Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, June 2, 2016
Week 6 is highlighted by the battle for iconic Floyd of Rosedale between Iowa and Minnesota. There also is an interesting non-league game, with BYU playing at Michigan State.
IU takes on Ohio State in what has been one of the most lopsided series in the nation. Indiana went 2-1-1 vs. the Buckeyes from 1987-90, including a victory in Columbus in 1987. Since then, the Hoosiers have lost 21 in a row to the Buckeyes. But last year, IU threw a major scare into Ohio State, which had to battle for its life to escape Bloomington with a 34-27 win as the No. 1 team in the nation.
BYU and Michigan State never have met. The Cougars lost at Michigan last year and won on a Hail Mary at Nebraska.
Maryland is at Penn State in a growing rivalry in the Big Ten East. Who can forget the 2014 game, when the Terps captains refused to shake hands with the Nittany Lions captains at the coin toss, got penalized and went on to beat Penn State, 20-19, in Beaver Stadium to end a 29-game winless streak against the Nittany Lions? Penn State is 36-2-1 vs. Maryland. The Nittany Lions won last year in Baltimore, 31-30. This is a big battle to help establish a strong recruiting presence along the Eastern seaboard.
If Purdue wants to move up the pecking order in the Big Ten West, it needs to start beating Illinois. The Illini are retooling under Lovie Smith. Purdue got embarrassed last year in falling 48-14 at home to the Illini, which ran for 382 yards and gained 595 overall. It may have been the low point in yet another dreary season in West Lafayette. Illinois has won two of the last three meetings but has lost the last two at home to Purdue.
Rutgers and Michigan have split their two meetings. The Wolverines won last year, 49-16, in Ann Arbor; the Scarlet Knights won, 26-24, in Piscataway in 2014.
Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin are off.
So far, I've looked at the first five weeks of the season. Go back and review them below:
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Now, here is my look at the Best of Week 6.
Game of the week: Iowa at Minnesota. If the Gophers want to contend in what looks like an open Big Ten West, they probably will need to beat visiting Iowa in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. The Hawkeyes have won three of the last four meetings, but the Gophers won the last time Iowa visited them in 2014. The week before this tilt, Minnesota plays at Penn State, so the Gophers may be a bit worn down.
Best quarterback matchup: BYU?s Taysom Hill is back after last year ended in injury, the third time in his career that has happened. He has been considered a Heisman contender in years past before getting hurt. Hill is a deadly runner/passer when he's a full go. Tyler O?Connor is the favorite to take over for Connor Cook at Michigan State. And he showed his ability in leading the Spartans to victory at Ohio State last year.
Best head coach matchup: Kevin Wilson has Indiana on the rise, taking the Hoosiers to their first bowl since 2007 last year. Now, he?s trying to guide IU to consecutive bowls for the first time since 1990-91. He will face Urban Meyer, a living legend with three national titles to his credit. The guy is 50-4 overall and 31-1 at Ohio State. Enough said. These two coaches do a terrific job in vastly different circumstances.
Best coordinator matchup: It will be fun to watch a battle between young and old when 60-year-old Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown takes on Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer, who is just 28. Mehringer brings an up-tempo, fast attack to Rutgers after learning under Houston coach Tom Herman. Each is new to their job, as Brown was hired from Boston College to replace D.J. Durkin and Mehringer is part of the new staff at Rutgers under Chris Ash.
Upset alert: Iowa should be favored when it plays at Minnesota. But this is the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. Anything can happen in the clash for the prized pig. The Hawkeyes have won three of the last four but lost the last time they visited Minneapolis in 2014. In fact, Iowa is 1-3 in its last four trips to Minneapolis.
Ranking the games of Week 6
1. Iowa at Minnesota
2. BYU at Michigan State
3. Maryland at Penn State
4. Purdue at Illinois
5. Michigan at Rutgers
6. Indiana at Ohio State
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