Thursday, October 15, 2009
Big Ten picks: Week 7
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
I went 6-1 last week but don't expect such favorable results this time around. A lot of tough games to pick on Saturday's slate.
Here's hoping for good games and exciting finishes.
Wisconsin 24, Iowa 23 -- The Hawkeyes have won two of their last three games in Madison, but I've gotten in too much trouble picking against the Badgers at home. Iowa has lived on the edge for much of the season, and a costly turnover or two gives the Badgers an opportunity at the end. Best matchup: Iowa left tackle Bryan Bulaga vs. Wisconsin defensive end O'Brien Schofield.
Michigan State 28, Northwestern 23 -- This is the type of game that Northwestern often wins, and the Wildcats should make things close with their precision passing attack. But Michigan State seems to have found its mojo, and quarterback Kirk Cousins tosses three touchdown passes in his return. Larry Caper adds a fourth-quarter rushing touchdown as the Spartans get back on the right side of the .500 mark.
Ohio State 30, Purdue 10 -- For some reason, Terrelle Pryor seems to play better away from Ohio Stadium. He only needs to play decently against a Purdue team that consistently beats itself. Defensive end Thad Gibson and linebacker Brian Rolle turn in big performances from the Buckeyes defense as Purdue drops its sixth straight contest.
Michigan 41, Delaware State 7 -- Whether it's Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson at the helm, Michigan's offense will have a big day against the overmatched Hornets. Michigan's Brandon Minor rushes for two touchdowns and Robinson adds two more. The Wolverines defense finally plays a complete game against a Delaware State team that averages just 14.3 points a game.
Penn State 28, Minnesota 16 -- Minnesota star wide receiver Eric Decker will be a load for Penn State's secondary, but the Nittany Lions defensive front produces a big performance in this one. The Gophers hang tight for a while before Daryll Clark and Chaz Powell break things open with a long touchdown connection in the third quarter. Lions' linebacker Navorro Bowman stifles Minnesota's run game.
Illinois 27, Indiana 26 -- I understand Illinois has been downright miserable, failing to score a first-half touchdown in four games against FBS opponents. But I can't get two images out of my head: the Illini shredding Indiana's secondary last year and Indiana failing to show up on defense last week. This one is a total toss up, but Juice Williams starts at quarterback and makes enough plays to lead the Illini to an ugly win. Wideout Arrelious Benn breaks his scoring drought with two touchdown grabs.
Week 6 record: 6-1
Season record: 37-14 (.725)