Thursday, October 14, 2010
Big Ten predictions: Week 7
By Adam Rittenberg
I'm a coward.
I really thought Illinois had what it took to knock off Penn State last week, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. And like a quarterback who hesitates before making a bad pass, I got picked off.
I'll fully admit I didn't see Purdue beating Northwestern on the road, so kudos to the Boilers for that win. Anyway, a 3-2 week doesn't sit well.
Let's see if I can do better in Week 7.
Indiana 35, Arkansas State 24: You have two great quarterbacks (Ben Chappell and Ryan Aplin) and two shaky defenses. The result will be a pass-happy shootout won by Chappell and the Hoosiers, as receiver Tandon Doss has two touchdown catches. Indiana finishes off a very favorable nonconference slate at 4-0 before making a huge trip to Illinois next week.
Purdue 23, Minnesota 21: The Boilers come in with a ton of confidence on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Rob Henry will be able to run the ball on a Gophers team that ranks 100th nationally in rush yards allowed (196.3 ypg). Minnesota also will move the ball in this one, as Adam Weber does a better job of attacking Purdue's secondary than Northwestern did. Still, I can't see the Gophers putting it all together as Purdue moves to 2-0 in league play.
Michigan State 26, Illinois 20: This is a trap game for the Spartans, but they shouldn't overlook Illinois after what the Illini did to Penn State last week. I like the matchup of Michigan State linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon against Illinois' run-heavy scheme. The first team to beat Michigan State will need to do it through the air. Illinois hangs tight for the entire game, but Michigan State is too tough as quarterback Kirk Cousins turns in another efficient performance.
Iowa 30, Michigan 24: This is my prediction of the week. Check back later for a video post breaking down my selection.
Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 23: This is certainly one that could go either way, and if Wisconsin can reduce Ohio State to a one-dimensional offense, the Badgers have a very good shot. But what has Wisconsin shown this year to indicate it's capable of knocking off the nation's No. 1 team? The Badgers come in fired up and take an early lead, but Terrelle Pryor, still a bit limited by his quad injury, has a big second half attacking the middle of Wisconsin's defense. Ohio State's opportunistic defense forces two turnovers and escapes Madison with a W.
Bye: Northwestern, Penn State
Last week: 3-2
Season record: 45-7 (.865)