Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Buckeyes face test

Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Buckeyes face test


TEAM               BIG TEN     ALL
Ohio State    1    0    5    0
Wisconsin    1    1    3    2
Illinois    0    0    3    1
Penn State    0    0    3    1
Indiana    0    0    2    2
Purdue    0    1    1    4

Iowa    1    0    4    1
Michigan    0    0    4    0
Northwestern    0    0    4    0
Michigan State    0    0    3    1
Nebraska    0    0    3    1
Minnesota    0    1    4    1


Want to know which of Saturday’s games are worth your while? Here’s the scoop from sports editor JIM ROSSOW, who blames the government shutdown for last week’s 1-3 meltdown:

Illinois at Nebraska
11 a.m., ESPNU

Starting Saturday and continuing through 2017, Illini will open the Big Ten against the Cornhuskers. That might not be a good thing for momentum, considering Nebraska is one of four schools (Alabama, Oregon, Boise State) with at least nine wins in each of the last five seasons.
Rossow’s pick: Nebraska, 35-31

Michigan State at Iowa
11 a.m., ESPN2

Spartans lead the nation in total defense (188.8 yards per game) and defensive touchdowns (four). Also, opposing offenses are going three-and-out against Sparty on 51 percent of their possessions. Only Baylor (54.3 percent), Virginia (52.3) and Louisville (52.0) are doing it better.
Rossow’s pick: Michigan State, 12-10

Penn State at Indiana
11 a.m., BTN

Nittany Lions never have lost to the Hoosiers (16-0), but they’ve struggled in their last three trips to the other Memorial Stadium, winning each by six points or less. But don’t expect Bill O’Brien to get jittery. Last season, he became the fifth Big Ten coach since 1950 to win his first three road games (Illinois’ Jim Valek in 1967, Ohio State’s Earle Bruce in ‘79, Iowa’s Hayden Fry in ‘79 and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer in ‘12).
Rossow’s pick: Indiana, 24-23

Minnesota at No. 19 Michigan
2:30 p.m., WICD (ABC)

Senior Jeremy Gallon has caught a pass in 30 consecutive games, including at least four receptions in nine in a row. The streak ranks fourth on Michigan’s all-time list. He can pass No. 1 Braylon Edwards (38) by snagging a reception in the eight remaining regular season games and a bowl game if the Wolverines qualify.
Rossow’s pick: Michigan, 35-20

No. 4 Ohio State
at No. 16 Northwestern
7 p.m., WICD (ABC)

There’ll be tension in the booth with Northwestern grad Brent Musburger handling the play-by-play and Ohio State product Kirk Herbstreit providing analysis. No nerves, however, in the Ohio State locker room as the Buckeyes are playing their 31st game with ESPN’s “College GameDay” nearby (they’re 20-10). It’ll be bedlam on the field if the Wildcats beat a Top 5 team for the first time since 1959.  
Rossow’s pick: Ohio State, 35-31


Coaches like to take it one game at a time. Not us:
OCT. 12
Indiana at Michigan St.    11 a.m.
Nebraska at Purdue    11 a.m.
N’western at Wisconsin    2:30 p.m.
Michigan at Penn State    4 p.m.

OCT. 19
Indiana at Michigan    2:30 p.m.
Iowa at Ohio State    2:30 p.m.
Wisconsin at Illinois    7 p.m.
Purdue at Michigan State    TBD
Minnesota at N’western    TBD

Every Big Ten team will have played a conference game by this weekend. No better time for a checkup:

Quarterbacks    Ohio State
Nathan Scheelhaase    Illinois
Mark Weisman    Iowa
Melvin Gordon    Wisconsin
Tyler Scott    Northwestern

Nathan Scheelhaase    QB
Jonathan Brown    LB
Josh Ferguson    RB
Mason Monheim    LB
Bill Cubit    OC

Pat Fitzgerald    Northwestern
Urban Meyer    Ohio State
Kirk Ferentz    Iowa
Tim Beckman    Illinois
Brady Hoke    Michigan

BCS title game    Ohio State
Rose    Michigan
Capital One    Northwestern
Outback    Wisconsin
Gator    Iowa