Will there be any Big Ten upsets this week? Let’s take a glance at the odds. Penn State is favored by 10 over Indiana, which seems about right. Purdue is a big, big dog against Michigan State. Wisconsin is favored by about five over Michigan, which seems very reasonable even though Michigan is playing at home. Ohio State is favored by about four over Iowa, and while our own Jeff Junstrom sees a win for the Hawkeyes at home, so that’s a possibility.
That leaves Northwestern and Illinois, two teams that have been a little tricky to get a handle on. Illinois is favored by about seven, and normally this would be a clear upset pick – Northwestern is coming off a win against Iowa, and they also managed to keep it close against Michigan State. But Northwestern’s victory last week was Pyrrhic, as they lost standout quarterback Dan Persa with a ruptured Achilles tendon. They’ll turn instead to the very green Evan Watkins. Northwestern’s offense is so strongly oriented around its quarterback that it’s tough to see how Watkins will keep up. So Illinois seems like a very clear pick in this one.
So will there be any upsets this week? Maybe not. If you had to pick one, it would probably be Iowa, or perhaps Michigan, which are both playing at home.