Predictions for this week’s slate of Big Ten matchups

B1G letters sit on Monument Circle before the NCAA Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.Finals 14
B1G letters sit on Monument Circle before the NCAA Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.Finals 14 /
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Big Ten
Sep 28, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver David Ellis (10) is defended by Michigan State Spartans cornerback Josh Butler (19) during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports /

Early games

Illinois at Rutgers (-6.5) – 11:00 – BTN

Illinois has been a real disappointment this season. I thought the Illini would have been an improved team this season after their progress in 2019. This year? Not so much. They are sitting at 0-3 and give up an average of 39 points per game.

After the first week, I thought Rutgers looked improved over last year. Unfortunately, they ran into a buzzsaw of a schedule in the last two weeks. Having to play the top two ranked teams in the Big Ten is not usually a recipe for success.

Illinois is looking to get into the win column while the Scarlet Knights look to gain some ground in their division and stay ahead of teams like Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State.

I think head coach Greg Schiano has done a nice job starting to turn this program around. Winning games like this against lesser opponents is critical for future success. I think Rutgers takes care of Illinois as home and move to 2-2 on the season.

Prediction: Illinois 21 – Rutgers 30

Indiana (-7.5) at Michigan State – 11:00 – ABC

Indiana hasn’t been much of a football program for as long as I can remember. They are changing that narrative this season. Led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the Hoosiers are dangerously relevant this season. They have wins over Penn State, Rutgers, and Michigan, landing them at number 10 in the latest AP Poll.

Michigan State has looked ugly this year. Apart from their comeback win over in-state rival Michigan, the Spartans have losses to Rutgers and Iowa. They have also been extremely sloppy with turnovers. In their first game alone, the Spartans had seven turnovers to Rutgers. They have a -7 turnover ratio on the season.

As long as Penix stays healthy, the Hoosiers should have no problem taking care of Michigan State this weekend. They do need to be careful though, as a matchup with Ohio State next week could be on their minds. This is a perfect trap game for the Hoosiers. I think it will be closer than people think, but the Hoosiers pull it out in the end, leading to a huge Big Ten East game next week at Ohio State.

Prediction: Indiana 24 – Michigan State 20

Penn State (-3.0) at Nebraska – 11:00 – FS1

This game should be dubbed the ‘Disappointment Bowl.’ Penn State started the season at number 8 in the AP Poll in their first week but fell to Indiana in a heartbreaker. Since then, they seem to be in free-fall. They are sitting at 0-3 with losses to Indiana, Ohio State, and Maryland. Granted, Indiana and Ohio State seem to be the real deal, but expectations for Maryland were not high whatsoever. They will have a chance to get into the win column this week when they travel to Lincoln to take on the also winless Huskers.

Nebraska would call this season a disappointment as well, but depending on who you talk to, you could say this was an expected outcome for this season. They got blown out at home by Ohio State to start the season, then missed the second week after Wisconsin had to cancel due to positive covid tests. Last week they got back on the field and lost to Northwestern in an uninspiring performance. Scott Frost has certainly not been the savior to bring the Huskers back to glory like many thought he would have.

Penn State is only a three-point favorite on the road, but I think they will be able to handle Nebraska. They are more battle-tested than the Huskers and have way more talent. This game should be a get-right game for the Nittany Lions, sending Nebraska to 0-3 on the season.

Prediction: Penn State 35 – Nebraska 17