What's on tap in Big Ten football? Week 7

What's on tap in Big Ten football? Week 7

The schedule 

Want to know what games are worthwhile? Here's the scoop from sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli, who narrowly missed another perfect week after going 5-1.

Saturday's Games

Minnesota at No. 3 Ohio State, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1

TV Talent: Gus Johnson(play-by-play); Joel Klatt (analyst)

Comment: The Buckeyes' quarterback-receiver combo of Dwayne Haskins and Parris Campbell has another big day at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio.

Pick: Ohio State 49, Minnesota 21

Rutgers at Maryland, 11 a.m., BTN

TV Talent: Brandon Gaudin(play-by-play); Glen Mason(analyst)

Comment: The Terrapins are a hard team to figure out with a good win (Texas) and bad loss (Temple) on the resume. This one will be closer than many expect.

Pick: Maryland 38, Rutgers 24

Iowa at Indiana, 11 a.m., ESPN2

TV Talent: Beth Mowins (play-by-play); Anthony Becht and Rocky Boiman (analysts)

Comment: Iowa is banged up defensively (top tackler Jack Hockaday might not play Saturday). So the Hawkeyes need another big game from Nate Stanley, who threw for 314 yards and four TDs last week.

Pick: Iowa 27, Indiana 20

Nebraska at Northwestern, 11 a.m., ABC

TV Talent: Mark Jones (play-by-play); Dusty Dvoracek (analyst)

Comment: Northwestern, fresh off a big win and playing 0-5 Nebraska, can you say trap game? Cornhuskers break their spell.

Pick: Nebraska 31, Northwestern 27

Michigan State at No. 8 Penn State, 2:30 p.m., BTN

TV Talent: Kevin Kugler(play-by-play); James Laurinaitis (analyst)

Comment: The Spartans continue to sputter offensively, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in yards per game (390.0) and 11th in points per game (27.2).

Pick: Penn State 38, Michigan State 24

Purdue at Illinois, 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1

TV Talent: Justin Kutcher (play-by-play);DeMarco Murray and Petros Papadakis (analysts)

Comment: Illinois has improved in many areas this season, but pass defense isn't one of them. Purdue quarterback David Blough is licking his chops.

Pick: Purdue 41, Illinois 31

No. 15 Wisconsin at No. 12 Michigan, 6:30 p.m., ABC

TV Talent: Chris Fowler (play-by-play); Kirk Herbstreit(analyst)

Comment: The loser of this game kisses their chances at the College Football Playoff goodbye.

Pick: Michigan 30, Wisconsin 28

Award watch

How N-G sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli views the race for top Big Ten honors in 2018:

BIG TEN MVP

Player, Team Pos.

1. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio St. QB

2. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB

3. Parris Campbell, Ohio St. WR

4. Trace McSorley, Penn State QB

5. Karan Higdon, Michigan RB

Joe's take: Jonathan Taylor might soon be asking: How could you forget about me? His worst game this season — if you can call it that — was a 113-yard effort in an 11-point victory at Iowa on Sept. 22. Taylor has averaged an FBS-best 169.8 yards per game and 6.74 yards per carry (15th nationally) despite opponents loading the box to stop him.

ILLINI MVP

Player Pos.

1. Reggie Corbin RB

2. Mike Epstein RB

3. Del'Shawn Phillips LB

4. Blake Hayes P

5. Rod Smith Offensive cordinator

Joe's take: Plenty of credit for the Illinois' offensive turnaround should be laid at the feet of first-year coordinator Rod Smith. Illinois is averaging 260.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 13th in the FBS. Reggie Corbin, whose 7.86 yards per carry rank fourth nationally, has provided big-play potential — he gashed Rutgers for a 73-yard score in last Saturday's win.BIG TEN

COACH OF THE YEAR

Coach School

1. Jim Harbaugh Michigan

2. James Franklin Penn State

3. Not Urban Meyer Ohio State

4. Paul Chryst Wisconsin

5. Matt Canada Maryland

Joe's take: All of the sudden Michigan's Week 1 loss to Notre Dame is looking like one of the best losses in the country, as crazy as that sounds. The Irish — ranked fifth in the country — should make the College Football Playoff if Notre Dame wins out. The Wolverines need a victory this Saturday when they host Wisconsin to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

BIG TEN BOWL OUTLOOK

BOWL TEAM

Playoff — Ohio State

Rose — Penn State

Outback — Michigan

Citrus — Wisconsin

Taxslayer — Iowa

Holiday — Maryland

San Francisco — Michigan State

Music City — Indiana

Pinstripe — Minnesota

Quick Lane — Purdue

Joe's take: Three of the best four teams in the Big Ten reside in the east — and an argument could easily be made that Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan are all better than the West's top program (Wisconsin). This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering many prognosticators predicted as much before the season kicked off. And there's an even bigger drop-off between Wisconsin and everyone else in the West.

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