Week 4 begins Big Ten conference play for a number of teams. Some of these matchups pack a lot for such an early season ending. Whether it’s high expectations of winning the conference or teams scrambling to figure things out, there’s no shortage of intrigue this week.
As always, there are some games that don’t move the needle much. The Illinois Fighting Illini with Chattanooga, Northwestern with Miami (Ohio), Penn State taking on Central Michigan Chippewas, and Purdue, home to Florida Atlantic University, all leave something to be desired.
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The other matchups also get plenty of national coverage, with the Big Ten getting airtime on FOX, FS1, ESPN and ABC. This week, let’s dive into five of the Big Ten’s most intriguing matchups and make a prediction on what’s coming up.
The allure of this matchup is that Indiana is still unbeaten and has already surpassed their overall wins from last year when they went 2-10. A win over upstart Illinois and an overtime win against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have the Hoosiers playing with confidence.
Is that confidence enough to take to the streets and upset heavy favorites, the Group of Five Darling Cincinnati Bearcats? no It won’t be enough.
Forecast: Cincinnati 30, Indiana 21. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell knocks out another Power 5 team before eventually making the jump to a larger program.
Can the Iowa Hawkeyes get more juice out of their offense? That’s the biggest question mark in this game. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have a huge question mark at quarterback for an offense that doesn’t score much. Add to that and face the Hawkeyes defense, which is allowing 2.92 yards per game, 4.3 points per game and just one touchdown this season, they’ll be fighting uphill.
The Hawkeyes offense won’t need much power to score enough points in this game as the defense will continue to do their thing and stay strong.
Forecast: Iowa 24, Rutgers 7. The Hawkeyes add at least one defensive or special team touchdown.
How good are the teams in this matchup? That’s perhaps the biggest question this matchup answers for us. Minnesota is yet to lose, but a roster from New Mexico State, Western Illinois and Colorado hasn’t accurately tested the Golden Gophers.
Michigan State lost to Washington last weekend in a hostile environment but can probably count on the experience of a big duel. Michigan State at home in this Test, which is Minnesota’s first Test of the season, can tell quite a bit.
Forecast: Michigan State 28, Minnesota 21. A game where the Spartans run the ball well and Minnesota are reminded that they should be playing a real team before Big Ten play begins.
Michigan’s roster of Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn did little to test the Wolverines as they enter Big Ten play. The Wolverines didn’t have to put in much effort at all, and there’s a chance it could lead to sleepwalking early in this matchup.
Maryland is coming off a win against SMU. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has played well and could be the first threat to Michigan’s defense.
Forecast: Michigan 35, Maryland 24. A game that feels much, much closer at halftime until the Wolverines pull away in the second half.