There’s no other way to say it other than last week was a disaster for the Big Ten and those college football betting fans who backed its teams. The conference lost seven non-conference games to unranked teams for the first time in history.
BYU beating Wisconsin was tough, with the Cougars handing the Badgers their first non-conference home loss since 2003.
But the icing on the bitter cake was Troy stunning Nebraska, Kansas ripping Rutgers, Missouri edging Purdue and the historic Akron win over Northwestern, marking the first time the Zips beat a B1G team since 1894, when a guy named John Heisman, yes THAT Heisman, was the quarterback and coach.
Teams are more than ready to turn the page this weekend with the return of conference play for 10 schools that headline an overall eight-game slate. Here are the five games to consider for Big Ten bets in Week 4:
The schedule kicks off early with Friday night tilt in Champaign as the Illini host the Nittany Lions. Some think this could the venerable “trap game” for Penn State as it looks ahead to next week’s “Game of the Century” with Ohio State. Not likely.
Even if some of the players are looking ahead, Penn State has too many weapons for Illinois to slow down. QB Trace McSorley has been a bit inaccurate but he three for three scores last week in a 63-10 trouncing of Kent State.
Illinois has the worst defense in the conference and Lovie Smith’s crew has an idling offense. It adds up to Penn State rolling.
Last week’s loss to BYU should have been a wake-up call for Wisconsin. And if it wasn’t, forget any hope the Badgers might have of advancing to the College Football Playoff. The were bad in almost every aspect of the game last week and even though BYU only won by three points, the game didn’t seem as close most times.
Iowa crushed Northern Iowa in an intrastate non-conference game last week. Steady QB Nate Stanley has played against the Wisconsin defense before and that experience might be a key.
This could be a statement game for the Hawkeyes playing a ranked opponent at home on a Saturday night in prime time. But it’s hard to imagine a team like Wisconsin with a running back as good as Jonathan Taylor losing two weeks in a row.
The number is huge but not surprising as the Buckeyes return home after a big win in Texas against TCU last week. Urban Meyer is back on the sidelines after his three game suspension but that won’t make any impact on the field.
While there will certainly be controversy in the air in and around the head coach being back, nothing will change on the gridiron.
All-American defensive end Nick Bosa won’t play as he nurses a lower abdominal/groin injury. But other than that, Meyer will have the full arsenal at his disposal, including QB Dwayne Haskins and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, who should have a field day against the Tulane defense.
Unless Meyer takes his foot off the accelerator late, Ohio State will put enough points on the board to cover.
Five undefeated teams remain in the Big Ten, and Indiana is one of them. The Hoosiers have played surprisingly well and head coach Tom Allen has helped guide his team to a trio of wins against solid teams (Florida International, Virginia and Ball State).
The Spartans travel to Bloomington rested after a week off following their loss at Arizona State. That downtime will help running back LJ Scott recover from getting banged up early.
Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey is no slouch and has been chewing up yards both on the ground and in the air. It will come down to which defense to come up with a big stop – or two – in what should be a tight one.
This is one of those games where the team’s records don’t tell the whole story. Yes, BC is off to a perfect 3-0 start while the Boilermakers haven’t won yet in their first three games. But Saturday’s game in West Lafayette isn’t that cut-and-dried.
Purdue has been in three winnable games but without anything to show for the effort. There have been some great individual efforts, including QB David Blough hitting 71 percent of his throws for 572 yards and three touchdowns against Mizzou last week.
The Eagles have beaten softer opponents in UMass and Holy Cross, and last week’s win against Wake Forest got interesting late. Purdue will have a chance to test BC’s secondary – a lot.
It’ll be close, but bet on Purdue to get into the win column. Plus you get points.
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