Week 5 of the 2022 college football season is upon us and the Big Ten is in full swing with a full slate of seven conference matchups. The conference sees highly ranked teams getting their first tests of the season in a few marquee matchups.
Before we get into the fun matchups, there is always the duds of the slate and apologies to these teams, but these games won't be very entertaining. Rutgers going to take on the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes after Iowa handled them is rather unfortunate. Northwestern is in complete disarray this season and their nightmare continues with a trip to Happy Valley to take on a confident No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions team.
These games won't be close and there is a better than not chance they will be a wrap by halftime. Could Rutgers go into Ohio State and shock the world? Can Northwestern make Sean Clifford implode with interceptions? Sure, they can happen, just not likely whatsoever. That said, let's get into the best matchups of the weekend.
Indiana (3-1) at Nebraska (1-3)
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The intrigue in this matchups lies within two teams that are going different directions and could tell a lot about where the programs stand. Nebraska's tough season has been well chronicled, while Indiana is sitting with a surprising 3-1 record.
Nebraska desperately needs to figure out how to turn their program around and Indiana wants to build on what they believe is a strong foundation.
Prediction: Nebraska 31, Indiana 20. Nebraska needs this more than Indiana and starts righting the ship with a much-needed home win.
Michigan State (2-2) and Maryland (3-1)
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Is Maryland good? They hung with Michigan last weekend. Is Michigan State bad? They got dismantled by Minnesota last weekend.
Michigan State is in a big-time regression after their 2021 season, a step back that I have felt was inevitable and not as surprising as others may feel. Maryland looked very strong being within one score of the No. 4 team in the country during the fourth quarter last week.
Prediction: Maryland 35, Michigan State 17. Maryland gets a strong Big Ten win and Michigan State's free fall takes off.
Illinois (3-1) at Wisconsin (2-2)
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Illinois is doing their best impression to become the new Wisconsin. Or, maybe the old Wisconsin since Bret Bielema played a hand in the Badgers becoming a dominant run team during his tenure as their head coach from 2013 to 2017.
This game is going to be on the ground, clock churning nonstop, and traditional Big Ten football.
Prediction: Illinois 21, Wisconsin 17. The Illini shock a lot of people and for the first time in over a decade, the Fighting Illini make some national noise.
Purdue (2-2) at No. 21 Minnesota (4-0)
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Minnesota doesn't just look good, the Golden Gophers look great. Going into Michigan State and handling the Spartans 34-7 is a statement. Right now, Minnesota is the team to beat in the Big Ten West.
Purdue is going full Purdue right now and it is never good to go full Purdue. A team that was viewed as a dark horse contender in the Big Ten before the season started is 2-2 after sneaking by Florida Atlantic. Allowing 116 rushing yards per game already makes this a brutal matchup against Minnesota running for 295 yards per game.
Prediction: Minnesota 38, Purdue 21. Minnesota is going to run the ball a lot on Purdue. The Golden Gophers run for 300-plus yards and march onward to 5-0.
No. 4 Michigan (4-0) at Iowa (3-1)
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Can the Iowa Hawkeyes knock off another top dog inside Kinnick? It is the question talked about all week by Kirk Ferentz and Jim Harbaugh.
The Hawkeyes have found a little life on offense and pairing it with a lights out defense and special teams could give Iowa a fighter's chance if they can force a few turnovers. Michigan fought hard to beat Maryland last weekend and now travels to a hostile environment knowing they're getting Iowa's best shot.
Prediction: Iowa 16, Michigan 13. Iowa's defense is the best that J.J. McCarthy has seen yet and creates two or three turnovers. Special teams and field position decide this game. Kinnick magic continues.
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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire