Big Ten Football 2012
Big Ten Football Preview - Week 6
Week 6 Big Ten Football Schedule:
Northwestern at Penn State
Illinois at Wisconsin
Michigan State at Indiana
Michigan at Purdue
Nebraska at Ohio State
Week six of the Big Ten season offers four matchups worth following. In a balanced league filled with parity, almost every game on the slate promises an intriguing storyline of some sort.
Let's start with the tilt between preseason league favorite Michigan and preseason darkhorse Purdue. You're likely to get a wide range of opinions on this game. Some will say that Purdue is the favorite in the Big Ten Leaders Division, not Wisconsin, while others will chime in with the contrary view that the Boilermakers are not the kind of team that will be able to deliver the goods in the fourth quarter with first place hanging in the balance. The Wolverines' apologists will contend that Michigan is going to thrive now that Big Ten play has arrived, but the skeptics will respond by arguing, with some degree of merit, that the Wolverines are just not that good this year. Denard Robinson, the beleaguered quarterback who has regressed for Michigan in 2012, needs to answer the call if the Wolverines are to regain momentum and belief this season.
The next game on the docket is one that could be a blowout, but will still be interesting because of the possibility that these two underachievers in 2012 might create a series of unexpected events when they meet in Madison, Wis. The Illinois Fighting Illini were crushed at home by 28 points in consecutive weeks by Louisiana Tech and then Penn State, showing how much the program has stagnated in the first season under the guidance of head coach Tim Beckman. Illinois is an absolute mess right now, and that's why a Wisconsin team that blew a 17-point lead at Nebraska last week is still seen as the team with the upper hand in this matchup. The Badgers have been subpar in just about every aspect of competition this season, but at home against Illinois, they'll still hold most of the cards.
When Nebraska takes on Ohio State in Columbus, the Cornhuskers will need to start stronger than they did against Wisconsin… and against Ohio State last season. Nebraska overcame a 27-6 second-half deficit against the Buckeyes in 2011, authoring the biggest comeback win in the history of the program. Ohio State will be out for revenge, and that subplot will make this contest particularly entertaining.
Finally, Northwestern brings its 5-0 record to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State. Everyone's wondering if Northwestern is a paper tiger despite its unblemished record. If the Wildcats can fend off the Nittany Lions, they'll gain a measure of added respect. If not, they'll be ripped by the national community of pundits and commentators.
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