Bye weeks are officially over for Big Ten teams.
During Week 10 action, we will see all 14 Big Ten teams playing in seven games with start times ranging from noon to 7:30 p.m. EDT.
No conference game will match two top 25 teams, but a few are intriguing enough to keep an eye on Saturday.
Four games are in the noon slot Saturday. Iowa and Purdue is a game to keep an eye on for the West. The Boilermakers are a game behind Illinois, and if Purdue wants to have a shot to go to Indianapolis, it need a win against one of the best defenses in the country.
There will be two games at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Penn State will take on Indiana and Michigan State will play Illinois. The Fighting Illini look to keep their winning ways against the Spartans and Penn State fans are hoping to see some of Drew Allar against the Hoosiers as the game is likely to be a blowout.
The lone night game will be Michigan taking on Rutgers at 7:30 p.m.
You can see my predictions for each Big Ten game below.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern
Northwestern Wildcats defensive back JR Pace (5) breaks up a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) during the third quarter of the Big Ten Championship football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. Ohio State won 22-10.
The Buckeyes escaped a close one last week in Happy Valley against Penn State, but Ohio State should have a cakewalk this week when it travels to play Northwestern.
The Wildcats are 1-7 and for good reason. Northwestern is averaging 17 points per game and giving up 28. The Buckeyes should be able to do whatever they want and then some on Saturday.
Ohio State 49, Northwestern 10
Minnesota vs. Nebraska
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
I made the mistake of picking Nebraska last week to upset Illinois. I can admit that was dumb, but I will not make that mistake again.
The Gophers are a better team with both Tanner Morgan and Mo Ibrahim healthy. Nebraska is capable of scoring, but that defense is rough. The Cornhuskers rank 114th in run defense, and I look for Ibrahim to torch them on the ground.
Minnesota 30, Nebraska 14
Iowa vs. Purdue
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Not sure what got into that Iowa offense last week. It put up 33 points and even Spencer Petras threw for over 200 yards and had a touchdown.
Oh, wait, the Hawkeyes played Northwestern. That makes sense.
All jokes aside, Iowa looked more like the team we expected to see this season. But it will be a challenge this week against Purdue. The Boilermakers were on a four-game win streak before falling to Wisconsin two weeks ago.
This is going to be the toughest test that Aidan O’Connell has faced this season going up against a tough Iowa defense, but I’m not sure that the Hawkeyes’ offense can perform the way they did two straight weeks. I’ll take Purdue at home in a low-scoring affair.
Purdue 17, Iowa 13
Maryland vs. Wisconsin
Troy Fumagalli #81 of the Wisconsin Badgers is pursued by Antoine Brooks #25 of the Maryland Terrapins during a game at Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 21, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Maryland has been an impressive team this season. Now that Taulia Tagovailoa is expected to return to the starting lineup, it makes this game intriguing.
The Badgers have been better since Jim Leonhard took over as interim head coach, and his team has been playing more complete football. Graham Mertz has played better. While the Wisconsin defense is having a down year by its standards, that unit is still solid.
I would have picked Maryland in this game if it were at home, but the way Wisconsin has been playing, I’ll go with the Badgers.
Wisconsin 31, Maryland 27
Penn State vs. Indiana
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
The Hoosiers are on a five-game losing streak and the season is looking really bleak in Bloomington.
Penn State has lost two games but both games have come against top five teams, and the Nittany Lions had chances last week to upset the Buckeyes.
Sean Clifford is extremely hit-or-miss, but Indiana is not a good football team. I think Penn State will be able to attack the Hoosiers any way it wants. Expect to see Drew Allar in this game as well.
Penn State 34, Indiana 9
Michigan State vs. Illinois
Josh Imatorbhebhe #9 of the Illinois Fighting Illini catches a fourth quarter fourth down pass to keep the drive alive between Xavier Henderson #3 and Shakur Brown #29 of the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 9, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. Illinois Fighting Illini won, 37-34. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Michigan State is a train wreck right now for more than one reason.
And Illinois is the complete opposite. The Fighting Illini are quietly 7-1 and alone at the top of the Big Ten West. Chase Brown has been an absolute stud this season and is second nationally, averaging 151 yards per game. Illinois also has the top scoring defense; it allows an average of 8.9 points per game.
I believe there is just too much going on in East Lansing right now, and Illinois will pick up its No. 8 win on the season.
Illinois 27, Michigan State 14
Michigan vs. Rutgers
Photo: Isaiah Hole
I’ll start off by saying Rutgers has the 12th total defense that allows 295.3 yards per game, and the Scarlet Knights allow 22 points per game.
But the two teams Rutgers has faced that can score are Minnesota and Ohio State, which scored 31 and 49, respectively.
The Scarlet Knights aren’t a team built to defend or score against Michigan. The Wolverines are one of the most complete teams in football at the moment. The maize and blue may be playing with a chip on their shoulders after seeing themselves ranked fifth in the CFP rankings.
I look for this game to be over before halftime.
Michigan 52, Rutgers 10