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Big Ten predictions: Week 5

9/30/2010

It's one thing for Minnesota and Purdue to hurt their own records. It's another thing for them to hurt mine.

Other than those two misses, I did well in Week 4, coming a point away from a perfect pick on Penn State-Temple. I don't think Logan from State College will question me again. He learned his lesson.

Big Ten play kicks off this week, and so do the predictions ...

Ohio State 31, Illinois 16: The Illini hang around for a half as the defense forces an early turnover and running back Mikel LeShoure picks up yards to control the clock. But Ohio State grabs the momentum early in the third quarter. Terrelle Pryor runs for three scores and Jaamal Berry gets a few more carries as the second-ranked Buckeyes maintain their Big Ten road dominance.

Northwestern 30, Minnesota 23: We'll see a fast start from the Gophers, maybe even a long kickoff return from the reinstated Troy Stoudermire. But Northwestern won't look as sloppy as it did last week, as the Wildcats typically play well in Big Ten road games under Pat Fitzgerald. Minnesota makes mistakes early in the third quarter, the boos begin and Dan Persa and the Wildcats capitalize to improve to 5-0.

Michigan 49, Indiana 38: Maybe Bill Lynch is right and we'll see a "defensive shootout," whatever that means. But the overwhelming evidence points to, well, points, and lots of 'em. If Indiana can't shut down Akron's rushing attack (160 yards last week), it'll struggle big time against Denard Robinson, who adds to his highlight tape. Ben Chappell and the Hoosiers shred Michigan's secondary, but the Wolverines force a fourth-quarter turnover and prevail.

Wisconsin 31, Michigan State 30: This is my pick of the week. Check back later today for a video post where I explain my selection.

Iowa 23, Penn State 13: This score nearly worked last week so I'm going with it again, this time with Penn State on the losing end. Iowa could win this one going away if Adam Robinson gets going and the offensive line buys Ricky Stanzi time to attack downfield. Penn State's offensive line is a bit banged up, and while Evan Royster will do some good things Saturday night, Iowa's defensive front gets to freshman quarterback Rob Bolden.

Bye: Purdue

Last week: 8-2

Season record: 38-4 (.905)