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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Saturday Preview - Week 9

Michigan State at Iowa 12:00 ESPN2
Line: Michigan State -3
This game will be big for both teams. Michigan State can become bowl eligible for the first time since 2003 with a win, while Iowa tries to keep their fading bowl hopes alive for one more week. The Spartans defense kept things close last Saturday at Ohio State, but just could not get enough going on the offensive side of the ball to pull off the upset. The running game will have a tough time again this week against a good Iowa defense, but with the Hawkeye offense as bad as it is and seemingly getting worse, it won't take many points to beat them. If Michigan State can get a couple of early scores on the board it could get ugly. Iowa just doesn't have the offense to play catch up.
BTC Prediction: Michigan State 27 Iowa 17

Indiana at Wisconsin 12:00 BTN
Line: Wisconsin -7
The Badgers stepped outside of Big Ten play last week for a much needed breather against Northern Illinois, but Wisconsin cannot afford a slip up this week with back-to-back games with Ohio State and Michigan looming. The Hoosiers are still looking for their 6th win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. Indiana QB Kellen Lewis should be studying the Wisconsin-Illinois game tape and try to take advantage of the Badger's defensive front much like Juice Williams did in the Illini's win over Wisky. If the Badgers can keep Lewis in check and get a productive day from RB P.J. Hill, they should be able to wear down the IU defense and grind out a win.
BTC Prediction: Wisconsin 34 Indiana 24

Northwestern at Purdue 12:00 BTN
Line: Purdue -12.5
Purdue got back in the win column against Iowa last week and should be able to pile up the points again this Saturday at home. Northwestern squeaked by Eastern Michigan last Friday night in Detroit and will definitely need a better performance out of their offense to keep up with the Boilermakers. RB Tyrell Sutton's return could come this Saturday and that should help the Wildcats go with a more balanced attack. The story in this game will be the quarterbacks for each team. Purdue's Curtis Painter and NU's C.J. Bacher have been lighting up scoreboards for most of the year and this Saturday will be no different. We should see an offensive shoot-out with the Boilermaker's gun slinger coming out victorious.
BTC Prediction: Purdue 42 Northwestern 24

Ball State at Illinois 12:00 BTN
Line: Illinois -14
Two weeks ago many in Champaign were dreaming of a New Year's Day Bowl, but after back-to-back losses the Illini are back to meeting the preseason expectations of this young team. Illinois can't lose focus this week after their disappointing loss to Michigan. Ball State has the offense to make this game very interesting. The intriguing storyline for the Illini the rest of the way will be the shuffle between Juice Williams and Eddie McGee at quarterback. Coach Ron Zook has made it clear that Juice is his starter, but if the passing game continues to sputter how short will the leash get?
BTC Prediction: Illinois 31 Ball State 17

Minnesota at Michigan 3:30 ESPN Classic
Line: Michigan -23.5
Michigan got a huge road win last week, but it may have come at a cost with QB Chad Henne and WR Mario Manningham a little banged up in the game. Thankfully for the Wolverines, Minnesota is coming to town. The Gophers may have the worst defense in the nation. They looked that way last Saturday as Division 1-AA North Dakota State ran all over the Minnesota D. Whether Mike Hart plays or not, the Michigan O-Line should be able to dominate and create holes big enough for your grandma to run through. This will be just what the doctor ordered for an injured Wolverine offense.
BTC Prediction: Michigan 38 Minnesota 20

Ohio State at Penn State 8:00 ABC
Line: Ohio State -4
Ohio State did not do much to help silence the doubters last week in their first game as the #1 team. Sure the defense completely shut down Michigan State's running game, but the Buckeye offense made a few key mistakes that helped the Spartans stick around. A convincing win at Penn State would cement OSU as the #1 team in the land. The Nittany Lions could launch themselves into a possible BCS bowl with an upset on Saturday and three very winnable games to finish up the season. For Penn State to win, they are going to need to win the turnover battle. This Ohio State defense is as good as it gets, and as long as the offense can limit mistakes, should be enough to keep the Buckeyes undefeated for at least one more week.
BTC Prediction: Ohio State 21 Penn State 17