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Big 10 Fearless Predictions, Nov. 3, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 30, 2007


Previews and Predictions for the Week 10 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. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 10 | Nov. 17    

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

Big 10 Week10 Predictions, Part 1

Big 10 Saturday November 3

Iowa (4-5) at Northwestern (5-4)   12:00 PM ESPN2
Why to watch
: Iowa dominated this matchup for year, but Northwestern has made it a good yearly battle over the last decade and has won two straight in the series. Now this becomes a good battle for a bowl bid with Iowa turning its season around with a thrilling overtime win over Michigan State to win two of the last three. With almost certain wins against Minnesota and Western Michigan to close things out, a win in Evanston will likely mean a 7-5 regular season record. Northwestern is trying for bowl eligibility to the second week in a row after struggling in a loss to Purdue, and with Indiana and Illinois to close things out, it might be now or never for a chance at a 13th game.
Why Iowa might win
: Will the running game that showed up last week make the trip to Evanston? From out of nowhere, the Hawkeyes started moving the ball on the ground against Michigan State, and it ended up leading to an overtime win. The Northwestern run defense held Eastern Michigan in check two weeks ago, but it's been mediocre in Big Ten play, giving up more than 200 yards to everyone but Michigan. The Wildcat defensive line isn't anything special and can be pushed around, while there's no real pass rush to deal with.
Why Northwestern might win: Iowa's offensive showing against Michigan State might be a mirage. This isn't a consistent attack with no passing game and not nearly enough production throughout the year from the line. It's possible for Northwestern, and the Big Ten's best passing game, to get up early, make Iowa press, and hope it doesn't suddenly find a groove like it did last week when ...
Who to watch: ... Albert Young came up with his best games in two years. With 34 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns, Young was the Iowa offense in the win over Michigan State. With so many problems in the receiving corps, and so many issues finding a passing attack that can balance out the attack, Young will have to be the focal point yet again. Northwestern might have lost last week, but it got its start back with Tyrell Sutton returning from an ankle injury to run 12 times for 72 yards. Brought along slowly, if he can regain his pre-injury form, all of a sudden the Northwestern offense might go from ultra-productive to unstoppable.
What will happen: Northwestern's offense has been explosive, but it's only put up the monster numbers against the miserable defenses. Iowa's defense might not have killer stats, but considering the team's offensive woes, it's been fantastic. It's not going to be a pretty game with the Hawkeyes taking advantage of a few Northwestern turnovers to generate their points.
CFN Prediction: Iowa 20 ... Northwestern 17 ... Line: Northwestern -1
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 2

Michigan
(7-2) at Michigan State (5-4)   3:30 PM ABC
Why to watch: Has it really been five years since Michigan State beat Michigan? In what's always an intense rivalry, the Wolverines have controlled things over the last few years, with some of the wins sending the Spartans into ugly tailspins. At the moment, MSU is already in a funk losing two straight and four of the last five games with only a big win over Indiana to break the gloom. With a road trip to Purdue and a home game against Penn State, the potential is there for an ugly end to the year, so a win is desperately needed right now to show that things have quickly changed in the Mark Dantonio era, and to be in a hunt for a bowl bid. Michigan has roared its way back into the 2007 season with a seven-game winning streak with a brutal three-game stretch to close things out. A win this week is a must with a road trip to Wisconsin and a date with Ohio State to close.
Why Michigan might win: Michigan State's defense isn't nearly as good as the statistics. It's been great at getting into the backfield, and it has aggressive athletes, but any defense worth its salt doesn't give up 230 rushing yards to Iowa. While Brian Hoyer has been throwing well, MSU has to run will to win. That could be an issue against a Wolverine run defense that has problems against running quarterbacks, but has been consistently strong in recent weeks. Since giving up 331 yards to Oregon, now one has gotten more than 137, including Illinois, Purdue, Penn State and Minnesota. The Wolverine defensive front seven should control things early.
Why Michigan State might win: Michigan's offensive line will give up sacks allowing 15 so far. It's not like the Michigan quarterbacks are going to take off for big runs, and compared to most Big Ten quarterbacks, will be sitting ducks for the MSU defense. Ohio State also has a statue at quarterback in Todd Boeckman, and it has a terrific offensive line. When MSU got into the Buckeye backfield, it forced two huge mistakes that changed the game around. The same could happen this week. A few big hits could quickly change the tone of the game and could give the MSU offense the opportunities to get easy points.
Who to watch: Just how healthy is Michigan? It's been able to get away with not having a healthy Chad Henne or Mike Hart for the last few weeks, but while the backups have been more than just solid, Michigan will likely go with its banged up stars. Henne and Hart are supposed to play after missing the Minnesota game, and while that's a plus, there has to be a way to keep the backup Wolverine backs involved after a big week against the Gophers. Brandon Minor was terrific with 21 carries for 157 yards and a score, while Carlos Brown ripped off an 85-yard run on the way to 132 yards and two scores. In other words, Hart doesn't have to carry it 40 times.
What will happen: Never discount the emotional fire in a rivalry, and MSU will be sky-high at home. However, the Wolverine defense will overcome two big Javon Ringer runs to close down the rest of the Spartan offense, while Mario Manningham and the Michigan receiving corps will do just enough to get crush a big late momentum swing.
CFN Prediction: Michigan 31 ... Michigan State 23... Line: Michigan -4.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 3

