Top 5 Big Ten Week 6 games and predictions




 

Big Ten play rolls onward with a Week 6 slate full of matchups across the conference. While this week may lack a little star power and flash on paper and at first glance, the underlying storylines this week are plentiful.

As always, some games are left off of this list as they just don't get the juices flowing. Unfortunately, that honor goes to the Friday night heavyweight battle taking place in Piscataway when the Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. As the sole Big Ten game taking place on Friday, it does get TV treatment of FS1, which is some sort of reward for these teams that otherwise wouldn't attract many ratings.

The Penn State Nittany Lions and Minnesota Golden Gophers find themselves on a bye week. Penn State is ranked No. 10 in the country and sitting pretty with a perfect 5-0 record. The Golden Gophers limp into the bye after an underwhelming loss at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers.

With those four teams out of the way, there are 10 others suiting up head-to-head on Saturday that make up our top 5 Big Ten games of the week.

Wisconsin (2-3) at Northwestern (1-4)

 

Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK

What a whirlwind of a week this has been for the Wisconsin Badgers. Coming off of a shocking 34-10 loss to Illinois, they quickly fired head coach Paul Chryst. Luckily for them, they have Northwestern coming up after a week of change.

Northwestern is struggling, and that might be being generous. At 1-4, the Wildcats are looking to create any positivity. This week just won't be that week.

Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 10. Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard is going to lean on physicality and Braelon Allen runs for 200-plus on a defense allowing 172 rushing yards per game.

No. 3 Ohio State (5-0) at Michigan State (2-3)

 

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The intrigue in this one lies in seeing just how ugly things may get in East Lansing because it isn't a matter of if the Spartans fall to 2-4, it is how badly the loss is. The Mel Tucker era is going to be a complete 180 from this time last season.

Ohio State is averaging 49 points per game. They just put up 52 on Wisconsin and 49 on Rutgers, both wise ease. The Buckeyes won't falter this week as they march onward to 6-0.

Prediction: Ohio State 42, Michigan State 14. Ohio State's defense, allowing only 14.8 points per game, shows up and plays well once again. The Buckeyes slowly pour it on.

Iowa (3-2) at Illinois (4-1)

 

Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

This game won't be overly pretty, won't see many fireworks, but it will be a true, classic Big Ten football game. Both teams want to run the ball and play good defense. Illinois is entering at 4-1 after a great win over Wisconsin while Iowa is 3-2 and trying to keep their offensive success on an upward trend.

This game will be close and come down to the fourth quarter, but will serve as a reminder that Illinois, while progressing, is still experiencing growing pains in their rebuild.

Prediction: Iowa 20, Illinois 10. Iowa gets two offensive touchdowns and a few field goals by dominating the field position battle for most of this game. It is a slow victory by submission.

Purdue (3-2) at Maryland (4-1)

 

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This one could be our Big Ten shootout of the week. These teams want to throw the ball and air it out. Taulia Tagovailoa and Aidan O'Connell are each putting up gaudy stats and should continue this week.

Purdue averages 32.8 points per game and Maryland averages 35 points per game. Those outputs will hold true in this game.

Prediction: Maryland 42, Purdue 28. Maryland shows the conference they are better than expected and Taulia Tagovailoa goes over 300 yards passing against a suspect Purdue defense.

No. 4 Michigan (5-0) at Indiana (3-2)

 

Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

This one is a little more interesting than what meets the eye. The Michigan Wolverines come in after a strong showing against Iowa, but it did require immense focus and this is another road trip for the second week in a row.

Indiana is sitting at 3-2 and this is their biggest home game of the season. Fox Big Noon Kickoff will be in town. The Hoosiers will be pulling out all the stops going for the upset. Expect trick plays, fake punts, fake field goals, the kitchen sink. It won't matter. The gap between these programs is enormous.

Prediction: Michigan 34, Indiana 10. Michigan is in the top tier of college football right now and puts together another machine-like performance over four quarters.

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