Bold predictions for every B1G game in Week 7
Saturday feels like Statement Week in the B1G. I’m coining that phrase for Week 7 in the conference.
A lot of teams are going to attempt to make a statement this weekend with plenty on the line. Ohio State needs to prove it’s still one of the four best teams in the country to the College Football Playoff selection committee, while Michigan State could add another Top 10 win to its up-and-down season.
Indiana is attempting to get its first win over Wisconsin since 2002 and the Badgers want to show that they are still one of the best teams in the B1G. Purdue and Nebraska both desperately need wins, Rutgers could send a message with a win over Penn State and Illinois is also trying to end a long losing streak to Iowa.
See? Statements could be made. We’ll find out soon enough which teams actually take advantage of the opportunity, but before we get to kickoff, let’s make some bold predictions for each game in the B1G in Week 7:
#4 Ohio State (4-0) vs. Michigan State (2-3)
Bold prediction: Ohio State plays the cleanest game of the season and covers the big spread
There’s no margin for error for Ohio State any longer. The Buckeyes have gotten the benefit of the doubt from the College Football Playoff selection committee so far this year, but they’re going to have to start winning games in impressive fashion. With a few additional days to prepare for Michigan State with last week’s Illinois game canceled, expect Ohio State to be laser-focused Saturday and get an impressive win with plenty of style points.
Doing that without Ryan Day on the sideline (at home due to a positive COVID-19 test) would appeal to the selection committee even more in Tuesday’s rankings show. That 24-point spread needs to be covered this weekend by the Bucks. I think they’ll do it, too.
Nebraska (1-4) vs. Purdue (2-3)
Bold prediction: Luke McCaffrey runs wild on Purdue’s defense
Purdue’s run defense has actually been decent this season, allowing an average of 3.56 yards per rush, a top-five ranking in the B1G. But this is far from an elite-level defense. And McCaffrey has been incredibly effective as a ball carrier for the Huskers through the first five games.
Scott Frost is going to use that to his advantage. Nebraska will still use both QBs (I assume), but McCaffrey will be able to move the ball on the ground for the Huskers. The biggest question is whether or not that will result in touchdowns or not.
Penn State (1-5) vs. Rutgers (2-4)
Bold prediction: Chop! Rutgers takes down a blueblood program
Rutgers was so close to taking down Michigan. It had a heck of a 4th quarter performance against Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a big road win against Purdue and have momentum heading into Saturday’s game against Penn State with the chance of a .500 season on the line.
I know that Penn State also has some confidence after a big win over Michigan last weekend, but this game means more to Rutgers than it does to the Nittany Lions. The Scarlet Knights have been close in a few games and haven’t been able to get over the hump. Rutgers gets a huge win on Saturday, even though Penn State is having a down year.
#12 Indiana (5-1) vs. #16 Wisconsin (2-1)
Bold prediction: This is the first game Indiana’s defense doesn’t record an interception
The last time we saw Wisconsin, Graham Mertz had trouble hanging on to the football against Northwestern. Indiana has done an excellent job of taking the football away this season, recording 16 interceptions in 6 games. That’s an insane statistic.
But the Badgers have had two weeks to prepare, and knowing how well coached Wisconsin is, the freshman quarterback will be put in better situations to complete passes and hit his open receivers. I’m not sure if Wisconsin is able to beat a really good IU team (even with backup quarterback Jack Tuttle), but if they don’t turn the football over, the Badgers will at least have a shot.
#19 Iowa (4-2) vs. Illinois (2-3)
Bold prediction: Iowa QB Spencer Petras has the best day of his young career
Illinois’ passing defense has gotten better since the first two games of the season, but it’s still got plenty of holes. Petras has been serviceable for the Hawkeyes this season, but hasn’t really had that big game to prove he’s the long-term solution for Iowa under center.
Even against an opportunistic Illini defense, I anticipate Petras will have a “big game.” He’s not going to be throwing for 300 yards and 6 touchdowns, but a high completion percentage, a few throws to the end zone and no turnovers would be a huge improvement for the young quarterback. And Petras is playing a defense that should allow him to have that kind of outing on Saturday.