Illinois (6-3) at Minnesota (1-8)   8:00 PM Big Ten Network
Why to watch: Illinois has its bowl eligibility, but now its looking for big things with a shot at a New Year's Day bowl game still there, and a ten-win season still possible after getting by Ball State last week. With a trip to Ohio State next week, getting past an awful Minnesota team healthy and confident is a must. The Gophers have history on their side, if nothing else, winning the last three against the Illini by a combined score of 112 to 20. The season has been one of the worst in the school's long history, coming within an overtime win over Miami University of being winless, while losing to a Sun Belt team (Florida Atlantic), a FCS team (North Dakota State), a MAC team (Bowling Green), and going 0-for-5 in the Big Ten. With only one home game left against Wisconsin, after going on the road to deal with Iowa, it might be now or never for a second win in the Tim Brewster era.
Why Illinois might win: The Gopher defense continues to be the worst in the country. Michigan didn't have Mike Hart or Chad Henne last week but it still cranked out 561 yards of total offense. Only two teams haven't hit the 500-yard mark, Ohio State in a 30-7 loss (459 yards) and Indiana in a 40-20 loss (463 yards). The pass defense has been awful throughout, while the run defense has gone into a steady decline, allowing a whopping 701 yards over the last two weeks. Minnesota doesn't have the linebackers to come close to handling the Illinois read option running game. Juice Williams and Rashard Mendenhall should go crazy.
Why Minnesota might win: Minnesota should be able to take a deep breath and not worry a lick about its secondary for a week. The beleaguered group won't get tested too often with Illinois certain to try running the ball over and over and over again. The Illini passing game has shown signs of life at times, but it's still the least efficient in the Big Ten and is only cranking out 147 yards per game. Any opportunity for safety Dominique Barber to cheat up and play the run is a positive, but for him to do so ...
Who to watch: ... the freshman corners will have to play like veterans. No, Illinois isn't going to throw it 35 times, but it'll look to come up with a few big plays with its star freshman Arrelious Benn against Ryan Collado and Kyle Theret, true freshman who've been given their shot at corner after nothing else was working. Throw in true freshman free safety Curtis Thomas, and the Gophers are playing with an eye on the future. Also getting work is true freshman Duane Bennett, a tough, quick back who ran for 106 yards against Michigan. He'll be the focal point of the Minnesota offense over the final three games.
What will happen: Minnesota is way overdue for a good break, and it's not going to get one this week. Never count out a Ron Zook coached team against anyone, whether it's Ohio State or Minnesota, but this week it'll be all about Illinois running the ball 50 times for close to 400 yards.
CFN Prediction: Illinois 34 ... Minnesota .17 .. Line: Illinois -11.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 2

Big 10 Week10 Predictions, Part 1