For all the crap Big Ten West teams take about, well, playing like crap, this weekend the division has a chance to take the head-to-head lead over the East in 2022.

However, the opposite outcome is more likely — a clean sweep for Eastern teams that further underscores the growing gap between the divisions.

As everybody knows at this point, the West champ has never won a Big Ten championship game. This year, the East has an early 3-2 lead in crossover games. But it’s been close. Penn State and Indiana both rallied in the final 2 minutes for their wins over Purdue and Illinois, respectively.

All-time, East teams have an 80-72 record against the West.

This weekend features 3 crossover games — Michigan at Iowa, Northwestern at Penn State and Indiana at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are the only West team favored in those games, though that begs the question of whether Vegas has actually watched Nebraska play this season.

No. 4 Michigan (4-0, 1-0) at Iowa (3-1, 1-0)

When: Noon ET, FOX

B1G thought: Last week was Michigan’s first test of the season against a team that isn’t one of the 30 worst in the country. The Wolverines will simultaneously face their toughest and easiest test of the season at Iowa.

Iowa ranks 131st nationally in total offense, but 1st in scoring defense. There’s literally not an offense in the country worse than the Hawkeyes. Or a defense better. So there’s no telling which direction this might go. Though low-scoring feels like a reasonable guess.

Iowa has won 4 straight over Michigan at Kinnick Stadium, and is 5-1 in its past 6 home games against top-5 opponents. That history might not have any bearing with the present offensive woes, but it sure is interesting.

Purdue (2-2, 0-1) at No. 21 Minnesota (4-0, 1-0)

When: Noon ET, ESPN2

B1G thought: Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell’s status is uncertain courtesy of an undisclosed injury. Oddsmakers clearly anticipate he’ll be out for a second straight week, setting the point spread at 12. Backup Austin Burton was fine but far from spectacular in Purdue’s 28-26 win over Florida Atlantic last week.

An upset would be Purdue’s turning point after an uneven start to the season. But Minnesota will be out to once again prove it is the team to beat in the West this season after thumping Michigan State on the road.

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.

Illinois (3-1, 0-1) at Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1)

When: Noon ET, BTN

B1G thought: This should be the most competitive game on the conference schedule.

In its second year under Bret Bielema, Illinois has made up more ground on the rest of the league than many realize. Saturday is an opportunity for Bielema’s Illini to prove it against his former employer.

Illinois’ upset hopes hinge on keeping quarterback Tommy DeVito clean. The Illini have allowed 9 sacks, and DeVito has coughed up the ball on a couple of those.

Illinois is good enough to win this game if it doesn’t turn the ball over. But given that the Illini have 9 turnovers this season, that may be asking a lot.

Rutgers (3-1, 0-1) at No. 3 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0)

When: 3:30 p.m., BTN

B1G thought: Ohio State has never scored fewer than 49 points against Rutgers. So there’s the squad goal for the Scarlet Knights.

Ohio State’s goal? Get the starters off the field as soon as possible. The Buckeyes won’t lose this game, but losing a key player or two for an extended stretch would count as a negative outcome.

Northwestern (1-3, 1-0) at No. 11 Penn State (4-0, 1-0)

When: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

B1G thought: Don’t forget, this is a battle between division leaders!

But you probably have forgotten since the Wildcats stumble into this game after losses to Duke, Southern Illinois and Miami (Ohio). But maybe Northwestern just needs to get away from the home-field disadvantage of Ryan Field. The Cats are in the midst of a 6-game home losing streak. Things have gotten so bad that they are literally going to tear the place down.

Michigan State (2-2, 0-1) at Maryland (3-1, 0-1)

When: 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1

B1G thought: Over the past 3 weeks, the Spartans have played in just about every part of the country — West Coast (Washington), Midwest (home) and now East Coast (Maryland). It has not been a very friendly schedule, in terms of travel or opponents.

The Terrapins are the next team in line that’s capable of exploiting Michigan State’s sagging pass defense.

Maryland receiver Rakim Jarrett is a “game-time decision” after taking a head injury at Michigan, and quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has the same designation after hurting his ribs in the same game. Both have practiced this week, which does not help Michigan State’s chances.

Indiana (3-1, 1-0) at Nebraska (1-3, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN

B1G thought: Nothing screams “prime time” like Hoosiers at Huskers.

Nebraska was winless after bye weeks under Scott Frost, so that’s an area where interim coach Mickey Joseph is capable of showing immediate improvement. And we’ll see if the Big Ten’s worst defense looks better in its first game under interim defensive coordinator Bill Busch.

If Indiana wasn’t motivated for this game, that should no longer be an issue after former Nebraska assistant coach Rick Kaczenski derided Tom Allen as “the biggest clown in college football.”

If Allen is a clown, Scott Frost was the whole circus.