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Big Ten Fearless Predictions, Sept. 27
Penn State WR Derrick Williams
Penn State WR Derrick Williams
Posted Sep 24, 2008

Previews and Predictions for the Week 5 Big Ten Games

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

Big 10 Fearless Predictions  Aug. 30 | Sept. 6 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 20 
- Sept. 27  

How are the picks so far? SU: 36-9 ... ATS: 19-17

- Big 10 Week Six Fearless Predictions, Part 2

Big Ten Game of the Week

Ohio State (4-1) at Wisconsin (3-1), 8 EST, ABC
Why to watch: Oh what might have been. Wisconsin was laughing at Michigan going into halftime with a comfortable 19-0 lead. On the big Saturday of upsets, the Badgers were poised to make a huge leap up the rankings and be just on the cusp of the top five, the home showdowns were all set up against Ohio State and Penn State to make a (yes, don’t laugh) statement in the national title race, and the GameDay crew was all fired up to come to Madison. And then came the choke. Lack of necessary adjustments on both sides of the ball, a struggling passing game, and mental and physical errors allowed the Wolverines to pull off the greatest home comeback in their long and storied history. As head coach, Bret Bielema was 19-0 when going into halftime. Now he’s 19-1 and has to deal with a Buckeye team that’s finally starting to finally come together.

Beanie Wells is back and relatively healthy, Terrelle Pryor is the full-time quarterback, and Ohio State finally started to play like the world-beater it was expected to be with a strong performance against Minnesota. Don’t let the 34-21 final score fool you; Ohio State dominated this game with the Gophers getting 15 points late. With the disaster at USC still way too fresh on everyone’s minds, the Buckeyes need a style-points win over a good team like Wisconsin to make everyone wonder what the game in L.A. would’ve been like had Beanie and Pryor been in the backfield for an full game. After hosting Purdue next week, the schedule is a blast the rest of the way with road games against Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois, and dates against Penn State and Michigan. The trip to Madison won’t be the team’s final test.

Why Ohio State might win: While the numbers might look fine, Wisconsin’s passing game is functionally ineffective. It’s a solid 47th in the nation in efficiency and is averaging 195 yards per game, but it goes M.I.A. on too many third downs. To be fair, the best receiver, tight end Travis Beckum, has an injured hamstring, but even if he plays, the Buckeye pass defense should be ready. Ohio State is only allowing 157 passing yards per game despite not generating much in the way of a pass rush. Wisconsin isn’t going to run for 250 yards on the OSU defensive front that allowed just 164 yards to USC, so if QB Allan Evridge isn’t effective, this could be a tough defensive struggle.
Why Wisconsin might win: Make Ohio State throw and everything will be fine. The Badgers’ weakness is at corner, and while Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline are excellent talents, and there will be at least on key deep catch made, Ohio State has to win on the ground. The Wisconsin linebacking corps is just quick enough to keep Pryor contained, and the defensive front is tough enough to keep Beanie from breaking free too often. This is a tough defense that’ll be looking to make up for last week’s gaffe. Ohio State has to be ready to be far more physical than it’s been over the first four games.
Who to watch: Wisconsin had Ohio State in big trouble last year, and then Beanie Wells took over, finished with 169 yards and three touchdowns, and the upset bid turned into a 38-17 Buckeye victory. He didn’t appear to be quite back to 100% last week, but he wasn’t far off with 106 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile Pryor is the team’s leading rusher with 292 yards and three scores. In his first game as the main man, he completed 8-of-13 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 97 yards and two scores on eight carries against the Gophers. For Wisconsin, this game is all about Jonathan Casillas, the senior linebacker who was hurt for the first two games. He mad eight tackles with an interception last week against Michigan, and he needs to be in on at least ten stops this week as a spy on Pryor.
What will happen
: Run, run, run. Each team will look to pound the ball from the start, but it’ll be the return of Beckum from a hamstring injury and fellow tight end Garrett Graham from an ankle problem that’ll be the difference for the Badgers. Pryor and Beanie will be wonderful, but their combined 200 rushing yards won’t be enough.
CFN Prediction
: Wisconsin 23 … Ohio State 20 ... Line: Ohio State -2.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 4.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections    

