Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, June 16, 2015
The battle for Floyd of Rosedale is the highlight of this week, as Minnesota takes on Iowa for the iconic bronze pig bauble.
Ohio State and Illinois will play for prized turtle Illibuck. The Buckeyes have won the last seven meetings. In fact, Ohio State hasn?t lost in Champaign since 1991. More OSU dominance: Since losing five in a row to the Fighting Illini from 1988-92, OSU is 16-4 vs. Illinois. And all four defeats have been in Columbus.
Nebraska whipped Rutgers, 42-24, last year in Lincoln. Now, the Cornhuskers will make their first trip to Piscataway, N.J. Nebraska did play ?at? Rutgers in 1920, but it was in New York City, as the Huskers prevailed, 28-0.
Michigan State is 5-1 vs. Maryland, winning 37-15 in College Park last year in their first Big Ten meeting. This will be the Terrapins? first trip to East Lansing since 1950, when Maryland won, 34-7.
Northwestern is 3-1 in its last four games vs. Purdue. But the last time the Boilermakers visited Evanston in 2010, they won.
Since 1968, Indiana has one win vs. Michigan-coming in 1987 in Bloomington. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 54-9.
Wisconsin and Penn State are off.
Game of the week: Minnesota at Iowa in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. This will be the Golden Gophers? first trip to Iowa City since 2012. Minnesota thumped Iowa last year in the Twin Cities, taking a 51-14 decision. The Gophers haven?t won in Kinnick Stadium since 1999, Kirk Ferentz?s first season in Iowa City. In fact, Iowa is 10-4 vs. Minnesota in the last 14 meetings.
Best quarterback matchup: If Illinois? Wes Lunt is playing up to his potential, he could have a good battle with whoever is quarterbacking Ohio State-Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones. Lunt?s 2014 was marred by injury and inconsistency, but he could be primed for a breakout. The Buckeyes have an embarrassment of riches under center. Pick a quarterback, any quarterback. He?ll excel, right?
Best head coach matchup: Let?s go with Kirk Ferentz vs. Jerry Kill. Ferentz is entering his 17th season in Iowa City. His tenure as Iowa's head football coach trails only Hayden Fry, who led the Hawkeyes for 20 seasons (1979-98). Ferentz is tied for third in coaching longevity among BCS schools. Kill guided Minnesota to its first back-to-back eight-win seasons since 2002 (eight wins) and 2003 (10 wins). Since 1906, Minnesota has won eight games in consecutive seasons only five times. The 2013 and 2014 seasons were Minnesota's first consecutive four-win conference seasons since 1999 (5-3) and 2000 (4-4).
Best coordinator matchup: Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley vs. Michigan State defensive coordinators Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel. During Maryland?s debut campaign in the Big Ten in 2014, Locksley coordinated the highest scoring offense for the program in four seasons. The Terps averaged 28.5 points, which is the most since the team averaged 32.2 points in 2010. Barnett and Tressel take over for Pat Narduzzi, who left to take the Pitt job. Barnett coaches the secondary, while Tressel works with the linebackers. Barnett's players have earned All-Big Ten honors 22 times since his arrival as secondary coach at MSU, including seven different first-team selections. The impressive play of the Spartan linebackers under Tressel is one of the main reasons why Michigan State has ranked in the FBS Top 10 in rushing and total defense the past four seasons–the only program in the nation to do so.
Upset alert: Indiana may have a shot to beat Michigan when the Wolverines visit Memorial Stadium. What type of shape will Jim Harbaugh?s team be in at that point of the season? Will the Michigan offense be humming along? Or will it be dysfunctional with no consistent QB play? And IU may be ultra-motivated coming down the stretch if it has a bowl game in its sights. This will be Michigan?s first trip to Indiana since 2010, when the Wolverines escaped with a 42-35 win. IU also played a close one vs. Michigan in 2013, falling 63-47 and allowing the Wolverines to gain a school-record 751 yards.
Ranking Week 11 Games
1. Minnesota at Iowa
2. Nebraska at Rutgers
3. Maryland at Michigan State
4. Michigan at Indiana
5. Purdue at Northwestern
6. Ohio State at Illinois
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|