Week 5: We predict all six Big Ten games

Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners.

After four weeks, it’s Tom and BTN.com fans on top, at 36-10, while Brent is in the cellar, at 35-11. See our Week 5 predictions and choose your winners in this post.

BTN.com fans: 36-10; .783
Tom: 36-10; .783
Brent: 35-11; .761

[RELATED: Week 5 Power Rankings | Week 5 Player Rankings]

Penn State (2-2) at Illinois (2-2) – noon ET, ESPN
Tom’s pick: Penn State, 28-20 – The Nittany Lions are hitting on all cylinders, riding the hot arm of Matt McGloin. Who is gonna stop Penn State? Not a struggling Illini squad.
Brent’s pick: Penn State, 23-17 – Things are clicking right now for Penn State, between the Michael Mauti-led defense and Matt McGloin’s hot right arm. The same can’t be said for struggling and unhealthy Illinois.

Indiana (2-1) at Northwestern (4-0) – noon ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Northwestern, 29-27 – The Hoosiers were off last week and may have a few new wrinkles. But it likely won’t be enough, as the Wildcats will win this one late.
Brent’s pick: Northwestern, 34-20 – To win, Indiana would have to beat Northwestern in a shootout. Problem is, the Wildcat defense has surrendered 11 points per game since looking terrible in the season opener at Syracuse.

Minnesota (4-0) at Iowa (2-2) – noon ET, ESPN
Tom’s pick: Minnesota, 24-21 – This will be three wins in a row for the Golden Gophers over the Hawkeyes, as Minnesota’s defense continues to play well vs. an Iowa attack that can’t get on track.
Brent’s pick: Minnesota, 24-16 – Who’s more legit: Iowa RB Mark Weisman or the Minnesota defense? Based on my pick, I’m more sold on the vastly improved Gopher defense that can stop both the run and the pass.

Marshall (2-2) at Purdue (2-1) – 3:15 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Purdue, 31-21 – This is the Boilermakers’ final tune-up before conference play, as they are coming off an off week. The offense needs to continue to develop balance. The defense? It’s boffo.
Brent’s pick: Purdue, 37-17 – A possible trap game, what with Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State looming the next three weeks, the Boilers fall behind the high-octane Thundering Herd early before recovering for a rather easy win.

Ohio State (4-0) at Michigan State (3-1) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Tom’s pick: Michigan State, 28-24 – The Spartan defense will come up with some key fourth-quarter stops, as the Michigan State passing game gets some wings vs. a surprisingly struggling Buckeye defense.
Brent’s pick: Michigan State, 24-20 – This one comes down to whether Braxton Miller or Le’Veon Bell has the bigger day against the opposing defense. My thoughts: Michigan State owns the superior d, plus it’s the home team.

Wisconsin (3-1) at Nebraska (3-1) – 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Tom’s pick: Nebraska, 33-24 – The Huskers have revenge on their mind after getting whipped 48-17 last year in Madison. The Nebraska offense is rolling. Can the Badgers keep up?
Brent’s pick: Nebraska, 31-23 – Something I didn’t expect to type this season: Nebraska, not Wisconsin, has the Big Ten’s deepest collection of playmakers. From Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead to Taylor Martinez and Kenny Bell, Chris Borland and company will have their hands full.

[RELATED: Badgers, Huskers to wear alternate uniforms]


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (24 Comments)
Mark Charles Peshaba on 9/26/2012 @ 1:43pm EDT Said:

Ohio State will stop L.Bell, While the D backs will pick off Maxwell more than once!!!! Better recheck your picks on that one guys!!!!

Matt Barker/Editor (@BuckeyeBanter) on 9/26/2012 @ 1:43pm EDT Said:

Not sure how Michigan State will score 20-plus points on Ohio State. Granted, the Buckeye defense isn’t as good as its been in past years, but OSU has struggled against pass-happy spread teams, not teams with a pro-style offense that likes to run the ball. Going to be close. More like 21-17 Ohio State.

Ryan Lund (@ryanlund93) on 9/26/2012 @ 2:03pm EDT Said:

The Gophers will beat Iowa by 10 points because Shortell is an improve quarterback then gray. Iowa has no offense and the Gophers have a great and improve defense so Gophers win 31 to 21. #ProtectThePig

OC Spartan on 9/26/2012 @ 2:06pm EDT Said:

All those Ohio guys on Michigan State who got overlooked by OSU have something to prove. It will provide the emotional spark the Spartans need to get on track.

