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Big Ten Fearless Predictions, Nov. 3
Wisconsin QB Tyler Donovan
Wisconsin QB Tyler Donovan
Posted Oct 31, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 10 Big Ten Games.

Big Ten
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota
Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin

Big Ten Fearless Predictions Sept. 1Sept. 8 | Sept. 15Sept. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 10 | Nov. 17    

How are the picks so far? SU: 54-16 ... ATS: 26-32-2

Big 10 Week 10 Predictions, Part 2

Big 10 Game of the Week

Wisconsin (7-2) at Ohio State (9-0)   12:00 PM Big Ten Network
Why to watch
: Ohio State is starting to gain a few measures of respect as the nation's number one team after the dominant 37-17 win at Penn State, but the world wants to see more. Is the defense really as nasty as it's been against all the average teams it's gone against? Is QB Todd Boeckman really a fringe Heisman candidate after a strong first nine games? Is Wisconsin just going to be a speed bump on the way to Illinois and Michigan? The Penn State win was good, but getting a win this week might even be better, even though the Badgers were destroyed by the Nittany Lions a few weeks ago. Wisconsin is playing like the Wisconsin everyone had in the top ten at the beginning of the year, with two straight suffocating performances against Northern Illinois and Indiana to get within shouting distance of the Big Ten race again. Recent history is kind to UW, winning the last three games in Columbus, with the last loss coming in 1996. This will be when Bret Bielema's club shows that it's a true national player, or it'll be a fantastic entry for the OSU résumé.
Why Wisconsin might win: The Ohio State defense is getting the headlines, but the Badger D is playing almost as well lately, with far better play from the secondary and far better tackling overall. After the loss to Penn State, the defense appeared to take a different attitude, and it has paid off allowing just six points in the last two games. Yeah, NIU and Indiana aren't Ohio State and Michigan, but the high-powered Hoosier attack was kept under wraps, with Jack Ikegwuonu and the secondary shutting down IU star receiver James Hardy. There's a chance the Buckeye receivers could be erased from the game from the opening snap.
Why Ohio State might win: Ohio State's defense has proven it can handle all styles. It stopped Michigan State's running game, it stopped Purdue's passing attack, it kept Kent State QB Julian Edelman from running wild, and it stuffed Penn State's offense after a big early drive. Wisconsin needs to pound the ball and control the line to have any shot at winning, but the Buckeye defensive front should have few problems getting into the backfield and getting to QB Tyler Donovan. Wisconsin might become one-dimensional early on needing to pass and pass again against the nation's number one pass defense because ...
Who to watch: ... Heisman caliber RB P.J. Hill is questionable at best with a foot injury suffered in the Indiana win. To make matters worse, dynamic backup tailback Lance Smith isn't able to travel with the team as punishment for some off the field issues. That means the Badger offense will be on Donovan and, most likely, freshman Zach Brown. Brown got 14 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown last week, and if Hill isn't ready to roll, it'll be up to the speedster, and a slew of fullback options like Chris Pressley to give UW some semblance of a ground game. The key will be Donovan, who has thrown at least one interception in each of his last six games and only one touchdown pass in his last three. He's been good in big situations on the road before, and now he'll have to pull of the performance of his career.
What will happen: Wisconsin has the makeup and the history to come into Columbus relaxed, efficient, and shockingly good. Don't be stunned if the Badgers make this a battle, but the Buckeye defense will be too much for the banged up UW offense.
CFN Prediction: Ohio State 26 ... Wisconsin 13 ... Line: Ohio State -15.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 4.5

