Big Ten: Week 9 Predictions

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Big Ten: Week 9 Predictions

big ten
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

It's that time of week again-- time to predict the week's upcoming games and give my perspective on the week ahead.

Teams are looking for that signature win this weekend and many are just fighting for their bowl lives. Michigan State travels to Madison to face a much-improved Wisconsin team that has seen their offense perk up in the past three games, outscoring opponents 107-41.

Iowa makes a trip to Evanston, Ill., in a noon matchup against Northwestern that has division title hopes on the line. The Hawkeyes are coming off of a tough home loss against a surging Penn State team and hope to beat a seemingly vulnerable Northwestern team at home.

Two more solid games come later in the day on Saturday-- one at 3:30 p.m. between Ohio State and Penn State and a primetime game between Nebraska and Michigan that could decide the Legends Division.

First, Ohio State will make the trip to Happy Valley to face a revitalized Penn State team in a battle between the top teams in the Leaders Division. However, neither can make a bowl this season and are just playing for pride purposes, but hey, they are still the best in the division.

In the primetime matchup, the Wolverines will be playing in Lincoln in a game that could decide who wins the Legends Division. Michigan is coming off a huge win against in-state rival Michigan State and has to face the best offense in the conference-- Nebraska.

This week should be a very telling one in terms of where teams will end up when the 2012 season ends. Lets take a look at my picks for this weeks games.

Last week: 3-3

Season: 9-7

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Iowa vs. Northwestern, 12:00 PM

wildcats
Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Iowa will make a trip to Northwestern after suffering a devastating loss to Penn State at home last week. The Hawkeyes were undefeated in the Legends Division before a tough loss that left many Nittany Lions fans scratching their heads. They will have to rely on the struggling arm of James Vandenberg to make plays but he has been inconsistent this year. Having only three touchdowns through the air, Vandenberg won't be able to lead his team past a Wildcats team coming off a tough loss to Nebraska at home. Venric Mark will have another big game and Northwestern will come out on top.

Prediction: Iowa 21, Northwestern 30
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Indiana vs. Illinois, 12:00 PM

indiana
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

The battle between the worst teams in the conference should be better than people expect. Although both of these teams are pretty mediocre, Indiana has one of the sneakiest offenses in the conferences and Illinois is fighting for pride in this rebuilding year. Nathan Scheelhaase has failed to provide the spark that many expected from his since coming back from injury as the Illini continue to plummet. Indiana, led by sophomore Cameron Coffman, has been solid since filling in for Tre Roberson, and will lead his 2-5 Hoosiers past the 2-5 Illini in a showdown of two teams without a conference win.

Prediction: Indiana 36, Illinois 17

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Purdue vs. Minnesota, 3:30 PM

purdue
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

Purdue will have to go to Minnesota this week to play a struggling Golden Gophers team that has seen a promising season turn into a disappointment. With MarQueis Gray injured more than healthy this season, the Gophers have struggled to stay competitive as they have featured one of the worst offenses in the conference, scoring an average of 13 points in each of their three conference games. Purdue is also winless in the conference, and what better win to get than against a poor Minnesota team. Purdue will get their first conference win and will be one step closer to a bowl birth.

Prediction: Purdue 24, Minnesota 16

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Michigan State vs. Wisconsin, 3:30 PM

badgers
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Spartans have been one of the conference's biggest disappointments in 2012 and for good reason. They have not showcased the offensive firepower that they had last season behind the arm of Kirk Cousins, and Andrew Maxwell is struggling to find a No. 1 target to direct his passes to, however, it is becoming more clear that freshman Aaron Burbridge is turning into the top target. The Spartan offense won't be able to get the job done and the surging Badgers have turned their offense in the right direction, almost guaranteeing themselves a spot in the Big Ten title game.

Prediction: Michigan State 17, Wisconsin 28

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Ohio State vs. Penn State, 3:30 PM

nittany lions
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

Yes, Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten and yes, Penn State is one of the top three teams in the conference, but no, neither can make a bowl this season. It's tough on a conference when two of the best teams aren't bowl eligible, especially a struggling one like the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have had three close games in the Big Ten already and expect this one to be the same, but they will not end up on the positive side of a close game. Penn State is just far too hot right now and they will be in front of their home crowd, losing only one game at home this season. Matt McGloin and Braxton Miller will be a better showdown than most people are expecting.

Prediction: Ohio State 31, Penn State 33

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Michigan vs. Nebraska, 8:00 PM

nebraska
Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan has to travel to tough territory, Lincoln, Neb., to face one of the conference's best offenses in what is sure to be a shootout. Although Michigan's defense has been better, giving up 23 points in three conference games, they have yet to face a potent offense like that of Nebraska. Taylor Martinez seems to have fixed his throwing kinks from last year and the dynamic duo of Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah has been one of the best running back duos in the country. Michigan will just not have enough weapons on offense to take down a tough Cornhusker team on the road. Martinez will shred the Michigan defense through the air while the running backs will combine for over 150 yards.

Prediction: Michigan 30, Nebraska 44

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