5 juiciest storylines in the Big Ten in Week 11
Week 11 is here, which means we’re almost to the finish line. Doesn’t it always seem like the college football season goes to fast? There are plenty of good games Saturday, with a lot still on the line.
Here are the five juiciest storylines heading into action in Week 11 on Saturday:
1. Will Ohio State’s defense finally get its act together?
The Buckeyes have given up 80 points in the past two games, losing badly to Purdue and looking bad in a 36-31 victory over seven-loss Nebraska at home. Michigan State is next in East Lansing, and even though the Spartans don’t have a high-powered offense, we’re still waiting for the Ohio State defense to show us something. It’s a group full of 4-star and 5-star recruits, so they should be better than this. Time to step up.
2. Is simply being at home enough for Iowa to get right?
Iowa has lost back-to-back heartbreakers on the road at Penn State and Purdue, but the Hawkeyes find their way home Saturday for a big showdown with Northwestern. This looks like a very tired team, but maybe they’ll get re-energized being back at home. It’s going to be cold and windy, so this one could be interesting. Northwestern has won the last two in this rivalry, but the Hawkeyes are favored by 11 Saturday, for some reason.
3. Can Northwestern put a bow on Big Ten West title?
Northwestern hasn’t been able to win any of their nonconference games, losing this year to Duke, Akron and Notre Dame, but the Wildcats are 5-1 in the Big Ten and have a one-game lead and the tiebreaker in hand with Purdue. A win on Saturday at Iowa wouldn’t clinch the division title, but it would sure come very close with just Minnesota and Illinois left on their schedule.
4. Can Michigan hang a hundred on Rutgers?
Michigan won 78-0 two years ago when they traveled to Rutgers. Here’s what’s scary: This year’s 8-1 Michigan team is far better than the 2016 version, and the 1-8 Scarlet Knights are worst. It’s pick a number Saturday for the Wolverines, that’s how easy it’s going to be. It’d be good to roll out to a huge lead early and rest those Saturday. Two weeks till Ohio State.
5. Will Badgers finally get their first signature win?
Wisconsin has only one win all year against a team with a winning record, so for a team that had College Football Playoff aspirations at the beginning of the year, that’s just totally unacceptable. The Badgers travel to Penn State Saturday, and that’s never an easy place to play. But pulling out a win — Wisconsin is a 9-point underdog — would make this season feel a little better.