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The Most Interesting Big Ten Football Games Of Week 5 Involve Maryland, Indiana And Illinois

Yes, really!

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Before you look at that schedule to prove me wrong, I’d like you to chew on the following statement.

Maryland, Indiana and Illinois have realistic paths to 4-1 this weekend.

It’s true. The first two are overwhelmingly likelier than the third, but these are the most interesting games of the weekend.

Don’t believe me? Then you’re surely not a Minnesota fan, who would swear off the internet forever if they heard that someone said Jeff Brohm’s Boilermakers could beat the Goofs. You’re certainly not a Michigan fan, who can’t possibly think a rematch of a 39-point blowout where your offense got better and theirs got worse will be worth sweating. There’s a 41 point line in conference play this week thanks to Ohio State and Rutgers. We’d have a lot to reevaluate if Penn State lost to Northwestern.

That leaves us with the high flying Maryland passing attack against a Michigan State defense that got diced up by Tanner Morgan, a contest where the Hoosiers will be motivated by disrespect from the departed Scott Frost to take down a reeling Nebraska, and a surging Illini defense taking on one of the more lackluster Wisconsin offenses in recent memory.

Don’t kid yourself. You’re not watching Iowa.

The last time Illinois and Indiana both started 4-1 or better was 2007.

For Illinois and Maryland, it’s 2001. Both finished the season as outright conference champions. The time before that? 1983. Both conference champions.

The last time Indiana and Maryland started a season 4-1 or better also happened to coincide with such a season for Illinois: the historic 1910 season. This is the only time that ever happened.