Only six more shots to catch the leaders (five regular season weeks plus bowls). Two big games on the slate this weekend. Penn State hasn't won in Ann Arbor in an awfully long time. Iowa and Michigan State know what it means to play tight games as most of theirs over the past three decades have been in that vain.
Gonna be wet, windy and chilly for most around the league. Lace 'em up, strap 'em tight and let's go!
Indiana at Northwestern - This one has huge ramifications as far as bowl eligibility goes. Indiana needs two more wins. Northwestern is in the same boat. Neither of them has much margin for error with some tough games remaining. IU got a confidence boost last week, while Northwestern got bullied a bit in the second half. When most everything is equal, give me the home team. Northwestern 31 - Indiana 24.
Phats says ... I have a problem picking IU in anything because I am a Boiler and can't stand the Hoosiers. That trend won't change here, Northwestern will have little problems with the Hoosiers. NORTHWESTERN 31 indiana 17
Illinois at Purdue - This one should be interesting. Has Illinois quit on Ron Zook? Looked to me like he might of quit on his team at the end of that IU game last week. Purdue got a signature win for Coach Hope and may have finally cleared the hurdle that has been in the way. It's really simple. Purdue has a fantastic offense - but must hold onto the ball. Illinois has arguably more talent, but has been an absolute dud so far. More of the same this weekend. Purdue 33 - Illinois 23.
Phats says ... I am so glad that picking my beloved Boilers each week finally paid off! I can't tell if we're getting the Illini at a good time when they will be discouraged and pretty much throw in the towel, or a bad time where they band together and try to turn what's left of the season around. My guess is the first scenario. Meanwhile, spirits are high in West Lafayette, the Boilers finally closed the deal on a big game, and I see us using the momentum and taking out Illinois early. Boiler Up! PURDUE 41 illinois 14
Minnesota at Ohio State - The Gophers are mired in a stretch of brutal games, and in the middle of a "State" sandwich. OSU has got to be spitting nails after the loss last week. Pryor is taking heat, some of it deserved, all of it to be expected (he is, after all, the QB). Minnesota failed to score last week at Penn State and I think the Buckeyes boast a better defense. Will anything change for the OSU offense? How will Pryor respond? Can Minnesota steal one while the Buckeyes are going all introspective and such? Ohio State 23 - Minnesota 10.
Phats says ... I don't think Ohio State will lose this one, I know fans are all over Tressell, and Pryor, but they will have little problems, and get a nice rebound win over the Gophers in the Shoe. OHIO STATE 28 minnesota 10
Penn State at Michigan - A big game in Ann Arbor. Michigan is coming off the slaughter of am FCS JV team. Penn State came up big at home against Minnesota. The Nits have been snake bitten in Ann Arbor since the mid to late 90s. How will the Wolverines fare against one of the better teams it will face all season? I think Michigan will give Penn State a game, but the Nittany Lions have a lofty goal in front of them and that goal is very attainable. Penn State 26 - Michigan 20.
Phats says ... This could be a really good game, or a blow out. I am not quite sold on how good Michigan actually is, this should let me know more where they are at. I think it's been awhile since the Lions have won in the Big House, but I think that all changes this year, State's defense playing too well at this point. PENN STATE 28 michigan 14
Iowa at Michigan State (tiebreaker) - Be still my heart. MSU is where it was about a year ago. The top team in the Big Ten coming into East Lansing and a chance for the Spartans to make that move to the top. Last year, faced with the same situation, the Spartans bombed - hard. But after a tough start, with two losses by a combined 5 points and three straight overall, State has won three in a row and looks to make a statement. Iowa has plain found a way to get it done, week in and week out. The Hawkeyes know how to win close games, know how to win when playing poorly, know how to win on the road. The atmosphere will be electric in E.L. and we'll be treated to some good, old-fashioned Big Ten football. Iowa wants revenge. MSU is on a mission. Home field and the league's best kicker is the difference. Michigan State 27 - Iowa 23.
Phats says ... Iowa keeps on winning and keeps on getting very little respect from the national media. Michigan State has definitely righted their early season woes, and this in my opinion is the best match up Saturday. I see it coming down to a last second field goal, as Iowa wins it as time expires. IOWA 24 michigan state 21