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Thursday, October 7, 2010
Big Ten predictions: Week 6

By Adam Rittenberg

Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ


On the walk to Spartan Stadium last Saturday, I wasn't feeling too confident about my Wisconsin-Michigan State pick. Several hours later, I paid the price.

Other than the Badgers-Spartans whiff, it was a pretty good week for the predictions. Let's see if Week 6 is even better.

Ohio State 38, Indiana 23: Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell and his talented receivers made some early plays against the bend-but-don't-break Buckeyes defense, but I don't have much faith in the IU defense to contain Ohio State, even if Terrelle Pryor isn't 100 percent. Much like last week, the Buckeyes get a lift from a veteran running back in the second half, while wideout Dane Sanzenbacher adds to his league-leading touchdown receptions total.

Penn State 19, Illinois 14: This is my prediction of the week. Check back this afternoon for a video that breaks down my selection.

Wisconsin 37, Minnesota 27: The Badgers endure a bit of a hangover from the Michigan State loss and fall behind Adam Weber and a motivated Golden Gophers squad. But Minnesota's defense never really shut down Northwestern last week, and it will need to force a bunch of turnovers to slow down Wisconsin. I don't see it happening as running backs John Clay and James White combine for three second-half rushing touchdowns as the Badgers retain Paul Bunyan's Axe.

Michigan State 37, Michigan 35: This one will live up to the hype and certainly could go either way. Michigan State starts slow in its first road game of the season, as Denard Robinson breaks off a big play or two in the first half. But Michigan's defensive ineptitude will finally cost it a game, as Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins continues his second-half brilliance and fires a pair of touchdown passes. Cousins also drives Michigan State in the closing minutes, setting up a game-winning Dan Conroy field goal.

Northwestern 34, Purdue 23: Purdue showed good resilience in Danny Hope's first season, and despite all the injuries, the Boilers will hang tough under the lights in Evanston. Freshman Rob Henry makes some big plays with his feet, but his inexperience shows up in the second half with two costly turnovers. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa takes control in the third quarter and the Wildcats clean up some of their mistakes to improve to 6-0.

Bye: Iowa

Last week: 4-1

Season record: 42-5 (.894)