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41 Days to B1G Basketball: Conference Play Enters Full Gear in Week Five of Big Ten Football

Today we take a look at the upcoming football action and predict every game.

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As we enter the fifth season of the college football season, the Big Ten finally has it's first full slate of conference games as 12 of the league's 14 teams will be playing each other today (Penn State faces Army and Rutgers has a much needed bye). Unfortunately, though, there isn't a game at night this week as the Maryland-Michigan game was bumped up to noon thanks to a little hurricane working it's way up the coast.

Ohio State hits the road

Ohio State kicks off their conference slate with a road trip to Bloomington, with the fan base attempting to start a movement to get Gameday to Bloomington. Apparently they liked the idea of bringing out ESPN and a ton of national attention for a game that they're likely going to get blown out in (for what it's worth, head coach Kevin Wilson called the movement "wasted conversation"). I don't know, personally I prefer less attention when my team is projected to loss by a healthy amount of points. The Hoosiers barely won versus FCS foe Southern Illinois (thanks to a botched extra point and dropped two point conversion) and followed that by struggling against Florida International, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest. While Nate Sudfeld can sling it and the Hoosiers have been able to eat up yards on the ground against a schedule of pancakes, the Buckeyes will provide the ultimate test for Indiana. They did hang around with Ohio State last year, implying that maybe they could do it again this year, but unfortunately it feels like Ohio State is about to blow past their "sluggish" start to the season when they struggled getting past Northern Illinois.

Thanks to the opener against Virginia Tech this isn't the first road game for Ohio State, either, and it's hard to see the Indiana defense finding a way to slow down the Ohio State offense enough to hang around today.

Michigan and Maryland face the elements

Jim Harbaugh's first conference game in the Big Ten was supposed to be in prime time, but thanks to Hurricane Joaquin the game was moved up from the night slot and will now take place at noon. While wind is expected to be a factor today, the chance of heavy rain is decisively lesser. Either way, besides the narrative of this being the first Big Ten conference game Harbaugh is coaching, it's an interesting matchup for both programs in general. On one hand you have a Michigan team that wasn't considered to be very good. Of course last weekend they proceeded to knock off BYU in decisive fashion and their only loss, to Utah, now looks considerably better after the Utes destroyed Oregon on the road. As for Maryland, a three touchdown loss to Bowling Green, followed by getting demolished by West Virginia (with a so-so win against USF in between) has led to plenty of chatter about job security for Randy Edsall.

This game will be extremely important for a Terrapin squad that went 2-2 out of conference. Long story short, Maryland follows the Wolverines with Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State before finally getting some relief against Indiana and Rutgers. If Maryland wants to sneak into a bowl game, which currently seems unlikely, a win today is a must. And considering Michigan's not-so-impressive offense, it means Maryland should have a shot if they can avoid turning the ball over like they did last week. Michigan is starting to feel a whole lot better but a loss here would be a setback, even if they'll still have another game before facing rival Michigan State on the 17th.

Time Channel Game Prediction
12:00 ESPNU Army at Penn State Penn State 28 Army 17
ESPN Iowa at Wisconsin Wisconsin 27 Iowa 24
BTN Michigan at Maryland Michigan 17 Maryland 13
BTN Minnesota at Northwestern Minnesota 24 Northwestern 14
ESPN2 Purdue at Michigan State Michigan State 31 Purdue 13
3:30 ABC Ohio State at Indiana Ohio State 41 Indiana 24
4:00 BTN Nebraska at Illinois Nebraska 34 Illinois 17

Last Weekend's Predictions: 13-1
Current Record: 42-10