Chicago Colleges: Katz 3-point shot

Big Ten viewer’s guide: Week 7

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
Week 7 is here, and let’s not sugarcoat it: Big Ten football has looked more interesting on other weekends. This first Saturday of the season without nonconference action lacks marquee matchups. Still, the division races will continue to take shape.

Here’s a look at the five games (all times Eastern):


Illinois (3-3) and Wisconsin (3-2), ESPN2: Will Melvin Gordon run for 300 yards? If the Badgers wanted it to happen, Illinois’ 119th-ranked rushing defense would likely comply. More of the intrigue in Madison involves the quarterbacks. For Wisconsin, Joel Stave, who returned last week against Northwestern, will see time, in addition to Tanner McEvoy, who might also take a shot at receiver. And with Illinois’ Wes Lunt out with a fractured leg, senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey, who was set to redshirt, have competed in practice this week.

Indiana (3-2) and Iowa (4-1), ESPNU: Indiana has shown it can win on the road in tough spots, handing Missouri its lone loss on Sept. 20. The Hoosiers are more explosive on offense than any foe Iowa has faced. But Indiana still can’t defend well, in particular against proficient quarterbacks. The Hawkeyes are going back to Jake Rudock at the start, but C.J. Beathard will play. How well can Greg Davis manage this? If it’s a disaster, Indiana might just find itself in the right place at the right time for an upset bid.

[+] EnlargeDavid Cobb
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesDavid Cobb and Minnesota can take a big step in their quest for a Western Division crown by beating Northwestern on Saturday.
Northwestern (3-2) at Minnesota (4-1), BTN: Who would have guessed a month ago, as the Golden Gophers fell flat at TCU and the Wildcats sat winless, that this game would have legitimate implications for the West Division title race? It does, with NU in quest of a third straight unexpected win to open league play. Its defense led the charge against Penn State and Wisconsin. Minnesota is simply solid, led by David Cobb, statistically the league’s most valuable offensive player. Minnesota has defended the pass especially well in recent games and will test Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian, 13th in the Big Ten in QBR.

3:30 p.m.

No. 8 Michigan State (4-1) at Purdue (3-3), ESPN2: At least it’s not the best team in the Big Ten against the worst. Purdue escaped the low spot last week with a win over Illinois. And sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby looked good in the victory. Very good, in fact. Back at home, he figures to find a much more difficult situation against the Spartans, who might come in a bit angry after nearly blowing a 24-point, fourth-quarter lead against Nebraska.

7 p.m.

Penn State (4-1) at Michigan (2-4), ESPN2: The visitors from Happy Valley, after an off week, get an opportunity to show that their anemic performance against Northwestern was just a fluke. With an upcoming stretch of three challenging games, no better time exists for PSU to get healthy than at Michigan, trying to avoid its first 0-3 start in the Big Ten since 1965. Against a good Penn State front, the Wolverines must protect Devin Gardner and throw the football, neither of which they’ve done well in recent weeks.

Required reading

3-point shot: Terps-'Cats a sleeper matchup

November, 27, 2012
1. One of the sleeper games that won’t get much publicity during the ACC-Big Ten Challenge is Maryland at Northwestern. The Terps have only one loss (to Kentucky in Brooklyn in the opener) while Northwestern is undefeated after winning the tournament in South Padre Island with an overtime win against Illinois State. What does Maryland have to do? “Guard their Princeton offense, get to the shooters and take care of the ball while executing in the halfcourt,’’ said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. As for the Wildcats, who will likely once again be on the bubble in March for the ever-elusive bid, “We must not get outrebounded by more than 10, we must make shots, and [Drew] Crawford has to play well,’’ said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody.

2. The Battle 4 Atlantis was clearly the best tournament this November. But it’s hard to project these fields. The Gazelle Group, which runs the Legends tournament, had no idea when they locked in Indiana that the Hoosiers would be No. 1. The Old Spice Classic looked much better with Vanderbilt and West Virginia and Gonzaga, but the former two are going through rebuilding seasons. Maui had only one ranked team -- North Carolina -- a rarity for that event. These events will go through different stages. In 2014, Orlando’s Old Spice Classic will have marquee teams Kansas, Michigan State and Marquette, which may make that event the top in ’14.

3. Pitt has suspended Trey Zeigler indefinitely for a DUI Sunday. That’s a shame. Zeigler said last week in New York, while recovering from a hamstring injury, that he was hoping to play the way he projected and be much more aggressive offensively. But Zeigler should have been on his best behavior even more since he received a waiver to play this season when he pleaded that he was due the hardship because his father, Ernie, was fired at Central Michigan. Zeigler got a break to get immediate eligibility without sitting out a year. And then he gets a DUI and is suspended? Zeigler will need to apologize to more than his teammates, staff and family. He should also make sure he tells the compliance department and administration that pushed his waiver that he is truly sorry for his transgression.



Thursday, 10/16
Saturday, 10/18