Big 10 Saturday November 3

Purdue (7-2) at Penn State (6-3)   12:00 PM ESPN
Why to watch: After getting crushed by Ohio State and Michigan, Purdue has been dismissed from the Big Ten discussion, and rightly so. After all, the Boilermakers proved once again that they're fantastic against the weak and sad, but soil themselves against the better teams. That can change this week with a big win over a reeling Penn State team coming off a 37-17 loss to Ohio State. Just 2-8 against the Nittany Lions since they joined the Big Ten, Purdue can put itself in a nice position to finish in the top three and be in range of a New Year's Day bowl with a win. Penn State has shown flashes of brilliance, highlighted by the 38-7 win over Wisconsin, but for the most part, this has been Purdue. This is the final home game of the year, but the final two games against Temple and Michigan State are winnable.
Why Purdue might win: Purdue has been terrific at keeping everyone out of the backfield. Curtis Painter is doing a great job of getting rid of the ball, but if he gets time to locate his second and third options, he can be lethal. Penn State's pass rush has been fantastic all season long, and even got a little bit of pressure on Ohio State's Todd Boeckman last week, but the Boilermaker line is good enough to keep Painter upright for most of the game. The secondary has been the biggest issue for the Boilermaker defense, but Penn State isn't throwing with any consistency.
Why Penn State might win: Can the Purdue offense handle the Penn State linebackers? Sean Lee and Dan Connor are the nation's best duo with the speed, instincts and talent to keep the Boilermaker running backs from getting into the open, while helping out against the short to midrange Boilermaker passing game. Don't discount the final home game factor and the Senior Day aspect. Penn State has won 16 of its last 17 home season finales with the one loss coming to a tremendous Michigan team in 1999.
Who to watch: Purdue senior WR Dorien Bryant has been one of the nation's most productive receivers over the last several years with 269 catches for 3,347 yards and 21 touchdowns, but he's always flown under the radar. Never much of a scorer, that's changed this year with eight touchdowns. already his career high for a season, with 16 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. Penn State's one of the only teams he's never had much success against, with just nine catches for 99 yards and no touchdowns in three meetings.
What will happen: Can Purdue handle a good defense? Not really, but Penn State isn't going to generate much in the way of offense either. This will be a low scoring battle with the Nittany Lions coming up with a great defensive second half to hang on.
CFN Prediction: Penn State 20 ... Purdue 13 ... Line: Penn State -7.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 3

Ball State
(5-4) at Indiana (5-4)   12:00 PM Big Ten Network
Why to watch: Indiana needed everything it had to beat Ball State 24-23 in the second game of last year, and it could have an even harder time this year. The Cardinals have done a great job of pushing big-name teams, but haven't been able to get over the hump with tough losses to Illinois to Nebraska. That could change if IU keeps giving up the ball like it has over the last few weeks on a three-game losing streak. The Hoosiers have had three chances to get bowl eligible without being able to get it done, but could go on a great run over the final three weeks with a trip to Northwestern and Purdue to follow. This should be a thrilling game with several big plays and tons of offense, and it should be tougher than a MAC - Big Ten game might appear to be.
Why Ball State might win: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers. Ball State is seventh in the nation in turnover margin with 20 takeaways and just eight giveaways. Meanwhile, IU has lost nine fumbles and thrown two interceptions over the past three weeks in the losses. If the Cardinals can be at least +2 in turnover margin, and take advantage of every mistake, it should be in this until the end.
Why Indiana might win: Get ready for a huge day from the Hoosier running game. Ball State is 116th in the nation in run defense, allowing 227 yards per game, and IU QB Kellen Lewis and RB Marcus Thigpen are slightly overdue to go ballistic. Thigpen had a huge run called back against Wisconsin by a questionable holding penalty, while Lewis has been held in check over the last several weeks. The Cardinals were torn apart by the Illinois running game last week, and has given up close to 200 yards or more in each of the last four games. IU should be able to control the clock and the tempo, and it should also be able to hit a few home runs.
Who to watch: While he doesn't get much in the way of recognition because he plays for Ball State, senior tight end Darius Hill has been one of the steadiest receivers in college football for the last two years. He has at least four catches in every game this year with seven touchdowns as part of a nice career with 97 grabs for 1,532 yards and 20 scores. Against the aggressive IU defense, QB Nate Davis will have to get the ball out of his hands in a hurry, meaning Hill will have to play a big role from the start.
What will happen: It'll be a shootout with plenty of big statistics and lots of points, but IU will have too much in the fourth quarter. Lewis will have a huge game with 300 passing yards and 100 rushing, while Thigpen will tear off a backbreaking scoring dash in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Indiana 34 ... Ball State 28 ... Line: Indiana -6.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 2.5

Big 10 Week 10 Predictions, Part 2


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