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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Wisconsin football, Big Ten
Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Chris Orr (54) celebrates a fumble recovery late in the 4th quarter with teammate Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Izayah Green-May (50) as Michigan Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson (2) is consoled after he fumbled by teammate Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield (73) during the 2nd half of the Wisconsin Badgers 35-14 win against the Michigan Wolverines football game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. – Photo by Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ORG XMIT: DBY1Uwgrid22p1 /

Late games

#3 Ohio State (-24.5) at Maryland – 2:30 – BTN

The Ohio State-Maryland game has been canceled because Maryland has had some positive covid tests. This becomes the third Big Ten game that has been canceled due to covid.

#13 Wisconsin (-4.0) at Michigan – 6:30 – ABC

A Big Ten game on national television should be a good one. Wisconsin will be returning to play football for the first time in three weeks. In their first game, they rolled over Illinois and freshman quarterback Graham Mertz looked as good or better than advertised. Whether or not he will play on Saturday remains to be seen. With the covid outbreak in Madison, we aren’t sure who will be available to play and who won’t. Depending on who won’t play could be a big part in determining the winner of this game.

Michigan has been a letdown this season too. They started the season off with a bang with a big win on the road over Minnesota. Since then, they have dropped two straight games, including a loss to ‘little brother,’ Michigan State. Jim Harbaugh’s seat may be getting a little warm. Like Scott Frost, he hasn’t been everything Michigan fans hoped he would be. A win over Wisconsin could help cool that seat down a bit this season.

If Wisconsin has Graham Mertz and most of the starters, I think Wisconsin rolls with this one. Even if they are without a few starters, Wisconsin still has some nice depth. It may be tested this weekend, but the Badgers coaching staff will still be able to put the Badgers in a good position to win this game.

Prediction: Wisconsin 27 – Michigan 17

#23 Northwestern (-3.0) at Purdue – 6:30 – BTN

Here is a matchup of two teams that have been pleasant surprises. Northwestern is two years removed from winning the West but dropped to the cellar last year. They are out to prove that last year was a fluke and they can contend with Wisconsin for the division. They have played well up to this point, sitting at 3-0 on the season and in the Top-25 for the first time this season.

Purdue beat Iowa in their first game without star receiver Rondale Moore. They went on to beat Illinois the next week by eight points the next week. Last week, their game was canceled because Wisconsin was still dealing with covid issues. They enter this game 2-0 but are three-point underdogs at home this weekend.

Overall, I think this is going to be a classic Big Ten ugly game. A low-scoring game with a lot of punting and not a lot of explosive plays. In a game like that, I like the home team. This could be a game where Northwestern stumbles and Purdue goes into the driver’s seat of the Big Ten West for now.

Prediction: Northwestern 13 – Purdue 17