Week 4 kicks off the Big Ten conference game for several teams. Some of these matchups add a lot to them for such an early turn of the season. There’s no shortage of intrigue this week, whether it’s high expectations for winning the conference or teams trying to figure things out.
As always, there are some games that don’t move the needle much. Home to Chattanooga, Illinois Fighting Illini, home to Miami (Ohio), Northwestern, home to Penn State and Florida Atlantic University, to a setting against the Central Michigan Chippewas, Purdue leaves much to be desired.
Other matches get a lot of national coverage, with Big Ten getting airtime on FOX, FS1, ESPN, and ABC. Let’s dive into the five most intriguing matchups in the Big Ten this week with a guess at what’s going to rock.
Indiana (3-0) at Cincinnati (2-1)
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The intrigue in this matchup lies in the fact that Indiana is still undefeated and has already surpassed last year’s win total, going 2-10. A win over the beginner Illinois and an overtime win against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers ensure the Hoosiers play confidently.
Is that confidence enough to keep going and upset my favourite, the Group of Five, the Cincinnati Bearcats? No. It won’t be enough.
Prediction: Cincinnati 30, Indiana 21. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell knocks down another Power 5 team before finally moving on to a bigger program.
Iowa (2-1) at Rutgers (3-0)
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Can the Iowa Hawkeyes get more fruit from their offense? That’s the biggest question mark in this game. Rutgers Scarlet Knights have a huge question mark on the playmaker in an offensive that hasn’t scored as much as before. Additionally, they have to allow the Hawkeyes defense to allow 2.92 yards per game, 4.3 points per game, and only allow one touchdown this season, they will be fighting uphill.
The Hawkeyes offense won’t need tons of ups to score enough in this game because the defense will continue to do its job and stay strong.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Rutgers 7. Hawkeyes adds at least one defensive or special team touchdown.
Minnesota (3-0) at Michigan State (2-1)
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How good are each of the teams in this matchup? This may be the biggest thing this matchup has answered for us. Minnesota has yet to lose, but a roster of New Mexico State, Western Illinois, and Colorado haven’t fully tested Golden Gophers.
Michigan State lost to Washington in a hostile environment last weekend, but can count on a great matchup experience. The fact that it’s Minnesota’s first test this season at the Michigan State home can say a lot.
Prediction: Michigan State 28, Minnesota 21. A game that reminds Minnesota that the Spartans run the ball well and that they must play on a real team before the Big Ten game begins.
Maryland (3-0), No. 4 Michigan (3-0)
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Michigan’s State of Colorado, Hawaii and the UConn roster did little to test the Wolverines as they entered the Big Ten game. Wolverines didn’t have to put in a lot of effort and this has the potential to lead to sleepwalking early in this pairing.
Maryland is coming out after a win against SMU. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa plays well and could be the first threat facing the Michigan defense.
Prediction: Michigan 35, Maryland 24. A game that felt much, much closer in the second half until the Wolverines pulled back.
Wisconsin (2-1), No.3 State of Ohio (3-0)
Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK
Wisconsin got a much-needed right-hand game after stumbling against Washington State. They did exactly what they were supposed to do with a 66-7 shot by New Mexico State. However, Buckeyes are an entirely different beast.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are looking better as the season progresses. Their crime is to find his full potential behind Heisman-nominated quarterback CJ Stroud. Marvin Harrison Jr. as a gun at the receiver. and with Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson on the run back, the Buckeyes have complete determination to attack in more ways than one.
Prediction: Ohio State 49, Wisconsin 21. A game that serves as a reference point for the rest of the Big Ten who caught the Buckeyes.
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