The Big Ten title race is still wide-open, with three teams having only one in-conference loss, and 4-2 Iowa lurking just outside the top three. With Ohio State traveling to Iowa City this weekend, anything is possible in a race that will surely come down to the final week of the season, with Penn State potentially playing the role of spoiler for the Michigan State Spartans.
Minnesota has the week off after helping Ron Zook back onto the hot seat with a 38-34 victory over Illinois a week ago. Five conference games are scheduled for Saturday, and for the second straight week, ESPN's College Gameday will be on hand for a Big Ten game, setting up shop outside of Wrigley Field for the Illinois/Northwestern matchup. Another Big Ten game, Penn State vs. Indiana, will take place at a neutral field, as Indiana had sold the rights to this home game to FedEx Field in Washington DC for a reported $3 million, tripling their average home game revenue.
Penn State at Indiana (at FedEx Field). Penn State has played four halves of football in the past two weeks, and two of them have been marvelous while the other two have been downright awful. If the "good half" Penn State football team can show up for the entire game in FedEx Field, this will be an easy win for the Nittany Lions. Additionally, the game is being played in the fertile Penn State recruiting ground of the DC/MD/VA area, so this game could be a win on many fronts. Penn State 37, Indiana 13
Purdue at Michigan State. This Purdue football team is in a tailspin, and key injuries are mostly to blame for that. Miami transfer QB Robert Marve and WR Keith Smith are gone for the season, and the Boilermakers are struggling to find a replacement under center. Purdue needs to win both this game and next week against Indiana to become bowl-eligible, but the Spartans will be too much this week. Michigan State 41, Purdue 9
Wisconsin at Michigan. Michigan is finally bowl-eligible again after a win against Illinois two weeks ago, potentially saving head coach Rich Rodriguez from being fired at season's end. They have an electric (though human, as seen in last week's win over Purdue) QB in Denard Robinson, but they also have an anemic defense. Wisconsin put 83 points on the board last week against Indiana and is trying to stay ahead of all other Big Ten teams in the BCS standings, which might end up being the conference championship tiebreaker. Wisconsin 51, Michigan 38
Illinois at Northwestern (at Wrigley Field). With obvious amusement park jokes aside, Ron Zook's 2010 season has been one crazy roller coaster ride. They beat Penn State in exciting fashion but lost to Michigan in the highest-scoring Big Ten conference game in history. They played Ohio State close but went to the wire against Northern Illinois. Now, with only five wins (only three in-conference), Zook once again is on the hot seat. Back-to-back losses against Northwestern (who just upset Iowa) and Fresno State will keep the Illini from a bowl game this season. Northwestern 37, Illinois 18
Ohio State at Iowa. The marquee matchup of the week (despite what College Gameday may think), the Buckeyes travel to Kinnick Stadium to keep any chances of winning a sixth Big Ten title alive. The conference race is still wide open, but Ohio State needs a win this week to stay alive (barring other extremely rare scenarios). Iowa is coming off a loss to Northwestern, a team that has had a hex over the Hawkeyes in recent times. Ohio State keeps it close, but Iowa could rally the troops for an emotional win in QB Ricky Stanzi's final home game. Iowa 23, Ohio State 22