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High-profile matchups are on tap

October 28, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

It's a full weekend of Big Ten contests, three of which would be considered high profile matchups.

In addition to the Badgers-Buckeyes' battle in Columbus, Michigan State travels to Lincoln where Sparty opposes Nebraska's Cornhuskers.

Another intriguing encounter unfolds at Happy Valley where Penn State's Nittany Lions entertain Illinois in a ABC regional telecast.

The Big Ten enters weekend play as one of two conferences with five teams among the top 20, one of which is not named Ohio State.

Obviously, the Buckeyes can make a major statement by handing Wisconsin a second consecutive setback.

Michigan State's high noon kickoff at Nebraska matches two of the Legends Division heavy hitters.

Here's our take on this weekend's conference action:

PURDUE (4-3, 2-1) AT MICHIGAN (6-1, 2-1). Boilers coming off impressive win against Illinois while Michigan is coming off bye week. Brady Hoke's Wolves suffered first loss (at Michigan State) in their last start. It's get well time. Wolverines, 35-17.

NORTHWESTERN (2-5, 0-4) AT INDIANA (1-7, 0-4). Plenty of tickets available for this one. Northwestern will find it hard to recover from miserable start which likely will cost it a postseason opportunity. Wildcats, 30-21.

MICHIGAN STATE (6-1, 3-0) AT NEBRASKA (6-1, 2-1). Since being blasted by Fighting Irish at South Bend, Mark Dantonio's Green & White have been on a roll. Expect that to continue. Spartans, 27-20.

ILLINOIS (6-2, 2-2) AT PENN STATE (7-1, 4-0). Are these Lions the real deal or will Joe Pa's club tumble back to earth. Their last three games (Nebraska, at OSU, at Wisconsin) will define the season. Nittany Lions, 21-20.

IOWA (5-2, 2-1) AT MINNESOTA (1-6, 0-3). See above for Hawkeyes whose late season schedule becomes nothing short of brutal. But for now...Hawkeyes, 33-17.

WISCONSIN (6-1, 2-1) AT OHIO STATE (4-3, 1-2). We're already on record projecting a rebound week for Wisconsin which simply put, is a superior football team in this prime time matchup. Badgers, 27-17.



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