Saturday Tradition staff picks for Week 4 B1G slate
The college football season has been heavy on hors d’oeuvres but light on main courses through 3 weeks. Fortunately, that all changes in Week 4.
On Saturday, there are 6 total matchups between current top-25 teams. That number does not even include a game with major ACC implications between No. 4 Florida State and a currently unranked Clemson squad.
From 12 p.m. ET through primetime, there is no shortage of hearty matchups this weekend, and Week 4 brings with it an increase of conference matchups to the season.
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In the B1G, there will be a pair of top-25 matchups, though one of those is Ohio State’s non-league trip to South Bend. No matter how you look at the schedule, fans are in for a treat this weekend, and Saturday Tradition’s crew is here to give you picks on 4 major games!
Wisconsin (-6) at Purdue
- Alex Hickey: I’m aware that Purdue hasn’t beaten Wisconsin since Kyle Orton was leading the way. And that losing streak may well continue Friday night. But catching 6 points at home is too much based on what we’ve seen from both teams this season. Wisconsin’s pass defense is ranked 114th nationally, and I can trust Hudson Card to keep this close. PICK: Purdue
- Paul Harvey: Wisconsin has looked good in games. After the Badgers wake up, that is, with slow starts becoming a problem in the first three games. As for Purdue, Ryan Walters has added the right pieces to put up numbers on offense. And let’s not forget the treacherous path of playing in Ross-Ade Stadium in primetime. In the end, I think the Badgers put this thing away late, mainly because Purdue has not been able to stop a quality opponent. PICK: Wisconsin
Rutgers at No. 2 Michigan (-24)
- Alex Hickey: Michigan ain’t played anybody, Pawl. And this looks like Rutgers’ best team since joining the Big Ten. Rutgers can’t throw the ball, but behind B1G rushing leader Kyle Monangai they’ll minimize Michigan’s possessions. The combination of Michigan’s first game playing the starters for 60 minutes and Rutgers’ deliberate style should make this a comfortable cover for the Scarlet Knights. PICK: Rutgers
- Paul Harvey: I understand the Rutgers vs. Michigan series has produced some odd outcomes in a short history. I truly do. However, this week’s matchup is unlike any of the others for one major reason: Jim Harbaugh’s back in town, or rather on the sidelines. I never like these conference games with super-high spreads, but the Khakis, on the sidelines, high noon, in Ann Arbor? Wolverines roll. PICK: Michigan
No. 6 Ohio State (-3) at No. 9 Notre Dame
- Alex Hickey: This feels like an absolute toss-up, but history favors the Buckeyes. And not just the history that includes 5 straight wins over the Irish since 1995. Ohio State has not lost a road game against a top-10 opponent other than Michigan since 1999, when it lost at No. 2 Penn State. The streak continues. PICK: Ohio State
- Paul Harvey: This pick is the one to produce the most agony for me. Let’s get one thing out of the way: I think the Buckeyes win outright in a statement game for the program. However, I’m not sure this team is quite equipped to blow out opponents like years past. I’m not sure how Notre Dame can cover and lose this game, but that’s the play in a game that should produce body blows and counterpunches throughout. PICK: Notre Dame
No. 24 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State (-15)
- Alex Hickey: A week ago, I was convinced Iowa’s offense was incapable of beating an opponent by more than 28 points. And I was right… until there were 30 seconds left. This week, I’m convinced Iowa’s defense is incapable of losing a game by more than a couple touchdowns. And I’ll probably be right until James Franklin gets his second backdoor cover of the season with less than 10 seconds left. PICK: Iowa
- Paul Harvey: Iowa is banged up and reeling on offense which is likely the reason Penn State opens as better than a 2-touchdown favorite. However, there’s some reason to pause on simply rolling with the home team in the White Out. Phil Parker’s defense is bound to cause at least a few problems for a first-year starter in Drew Allar. The weather could also be a factor on Saturday night. Don’t get me wrong, I expect the Nittany Lions to put this one away comfortably, but 15 points strikes me as a bit too much, even with Brian Ferentz leading a Power 5 offense. PICK: Iowa