Pickin' On the Big Ten: Week 4, 2020 Season

By Mark Hasty on November 20, 2020 at 9:30 am
The biggest B1G game of the day is... Ohio State vs Indiana?!
© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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Last week in review:

Wisconsin at Michigan: I said Sconnie 42, Michigan 23; actual score, Wisconsin 49, Michigan 11. The 2020 Michigan Wolverines frighten and confuse me.
Indiana at Michigan State: I said IU 41, Sparty 13; actual score, IU 24, Sparty 0. Getting blanked by Indiana used to be a fireable offense.
Iowa at Minnesota: I said Iowa 31, Minny 30; actual score, Iowa 35, Minnesota 7. *snickers in Iowegian*
Penn State at Nebraska: I said PSU 31, Nebraska 24; actual score, Nebraska 30, PSU 23. I have given my Magic 8-Ball to the dogs.
Northwestern at Purdue: I said PU 34, NU 24; actual score, NU 27, PU 20. I hate to admit it, but Northwestern might be good.
Illinois at Rutgers: I said Rutgers 30, Illinois 20; actual score, Illinois 23, Rutgers 20. Now all Lovie has to do to save his job is call for Mike Madigan's resignation.

So that's a 3-3 week. It still beats my terrible opening week, and I have to say I don't think there's anything truly predictable about this season. With that in mind, let's predict all the games!

PURDUE AT MINNESOTA (Friday, 6:30 pm CST, BTN)

Unfortunately, it's not possible for both teams to lose this game.

I really don't know what's happened to Minnesota this season. Talk about an absolute loss of momentum. It's hard to believe this team played in a prestigious bowl last season. I don't know that the Gophers are going to win any more games. After this one comes Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Nebraska, three teams the Gophers don't match up well against, and Minny has already played Illinois.   

Purdue, meanwhile, has a shot to run off three in a row, even without Rondale Moore, whose status is unknown (to me) at the time of this writing. Given the non-defense that Minnesota has been playing, I think I'll take Purdue here.

No Moore 30, No Mas 24.

ILLINOIS AT NEBRASKA (Saturday, 11 am CST, BTN) 

No one will be watching this game because it's up against the biggest Indiana-Ohio State game ever, and also because Illinois is in it.

I don't think the Illini are incompetent since Rutgers is far less inept this year than last year and the Illini just beat the Scarlet Knights. But Nebraska really needed that win against the doddering Nittany Lions last week and they've always been a team that runs on swagger. We've all had a lot of fun watching the Huskers descend to irrelevance but this is still a talented team, and Illinois isn't, particularly. So here comes a rarity: a Nebraska conference winning streak!

No Longer De-McCaffreinated 38, Don't Make Us Madigan 24.

#9 INDIANA AT #3 OHIO STATE (Saturday, 11 am CST, Fox)

I hate to be That Guy who rains on the parade of a team that never gets a parade, but Indiana's case for being the #9 team in the country is thinner than the meat on a free sandwich. Recall that we were dazzled by its Week 1 victory over Penn State, the #6 team in the country at that time, which, LOL. Since then the Hoosiers have beaten Rutgers, Michigan (#23 at game time and again, LOL), and Michigan State. That, to me, suggests that one of these days the Hoosiers will come crashing back to Earth, and what better place than the Horseshoe for that to happen? A lot of seasonal dreams die there, after all. 

I have seen nothing at all to suggest that OSU won't be in the playoff this season and I don't think Indiana qualifies as Team Chaos anymore. Too much discipline on defense for that. So I'll call this like I'd call any IU-tOSU game: a big win for the Buckeyes.

Good Luck, Next! 45, Back to Life, Back to Reality 20.

#10 WISCONSIN AT #19 NORTHWESTERN (Saturday, 2:30 pm CST, ABC)

If you've ever noticed, Wisconsin isn't notably more successful at Ryan Field than Iowa is, largely for the same reasons. But the Badgers are scoring points by the bucketload this season and just feel like they're playing on a different level than the Wildcats. Still, never count Fitz out of a game he knows he needs to win. This will be too close for the Badger fans, but still a bridge too far for Northwestern.

No Mertz-y For You 31, Back to the Library 22.

MICHIGAN STATE AT MARYLAND: CANCELED!

MICHIGAN AT RUTGERS (Saturday, 6:30 pm CST, BTN)

Last week's implosion notwithstanding (it's more than possible that Wisconsin is just really good), I don't think Michigan is fully incompetent, though I am starting to believe that Jim Harbaugh's days are numbered and Michigan is just going to have to rebuild the entire program with somebody like Matt Campbell. (He wouldn't even be the first Iowa State coach to bolt for a Big Ten power; recall that Ohio State hired Earle Bruce out of Ames.)

Rutgers, meanwhile, has the coach who is going to take it to its ceiling, but he's still a year or two away from making things interesting in the East. Michigan's problems are inexplicable at this point, but I still think it can dogwalk the Dear Old Rutgers Knights in Scarlet (DORKS).

Give Me Just A Little More Time 27, It's the Same Old Song 24.

And, of course:

IOWA AT PENN STATE (Saturday, 2:30 pm CST, BTN)

I've got a bit of a bad feeling about this game, as I think Penn State is just too talented to be this hapless for the whole season. I worry that the last two laughers have lulled us Iowa fans into a false sense of security as well. This is still a rather young team with some issues on offense when they do questionable things like, say, forgetting they have The Human Earthmover, Tyler Goodson, in the backfield. I get that the staff is trying to develop Spencer Petras for the next couple seasons, and that's not a mistake, but I don't think this is going to be an easy game at all. In fact, I'm seriously worried about the travel distance and the last couple weeks getting into Iowa's heads, leading to a loss in Happy Valley. I don't think that will happen, but I feel like I'm out on the ice predicting an Iowa win, even if Penn State hasn't beaten anyone this year. In fact, that's why I feel like I'm out on the ice: Penn State isn't bad enough to be winless. But hope springs eternal, so I'll take Iowa in a squeaker.

It's All Goodson 26, Why Does It Always Rain On Me? 23.

Last week: 3-3
Season: 14-11

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