College Football, Week 11: Previewing Notre Dame, NU, Illinois
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Steve Greenberg breaks down this weekend’s local college football games.
INDIANA AT ILLINOIS
- The facts: 11 a.m., BTN, 670-AM.
- The records: Indiana 3-6, 0-6 Big Ten; Illinois 2-7, 0-6 Big Ten.
- The storyline: These are the only winless teams in Big Ten play, but they don’t seem to be equals. Unlike the Illini, the Hoosiers have an offense. IU’s defense has been one of the league’s best at snuffing out plays behind the line of scrimmage. For the young Illini, on the other hand, every moment of every game has been an epic struggle. Isn’t it time for the Hoosiers to get off the schneid?
- The line: Hoosiers by 9.
- Greenberg’s pick: Indiana, 28-20.
PURDUE AT NO. 25 NORTHWESTERN
- The facts: 6 p.m., ESPN2, 720-AM.
- The records: Purdue 4-5, 2-4 Big Ten; Northwestern 6-3, 4-2 Big Ten.
- The storyline: Overtime, anyone? It would be the fourth game in a row for the Wildcats. They’ve won three consecutive games in OT, so it’s not like it would scare them, but one would hope they’re too good not to finish off the Boilermakers in regulation. The more trips to the red zone, the better; NU is one of the top teams in the country at converting those chances into points. For an offense that sometimes struggles to move the ball, that efficiency is a huge deal.
- The line: Wildcats by 4½.
- Greenberg’s pick: Northwestern, 27-17.
NO. 3 NOTRE DAME AT NO. 7 MIAMI
- The facts: 7 p.m., Ch. 7, 1000-AM.
- The records: Notre Dame 8-1; Miami 8-0, 6-0 ACC.
- The storyline: A generation ago, this was a heated, bitter rivalry. They stopped playing after the 1990 game, which was the last time the Irish and Hurricanes met with both teams ranked in the top 10. It’s so nice to have them back. The winner will be in prime playoff position, but you knew that already. Miami doesn’t have a long list of household names like it used to, but Mark Richt has himself a tough-minded, opportunistic team.
- The line: Irish by 3.
- Greenberg’s pick: Notre Dame, 30-21.