Get Gamm - Week Eight
Hard to believe it, but we're already to week eight of the Big Ten football season. Wow! Basketball practice starts tomorrow, the NHL season is underway - seems like we just started pining for football season to hurry up and get here.
As we get deeper in the season, we get into the meaty match-ups. We've got one for sure this weekend with the Buckeyes heading to East Lansing, where they haven't lost since 1999. Don't sleep on the other games though, there are still quite a few with something to say in the Big Ten race.
Since St. Louis Spartan is bogged down with his new job, he'll just bask in the win this week. Without further delay...
Purdue at Northwestern - This has the makings of a really interesting game. Purdue has scored all of nine points the past two weeks and while the schedule eases up a little from the past two weeks (PSU and OSU) the Boilers get a Northwestern team stung by a home loss and chomping at the bit to get back in the Big Ten race.
Purdue has lost four of five and Curtis Painter has seen his Heisman hype flushed. Northwestern is a win away from bowl eligibility and has its sights set on the best finish in recent memory. The real difference maker might be the fact that Purdue is the only team to slow down Penn State's offense to date. Then again, Northwestern is much better on D as well this year. I like the way the 'cats offense has been playing more than I like Purdue's defense. The drought continues for one and the one-game set back ends for the other. Northwestern 31 - Purdue 20.
Wisconsin at Iowa - Another one that should be quite interesting. Iowa took out three weeks of frustration on Indiana last weekend and is feeling better about itself. Wisconsin is mired in a three game streak of futility. I wonder how much that loss at Michigan hurt this team because aside from hanging with Ohio State for most of that game, this team looks nothing like it did up to halftime in Ann Arbor.
Wisconsin may be making a quarterback switch and that may make the difference. This offense is predicated on mistake free football at quarterback and a pounding ground game. Neither has come to fruition of late. Iowa has perhaps the best defense the Badgers will have faced to date making quarterback play even more of a premium. I don't like what I saw in the Badgers last weekend and think Iowa is in better shape at this point. UW goes to 0-4 in conference play and Iowa keeps on the right track. Iowa 20 - Wisconsin 17.
Ohio State at Michigan State - The game of the week in the Big Ten and one of the best games in the country that will undoubtedly get little national love. I'm bummed to have to watch this on DVR tape delay, since my son's team plays at the same time. I can only imagine how much Spartan Stadium will rock for what is the biggest home game since State was favored over Michigan in 2005.
Ohio State seems in a bit of turmoil with some seniors throwing their support behind Todd Boeckman and wavering a bit on Terrelle Pryor. OSU's offense has been less than stellar for much of the season but Beanie Wells is a beast. Michigan State's defense will need to continue its strong play inside the red zone while the offense needs to find a way to break Javon Ringer loose. My gut says the play action will work and the MSU receivers and QB Brian Hoyer will have their best game to date. Brett Swenson kicks a game winner at the buzzer... Michigan State 23 - Ohio State 21.
Michigan at Penn State - Well, this might be the year that Penn State gets that Michigan monkey off its back. The Nittany Lions have lost nine in a row against the maize and blue but this is the worst Michigan team I have seen in my lifetime - PERIOD. Penn State is very good and hungry to make a run at the Big Ten and National title.
I do expect Michigan's best shot of the season in a last gasp effort to make things right. Trouble is, Penn State is too good for Michigan right now. I think this is a game for a half but no longer than that. Clark shreds the Michigan defense late and the Lions kill with stellar special teams play. Penn State 34 - Michigan 20.
Indiana at Illinois - This game serves as a wake up call for both teams. Indiana is in danger of undoing all the good it put to work last season. Illinois is as up and down as a Cedar Point roller coaster and needs someone, anyone to step up and lend Juice Williams some support. IU is clearly a different team without Kellen Lewis healthy and on the attack.
Illinois hasn't done much on defense to make me think they can stop Indiana but Indiana hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire offensively either. If the Hoosiers couldn't stop Iowa's offense, how will they stop Juice? If you need a break from football, this might be the one to miss this weekend... Illinois 41 - Indiana 14.