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Weekend preview

Andrew Mouranie
November 20, 2009
andrew.mouranie@gmail.com

It is hard to believe it is already the end of the regular season for the Big Ten teams. It seems like only yesterday that Illinois was being picked as a sleeper team, Michigan State's defense was the strength of the team and this was the bounce back year for Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor.

I guess it shows how much the pundits really know...

But anyway, it should be a fun last weekend. 7 teams have reached the 6 win plateau to become bowl eligible while only one has the opportunity to reach that level this weekend. Unfortunately, three teams are already eliminated from bowl contention. However, this is "Rivalry Week", so lots of compelling matchups. Here are my thoughts on what to expect this weekend and subsequent bowl projections.

We will start with this weekend's biggest rivalry game... and of course it is the battle of the Hoosier state. Ok, I'm kidding, but since the game means nothing to anyone outside of that state (and presumably nobody who is going to read this), I will get it out of the way first.

Purdue and Indiana battle every year for the Old Oaken Bucket. So if I was a bucket, which school would I rather hang out at? This one is pretty easy to me. They have a plethora of good looking girls in Bloomington... West Lafayette, not so much (unless you like the female engineers). So I will go with the Hoosiers in what should be a meaningless, but entertaining, game. Pick: Indiana 34, Purdue 31

Wisconsin travels to Evanston to take on a Northwestern team that is playing pretty good football. Pat Fitzgerald has his team believing they can beat anyone in the league and they proved it two weeks ago winning in Iowa City. One big problem this week, however, is the man lining up in the backfield for the Badgers: John Clay. The man leads the Big Ten in rushing and they will feed him plenty.
Pick: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 21

Minnesota had over 500 yards of offense on Halloween night against Michigan State. They have barely 500 yards of offense combined in their last two games... against Illinois and South Dakota State no less! With Iowa playing for a BCS bid and Minnesota already bowl eligible, this could (and will) get ugly.
Pick: Iowa 38, Minnesota 17

So let me get this straight, Ohio State vs. Michigan is the greatest rivalry in college football? Well, is it really a rivalry when one team wins every year? And that team is the Big Ten champion looking to win the conference outright vs. a team who hasn't won a game since September (Delaware State doesn't count in my mind). Michigan can become bowl eligible with a win... but I wouldn't bet on it. In fact, the only over/under on this game should be if Terrelle Pryor is still in the game in the 4th quarter.
Pick: Ohio State 42, Michigan 21

Joe Paterno might be making his final trip to East Lansing on Saturday. That's sad. He is awesome, his team...not so much. They have played two big games this year, both at home, and lost. State College (Pa.) High School might have been able to beat the other 8 teams on their schedule. However, Mark Dantonio hasn't beaten an AP Top 25 team while at Michigan State. Does Penn State (and specifically QB Darryl Clark) actually show up in a big game? Is this the game Dantonio finally beats a Top 25 team? I have no true reasoning behind this, but I'll take JoePa.
Pick: Penn State 27, Michigan State 23

2009-2010 Big Ten bowl projections:

Ohio State (10-2, 7-1) - Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
Iowa (10-2, 6-2) - Fiesta Bowl vs. Boise State
Penn State (10-2, 6-2) - Capital One Bowl vs. LSU
Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2) - Outback Bowl vs. Ole Miss
Northwestern (7-5, 4-4) - Champs Sports Bowl vs. Clemson
Michigan State (6-6, 4-4) - Alamo Bowl vs. Oklahoma
Minnesota (6-6, 3-5) - Insight Bowl vs. Texas Tech

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