Big 10 Fearless Predictions, Oct. 27, Part 2
Posted Oct 24, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 9 Big 10 Games, Part 2

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. 20Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17    

How are the picks so far? SU: 49-15 ... ATS: 22-30-2

Big 10 Week 9 Predictions, Part 1

Big 10 Saturday October 27

Michigan State (5-3) at Iowa (3-5)   12:00 PM ESPN2
Why to watch
: It's do or die time for both teams in a pivotal game before the finishing kick. For Iowa, it's about trying to make a late run to salvage the season after getting blasted by Purdue 31-6 in a game every bit as ugly as the final score. However, with Northwestern to follow, along with home games against Minnesota and Western Michigan, bowl eligibility is more than just a possibility with a win this week. MSU hasn't won in Iowa City since 1989, and desperately needs this win to avoid a possible rough end of the year with Michigan, at Purdue, and Penn State to close things out. A win would mean bowl eligibility for the first time since 2003.
Why Michigan State might win: You can't win if you don't score, and Iowa's attack is in big, big trouble this week. The receivers and running backs are banged up, but the big problem is an offensive line that's allowing four sacks a game and doing its best to get QB Jake Christensen killed. Michigan State's ultra-aggressive defensive front four should go ballistic in the backfield with at least five sacks and countless pressures. Iowa is averaging 15 points per game, and will struggle to get that unless the defense and special teams helps the cause.
Why Iowa might win: The Hawkeye run defense should keep it close. The defensive front seven has done its best to keep the season alive, holding just about everyone but Penn State in check on the ground. Michigan State is more than just a running game, but everything flows through Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick. If Iowa can make MSU a passing team, it has a chance.
Who to watch: Is it time for the Ricky Stanzi era to begin for Iowa? After Christensen has struggled so much to put points on the board, it might be tempting to bring in the strong-armed 6-4 for redshirt freshman for some more work after stepping in late against Purdue. For now, there's no talk of any sort of big change, but Christensen is in a lousy position with no help around him, no production from the offensive line, and a banged up Albert Young having problems with a knee injury suffered against the Boilermakers.
What will happen: The Spartans will get 17 points in the first half and Iowa won't be able to respond. The Hawkeyes will put up more points than they have in weeks, but it won't be nearly enough.
CFN Prediction: Michigan State 30 ... Iowa 21 ... Line: Michigan State -3
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 2

(1-7) at Michigan (6-2)   12:00 PM ESPN Classic
Why to watch
: Could this be one of the ugliest battles for the Little Brown Jug in years? Minnesota has lost six in a row, with things going from bad to worse after getting steamrolled over by FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, but it could turn around the ugly season with a shocking win in Ann Arbor. Michigan has overcome its painful start with six straight wins and a 3-0 Big Ten start with a tough finishing kick to come against Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road before the showdown against Ohio State. Banged up, the Wolverines would love to put this away quickly and heal up. 
Why Minnesota might win: Minnesota has the offense to potentially give the Wolverine defense problems. It's been well documented how rough Michigan had it early on against the Appalachian State and Oregon offenses, and Minnesota has a mobile quarterback in Adam Weber who could end up giving the Wolverine defensive front a hard time. There's also the sandwich factor. The nationally televised game at Illinois was a gut-check win for the Wolverines, and the rivalry date at Michigan State is up next.
Why Michigan might win: Minnesota's defense continues to find ways to be awful. The pass defense is the worst in America, allowing 342 yards per game, and now is having more and more problems against the run, getting blasted for 394 yards by North Dakota State. The Wolverine offensive line should be able to do whatever it wants to, while receivers Adrian Arrington and Mario Manningham have to be drooling over what they should be able to do against the Gopher corners.
Who to watch: In a dream world for Michigan, Henne and Hart don't play at all and still win in a walk. Carlos Brown was a more than adequate fill-in against Illinois with 113 yards on 25 carries. The former corner has tremendous speed and a surprising amount of power, and will combine with Brandon Minor if Hart isn't ready to roll. At quarterback, the more Ryan Mallett can get in, the better. He only completed two of six passes for 16 yards and an interception against Illinois, but he has decent experience having filled in early in the year when Henne was out against Notre Dame and Penn State.
What will happen: Call this the classic Michigan yawner game. Minnesota's offense will have a few big moments to get the Wolverine fans shifting in their seats, with flashbacks of Appalachian State kicking in, and then the Gopher D will will be the Gopher D.
CFN Prediction: Michigan 41 ... Minnesota 20 ... Line: Michigan -23.5
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 2

Northwestern (5-3) at Purdue (6-2) 
 12:00 PM Big Ten Network
Why to watch
: Purdue has had Northwestern's number for the most part, winning eight of the last ten games, and appears to be in the business of being Purdue again, beating all the teams it's supposed to, and getting rocked by the ones with a pulse. After losing to Ohio State and Michigan in uglier games than the final scores indicate, it came out and took care of business in a dominant 31-6 win over Iowa. With a trip to Penn State ahead, a win now is a must to secure one of the Big Ten's bowl slots. The Wildcats can be bowl eligible with a win after winning three straight to turn its season around. These are two of the Big Ten's best offenses battling in what should be an up-and-down-the-field shootout.
Why Northwestern might win: The Wildcat offense is one of the few that can keep up the pace once Purdue's offense gets rolling. The passing game has been unstoppable over the last three weeks, with QB C.J. Bacher throwing for 520 yards and five touchdowns against Michigan State, 470 yards and four scores against Minnesota, and 361 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan. Purdue has faced two teams that can throw the ball with any regularity, Central Michigan and Michigan, and got bombed on. Notre Dame was able to roll for 377 passing yards.
Why Purdue might win: Purdue likes offensive balance, but this week, it might not need it. QB Curtis Painter should have three weeks to throw. When given time, he can light up defenses like a Christmas tree, and he should be able to look for his second, third, fourth, and ninth option against a Wildcat secondary that's struggling with no help from its pass rush. Painter has cranked out 300 yards or more in four games this year. Make it five.
Who to watch: Northwestern has been great in recent years at cranking out ultra-productive, under-the-radar linebackers, like Tim McGarigle last year, and now the star is Adam Kadela, who made 151 tackles before this year, and now is among the nation's leaders with 82 stops. He's been a rock over the last two weeks with 15 tackles against Minnesota and 12 against Eastern Michigan, and he came up with his first pick of the year last week. It'll be his job to keep the Purdue running game in check and allow everyone else to deal with the Boilermaker passing game.
What will happen: Lots of yards, lots of points, and over 800 yards of passing should make for one of the most fun and exciting games of the Big Ten day. The lack of a Northwestern pass rush will be the difference.
CFN Prediction: Purdue 45 ... Northwestern 28 ... Line: Purdue -13.5
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 2.5

Big 10 Week 9 Predictions, Part 1