Saturday, October 4

Iowa (3-2) at Michigan State (4-1), 12 EST, ESPN2
Why to watch: Michigan State hasn’t wowed anyone, but it has overcome a 38-31 opening day loss to California to win four straight games with a solid defense, good offensive line play, and Javon Ringer, Javon Ringer and more Javon Ringer. Not being considered one of the key Big Ten title contenders yet, the Spartans have chances over the next two weeks against Iowa and at Northwestern to set the table for a brutal second half of the season against Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue and Penn State. Meanwhile, Iowa went from being a Big Ten sleeper who allowed eight points in the first three games, to struggling in losses to Pitt and Northwestern by a total of six points. With three road games in the next four, the Hawkeyes have to come up with the upset to turn their season around.
Why Iowa might win: The run defense has been excellent. Helped by a tremendous line, the defense has been holding teams to 100 rushing yards per game, while limiting Pitt RB LeSean McCoy to 78 yards and Northwestern’s Tyrell Sutton to 77 yards. The secondary has played better than most of the recent Iowa secondaries, while the front seven will load up to give Ringer little room to move.
Why Michigan State might win: The offensive line continues to play extremely well. QB Brian Hoyer might not be playing all that well, even though he had a nice day against Indiana, but he’s getting plenty of time to work. Iowa’s defensive front is holding up well against the run, but it’s not generating any pressure with just ten sacks so far.
Who to watch: With the quarterback situation in a constant state of flux, Iowa has relied on the running of Shonn Greene to carry the offense. He got banged up against Northwestern, but he’s expected to play in what should be one of the best battles of top running backs this season. Greene has run for over 100 yards in all five games, and is sixth in the nation in rushing, while Ringer is second in the nation behind Connecticut’s Donald Brown with 897 yards while just missing his third straight 200-yard game with a 198-yard, two touchdown day against Indiana.
What will happen
: Ringer will be held to under 100 yards for the second time all year, but Hoyer will come through with an efficient day and will loosen up the Hawkeye secondary just enough to come away with a tougher-than-expected win.
CFN Prediction
: Michigan State 24 … Iowa 20 ... Line: Alabama -16.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 3
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 

Indiana (2-2) at Minnesota (4-1), 12 EST, Big Ten Network
Why to watch: It goes to show just how far Minnesota has come since last year that its 34-21 loss to Ohio State was a bit of a disappointment. No, no one thought the Gophers were going to win in Columbus, but considering the defense has improved and the offense has been solid, in a weekend full of upsets, Minnesota over Ohio State wouldn’t have been a total shocker. Even though things have improved, Minnesota has to take advantage of every opportunity for a win, and this week’s game against Indiana is one of them with road dates against Illinois and Purdue to follow. The Hoosiers are coming off defensive meltdowns in losses to Ball State and Michigan State, giving up 42 points in each game, and needs this win to keep hopes of a bowl game alive. There are still a few winnable games on the slate, like home games against Northwestern and Northwestern, but Minnesota also has to be considered a must-win after going 0-2 against FBS teams so far.
Why Indiana might win: Minnesota has been a bit susceptible to allowing the home run, especially in the season-opener against Northern Illinois, and Indiana is a home run hitting team. When RB Marcus Thigpen is in space, and when QB Kellen Lewis gets on the move, IU can strike from anywhere on the field. Minnesota’s offense is working, but it doesn’t have quite the same explosion.
Why Minnesota might win: Indiana’s defense has gone bye-bye. It’s not just any one area that the Hoosiers are having problems with, Ball State and Michigan State each ran and threw equally well. The Cardinals ran for 224 yards and four touchdowns, and threw for 239 yards and a score, and the Spartans ran for 236 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota has a diverse enough attack to get one thing going if the other isn’t. The running game hasn’t been special, but it’s good enough to move a bit on a slightly disappointing IU defensive front.
Who to watch: What happened to the Indiana defensive line? Greg Middleton was supposed to be one of the nation’s top pass rushers, after leading the nation in sacks last year, but he only has one sack so far. Jammie Kirlew has two sacks, and while the team has done a decent job of getting into the backfield, the plays haven’t changed the course of games. The run defense has been mediocre overall, and non-existent over the last two weeks.
What will happen
: This should be fun. Kellen Lewis and Minnesota’s Adam Weber are among the Big Ten’s best all-around playmakers and each should make several big plays. The Minnesota offensive line has to be strong from the start, while the defense has to make IU go on long, drawn out drives. Turnovers will be the difference. IU will be -2 in turnover margin that’ll prove too costly.
CFN Prediction
: Minnesota 34 … Indiana 30 ... Line: Minnesota -7.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 3
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 

- Big 10 Week Six Fearless Predictions, Part 2