clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Around the B1G: Football Week 7 Recap, Week 8 Preview

All signs point to a Columbus showdown Thanksgiving weekend deciding the East champion; Nebraska has the edge out West but has plenty of competition.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 Results

Northwestern 54, Michigan State 40

The offense finally shows up, and the defense collapses. That wasn’t helped by the fact that the offense didn’t actually stay on the field all that long very often (only one of MSU’s touchdown drives lasted more than three plays, and that one went only five), but allowing nearly 80% completions for 8 yards per attempt and 51 rushes for over 200 yards on top of that is still pretty bad. As has been the case all year, the first half was decent (net of 10 points allowed by the defense after factoring in the Justin Layne pick-six) but the wheels came off in the second (35 points allowed).

Illinois 24, Rutgers 7

After Ohio State and Michigan took turns nuking Rutgers from orbit, facing Illinois should have been a welcome respite for the Scarlet Knights. And it was, to a degree: they actually scored (ending their scoreless streak in conference just shy of 178 minutes) and didn’t give up so many points that their opponents’ score looked more like a basketball score than a football score. With 10 minutes to go, they were even driving with a chance to cut Illinois’s lead down to 3. Then Darius Mosely picked off a pass and ran it back 78 yards to put the game out of reach.

Minnesota 31, Maryland 10

Much like Rutgers, Maryland’s day was a case of death by turnover. Minnesota only won the yardage battle 311-291, but four turnovers to none, including an 82 yard pick-six to close out the game, was too big a margin to overcome. Tyrrell Pigrome, playing in place of injured Perry Hills (who is questionable for this week), completed only 18 of 37 passes for 161 yards and two picks and ran 25 times for 71 yards.

Iowa 49, Purdue 35

This score is a bit deceptive; Iowa led 35-7 at the half and 42-14 with the ball in Purdue territory with under 13 minutes to go in the game. Then things went nuts:

  • Iowa 3-and-out
  • Purdue touchdown
  • Iowa 3-and-out
  • Purdue touchdown, now down only 14 with 5:36 to go
  • Failed onside kick
  • Iowa picks up one first down then punts, giving Purdue the ball with 2:18 to go
  • Iowa interception return for touchdown with 1:44 left
  • Purdue touchdown with :17 to go

More than half of Purdue’s total yards for the day came in that manic fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Iowa’s 365 rushing yards.

Nebraska 27, Indiana 22

The Huskers jumped out to a quick start, with a field goal and touchdown on their first two drives and a pick-six on the first play of Indiana’s second drive. At 17-0 in the first quarter, this one had blowout written all over it. But Indiana responded with a punt block for a safety and two field goals in the second quarter, and a 33-yard touchdown run to end the third quarter cut the deficit to just 17-15. With 10 minutes to go, Nebraska extended their lead back out to 9, but Indiana answered quickly to get back within 2 a minute and a half later. The Huskers then went on a 15-play drive, burning most of the remaining time off the clock before extending the lead back to 5 with a field goal. An interception two plays later sealed the win for Nebraska.

Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 23 (OT)

The Badgers led most of the way through this one, jumping to a 10-0 lead on their first two drives. The Buckeyes cut it down to 10-6 with a pair of field goals, but two Wisconsin field goals pushed the lead back to 10 at the half. Ohio State took their first lead early in the fourth quarter on a J.T. Barrett touchdown run to go up 20-16, but the Badgers answered with a six-minute TD drive of their own to go back in front. Ohio State got as close as a first down at the Wisconsin 21-yard line before having to settle for the tying field goal with four minutes to go, and Wisconsin’s potential winning drive stalled at midfield. In OT, the Buckeyes had the first possession and scored on a Noah Brown touchdown catch; Wisconsin got to the 4-yard line but stalled there with two incomplete passes and a run for no gain before a 4th-down sack kept the Buckeyes unbeaten.

Week 8 Games

All times ET. Odds are per my margin-aware ratings. Carryover from last season still exists but is gradually being removed as more games are played; for teams having played six games the carryover is the equivalent of one game. (Teams who have played seven have only 13 of a game of carryover.)

Rutgers at Minnesota (Noon, ESPNU)

The Gophers, fresh off a win over Maryland, can get within one game of bowl eligibility this week and stay at the fringe of the West title race. They’ve benefited significantly from their crossover schedule, which includes both Rutgers and Maryland and skips the two East powerhouses.

Odds: Minnesota 93.2% (projected margin: +17.5)

Wisconsin at Iowa (Noon, ESPN)

This is a key game for conference title hopes for both teams. Wisconsin already has two conference losses thanks to drawing both Michigan and Ohio State as crossovers; a third probably spells doom with Nebraska still sitting unbeaten. Iowa only has one conference loss but might be in tiebreaker trouble if they pick up a second here.

