Big Ten Football: Jay's 2017 Week 10 Quick Picks

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Welcome to week ten in the Big Ten. It is hard to believe, but we have entered the final month of the 2017 regular season.

And as we move into November we have the first College Football Playoff poll to deal with. I typically wouldn’t dignify this worthless poll with a response, but as it stands the poll certainly creates a scenario in which the B1G could get left out of the CFP. Wait, I’m not getting sucked in to the hot takery… there is so much football left to be played…

Need proof the poll is just a made-for-TV moment? There are seven games this week nationally between ranked teams, including one in the Big Ten. And the other six B1G matchups (mostly) have intrigue when it comes to division races and bowl eligibility.

So with that, onto the week ten Big Ten Quick Picks!

Wisconsin at Indiana

We haven’t seen a “wow” upset in the B1G so far this season. In fact, outside of Syracuse beating Clemson there really hasn’t been, in retrospect, a huge upset nationwide. Could this be the one? Indiana has rattled the cage of both Ohio State and Michigan. Both of those games are at home. Saturday it’s Wisconsin coming to Bloomington. Last week it looked like the Badgers yawned their way through an early start against Illinois; and Bucky is a little banged up. That said, I go back to how IU played last week at Maryland and I can’t see the Hoosiers scoring enough points to win this game. Wisconsin absolutely needs to play better than it has been recently, however, or this could get very interesting.

Penn State at Michigan State

This is the lone B1G matchup in week ten between two ranked teams. Will Penn State still be stinging from its collapse in Columbus? How will Sparty bounce back from its first conference loss at the hands of Northwestern? This is a game at the beginning of the season that seemed like a no-brainer. With the Spartans’ unexpected success, and Penn State no longer controlling its own destiny, the scenery has certainly changed. What hasn’t changed is the talent on the Penn State sideline. Mark Dantonio has certainly looked at how Ohio State stopped Saquon Barkley, but his defense won’t be able to replicate it. Barkley runs wild to hand Sparty its second-straight loss.

Illinois at Purdue

This is easily the worst of the Noon Eastern kickoffs this week. Both teams have bad offenses. Illinois needed a garbage-time score to get to double digits last week, and Purdue’s passing game was non-existent against Nebraska. If this game comes down to defenses – advantage Purdue. The Boilermakers are stout up front against the run, and that’s just about all Illinois can do offensively. Purdue will win this one to become a win away from bowl eligibility.

Maryland at Rutgers

Let’s be honest, this is a game of “wait, those teams are in the Big Ten?” The two newest members of the conference square off in Piscataway and even the heartiest of football fans will have a hard time caring. Maryland’s defense leaked like a sieve last week but their running game is taking shape thanks to quality efforts by both D.J. Moore and Ty Johnson. Rutgers was actually playing good football before getting smacked around by Michigan a week ago. I think Rutgers can bounce back and bottle up the Terps’ run game. Rutgers gets an unthinkable third conference win of the season. 

Ohio State at Iowa

The Buckeyes are riding high after pulling off a thrilling comeback win against Penn State. Iowa is living high off the hog after keeping the Floyd of Rosedale in Iowa City. This is a very intriguing matchup, but there are two big problems for the Hawkeyes. The first? Iowa’s offense could barely move the ball against Minnesota. The second? While Iowa has a very good defense, there may not be a player in the country performing better right now than OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett. Ohio State will drive, drive on the field for a win.

Northwestern at Nebraska

Northwestern is finally showing signs of being the team many thought might compete for the B1G West Division title. Nebraska showed it could get up off the mat with a last-minute win on the road. This matchup could be run game-optional. Nebraska couldn’t do it against Purdue, and Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson is heating up. Fun fact, for all the talk about Nebraska QB Tanner Lee’s awful start to the season, Lee has thrown just one interception in his last 155 pass attempts. I guarantee you NU is going to win this game. Oh, wait, you want a real pick? Nebraska. Close.

Minnesota at Michigan

The conference slate wraps up at the Big House in primetime as Michigan and Minnesota compete for the Little Brown Jug. Michigan got just the medicine it needed last week with a game against Rutgers. The Wolverines may have also found a new spark in new quarterback Brandon Peters. OK, Jim Harbaugh hasn’t officially named a starter, but that is just a stupid and see-through mind game. Minnesota, on the other hand, is terrible. The offense is just putrid and it’s going up against a very talented defense – especially against the run. These two teams didn’t play last year, so Michigan has had the jug since 2015. It stays on the Wolverines’ sideline for another year.

Last Week: 4-3

Season: 53-18

Gross. I guess that’s what I get for picking road teams to win in the B1G. Penn State, Michigan State, and Indiana let me down as all three came back home last weekend with a loss. As you can see, however, I haven’t learned my lesson and am going against several home underdogs this week. Some of those are no-brainers, but we’ll see if last week was the start of a trend or if the B1G really is the toughest conference in college football on road teams. Enjoy your first weekend of November football!