Saturday Preview - Week 11
|Michigan at Wisconsin Noon ESPN|
Line: Michigan -2.5
The Badgers will try to rebound from a disappointing loss at Ohio State last week. This is a big game for Wisconsin, with Minnesota up next week, a win over Michigan should set Wisconsin up for another New Year's Day bowl. The Wolverines cannot afford a letdown this week after their come from behind win over Michigan State and with the showdown with Ohio State coming next week. On the injury front, it appears Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill will miss another game with an ankle injury, he is officially listed as questionable. The Badgers will start Lance Smith, who missed last week and is suspended from all road games but can play at home. For Michigan, QB Chad Henne and RB Mike Hart should be able to go on Saturday. If Henne and Hart can perform at 100% and play the entire game, Michigan should be able to keep things rolling on offense. The Badgers seem to be too banged up to pull out this victory.
BTC Prediction: Michigan 27 Wisconsin 20
Indiana at Northwestern Noon ESPN Classic
Line: Indiana -2
It's November and an Indiana-Northwestern football game has huge bowl implications? That's right, and no, this isn't the Bizarro Big Ten. The Hoosiers finally got their 6th win last week against Ball State to officially become bowl eligible, but with 10 teams in the conference within reach of six wins, Indiana needs to win another to secure a bowl bid. Northwestern still sits on five wins after blowing a big chance at home last week against Iowa. The Wildcat offense was clicking in the first half, but some C.J. Bacher mistakes and the abandonment of the running game eventually led to Northwestern's demise. A bright spot in the loss however was the return of RB Tyrell Sutton. Sutton was impressive in the first half last week before he was seemingly forgotten about and left out of the 2nd half gameplan. On the other side, the Indiana offense was on fire last week against Ball State led by the Lewis-Hardy connection, and QB Kellen Lewis will give Northwestern's defense fits. This game is huge for both teams, but the Hoosier offense is playing much better than Northwestern's at this point in the season.
BTC Prediction: Indiana 34 Northwestern 28
Penn State at Temple Noon ESPNU
Line: Penn State -24.5
Penn State needs to finish strong against Temple and Michigan State to earn a trip to a New Year's Day bowl. The Nittany Lions have beaten Temple 24 straight times. The Owls come into Saturday's game with a 3-6 record and more than three touchdown underdogs. Last year Penn State embarrassed Temple in a 47-0 win. This year's game should be closer than that, but it'd be shocking if Temple can keep this within 20 points. The Lion defense has been very strong this season and helped right the ship after back-to-back losses to start Big Ten play. Expect Penn State to dominate on the road this Saturday, but next week at Michigan State will be the real test.
BTC Prediction: Penn State 34 Temple 9
Michigan State at Purdue Noon BTN
Line: Purdue -4
Last week's loss to Michigan dropped the Spartans to 5-5 on the season. Michigan State has had three straight chances to get to six wins and bowl eligibility, but the Spartan's have lost three straight. MSU is running out of chances with Purdue this week and Penn State up next. It's now or never time. Purdue has winnable games against Michigan State and Indiana left on the schedule, and two wins would put the Boilermakers in the hunt for a New Year's Day bowl. Purdue's defense has been hurt by good running teams this year giving up some good yardage on the ground. MSU RB Javon Ringer is one of the most explosive backs in the nation, and he should find some room to run on Saturday. The Boilers will likely turn to WR Dorien Bryant early and often as he celebrates Senior Day in West Lafayette. Purdue will give up over 200 yards on the ground, but the offense will bail them out with a big day.
BTC Prediction: Purdue 34 Michigan State 27
Minnesota at Iowa Noon BTN
Line: Iowa -14
With a win over Minnesota in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale, the once dead Iowa Hawkeyes can become bowl eligible. Iowa heads out of conference next week to finish the season with Western Michigan, and two wins would put the Hawkeyes at a remarkable 7-5 considering their terrible start to the year. And speaking of terrible, here comes Minnesota. The Gopher's sit at 1-9 with their lone victory coming in a triple overtime win over Miami (Ohio) at home in week two. The Minnesota defense gave up 448 rushing yards last week in their loss to Illinois as things just continue to get worse. Iowa's turnaround has been led by RB Albert Young and the emergence of sophomore QB Jake Christensen. The Hawkeye offense should have a field day against Minnesota en route to bowl eligibility.
BTC Prediction: Iowa 34 Minnesota 13
Illinois at Ohio State 3:30 ABC
Line: Ohio State -15
How is it that this year's Ohio State team, which could very well be better than last years squad, is still considered by most around the nation as unworthy of another shot at the National Title? The Buckeyes have one of the best, if not THE best defense in the nation. The non-conference schedule did leave a lot to be desired, but with an undefeated record and decisive wins at Penn State, at Purdue, at Washington, and last week's victory over Wisconsin at home, the Buckeyes deserve to be one of the two teams battling for the BCS Championship. This week OSU faces a dangerous Illinois team before the game everyone is waiting for next weekend at Michigan. The Illini have weapons on offense with QB Juice Williams and RB Rashard Mendenhall leading the way. The Buckeye defense led by LB James Laurinaitis will have to be on their toes against Illinois' option attack, but this year's Ohio State squad seems to focused to suffer a letdown before the Michigan game.
BTC Prediction: Ohio State 31 Illinois 14