It's becoming a trend.
I have finished one win shy of perfection in each of the last two weeks. Making matters worse, I've whiffed on the final game for three consecutive Saturdays (Ohio State-Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Iowa, Michigan-Penn State). That could mean bad news for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions this week (see below).
Bottom line: I'm due for 5-0 ... or 2-3.
Let's get picky.
Iowa 31, Indiana 13: I'm a little concerned about running back Adam Robinson's health after the Michigan State game, so Iowa will take to the air against an Indiana team that has allowed 17 passing touchdowns, tied with Minnesota for most in the Big Ten. Ricky Stanzi isn't the same quarterback who threw five interceptions in last year's game, and he'll boost his Heisman Trophy candidacy with three touchdown passes in Bloomington, two to Marvin McNutt.
Illinois 35, Michigan 21: Anyone else stunned that Michigan is favored in this game? These teams are headed in opposite directions, and it will show up on the field Saturday. Illinois' speedy and athletic defense contains Denard Robinson, while Illini freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has another big day against a decimated Wolverines' secondary. Illinois gets bowl eligible as the heat continues to rise for the Michigan coaches.
Michigan State 38, Minnesota 10: The Spartans revive their run game against the Big Ten's worst rushing defense, as Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell both break off touchdown runs of 50 yards or longer. Quarterback Kirk Cousins also bounces back with two touchdown passes and no interceptions as Michigan State gets back on the winning track heading into the bye week.
Wisconsin 37, Purdue 9: It wouldn't shock me if Wisconsin comes out a little rusty after the open week, but the Badgers' offense simply is too powerful for a Purdue defense that seems to be regressing. Star defensive ends Ryan Kerrigan and J.J. Watt both record sacks, but the Badgers pull away in the second quarter behind running backs John Clay and Montee Ball.
Penn State 23, Northwestern 21: This is my prediction of the week. Check back later for a video post that explains the selection in greater detail.
Bye: Ohio State
Last week: 4-1
Season record: 57-10 (.851)