Monday, October 10, 2011
Big Ten Week 7 preview
By Brian Bennett
We've had some big games already in the Big Ten, but this one might be even bigger. The reason? All five games are intradivision matchups, so we could see some separation in the league race.
Here's an early look at the lineup for Oct. 15:
No. 11 Michigan (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 23 Michigan State (4-1, 1-0), Noon (ESPN): This one always is feisty, but now the in-state rivalry is a key clash among Legends Division contenders. The Spartans have won three straight against the Wolverines and will pit their No. 1 ranked defense against Denard Robinson's offense, which is averaging nearly 39 points per game.
Ohio State (3-3, 0-2) at No. 16 Illinois (6-0, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional): After a tough one-game road trip, the Illini are back home for the sixth time in seven games this season. The Buckeyes are desperate after losing their first two conference games and with Wisconsin looming next on the schedule. Can Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins continue their outstanding connection against the Silver Bullets?
Northwestern (2-3, 0-2) at Iowa (3-2, 0-1), 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network): Neither team can afford another Big Ten loss and especially not Northwestern, which has already dropped a division game. Both defenses have struggled, while James Vandenberg and Dan Persa are two of the best passers in the league, so look for lots of points. The Wildcats have had Iowa's number in recent years, winning five of the past six meetings.
Indiana (1-5, 0-2) at No. 4 Wisconsin (5-0, 1-0), Noon (BTN): The Badgers bludgeoned the Hoosiers 83-10 last year. Indiana is struggling and looks highly vulnerable to another embarrassing blowout this time.
Purdue (3-2, 1-0) at Penn State (5-1, 1-0), Noon (BTN): Purdue's 45-17 win over Minnesota on Saturday was the Boilers' biggest margin of victory in a conference game in nearly three years. They won't find nearly as much comfort against a terrific Penn State defense that has allowed two touchdowns in its past four games.
Byes: Nebraska, Minnesota