Michael Davis on 9/26/2012 @ 2:29pm EDT Said:

You are giving Wisconsin and Michigan State’s offfenses too much credit. Neither one has shown the ability to pass well leaving them one dimensional. Neither will score more than 17 points which means that if either Nebraska or Ohio State scores more than 20 they will win.

GBR_ZX_87 on 9/26/2012 @ 3:09pm EDT Said:

I’m not sold on MSU winning. They have a very good defense, but they haven’t seen a team that is as strong on the ground as OSU. Even struggling, OSU is probably better at running than anyone MSU has played so far. If their defense is as good as and as well rounded as they think, then I can see it. But I think OSU will come out hot on offense and MSU will take too long to adjust.

Also, you are giving to little credit to both the Nebraska defense and offense (or to much to Wisconsin). That game will have at least a two TD difference to it. Martin, Meridith, Compton, and Evans will take the lead in tearing their redshirt freshman apart. Wisconsin has been playing close games again much much much worse offenses and defenses than Nebraska (except may Oregon State, to whom they lost). You really think Wisconsin has the stamina on either side to keep up with a DEEP Nebraska offense and solidifying defense? It might be a one touchdown game going into the half, but the Huskers with crack Wisconsin open in the second half, if not sooner.

Go Minnesota! Been rooting for you guys since your spunky performance against the Huskers last year. Glad to see a good start to the season, and I will never cry over an Iowa loss. I’ll be in the stands when you meet the Big Red:-)

Nick on 9/26/2012 @ 3:32pm EDT Said:

Completely hilarious you have the Wisconsin/Nebraska game so close, when they couldn’t even put points up against anyone else. Sure, they have a defense better than anyone we have came across so far, but we have put some good numbers against everyone we have played. We have more depth and can stay energized, from the WR to the RB position. Defense, Stave has an ok arm, but they only have Abbaderis as a real threat in that receiving core. Expect him to be covered heavily, which leaves them one dimensional. Sure, we had a hard time stopping UCLA, but their offense is much more talented and faster than WI. I have a lot of respect for them, and am not talking down on them, but this is not their year. Nebraska by at least 17. If they score more than 17 on us, I would be shocked. 13-34 NU.

Iowa has a shot in upsetting Minnesota. If Wiseman has another 200+ yard game, they will be in the whole game. I think this one will come down to the wire, and whoever has last possession in the last 2 minutes will take the “W” home.

Michigan State over OSU. Why? MSU has not played a good offense, and I think it will be a challenge for them. Yeah, they kept ND to low points, but their QB was pathetic, just as he was against Michigan. Very inaccurate. MSU’s secondary is weak, and I expect OSU is going to take advantage of it. Close game, but I think OSU will win this. Michigan St can’t score against a good opponent, and I don’t see Maxwell doing any better than he already has done. OSU has a weak secondary as well, but no play makers in the receiving core for MSU.

Patrick on 9/26/2012 @ 3:35pm EDT Said:

@ryanlund93 either the hawks don’t have a offense or they score 21, which is it?😉

Alec on 9/26/2012 @ 4:13pm EDT Said:

The OSU vs MSU game will come down to which team gets their passing game going first. Neither team looked very good last week vs weak opponents at home so home field advantage will not be a factor in this game. From what I have seen so far, OSU will get the passing game going first. If so then OSU wins.

Montgomery on 9/26/2012 @ 5:38pm EDT Said:


Get the glasses off and expect a tougher game than some of you are predicting for the husker/badger game. Do I need to remind anyone how they took the husker to the shed last year once we self destructed. If the huskers play a perfect game, maybe a 13 to 20 point win, then again with our normal ooooops, the game is close. I am hoping for a reversal of last year’s score with huskers on top but unfortunately my glasses fell off at the Rose Bowl.

Matt Morbitzer on 9/26/2012 @ 7:25pm EDT Said:

Different Buckeye Team shows up this week. Urbans been sandbagging. O.S.U. 31 Sparty 17

Aaron St. Amand on 9/26/2012 @ 7:47pm EDT Said:

If Minnesota slows down and limits Iowa’s run game I’m very confident they’ll be 5-0.

