win over a team it should have no business beating.

There are two great chances to pull of the third leg. This week and next. Michigan State has the talent to win this game. The past three have been decided by one score or less, the past two in overtime. Michigan has won four in a row, dating back to the infamous last second play in 2001. This game will also be close, even with a dinged up Drew Stanton at the helm, the loss of tailback Javon Ringer and the MSU state of mind. A lot of comparisons are being made to the last time State won in Ann Arbor when the game was billed as No. 1 vs. No One. A win here and Michigan State could rebound to great things. A loss and the season may spiral further out of control. I'm telling you that this week or next will be that one game for Michigan State... Michigan 31 - Michigan State 19.

Buckeye Nation says ... Can it get any worse for the Spartans? John L will be smacking himself (and trying to hold on to his job) after the hated Wolverines spank the Spartans. Michigan 39 - MSU 18


mayo170 said...

Purdue 21 at Iowa 27
Indiana 13 at Illinois 22
Penn State 26 at Minnesota 24
Northwestern 13 at Wisconsin 42
Bowling Green 3 at Ohio State 38
Michigan State 23 at Michigan 38 (tiebreaker)

Aaron Roberts said...

Week Six - Get Gamm Previews ...
Purdue 31 at Iowa 27
Indiana at 23 Illinois 34
Penn State 21 at Minnesota 24
Northwestern 10 at Wisconsin 21
Bowling Green 7 at Ohio State 33
Michigan State 17 at Michigan 23(tiebreaker)