Big Ten predictions: Week 9

Bucky Badger got me again.

For the second straight week, I picked against Wisconsin. And for the second straight week, I fell short of a perfect record.

My apologies to Bret Bielema and his crew. Don't worry, my faith has been restored, and it will show up in the November predictions.

At least Wisconsin won't get me this week, as the Badgers get a well-deserved bye.

Here's how I see things shaking out Saturday:

Illinois 30, Purdue 13: Vic Koenning's Fighting Illini defense is performing at an extremely high level, and the Purdue offense might be without starting quarterback Rob Henry, a game-time decision because of a laceration on his throwing hand. Not a good combination for the Boilers, who will have a hard time putting up points. The big key is whether Purdue's defense can rebound after getting steamrolled in Columbus. If not, this one will get ugly.

Northwestern 34, Indiana 33: I went back and forth all week on this game. Neither defense is very good, and both quarterbacks are capable of putting up huge numbers. The recent series is filled with close games, and we'll see another at Memorial Stadium. Expect big days for Dan Persa and Ben Chappell, as well as their top targets Jeremy Ebert and Tandon Doss. It could go either way, but I'm going with a Northwestern team that plays well on the road under Pat Fitzgerald.

Iowa 27, Michigan State 24: The Spartans have that magic quality Iowa possessed in 2009, and Mark Dantonio's squad is more than capable of beating the Hawkeyes on Saturday. But Iowa knows it can't afford another loss, and the Hawkeyes match up well in several areas, namely the defensive line versus Michigan State's run game and the downfield passing game versus Michigan State's secondary. Ricky Stanzi stretches the field for two long touchdown passes and Iowa generates enough pressure on Kirk Cousins to secure a must-win game.

Ohio State 41, Minnesota 14: Jim Tressel's squad hasn't been great on the road this season, but the trend ends Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota's defense can't stop anyone, and Ohio State will light up the Gophers secondary with Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey. Adam Weber tests the Buckeyes' banged-up secondary and fires two touchdown passes, but Ohio State pulls away before halftime and never looks back.

Michigan 31, Penn State 27: This is my prediction of the week. Check back this afternoon for a video post that explains my selection in greater detail.

Bye: Wisconsin

Last week: 4-1

Season record: 53-9 (.855)