Big Ten prediction: Illinois-Fresno State

The Pig and the Bucket got me.

While players from Minnesota and Indiana raised rivalry trophies Saturday afternoon, my record took a dive. A 3-2 week simply isn't good enough, although my decision to switch the Michigan State-Penn State prediction paid off as the Spartans came through.

There's only one Big Ten game on the slate this week, so I had better get it right.

Illinois 34, Fresno State 28: Pat Hill doesn't have his best team this season, and the Bulldogs have dropped home games to both Nevada and Hawaii. Still, it's never easy to travel West and win, and Fresno can be a very tough place to play. Illinois knows it's going bowling, and I think a rested Illini team comes off of the open week loose and fresh and continues to build on the momentum it generated from the Wrigley Field game. No one has slowed down Illini running back Mikel Leshoure in recent weeks, and Fresno State struggled to stop him last season. The teams trade touchdowns for a while before Illinois pulls away behind Leshoure and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who combine for four rushing touchdowns. Illinois secures a winning season and possibly moves up in the Big Ten bowl pecking order.

Last week: 3-2

Season record: 71-16 (.816)