Top 5 Big Ten Week 4 Games and Predictions

Week 4 kicks off Big Ten conference play for various teams. Some of these matchups have a lot on the line for a matchup this early in the season. Whether it’s high expectations of winning the conference or teams looking to work things out, there’s no shortage of intrigue this week.

As always, there are some games that don’t move the needle very much. Illinois Fighting Illini hosts Chattanooga, Northwestern hosts Miami (Ohio), Penn State takes on the Central Michigan Chippewas and Purdue hosts Florida Atlantic University all leave something to be desired.

The other matchups also get a lot of national coverage with the Big Ten getting airtime on FOX, FS1, ESPN and ABC. Let’s dive into five of this week’s most intriguing Big Ten matchups with a prediction of what’s to come.

Indiana (3-0) at Cincinnati (2-1)

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The intrigue in this matchup is that Indiana remains undefeated and already surpasses their win total from last year, when they went 2-10. A win against upstart Illinois and an overtime win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers has the Hoosiers playing with confidence.

Is that confidence enough to go on the road and beat the heavy favorites, the beloved Cincinnati Bearcats of the Group of Five? No. It won’t be enough.

Prediction: Cincinnati 30, Indiana 21. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell cuts another Power 5 team before finally making the jump to a bigger program.

Iowa (2-1) at Rutgers (3-0)

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Can the Iowa Hawkeyes get more juice out of their offense? That is the biggest question mark in this game. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have a giant question mark at quarterback in an offense that doesn’t score much as it is. Add to that having to face the Hawkeyes defense allowing 2.92 yards per play, 4.3 points per game and allowing only one touchdown this season, and they’ll be struggling uphill.

The Hawkeyes offense won’t need much performance to score enough in this game as the defense will continue to do its thing and stay strong.

Prediction: Iowa 24, Rutgers 7. The Hawkeyes add at least one defensive or special teams touchdown.

Minnesota (3-0) at Michigan State (2-1)

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How good are each of the teams in this matchup? That may be the biggest thing this matchup answers for us. Minnesota hasn’t lost yet, but a roster from the state of New Mexico, western Illinois and Colorado hasn’t exactly tested the Golden Gophers.

Michigan State last lost to Washington last weekend in a hostile environment, but can likely rely on the experience of a big matchup. Michigan State at home in this being Minnesota’s first test of the season can tell you a lot.

Prediction: Michigan State 28, Minnesota 21. A game in which the Spartans run the ball well and Minnesota is reminded that they must play a real team before the Big Ten begins.

Marlyand (3-0) at No. 4 Michigan (3-0)

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Michigan’s slate of Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn has done little to test the Wolverines as they enter the Big Ten game. The Wolverines haven’t had much of an effort and there’s a chance this could lead to a bit of sleepwalking early in this matchup.

Maryland is coming off a win against SMU. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has been playing well and may be the first threat to face Michigan’s defense.

Prediction: Michigan 35, Maryland 24. A game that feels much, much closer in the middle until the Wolverines pull away in the second half.

Wisconsin (2-1) at No. 3 Ohio State (3-0)

Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK

Wisconsin had a much-needed correct game after its stumble against Washington State. They did exactly what they had to do in a 66-7 blowout of New Mexico State. With that said, the Buckeyes are a different beast altogether.

The Ohio State Buckeyes seem to get better as the season goes on. Their offense is finding its full potential behind Heisman-candidate quarterback CJ Stroud. With Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba at receiver, and TreVeyon Henderson at running back, the Buckeyes have a full stable to attack in multiple ways.

Prediction: Ohio State 49, Wisconsin 21. A game that serves as a benchmark for the rest of the Big Ten catching up with the Buckeyes.

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