B1G Breakdown: Week 6

I was bailed out with my pick of Illinois over Northwestern. Usually when I pick the Fighting Zookers, they let me down. But so does Northwestern, so this game was a real toss up in my mind. I got lucky. Michigan State upset the Buckeyes, which I honestly thought about picking, but it was just a gut feeling about OSU playing at home that I couldn't shake. This was my one and only blemish from week 5.

Weeks 1-4: 40-6
Week 5: 5-1
Overall: 45-7 (.865)

Week 6 is a little easier to pick now that we know a little more about some teams like OSU, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue. Notice a pattern with these four teams?

All games are Saturday 10/8. All times eastern. My pick in bold. (Rankings: AP/Coaches) 

Leaders Division Games:
#19/16 Illinois @ Indiana
2:30 - BTN

Legends Division Games:

#12/11 Michigan @ Northwestern
7:00 - BTN

Cross-Division Games:
Minnesota @ Purdue
12:00 - ESPN

Iowa @ Penn State
3:30 - ABC/ESPN

Ohio State @ #14/15 Nebraska
8:00 - ABC

Bye: #NR/20 Michigan State, #4/5 Wisconsin

Biggest "must-watch" games of the week (other than Michigan):
I'm really interested in the Iowa-Penn State game. I want to know how good or bad Penn State really is, and I want to know if Iowa is a real contender or not.

You can make an argument for the OSU-Nebraska game in primetime, but that will be on opposite the Michigan game, and who wants to watch two teams who were spanked last week, anyway? Amiright?

Upset Alert!
I'm putting Illinois on upset alert this week. They're coming off a high with their big come-from-behind win against NU last week. Indiana, while not exactly a huge test, it exactly the kind of team that has given Illinois fits over the years. Zook has a knack for coaching down to the level of their opponent. They have OSU coming to Champaign next week, so that makes this Indiana game the definition of a "trap" game.

Snoozer of the week
Minnesota at Purdue. Two of the B1G doormats battle it out for the lesser of terrible.

Bold predictions!
No real shockers in this week's picks. It's pretty safe all around. The best game of the week could very well be Minnesota at Purdue. Michigan's trip to NU is compelling since it's Michigan's first road game, but injuries to a few NU skill players could make this contest very one-sided. We'll see how well Fitzgerald can rally his team after a disheartening loss to Illinois the previous week.

Both Nebraska and OSU are programs looking to bounce back after rather frustrating and embarrassing losses to two of the leagues best teams. I think the obvious edge goes to Nebraska because of home field advantage, and the fact that two of OSU's best ballers (Posey and Herron) are still suspended for breaking rules while they were suspended the first time.

But as Gene Smith all assured us yesterday, these rampant NCAA rule violations in Columbus are not a systemic problem, and that he takes full responsibility for his players actions. But he notes that these players acted as "individuals making individual decisions". Never mind that these new violations occurred before Smith assured the public that there would be no further violations.

There is no limit to how much Gene Smith either doesn't know, or is willing to lie about, how often his football players are breaking the rules. But clearly, whatever is wrong with the OSU athletic department begins and ends with Gene Smith's and Gordon Gee's mismanagement of this, and any related investigations.

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