I forgot to publish this yesterday...
We are coming down to the end of the season and there are still some huge questions to be resolved in the Big Ten conference, the biggest of which is - can Wisconsin stay undefeated, win the Big Ten, and make the College Football Playoff?
I don't have anything against Wisconsin. Of all of the Big Ten teams right now I would prefer that they won out. Ohio State clearly has the most upside of any team in our conference, but their losses to Oklahoma early and Iowa late put them in a bind to have a really successful season. Is winning the Big Ten good enough for them? Would destroying Wisconsin's dream season be enough for them? If they win the Big Ten, destroy Wisconsin's hopes and dreams, and beat Michigan is that enough for them?
BTW, why does Alabama play Mercer this weekend?
#19 Michigan at #5 Wisconsin - 11 am
It's always nice to start Saturday morning with a good game to watch, as this is the only ranked vs ranked FBS match up this weekend.
I fully expect this to be a good game as Michigan's defense should keep Wisconsin at bay into the third quarter – at the least. Michigan's offense seems to have come around after Brandon Peters has taken over as starting quarterback.
Wisconsin has a 71.6% win probability per S&P+.
Keep in mind that this game against Wisconsin and the rivalry game with Ohio State means so much to Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh has yet to beat Urban Meyer. Another loss to the Buckeyes and the Michigan faithful may spend this football off-season being much more cranky than they would otherwise. That would be joyful.
Minnesota at Northwestern - 11 am
Do you think the Gophers will be energized by their big win over Nebraska last weekend? They'll need it against Northwestern. Minnesota is a pretty mediocre team but you wouldn't know it by what they did to the Husker defense last week. They have this game against the Wildcats and the game against Wisconsin in which to get their sixth win and become bowl eligible. I don't expect they'll be beating Wisconsin, so they'd better come around this weekend.
Northwestern is already bowl eligible and will be fighting to maintain a decent projection for that bowl.
Rutgers at Indiana - 11 am
Let's just call this game the "Improvement Bowl". One of these teams will be deemed as "showing improvement". The loser will not be going bowling, so this is an important game for both of these teams that I can virtually guarantee nearly nobody who reads this site gives a damn about.
Indiana, well, basketball season started. Rutgers… Well maybe someone there cares. Maybe we should root for Rutgers.
Purdue at Iowa - 2:30 pm
The Boilermakers need this game to ensure bowl eligibility. Iowa needs to lose this game because I want them to. If the Hawkeyes win they will come into Lincoln with a 7 – 4 record. Doesn't 6 – 5 sound a whole lot better? That means there is a slight possibility that Nebraska could put them to 6 – 6. I know it's a pipe dream right now but that would be a lot better than 8 – 4, even though in the big scheme of things there isn't a whole lot of difference.S&P+ gives Iowa a 50.8% chance of winning, so there isn't a lot of difference between these teams. Purdue's rush defense should be enough to slow Iowa down.
Expect this game to be one of those 13 – 10 barn burners that goes into overtime, thrills the nation with repeated punts, and everyone leaves begging for more.
Illinois at #8 Ohio State - 2:30 pm
There is one good thing about this game for Illinois. All those freshman their starting get to begin their college football careers playing in one of the toughest places in conference to play, against one of the best teams. It probably can't get much worse for them.
Nebraska at #13 Penn State - 3:00 pm
There has been so much vitriol shoveled at Mike Riley and his coaching staff that I would like to take a moment to remind you of something very important. This Nebraska football team owns the season as much as the coaching staff. When I say that I'm talking about players. I fully expect that these guys are gonna get the crap stomped out of them while a certain percentage of them don't give a damn.If you are the type that wants to blame the coaches 100% for this failure of the season than I'd like to ask you – is your boss 100% responsible for your motivation of doing a good job at work? You can make all the excuses you want, but ultimately to be successful you damn well better have some self-starter in you.
This lack of give a damn is the biggest challenge that the next coach comes into Nebraska will face.
Maryland, Michigan State - by