After four weeks of college football, the Big-1o is the only major conference that has yet to play an inter-conference game. That will all change this week, as we will start to see how the conference will shake out this season. There are still a few surprise undefeated teams, but will they be able to keep it up with the meat of their schedule coming? Let’s take a closer look.
Let’s start with the three undefeated teams left in the conference. One of them is no surprise: #14 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are coming off a 29-15 win over UAB, and Urban Meyer has these kids playing with a ton of motivation considering they won’t be playing a bowl game this year. There’s is still an outside shot that the Buckeyes run the table, and get the #1 ranking in the AP poll, so they have that going for them. The other two are pretty surprising: Minnesota and Northwestern. Both teams have a win over Syracuse, and they registered some impressive non conference wins, beating the likes of Boston College, Vanderbilt, and UNLV. Both teams figure to be favorites this week, before they battle it out in what looks like it could be a huge game next week.
#20 Michigan State and #21 Nebraska lead the way for the 3-1 teams. The Spartans bounced back from their loss to Notre Dame by beating Eastern Michigan 23-7, while Nebraska also bounced back from their loss to UCLA with a beatdown of Idaho State 73-7. Wisconsin is the last 3-1 team, as they knocked off UTEP 37-26 last week.
The rest of the conference is either 2-1 (Indiana and Purdue were idle last week), or 2-2. Iowa continues to struggle so far this year, losing to lowly Central Michigan 32-31 at home. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for Hawkeye fans. Illinois also suffered a surprising defeat, losing badly to Louisiana Tech 52-24. And Penn State has rallied from a nightmare start to the season, by knocking off Temple 24-13 for their 2nd straight win.
Lastly, there was the game of the week between Michigan and #10 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish led 10-0 at halftime, and that would turn out to be all they would need, as they blanked Denard Robinson all game, on route to a 13-6 win over the Wolverines. Michigan and Robinson just aren’t that good this year. They have shown that they are nowhere need the top 10 preseason ranking they were given, and I don’t think they even one of the top 40 teams in the country.
Speaking of Michigan, they are the only team with a bye this week. Everyone else is playing a Big-10 opponent, except for Purdue, who is facing Marshall. Here’s a list of the games.
Minnesota at Iowa- The Golden Gophers continue their hot start, and shoot out to 5-0 against a bad Iowa team.
Indiana at Northwestern- Northwestern keeps their perfect season going in preparation for what will be a great game next week against Minnesota.
Penn State at Illinois- Not a ton to love about either team here, but my gut says go with Penn State. This team is playing better, and Illinois is coming off a terrible loss to Louisiana Tech. They aren’t very good.
Wisconsin at #22 Nebraska- This game isn’t nearly as big as it figured to be at the beginning of the season, when both teams were in the top 20. It was the Pac-12 who ruined this matchup, as Oregon State knocked off Wisconsin, while UCLA beat Nebraska. I like the Cornhuskers here. Monte Ball is banged up, and the home field advantage should be huge here.
#14 Ohio State at #20 Michigan State- This is the biggest game on the schedule this week, and I think it’s going to be a great one. With the excpetion of the Cal game, Ohio State has yet to be tested this year, while the Spartans have already faced two ranked teams. Combine that with the fact that it’s at Michigan State, and I like the Spartans to pull off the upset here, ruining Ohio State’s thin hopes of a split national championship.
That wraps up our thoughts on the Big-10 this week. Who do you like in the Ohio State-Michigan State game? Let us know in the comments!