No. 14 Michigan State (9-2) at Northwestern (6-5)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN-720 AM
What you need to know: Northwestern is one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten. The Wildcats have won their past four games and became bowl eligible with last week’s win over Minnesota. Michigan State has already secured a spot in the Big Ten championship game, but the Spartans could improve their BCS ranking with another victory. Michigan State has won its past three games since losing to Nebraska. This is the final home for Northwestern’s senior class, which is the program’s all-time winning class.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Northwestern 31, Michigan State 28
Illinois (6-5) at Minnesota (2-9)
When, where: 2:40 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-560 AM
What you need to know: Last week was more of the same for Illinois. It played well in the first half, but crumbled in the second half against Wisconsin to drop its fifth straight game. The Illini should be able to break their slump against Minnesota this week. The Golden Gophers have just two wins, and their offense has often struggled. Illinois’ defense should be able to contain them again. The question is whether a win and another bowl appearance can save Illinois coach Ron Zook’s job.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois 31, Minnesota 17
No. 22 Notre Dame (8-3) at No. 6 Stanford (10-1)
When, where: 3 p.m. Saturday at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, Calif.
Radio: WLS-890 AM
What you need to know: Notre Dame’s defense has been the main reason for the Irish’s success as of late. The Irish have won four consecutive games after pulling out a 16-14 win over Boston College last week. Stanford’s offense will be a different sort of test for Notre Dame. Stanford and quarterback Andrew Luck have scored at least 30 points in every game this season. Stanford’s defense has struggled at times, especially against Oregon and USC. Notre Dame will need a better performance offensively than last week. The Irish scored just one touchdown against Boston College.
Powers’ prediction: Stanford 38, Notre Dame 27