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Big Ten predictions: Week 8

10/21/2010

I learned how to Bucky. Unfortunately, it was too late.

My lack of faith in Wisconsin on its home field at night cost me a perfect week in Week 7. The Badgers overpowered No. 1 Ohio State and handed me my lone loss.

Here's an attempt at a clean sweep this Saturday.

Michigan State 28, Northwestern 20: The Spartans will have to work for this one, but they'll remain perfect. Kirk Cousins hits on several play-action passes, Edwin Baker has a long touchdown run and Keshawn Martin breaks off a big return or two. Northwestern comes out with a pass-heavy offense and quarterback Dan Persa has some success, but the Spartans make enough plays in the second half to win their first game outside Michigan soil.

Illinois 26, Indiana 20: This is my Prediction of the Week. Check the blog this afternoon for a video post explaining my selection in greater detail.

Penn State 21, Minnesota 17: As Minnesota interim coach Jeff Horton said Tuesday, the Gophers have nothing to lose. Their head coach has been fired and changes are on the way, but in a sense, the pressure is off the Maroon and Gold. Penn State, meanwhile, faces a must-win situation and needs to show greater passion and interest in salvaging its season. I could see this one going either way, but Evan Royster finally gets it going against a vulnerable Minnesota defense and Penn State prevails.

Ohio State 35, Purdue 16: A dose of reality arrives this week for Rob Henry and the Boilermakers, although Ohio State's injuries on defense create a window of opportunity for Danny Hope's squad. Ultimately, Terrelle Pryor attacks Purdue's new-look secondary with talented receivers Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey, and the Buckeyes pull away in the third quarter.

Iowa 27, Wisconsin 25: It'll be a great one in Iowa City, especially along the line of scrimmage. Expect a pretty even battle between the Wisconsin offensive line and Iowa's defensive front. The two run games cancel each other out, and ultimately it comes down to the quarterbacks, both of whom lead fourth-quarter scoring drives. Ricky Stanzi gets the ball last and takes Iowa downfield, leading to a Michael Meyer field goal as time expires.

Bye: Michigan

Last week: 4-1

Season record: 49-8 (.860)