No more cupcakes, it’s time for pure Big Ten football.
Big Ten football is in full swing this week with five games on the Saturday slate — all of which pitting conference foes up against each other. That doesn’t include Michigan — as well as Purdue — who are on byes, but the Spartans will look to bounce back in their conference opener against Iowa.
The Spartans took a beating last week at the hands of Notre Dame, and will now begin conference play with a home matchup against the Hawkeyes. Iowa is also licking its wounds after a heartbreaking loss to Penn State last week.
That game will headline a somewhat lackluster first complete weekend of Big Ten football. Check out previews for each game in the Big Ten on Saturday.
NOTE: Nebraska beat Illinois, 28-6, on Friday night in Champaign, Ill.
Iowa (3-1, 0-1) at Michigan State (2-1, 0-0)
Time/Television: 4 p.m. on FOX
Betting Line: Michigan State -4
Preview: Both teams enter this matchup after tough losses a week ago, but for different reasons. Michigan State was dominated by rival Notre Dame, while Iowa’s upset bid fell just short thanks to a last second Penn State touchdown. So whoever rebounds better will be a factor, but keep an eye on the turnover battle. Michigan State turned it over three times last week, and ranks last in the Big Ten in turnover margin at -2.0 per game. Outside of four turnovers in a season-opening win over Wyoming, Iowa has done a good job at protecting the ball this year. In a game that should be close, winner of the turnover battle most likely will be the winner of the game.
Northwestern (2-1, 0-0) at No. 10 Wisconsin (3-0, 0-0)
Time/Television: 12 p.m. on ABC
Betting Line: Wisconsin -16.5
Preview: At the beginning of the season this was considered a huge game in the Big Ten West Division race. However, this matchup has lost some of its luster after a disappointing start to the season for the Wildcats. Wisconsin enters as heavy favorites and will be tough to beat at Camp Randall Stadium, especially with how well Wisconsin is running the ball. Northwestern is giving up 157 rushing yards per game — which ranks 11th in the Big Ten — and the Badgers are averaging 275.3 rushing yards per game — which is 10th nationally and 1st in the Big Ten. It could very well be another big day for the Badgers rushing attack.
Maryland (2-1, 0-0) at Minnesota (3-0, 0-0)
Time/Television: 12 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Betting Line: Minnesota -12.5
Preview: What is Maryland going to do at quarterback? That’s the question after the Terps lost Kasim Hill to a season-ending injury last week in a disappointing 28-point loss to UCF on Saturday. Maryland is on to its third starting quarterback on the season as Max Bortenschlager will make his second career start on Saturday against Minnesota. The sophomore was 15-of-26 for 132 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while taking five sacks last week in relief of Hill. Minnesota won’t make it easy for Bortenschlager either — the Golden Gophers are giving up just 180 passing yards per game, which ranks 24th nationally.
Indiana (2-1, 0-1) at No. 4 Penn State (4-0, 1-0)
Time/Television: 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network
Betting Line: Penn State -19
Preview: Penn State was pushed to the brink last week against Iowa, and Indiana held its own with Ohio State for most of the season opener. So that should mean the Hoosiers have at least a chance against the Nittany Lions, right? They have a chance, but it’s not a high one according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, who gives Indiana only a 9.7 percent chance of pulling the upset. The game is also being played in Happy Valley where Penn State has been dominant this year, outscoring opponents 141 to 14 in three home games this year.
No. 11 Ohio State (3-1, 1-0) at Rutgers (1-3, 0-1)
Time/Television: 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network
Betting Line: Ohio State -30
Preview: Name your score. That’s what we are looking at in what should easily be the biggest blowout in the Big Ten this week. Rutgers continues to struggle — let’s not forget Eastern Michigan beat the Scarlet Knights — while Ohio State looks to be back on track after winning its last two games by more than 30 points. Ohio State beat Rutgers 58-0 last year, and we could see a similar score on Saturday.