Minnesota_Purdue_Football_4017

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck celebrates a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

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The standings

EAST

TEAM CONF. OVERALL

Ohio State 5-0 8-0

Penn State 5-0 8-0

Indiana 4-2 7-2

Michigan 4-2 7-2

Michigan State 2-3 4-4

Maryland 1-5 3-6

Rutgers 0-6 2-7

WEST

TEAM CONF. OVERALL

Minnesota 5-0 8-0

Iowa 3-2 6-2

Wisconsin 3-2 6-2

Illinois 3-3 5-4

Purdue 2-4 3-6

Nebraska 2-4 4-5

Northwestern 0-6 1-7

The schedule

Want to know what Week 11 games are worthwhile? Here’s the scoop from sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli Jr., who went 3-1 on last week’s picks.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Maryland at No. 3 Ohio State, 11 a.m., FOX

On-air talent: Gus Johnson (play-by-play) and Joel Klatt (analyst)

Pick: Ohio State, 45-17. A five-win Maryland team — led by then-redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland Jr. — rushed for 339 yards last season against a top-10 Buckeyes team. Ohio State eventually won in overtime, 52-51, over the Terrapins in College Park, Md. McFarland will need another big game for the struggling Terrapins to give the Buckeyes a close call in Columbus. It won’t happen.

No. 5 Penn State at No. 13 Minnesota, 11 a.m., ABC

On-air talent: Sean McDonough (play-by-play) and Todd Blackledge (analyst)

Pick: Penn State, 27-21. This feels like a game in which both teams have something to prove. The conversation around the Gophers — at least nationally — is “yeah, but you haven’t beaten any good teams,” while the Nittany Lions were a topic of conversation Tuesday night after being ranked ahead of defending champion Clemson in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

Purdue at Northwestern, 11 a.m., BTN

On-air talent: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play) and James Laurinaitis (analyst)

Pick: Northwestern, 20-17. Purdue is on its third quarterback with Elijah Sindelar and Jack Plummer both likely out for the rest of the season. So, it will be Aidan O’Connell’s turn when the Boilermakers visit Evanston on Saturday.

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

On-air talent: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Matt Millen (analyst)

Pick: Michigan State, 23-16. Mark Dantonio has put extra emphasis this week in practice on ball security, with Illinois entering East Lansing as the top takeaway team in the nation (22). The Illini will need another opportunistic game from their defense to add to a three-game winning streak. The sharks are circling around Dantonio, but his Spartans will quiet the criticism. For one week, at least.

No. 18 Iowa at No. 16 Wisconsin, 3 p.m., FOX

On-air talent: Tim Brando (play-by-play) and Spencer Tillman (analyst)

Pick: Wisconsin, 20-16. It hasn’t been pretty, but the Hawkeyes have stayed in the hunt in the Big Ten West mostly by playing stout defense. Phil Parker’s Iowa unit is allowing a mere 10.1 points per game. Wisconsin has slipped up in recent weeks, but Jonathan Taylor is way past due for a big game even against a tough defensive front.

Award watch

How sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli Jr. views the races for 2019’s top honors:

BIG TEN MVP

PLAYER, TEAM POS.

1. Justin Fields, Ohio State QB

2. Chase Young, Ohio State DE

3. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State RB

4. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota QB

5. Sean Clifford, Penn State QB

Joe’s take: J.K. Dobbins has six 100-yard rushing games this season, but the 5-foot-10, 217-pound junior out of La Grange, Texas, has become a bigger part of the Buckeyes’ passing game in recent weeks. Dobbins has a combined six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown during Ohio State’s blowout wins over Northwestern and Wisconsin to end the month of October.

ILLINI MVP

PLAYER POS.

1. Jake Hansen LB

2. Reggie Corbin RB

3. Dre Brown WR

4. Brandon Peters QB

5. Dele Harding LB

Joe’s take: Dele Harding doesn’t have the same takeaway numbers as Jake Hansen, but he’s been Illinois’ most consistent tackler all season long with six games of 10 or more tackles, including three games with 15-plus stops. The senior out of Elkton, Md., ranks fourth nationally in total tackles with 106 of them.

BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR

COACH TEAM

1. P.J. Fleck Minnesota

2. Tom Allen Indiana

3. Ryan Day Ohio State

4. James Franklin Penn State

5. Kirk Ferentz Iowa

Joe’s take: Is Tom Allen in line for the job at Florida State? Both the Tampa Bay Times and the Athletic mentioned the fourth-year Indiana coach as a possible candidate to replace Willie Taggart in Tallahassee, Fla., given Allen’s ties to Florida. Allen’s reclamation project in Bloomington will likely demand that Indiana give him a substantial pay bump in the offseason.

BIG TEN BOWL OUTLOOK

BOWL TEAM

Playoff Ohio State

Rose Penn State

Citrus Minnesota

Outback Michigan

Gator Wisconsin

Holiday Iowa

Armed Forces Indiana

Music City Michigan State

Pinstripe Illinois

Redbox —

Quick Lane —

Joe’s take: Despite what the initial College Football Playoff rankings say, don’t see Penn State and Ohio State both making the final four. Even if the only loss one team has comes against the other one. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions, after all, face off Nov. 23 in Columbus. But it’s still an interesting scenario to consider with the selection committee doubting Clemson’s playoff credentials so far.

Sports Copy Editor

Joe Vozzelli Jr. is a sports copy editor at The News-Gazette. His email is jvozzelli@news-gazette.com.