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Thursday, September 27, 2007

9/27/07 - Saturday Preview

Penn State at Illinois 12:00 BTN
Line: Penn State -3
What to watch for in this game will be the Penn State offense, which is suddenly not as good as we thought, against an Illini defense that may be better than most were giving credit for. Sure, it was only a win over Indiana, but road wins have been few and far between for Illinois in recent years, and that was a good Hoosier offense the Illini shut down. Last week Penn State struggled sustaining any type of offense at Michigan. QB Anthony Morelli looked bad, RB Austin Scott continued to put the ball on the turf, and the Nittany Lion offense couldn't get into the end zone. After giving up 153 yards to Mike Hart last week, the Penn State defense will now try to shut down Illini RB Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall has rushed for 100+ yards in three straight games, and Illinois will need more of the same if they want to pull off the upset. This game will be close, but Penn State will take advantage of some Illinois turnovers to sneak out of Champaign with a win.
BTC Prediction: Penn State 17 Illinois 14

Michigan at Northwestern 12:00 BTN
Line: Michigan -17
After consecutive wins over Notre Dame and Penn State, the Wolverines have gotten themselves right back in the hunt for a Big Ten championship. Senior QB Chad Henne, who is 0-2, is back healthy and will get the start over Ryan Mallett in Evanston. Mallett was not overly impressive in his two starts, but he did take care of the ball against Penn State, which was all Michigan needed from him to win. Northwestern will be without RB Tyrell Sutton for another game, and without him the Wildcat offense has really struggled. Michigan has had well documented problems against spread offenses this year, but Northwestern should give them few troubles. The Wolverines can ease Henne back into action, and he'll have this game and next week at home against Eastern Michigan to grow his confidence.
BTC Prediction: Michigan 31 Northwestern 13

Indiana at Iowa 12:00 BTN
Line: Iowa -11
The injury bug has hit hard in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes lost WR Andy Brodell for the year with a hamstring pull, and TE Tony Moeaki is out for at least 2 weeks with a dislocated elbow and broken bones in his hand. This Saturday Iowa will play a total of zero receivers that caught a pass last season. With that lack of experience, it is high time for the Hawkeyes to find a way to get their running game and RB Albert Young back on track. Indiana had problems stopping Rashard Mendenhall last week, and their run defense has to improve. The Hoosiers will give Iowa's strong defense a good test, but in the end look for Iowa to avenge last year's loss in Bloomington with a close victory on Saturday.
BTC Prediction: Iowa 24 Indiana 20

Notre Dame at Purdue 12:00 ESPN
Line: Purdue -21.5
In Purdue's four wins this year, the Boilermakers have scored 52, 52, 45 and 45 points. You would be hard pressed to find an offense in the entire nation that is working better than Purdue's. The Boilermakers need a win over Notre Dame to improve to 5-0 before back-to-back contests with Ohio State and Michigan. QB Curtis Painter has been more than impressive this year, and he will be given plenty of time to pick apart the Irish defense. Notre Dame's inept offense has put up a total of 27 points in their first four games. Purdue will have four touchdowns by halftime.
BTC Prediction: Purdue 41 Notre Dame 17

Michigan State at Wisconsin 3:30 ABC
Line: Wisconsin -7
Before this season started, there were very few people who had this game circled on their calendar, but both the Badgers and Spartans are 4-0 and dreaming of New Year's Day bowls. Wisconsin looked very sluggish early on offense last week against Iowa, and it wasn't until P.J. Hill took over in the 4th quarter when the Badger faithful could finally exhale. This Saturday may seem like an intrasquad scrimmage for both teams as so far the Spartans have been winning games using the "Wisconsin formula", strong defense and a run first ball security offense. With games against Northwestern and Indiana up next, a win for Michigan State would be huge and set them up for what could be a 7-0 start. This will be a close, hard fought game and don't be surprised to see a Spartan upset.
BTC Prediction: Wisconsin 17 Michigan State 14

Ohio State at Minnesota 8:00 ESPN2
Line: Ohio State -23
Ohio State's offense absolutely slaughter Northwestern last week en route to their blowout win. Minnesota's defense has not been able to stop anybody this year and currently ranks last in the nation. And other than Purdue last week, they haven't necessarily been facing any high powered offenses (Bowling Green, Miami (OH), and Florida Atlantic). The Gopher's offense can score at a high enough clip to keep Minnesota in most games, but in the end, if you can't stop anybody, you can't win. The Buckeye offense won't put up the numbers it did at home against Northwestern, but they will have no trouble putting up points in the Dome, and the Minnesota offense will find it tough going against the strong Buckeye D.
BTC Prediction: Ohio State 42 Minnesota 17