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Big 10-4: B1G all about Wisconsin-Michigan State on Gameday Week 8

Saturday at 8pm starts the biggest Big Ten game of the season until December 3rd and the odd thing is we just may see Wisconsin and Michigan State playing for all the marbles in Indianapolis again for the B1G Championship.

Russell Wilson and Montee Ball Wisconsin Badger football

Spartans! Expect to dine on lots of Montee Ball and Russell Wilson Saturday night (Icon SMI)

For now, my preview and also Vince invited to a deep-dive podcast on this game alone so be on the  lookout.

In the meantime this week is just a teaser in what will be the start of National Title buzz in Wisconsin or a demand for respect from Michigan State.  Sure, there are other games in the Big Ten this week but we all know the focus is on this game.  The Big Ten title won’t be won in this game but this game will certainly have a lot of folks talking about what they expect to see in December.
First, Let’s look at the other games that will also help determine who gets to play for the title and will help your fantasy squad – don’t overlook all these on your way to East Lansing.
What is Big Ten football without a trophy game?  I think they call it the Big XII now…

Anyway, the first game to look at this week is the battle for the Purdue Cannon.  Illinois travels to Purdue for this one and Boilermaker fans should not be preparing a spot on the trophy shelf this year.  Illinois will be taking the cannon back home this year.  The Purdue defense is ranked 40th overall and is about to face an offensive assault like they have not yet faced this year.  The Illini offense is ranked 41st overall and is led by Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins.  These two have been unstoppable lately.  Jenkins now has 895 yards and 7 TDs this year and he will certainly look to increase those numbers this week.  I don’t expect this to be an easy win for Illinois though.  Purdue will make Illinois earn this one right up to the end.
Prediction:  Illinois 27 Purdue 23

Indiana at Iowa
Hawkeye fans have to be happy to see this one on the schedule.  Finally they should get a win they can count on.  That is the scary part.  Everyone knows Iowa should win except Indiana.  They are the only ones that could screw this up for Iowa and they just might give it a shot.  Then again, they might not.  I’m going with the latter.  So buckle up Hawkeye fans, it should be a fun day to watch the Iowa offense light up the score board.  James Vandenberg, Marcus Coker and Marvin McNutt should all benefit from this one.
Prediction:  Indiana 13  Iowa 41

Nebraska at Minnesota
And yet here is another game where you have to pity the host.  Nebraska is just that good and Minnesota is just that bad.  Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead will have fun shredding the Gopher defense in this one.  The Cornhuskers only have one loss in Big Ten play and they sure don’t want the second to come in Minnesota.  Look for this game to feature all kinds of offensive shenanigans.
Prediction:  Nebraska 46 Minnesota 0

Penn State at Northwestern
An interesting game that may have been overlooked.  Joe Paterno goes for win 408.  The Lions will work hard to get it as the Wildcats won’t just hand it to PSU.  Northwestern is trying to salvage their season and need a win.  They also know Penn State has struggled this year trying to find their identity on offense and the Wildcats will look to exploit that to their advantage.

In a shoot out, the Wildcats will win.  They have Dan Persa who is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten.  In a running game match up though, Silas Redd will get it done for the Lions.  I expect to see the Lions play smart ball control offense and try to feed the ball to Redd all game while keeping Persa and company on the sideline.  Don’t be surprised if we have to go to overtime to finish this one.
Prediction:  Penn State 29  Northwestern 30

and finally…

Wisconsin at Michigan State

Remember back to 2010 and how Wisconsin lost one regular season game – do you recall who they lost to?  Michigan State.  Well my friend, this is 2011 and it won’t happen this time around.
This Wisconsin team isn’t playing for revenge or redemption, they are playing for something bigger like a crystal football.  You are starting to see the vision that are dancing in the minds of those happy fans in Wisconsin.  The Badgers are focused and looking towards one thing right now.  It isn’t the national title game, it is the Big Ten title game.  They would love to get there with a perfect record.  They just might do it too if they can get past these pesky Spartans.
This game has it all too.  Wisconsin has the #1 scoring defense and the #4 passing defense in the nation (#2 on BLITZIndex).  Michigan State says big deal, we have the #1 passing defense, #3 rushing defense and the 4th ranked scoring defense (#7 BLITZIndex).  Wisconsin is ranked 2nd in passing efficiency.  Both teams have offensive weapons.  Russell Wilson against Kirk Cousins.  Montee Ball against Edwin Baker.  When it comes down to it though the weapons that the Badgers have this year are just to great for Michigan State to contain.
Russell Wilson has been impressive throwing for 14 TDs and just one interception.  This will be a hard fought game but I have to pick the Badgers in this one.   As for all those defensive numbers, expect the offenses to shine.  My contrarian side is telling me to take the over in this one.
Prediction:  Wisconsin 33 Michigan State 27

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