Ed Crawford on 9/26/2012 @ 9:33pm EDT Said:

Unfortunately, Our Iowa Hawkeyes have fallen to the bottom based on what happened last week. Weisman is impressive and we needed him to start the season and punch holes to the end-zone from the first whistle. It will take a big improvement from the rest of the team to win the Big Ten like they should have in 08,09,10

Doug on 9/26/2012 @ 10:45pm EDT Said:

31 pts on MSU’s defense? Matt, your post lost all credibility

GBR_ZX_87 on 9/27/2012 @ 12:01am EDT Said:


Have you been watching the both teams this season? I have. I’m not wearing glasses here. The only way Wisconsin beats Nebraska, based on the performances so far, is if Nebraska self-destructs. That could easily happen, but with the way Wisconsin has been struggling, we can probably just hand the ball to Burkhead the entire game and win. If our offense shows up with only half the pistons firing, then it probably won’t matter if our defense does much.

We are motivated. Our tackling in the last two games was fundamentally (very much) improved. We have four talented and variously skilled RBs, Martinez has a 70% pass completion rate, our secondaries have been pretty strong all year, Martin looks like he is hitting his stride, Compton has played a bad game yet, and Turner, Bell, and Reed have been money.

They no longer have Russell Wilson. This is the second start for their quarterback and a MUCH better defense. Montee Ball might be suffering from a concussion, They are missing like four different coaches from last year, and they have to come to Memorial Stadium.

I’m not wearing goggles here man. You are just stuck in a distant past. Times have changed.

Stephen on 9/27/2012 @ 8:58am EDT Said:

Unless Andrew Maxwell can make a dramatic Improvement in the MSU passing game, it is hard to see them winning this game even in a close finish. They desperately need a more consistent passing game to keep the shipping lanes open for Mr. Bell to run the ball against OSU.

Minn vs Iowa
I have to go against the trend here. Why? Iowa is READY for a win. And this would be what? 3 straight losses for the Hawkeyes? I think if the men with the hawk heads have any pride left, it’s time to man up to stop the skid. Although you got to love MarQueis Gray, I always thought the gopher backup QB was a better fit to move the ball in chunks. If they win it will be because of Shortell.

UW vs NE
A year ago this was looking like a real good one to watch. Right now it’s a survival game of relevance for the badgers. After this one is over the badgers may only be looking at how much they have improved with Stave under center for positives.

zacman83 on 9/27/2012 @ 12:20pm EDT Said:

Am I the only one thinking Indiana will knock off NW? And I tend to think the home ‘dog I’s (Iowa & Illinois) will give Minnesota and Penn St, respectively, some major problems. Especially look for the Illini defense to bottle up the Nittany Lions’ “attack.”

zacman83 on 9/27/2012 @ 12:24pm EDT Said:

And I pegged the Buckeyes to drop this game in East Lansing since the summer…but now, I just see the MSU offense is several steps behind where they were last year when they only scored 10 against a sub-par OSU defense. The Spartans know how to stop a running QB like Braxton Miller, but the Bucks have their stable of RB’s healthy at last. So look for Bell to get his 150 yards or so for MSU, but the Hyde/Hall combo to get 200 for the Buckeyes, who squeak out a 20-10 win.

Halo on 9/27/2012 @ 12:59pm EDT Said:

A couple of people on here have stated they think Iowa can “upset” the Gophers or the Iown are ‘dogs at home. I believe the spread has Iowa as almost a TD favorite. That isn’t under dog status. That being said there is no way they are going to win (but they are favored).

Doug on 9/27/2012 @ 1:09pm EDT Said:

MSU’s D is allowing less then 100 yards every game rushing wise, yet OSU is gonna get 200 yard rushing? Ummm nope. Look for MSU’s passing game to find itself against OSU’s weak secondary. MSU wins 20-10

Tom Osborne on 9/27/2012 @ 9:47pm EDT Said:

I think the Husker/Badger game will be interesting. Huskers 49 Badgers 12

Rod on 9/28/2012 @ 9:05am EDT Said:

We will find out a lot about Minnesota this week. Iowa has a talented roster, well-coached, and always tough at Kinnick. If the Golphers can beat the Hawks in Iowa City, then they are a legitimate contender for the B1G title game.

Doug on 9/28/2012 @ 11:15am EDT Said:

Let’s not get crazy Rod. CMU and ISU both won at Kinnick, and Iowa needed a mini miracle to beat NIU. MInny is better but not better than MSU, Mic, NEb, and probably even NW

T. E. Long on 9/30/2012 @ 9:59pm EDT Said:

Nebraska beat the Badgers, to be sure, but it was far from blow out. (Good grief…The Husker defensive coordinator even came strutting out on the field after his team’s final stop…you would have thought his team had just beaten Alabama in the National Championship game!)

Get used to it, Wisconsin is never an easy opponent….Can’t wait for you Huskers to come back to Camp Randall in three years when WE”LL have the experienced quarterback and a more “normal” offensive line).