Week 10 is upon us and we get all 14 of the Big Ten teams back in action this week. Bye weeks are done and it is time for the stretch run through the conference to determine quite a few things.
The Big Ten has five teams with bowl eligibility confirmed and eight of them still with a chance at postseason play. While some may not be playing for the conference at this point, many are playing to continue their seasons.
Right now, these predictions are hitting at a 78% clip, going 31-9 through eight weeks. We didn’t do the first week as Big Ten teams had staggered starts to the season but since we have been picking the winner, these predictions are red hot.
Since we only cover five games, two are left out. Unfortunately, Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) at Northwestern (1-7, 1-3 Big Ten) and Penn State (6-2) at Indiana (3-5) didn’t make the cut for me. Nonetheless, a score prediction for both.
Prediction: Ohio State 56, Northwestern 0
Prediction: Penn State 31, Indiana 10
No. 5 Michigan (8-0) at Rutgers (4-4)
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
This one made the cut, not because I think it will necessarily be a close game, but to see what Michigan looks like. In a bit of a whirlwind week, they had to deal with the assault situation following the Michigan State game and then they were extremely disrespected being left out of the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Rutgers is on the receiving end of this anger and frustration, which isn’t fair to them. Greg Schiano is doing some good things there, but they aren’t near this level yet.
Prediction: Michigan 38, Rutgers 13. Michigan comes out with intensity and looking to prove a point. They will show a tough, blue collar attitude in this one.
Michigan State (3-5) at No. 16 Illinois (7-1)
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan State is a full-on circus, clown show, train wreck, whatever you want to call it right now. They have players suspended for assault cases postgame and Mel Tucker, with his massive contract, seems to be at the root of the issue for his team acting this way.
In stark contrast, Illinois is following head coach Bret Bielema into battle each week believing in each other. Their defense is good. Not just like, okay, good. No. Like top-five in the country good.
Prediction: Illinois 27, Michigan State 6. Illinois will play lights out defense and gain an advantage on offense due to some Spartans suspensions. Bielema and the boys keep rolling.
Minnesota (5-3) at Nebraska (3-5)
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota was red-hot to start the season, cooled off, and may be performing well again. The inconsistency is to be expected with P.J. Fleck as the head coach.
Nebraska has lost two in a row after climbing to .500 and come in off a sound loss to Illinois. This might be the back breaker for the season.
Prediction: Minnesota 27, Nebraska 20. Nebraska is once again right there but amidst a few losses, an interim coach, and uncertainty, they don’t get it done against the Golden Gophers.
Maryland (6-2) at Wisconsin (4-4)
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Taulia Tagovailoa is back in the lineup for the Terrapins this week and that should provide a much-needed boost to the offense. With two wins in a row, this feels like a game for Maryland to add another notch to their belt of being legitimately good.
Prediction: Maryland 35, Wisconsin 27. This one sees some points that may not be expected. Each team is off a bye and will have some wrinkles up their sleeve to ignite the offenses.
Iowa (4-4) at Purdue (5-3)
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
What looked like it was going to be a top-versus-bottom matchup in the conference has shifted. Iowa found some offensive rhythm last week and paired it with seven sacks to win a game in vintage Iowa style.
Purdue enters off a bye week so they will be rested up even though their secondary is filled with injury question marks. That said, they have a sizable offensive advantage in this one.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Purdue 17. Scoring on Iowa is hard enough. Scoring on Iowa when the forecast calls for rain and 40 miles per hour wind gusts when you rely on passing the ball, well, that’s even harder. Iowa gets a few turnovers and pulls off a bit of a shocker in West Lafayette to return the favor to Purdue.
Follow Riley on Twitter: @rileydonald7
Let us know your thoughts, comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.