Listen to this article

The standings

EAST

TEAM CONF. ALL

Ohio State 3-0 6-0

Penn State 2-0 5-0

Michigan 2-1 4-1

Michigan State 2-1 4-2

Maryland 1-1 3-2

Indiana 0-2 3-2

Rutgers 0-3 1-4

WEST

TEAM CONF. ALL

Minnesota 2-0 5-0

Wisconsin 2-0 5-0

Nebraska 2-1 4-2

Iowa 1-1 4-1

Illinois 0-2 2-3

Purdue 0-2 1-4

Northwestern 0-3 1-4

The schedule

Want to know what Week 7 games are worthwhile? Here’s the scoop from sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli Jr., who went 6-1 on his picks for a second straight week.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

No. 16 Michigan at Illinois, 11 a.m., ABC

On-air talent: Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (analyst) and Tom Luginbill (sideline)

Pick: Michigan, 27-16. Jim Harbaugh insists his offense is improving. All evidence to the contrary. Still, Illinois’ defense is capable of making any opposing offense look good.

Rutgers at Indiana, 11 a.m., BTN

On-air talent: Lisa Byington (play-by-play) and J Leman (analyst)

Pick: Indiana, 34-13. Bad news for Indiana: The Hoosiers are 0-2 in the Big Ten. Good news: Rutgers is coming to Bloomington. So Tom Allen’s crew won’t be winless in conference play for long.

Maryland at Purdue, 11 a.m., BTN

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

Pick: Maryland, 27-23. Purdue is set to wear all-white uniforms that mimic astronaut suits for the game in honor of Neil Armstrong, a Purdue alumnus. Cool idea but give me the Terps to win, even with Tyrrell Pigrome starting at quarterback in place of an injured Josh Jackson.

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

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

Pick: Wisconsin 31-21. J.K. Dobbins rumbled for 172 yards last week against the Spartans. Now, Michigan State must try to contain Jonathan Taylor, who finished with five total TDs last week, albeit against Kent State. Good luck.

No. 10 Penn State at No. 17 Iowa, 6:30 p.m., ABC

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

Pick: Penn State, 21-16. Sean Clifford and KJ Hamler have been a quietly good quarterback-wide receiver combo in college football. That won’t continue for long with the Nittany Lions chasing a 6-0 start.

Nebraska at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1

On-air talent: Brian Custer (play-by-play)and Robert Smith (analyst)

Pick: Minnesota, 21-20. The banged-up Cornhuskers visit the possible frozen tundra of Minneapolis (snow is in the forecast). P.J. Fleck’s guys row their boat to a 6-0 record.

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. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB

3. JK Dobbins, Ohio State RB

4. Sean Clifford, Penn State QB

5. Chase Young, Ohio State DE

Joe’s take: Justin Fields attempted 134 passes before throwing his first interception in last Saturday’s dominating 34-10 Ohio State home win over Michigan State. It wasn’t his best night, but the sophomore quarterback is still the Big Ten’s top Heisman hopeful (1,298 passing yards, 283 rushing yards and 26 total TDs).

ILLINI MVP

PLAYER POS.

1. Reggie Corbin RB

2. Brandon Peters QB

3. Oluwole Betiku Jr. DE

4. James McCourt PK

5. Josh Imatorbhebhe WR

Joe’s take: Reggie Corbin has averaged 95.5 yards per game, and if stays on that pace, he’ll surpass 1,000 yards for the second straight season, even after missing the Illini’s game at UConn with a hip injury. With the prospect of Matt Robinson possibly making his first start on Saturday against Michigan, Illinois needs a big game out of the Upper Marlboro, Md., native.

BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR

COACH TEAM

1. Ryan Day Ohio State

2. Paul Chryst Wisconsin

3. James Franklin Penn State

4. P.J. Fleck Minnesota

5. Kirk Ferentz Iowa

Joe’s take: Minnesota hasn’t had a 10-win season since 2003. Could P.J. Fleck get the Gophers to 10 wins? Minnesota has four games it should win left on the schedule (Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland and Northwestern). Of the remaining schedule (Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin), the Hawkeyes are by far the most winnable game. But the Gophers will have to win in Iowa City to get the job done.

BIG TEN BOWL OUTLOOK

BOWL TEAM

Playoff Ohio State

Rose Wisconsin

Citrus Penn State

Outback Michigan

Gator Minnesota

Holiday Iowa

Armed Forces Michigan State

Music City Nebraska

Pinstripe Maryland

Redbox Indiana

Quick Lane No representative

Joe’s take: The next two weeks are make-or-break for Penn State’s playoff chances. Ranked 10th in the AP poll, the Nittany Lions play at Iowa this Saturday before welcoming Michigan to Happy Valley the following week. Based on how both of these teams looked offensively last week, Penn State — which ranks second in the FBS in scoring defense (7.5 points per game) — should feel good about its chances in both games.

News-Gazette