Although it's only the middle of October, the amount of winter coats and stocking caps already in use makes it seem like it's a month later.
With temperatures in the low to mid-40s all around the Midwest, Big Ten football is going to see, and hear, its share of crushing hits and bruising blocks this weekend.
It's hittin' weather!
Although the weather is cold, the action on the field will be anything but. This is a crucial weekend in the Big Ten (at this point in the season, what weekend isn't?), and there will definitely be some fired up squads hitting the turf.
Here are my predictions:
Northwestern (4-2, 1-1) at Michigan State (3-3, 2-1)
After slow starts from both teams, not many people would have guessed that this game would have any significance. However, both Northwestern and Michigan State have pulled it together and though neither has much of a shot at winning the Big Ten, they could still go bowling come December and January.
However, Northwestern still hasn't beaten a good team this year, with their most impressive win coming against Purdue. On the other hand, Michigan State beat Michigan and Illinois the past two weeks and is on a roll. The Spartans should roll.
Michigan State 36, Northwestern 20
Delaware State (1-3, 1-2 MEAC) at Michigan (4-2, 1-2)
It's like Rich Rodriguez knew his Wolverines would need a break at this point in the year. Enter Delaware State.
After starting off the year red hot, Michigan has cooled off a bit in the last couple weeks, losing to Michigan State and Iowa. Luckily, the Wolverines will have a chance to regain their mojo against FCS Delaware State. Don't expect a repeat of Appalachian State.
Michigan 40, Delaware State 10
No. 11 Iowa (6-0, 2-0) at Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1)
If the records are any indication, this should clearly be the game of the week. Add the fact that this is a rivalry game and there's no question.
Iowa is coming off an emotional win under the lights against Michigan and is looking to stay undefeated and in the Big Ten (or maybe national title?) race. Wisconsin is coming off a tough loss at Ohio State and will be hungry for a win in their Homecoming game. Camp Randall is a tough place to play...
Wisconsin 21, Iowa 17
No. 7 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0) at Purdue (1-5, 0-2)
Best team in the Big Ten vs. worst team in the Big Ten. The only thing Purdue has going for it is that the game is at home.
Ohio State, especially its offense, has been a little inconsistent this year, but this still shouldn't be much of a game. This will be good practice for Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeye offense.
Ohio State 32, Purdue 9
Minnesota (4-2, 2-1) at No. 14 Penn State (5-1, 1-1)
This is a huge game for both teams. Both Minnesota and Penn State are still in the hunt for a Big Ten title and this is basically an elimination game. Also, neither team has a big win on their resume, so this game would take care of that as well.
Although Minnesota has shown promise over the past few weeks, I just think Penn State is too powerful. Plus, the game is in Happy Valley.
Penn State 28, Minnesota 21
Illinois (1-4, 0-3) at Indiana (3-3, 0-2)
Although this game has no significance in terms of the Big Ten race, it is an important game for the Hoosiers. After almost beating Michigan, Indiana was clobbered in its last two games, but they still have a shot at a bowl game. If they can pull out a win against the Illini, that is still a possibility.
For Illinois, this is a lost season. This is not the way the Illini wanted to send Juice Williams out. They're just hoping to get their first Big Ten win.
Illinois 31, Indiana 27