Thursday, November 5, 2009
Big Ten picks: Week 10 Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Who's going to win? Keep reading.
Iowa 27, Northwestern 17: Both teams tend to start slow, so expect a close game for most of the way. Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka plays and does some good things in the second and third quarters, but Iowa once again takes control in the fourth, when it has dominated and Northwestern has struggled this season. Both defenses are improved and the Wildcats always save their best for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes prevail behind Ricky Stanzi and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.
Wisconsin 28, Indiana 16: I don't know how much the Hoosiers have left in the tank after back-to-back crushing defeats. Plus, Wisconsin has totally dominated Indiana under head coach Bret Bielema and seems to be getting better on defense as the season goes along. The Hoosiers' standout wide receivers make plays early, but running back John Clay and the Wisconsin defense led by O'Brien Schofield and Chris Borland blossom in the second half.
Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 10: It's an absolute must-win for Mark Dantonio's team, and they will be prepared to play. Quarterback Kirk Cousins picks apart the Broncos secondary as wide receiver Blair White and Keshawn Martin turn in big performances. Michigan State's defense keeps Tim Hiller in check and keeps its bowl hopes alive heading into a crucial game at Purdue.
Minnesota 30, Illinois 24: Both offenses got some much needed confidence last week and will continue to make plays early in this one. Adam Weber turns in another good performance and finds tight end Nick Tow-Arnett for two touchdown passes. Illinois runs the ball well with backs Mikel LeShoure and Jason Ford, but Minnesota's defense clamps down in the red zone as the Gophers become bowl-eligible.
Michigan 37, Purdue 31: I'm hesitant to pick the Wolverines, but they're in a must-win game against a Purdue team that totally imploded last week. Plus, running back Brandon Minor is getting healthier, and he can change the game. Both offenses make plays, but Minor and teammate Carlos Brown lead a potent rushing attack that proves to be the difference as the Wolverines get bowl-eligible.
Penn State 21, Ohio State 17: Expect a defensive struggle early as two of the nation's premier units take the field in Happy Valley. The game closely resembles the Iowa-Michigan State clash, as defense rules until the final 10 minutes, when both offenses come alive. Quarterbacks Daryll Clark and Terrelle Pryor both make plays, but Clark's leadership in a more cohesive Nittany Lions offense proves to be the difference.