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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Saturday Preview - Week 10

Purdue at Penn State 12:00 ESPN
Line: Penn State -7.5
After two blowout losses to Ohio State and Michigan, Purdue bounced back and has played themselves back in position for a New Year's Day bowl. Penn State is also in desperate need for wins to keep themselves in the discussion for a January bowl game. The Nittany Lions disappointed last weekend against the #1 Buckeyes on national TV, and they can't afford another set back this weekend in their home finale. The Boilermakers offense has struggled mightily against the two teams they played with solid defenses, OSU and Michigan. Last week it took a big 4th quarter for Purdue to come from behind against Northwestern. Unfortunately for the Boilers, yards will be much tougher to come by this Saturday against Penn State's defense. It will be close throughout with the Lions winning one on Senior Day.
BTC Prediction: Penn State 23 Purdue 14

Iowa at Northwestern 12:00 ESPN2
Line: Northwestern -1
Don't look now, but the once left for dead Iowa Hawkeyes have a serious possibility of making a bowl game. Iowa improved to 4-5 after stunning Michigan State in double overtime last week, and the Hawkeyes need to win two of their last three in order to finish with six wins. Their remaining schedule is very favorable with home games against Minnesota and Western Michigan up next after this Saturday's tilt with Northwestern. A win in Evanston, and Iowa will almost certainly be bowling in late December. Northwestern has won two straight in the series against the Hawkeyes, and they also are looking for a bowl bid this season. The Wildcat run defense has to be a concern. NU has given up over 200 yards rushing in 4 of their 5 Big Ten games, including 220 yards last week to Purdue's Jaycen Taylor. Iowa's RB Albert Young came up huge last week in their win over MSU with 179 yards on 34 carries. The Hawkeyes will need another monster game on the ground this weekend to come home with a win.
BTC Prediction: Iowa 24 Northwestern 20

Wisconsin at Ohio State 12:00 BTN
Line: Ohio State -15.5
This week's Big Ten showdown in Columbus features two teams coming off very impressive victories. Ohio State spanked Penn State last Saturday in Happy Valley to silence some of the doubters, but a big win over Wisconsin would solidify the Buckeye's spot on top of the college football world, at least for now. The Badgers come to town after back-to-back blowout wins over Northern Illinois and Indiana, but the offense could be without leading rusher P.J. Hill. Hill suffered a foot injury against Indiana and is questionable for Saturday's game. Backup running back Lance Smith is not able to travel with Wisconsin to road games, so if Hill is unable to go freshman Zach Brown will most likely get the start. That could be disaster against a Buckeye defense that is one of the best in the nation. Ohio State has shut down every offense they have faced this season, and a Badger offense minus P.J. Hill may not find the endzone.
BTC Prediction: Ohio State 30 Wisconsin 13

Ball State at Indiana 12:00 BTN
Line: Indiana -6.5
Ball State continues on their Big Ten tour this week at Indiana after losing to Illinois last Saturday. Indiana has been stuck on 5 wins after losing three straight and continue to seek that 6th win to become bowl eligible. With a road game at Northwestern next followed by Purdue at home, this week looks like the Hoosier's best chance to finally get to six wins, but it won't be easy. Ball State has performed very well on the road this year against major conference teams Nebraska and Illinois. The Cardinals did however have some trouble stopping Juice Williams, and struggle against the run. Ball State is ranked 116th in the nation in run defense, and Indiana's dual threat QB Kellen Lewis should be able to take advantage much like Juice did last week. This should be a high scoring affair and turnovers will play a key. Losing to Ball State at home would be devastating to a once promising season for Indiana, but don't be shocked to see it happen.
BTC Prediction: Indiana 31 Ball State 30

Michigan at Michigan State 3:30 ABC
Line: Michigan -4.5
Michigan has been playing without star RB Mike Hart for two weeks, but hope to get both him and QB Chad Henne back for Saturday's rivalry game with Michigan State. The Wolverines sit atop the Big Ten standings with Ohio State after an impressive seven game win streak to get them back into Rose Bowl contention. These final three games will make or break the year with Wisconsin and Ohio State up next for Michigan. It's time for the Wolverines to get healthy, and in a hurry! Michigan State has struggled in conference play after their 4-0 start. Obviously a win over the hated Wolverines would be a big notch on first year coach Mark Dantonio's resume. Michigan is obviously the more talented team, especially if Henne and Hart both play, but it's almost impossible to predict how emotion will effect rivalry games such as this one.
BTC Prediction: Michigan 34 Michigan State 28

Illinois at Minnesota 8:00 BTN
Line: Illinois -11.5
Illinois is 6-3 and bowl eligible, but now it's time for the Illini to improve their bowl standing. Minnesota has three more chances left to get off the snide in Big Ten play, and this week's home game may be their best remaining shot at a win. The Gopher defense is absolutely terrible, probably the worst in all of college football. They continue to get torched by everybody they play, including 1-AA North Dakota State. Illinois comes in with one of the best running attacks in the Big Ten led by RB Rashard Mendenhall and QB Juice Williams. Mendenhall will likely go over 200 yards and the Juice will be loose on Saturday. Minnesota's offense has shown promise at times, but they have been fighting a losing battle each week trying to keep up with the points their defense is giving. This week will be no different for one of the worst Big Ten teams in recent memory.
BTC Prediction: Illinois 31 Minnesota 20