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The competition for the Big Ten CGofW was fierce this weekend and that's why we have three "Chiller" games for Week 9 of the season.
We have one game that features two teams with a combined record of 13-3 and two games where the combined records of the four teams are 20-8.
The 13-3 match is not Ohio State versus Wisconsin. It is Illinois (6-2) visiting Happy Valley to play Penn State (7-1)
Nittany Lions running back Silas Redd (pictured) provides the best indication of how his team's offense has improved during the season. Redd has rushed for over 100 yards per game in October and had a career-high 192 yards in last week's win over Northwestern.
The Fighting Illini offense has gone in the opposite direction. After appearing to be explosive in the early weeks of the 2011 season, the offense has sputtered in the last two weeks. Nathan Scheelhaase is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the Big Ten, but he faces a tougher defense this week than he faced last week.
Penn State 20, Illinois 17
Wisconsin, No. 15 in the nation, travels to the "Horseshoe" in Columbus to face the unrated Ohio State Buckeyes. It is a Leaders Division confrontation that both teams need to win to keep pace with Penn State.
The Badgers (6-1) are No. 5 in scoring offense in the nation, but they had to come on late to tie MSU 31-31 before losing in the game's final play. Ohio State's offense, not surprisingly, got noticeably better with the return of running back Daniel Herron.
The two defenses seem evenly matched. Ohio State (4-3) is No. 12 nationally in fewest points allowed and Wisconsin No. 9 in total defense. This one is a tough call, but I cannot see the Badgers losing two games in a row.
Wisconsin 34, Ohio State 27
Purdue (4-3) heads for "The Big House" to face the 6-1 Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan may be No. 18 in the polls, but they had a rough time against Michigan State two weeks ago. Their explosive offense imploded against the Spartans as Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson was held to 165 yards in total offense.
Michigan should be concerned, because Purdue's offense and defense have gotten progressively better in the last two weeks. Caleb TerBush is getting comfortable at quarterback and led a balanced offensive attack in the Boilermakers' win over Illinois last Saturday.
Purdue has occasionally been called the "Spoilermakers," but I don't see them beating Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Michigan 27, Purdue 20