1 B1G thought about every Week 10 Big Ten game
No more rest.
Open weeks are over for the remainder of the 2022 Big Ten football season. All 14 teams are in action for the next 4 weeks. Though based on this week’s schedule, it’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing.
Of the 7 B1G games on the docket, only 2 have a point spread under 2 touchdowns. Blowouts are anticipated all over the map. This seems like an ideal weekend to catch the foliage before the remaining leaves hit the ground.
I’m not even exaggerating. This schedule is pure junk.
But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Perhaps we will be bestowed with some hidden gems in Week 10.
No. 2 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0) at Northwestern (1-7, 0-5)
When: Noon ET, ABC
B1G thought: Dear God.
Northwestern isn’t just the worst team in the Big Ten this season. The Wildcats have a claim as the worst Big Ten team since the first year of Purdue’s Darrell Hazell error. The 2013 Boilermakers finished 1-11, which included a 56-0 loss to Ohio State.
That is the standard by which I’ll be measuring this game. Can the Cats at least prove more competitive against the Buckeyes than that horrific team?
I don’t think Northwestern will get shut out. Evan Hull is always capable of breaking one. But if Ryan Day wanted to score 80 points against this defense, he could.
He won’t, because unlike his counterpart from Up North, Day understands when to stop beating a dead horse.
Minnesota (5-3, 2-3) at Nebraska (3-5, 2-3)
When: Noon ET, ESPN2
B1G thought: It’s the world-famous $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy game.
Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson is being called a game-time decision, and for the Huskers to have any chance that decision will need to be “Yes.” And even that might not be enough to make a difference.
The Huskers have the Big Ten’s worst run defense, and Minnesota is averaging 223 yards per game on the ground. The Gophers lead the Big Ten with an average of 182 rushing ypg on the road.
Michigan may be the only team Nebraska matches up against worse than Minnesota. Which means Huskers fans should not look at next week’s schedule.
Iowa (4-4, 2-3) at Purdue (5-3, 3-2)
When: Noon ET, FS1
B1G thought: As measured by point spread, this is the best Big Ten matchup of the weekend, which should tell you how depressing this week’s schedule is.
For the Boilers, this is must-win territory. Purdue will reach the Big Ten championship game if it wins out. Expect an enormous performance from Charlie Jones, who transferred away from Iowa to escape from Brian Ferentz’s offense and immediately proved he’s one of the best receivers in the country.
Jeff Brohm is 4-1 against Kirk Ferentz, and seems poised to continue that dominance.
Maryland (6-2, 3-2) at Wisconsin (4-4, 2-3)
When: Noon ET, BTN
B1G thought: When Purdue visited Wisconsin as a 2.5-point underdog, I did that skeptical head tilt thing. And that was also my initial reaction upon seeing the Terrapins as a 5-point dog in this matchup at Camp Randall.
But considering the Badgers hammered Purdue, this instead feels like a classic case of “Vegas knows something I don’t.” And those casinos are a lot nicer than my apartment.
Look for this to be a high-scoring matchup. Maryland has scored at least 27 points in 10 straight games, which is the fourth-longest streak among Power 5 programs. And don’t look now, but Graham Mertz is second in the B1G with 17 touchdown passes.
No. 15 Penn State (6-2, 3-2) at Indiana (3-5, 1-4)
When: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
B1G thought: With leading receiver Cam Camper out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Indiana’s already depressing offense is poised to reach startling new depths. The Hoosiers are 125th nationally with 4.5 yards per play.
The only reason to tune in is to see how much playing time James Franklin gives to freshman quarterback Drew Allar. And if the answer is “none until the game is decided,” no reason to stick around.
Michigan State (3-5, 1-4) at No. 16 Illinois (7-1, 4-1)
When: 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN
B1G thought: This game makes me feel awful for Michigan State tight end Daniel Barker.
Barker gave 4 seasons to Illinois. Deciding to move on to a winning program, he exercised his graduate transfer to Michigan State.
Now the Illini are ranked, and the Spartans are a mess on and off the field. Eight players will be suspended for this game due to their roles in last week’s postgame tunnel melee at Michigan.
People will probably want to use this as some lesson about loyalty, but who can blame a competitor for actually wanting to win? Barker guided himself by prior data more than faith. His rationale was every bit as sound as Charlie Jones leaving Iowa for Purdue.
Only it hasn’t worked out anywhere near the same as it has for Jones.
Barker at least deserves a touchdown out of all this.
No. 5 Michigan (8-0, 5-0) at Rutgers (4-4, 1-4)
When: 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN
B1G thought: Allow me to recant my bold preseason prediction that the Scarlet Knights would hand Michigan its first loss in 2022.
My rationale was solid.
Rutgers held Michigan’s offense to its lowest yardage production of last season, besting even Georgia’s dominant Orange Bowl performance. In 2020, the Wolverines needed 3 overtimes to beat the Scarlet Knights.
Greg Schiano’s team has played Michigan close.
But I couldn’t quite fathom how horrendous Rutgers’ offense would be this season. Against Big Ten opponents, the Scarlet Knights are averaging 11.4 points, 104.6 rushing yards and 160.4 passing yards per game.
That’s not going to get the job done against Michigan’s defense.
So while I do think Rutgers will frustrate Michigan’s offense in a way no one will match this season, eventually the Wolverines will break away for a comfortable win.