Odds: Iowa 51% (less than +0.5 projected margin)

Indiana at Northwestern (Noon, BTN)

With both teams at 3-3, this is a crucial game for both teams’ bowl chances. Two of each team’s losses have come against teams that have yet to lose (Nebraska beat both, Western Michigan beat Northwestern, and Ohio State beat Indiana). This is the second-closest matchup in the projections this week.

Odds: Northwestern 76% (+7.5)

Illinois at Michigan (3:30, BTN)

Despite being 2-4, Illinois’s net scoring margin is only -1 for the year. But that’s with Purdue and Rutgers already having been played. Going from those two to Michigan is like reading an introductory book on chess and then taking on a grandmaster. Good luck.

Odds: Michigan 98.6% (+28.5)

Purdue at Nebraska (3:30, ABC/ESPN2)

The Boilers have made official what was already clear before the year started: Darrell Hazell is gone. That won’t be enough to give them a chance against the Huskers.

Odds: Nebraska 97.6% (+25)

Michigan State at Maryland (7:30, BTN)

Maryland’s hot start is a thing of the past. The pessimistic take for MSU is that both of their losses came after Perry Hills’s injury and he might be back this week. The optimistic take is that their only top 100 win so far is Central Florida in 2OT.

Odds: Maryland 81% (+9.5)

Ohio State at Penn State (8:00, ABC)

It’s hard to picture a team that squeaked past Temple and Minnesota at home giving Ohio State too much trouble, but Happy Valley at night is always a tricky place to play. This is the biggest remaining obstacle on the Buckeyes’ schedule before a potential 11-0 showdown with Michigan.

Odds: Ohio State 83% (+10.5)

Conference Projections

Projected records are based on game-by-game odds (bowl odds assume a 6-6 record is the cutoff). Division title chances (outright or shared) are based on 100,000 season simulations; tiebreakers are not considered.

East Division

Team Avg wins 0-9 1-8 2-7 3-6 4-5 5-4 6-3 7-2 8-1 9-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Ohio State 8.28 1 in 1.26M 1 in 17,500 0.15% 1.99% 12.88% 39.67% 45.29% Yes 52.59% 75.43%
Michigan 7.92 1 in 6.58M 1 in 45,200 0.11% 2.36% 21.13% 58.30% 18.09% Yes 23.52% 46.52%
Penn State 5.92 0.04% 0.90% 6.90% 24.23% 39.21% 25.01% 3.70% 99.06% 0.23% 3.66%
Indiana 3.98 0.47% 6.26% 24.31% 38.56% 24.99% 5.25% 0.16% 68.96% <0.01% 0.01%
Maryland 3.26 1.07% 14.31% 48.24% 30.56% 5.45% 0.36% 1 in 13,900 84.62% <0.01% <0.01%
Michigan State 1.58 8.23% 41.04% 37.39% 11.73% 1.53% 0.09% 1 in 59,900 1.62% <0.01% <0.01%
Rutgers 0.89 36.36% 42.22% 17.74% 3.38% 0.29% 1 in 11,200 0.30% <0.01% <0.01%

As far as the division title is concerned, you can probably cancel everything except the game in Columbus on November 26. Third-place Penn State projects a full two games behind second, and Indiana (in fourth) is almost two full games behind them. Meanwhile, the combination of nose-diving ratings and a reasonable home opportunity lost has MSU’s bowl outlook in a very bleak place indeed; the only game MSU is favored in the rest of the way is at home against Rutgers.

West Division

Team Avg wins 0-9 1-8 2-7 3-6 4-5 5-4 6-3 7-2 8-1 9-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Nebraska 6.89 1 in 16,200 0.37% 5.29% 26.42% 42.98% 22.69% 2.26% Yes 58.20% 84.33%
Northwestern 5.25 0.22% 3.42% 17.70% 37.84% 31.66% 8.86% 0.30% 78.66% 2.82% 14.51%
Wisconsin 5.18 0.02% 0.49% 4.76% 19.48% 35.88% 30.03% 9.34% 99.49% 4.94% 18.65%
Iowa 5.09 5.16% 23.67% 37.16% 25.49% 7.70% 0.82% 94.84% 4.49% 16.44%
Minnesota 4.57 0.03% 1.05% 10.51% 34.18% 40.35% 12.73% 1.15% 98.92% 0.86% 5.66%
Illinois 2.44 14.53% 40.41% 33.05% 10.65% 1.31% 0.06% 1 in 178k 1.37% <0.01% 0.02%
Purdue 1.76 43.46% 39.88% 14.04% 2.40% 0.21% 1 in 12,200 1 in 939k 2.62% <0.01% 0.01%

Nebraska has the advantage thanks to their hot start and Wisconsin’s two losses against a very tough opening schedule. The fight for second should be a wild one, though, with Northwestern sitting a fraction of a projected win ahead of Wisconsin and Iowa, and Minnesota is lurking less than a game behind that pack.