Penn State (#7) is the third Big Ten team to crack the AP Top-10, joining Ohio State (#4) , and Wisconsin (#6) . Michigan (#16), would be up there as well, except for an early season loss to Wisconsin. This Saturday in Beaver Stadium, the Wolverines will try to bring down the Nittany Lions on their home field.
The Michigan vs. Penn State game opened with the Nittany Lions a clear 8-point favorite. Penn State is undefeated at 6-0, after going on the road to take down a tough Iowa team, 17-13, last Saturday. Just a week earlier, Michigan beat that same Iowa team, 10-3. The question is whether the Iowa Hawkeyes were good enough on defense to hold down both Penn State and Michigan, or whether both the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines showed off Iowa’s offensive weaknesses. The answer should come this Saturday in what would appear to be a low-scoring contest (ABC 7:30 EDT). The over/under has opened at 47.5, which seems high for the way these two teams have performed against strong defensive competition.
Big Ten Sleeper in Minnesota
It might be past time to take a look at the 6-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers. With Rutgers and Maryland coming up next on their schedule, they are primed to go 8-0. This week, they finally made it into the AP Top 25 in 20th position. Minnesota’s first four wins were by a touchdown or less, including a double-overtime, field goal win over Fresno State. In their last two games, Minnesota hammered Illinois 40-17, and Nebraska 34-7.
Still on the Gophers schedule are Penn State, Iowa, and a regular season-ending game against the other undefeated team in the Western division, the Wisconsin Badgers. There might not be a championship bandwagon for the Golden-Gophers yet, but in a 12-game regular season, note must be taken of a 6-0, 7-0, or 8-0 team.
Big Ten This Week
Friday, October 18
#4 Ohio State -28 @ Northwestern
Saturday, October 19
#20 Minnesota -29.5 @ Rutgers
Indiana -3 @ Maryland
#16 Michigan @ #7 Penn State -4.5
Purdue @ #23 Iowa -17
#6 Wisconsin -29 @ Illinois
Last Week Against the Spread
Wisconsin easily covered against Michigan State, winning 38-0 against only a 10-point spread. Indiana, a big 24.5-point pick over Rutgers, won in a 35-0 shutout. Penn State barely covered a 3-point spread, beating Iowa 17-12. Michigan won, but didn’t covered in a 42-25 win over Illinois. The Wolverines were a 19.5-point favorite.
The big bettor news goes to underdog winners, Minnesota and Purdue. The Golden Gophers were a 2.5-point dog to Nebraska, and slapped them down 24-7. The Purdue Boilermakers were 5.5-point dogs at home, but rose up and hammered Maryland, 40-14.
Ohio State and Northwestern prepared for their Friday night showdown this week with byes last Saturday.