Vegas Big Ten Predictions Week 14: Minnesota-Wisconsin, Michigan-OSU and Mor

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Nov 22, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA;Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Zack Oliver (10) passes the football with protection from offensive lineman Matt Frazier (57) and offensive lineman Paul Jorgensen (78) in the 2nd half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. Northwestern won the game 38-14.Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Fighting Illini at Northwestern Wildcats

Line: Northwestern by 8

Saturday Blitz Vegas Big Ten Prediction: Northwestern Wins 26-20

This is a huge Big Ten showdown to determine who makes it to a bowl game this year and which team was once again a disappointment. The Northwestern Wildcats are just on some kind of roll, though, so we aren’t going to bet against that.

And at home, the Wildcats should have no trouble pulling out the victory against Illinois. Sure, Illinois beat Penn State, but Northwestern blew the Nittany Lions out. Pat Fitzgerald is better at handling games of this magnitude, and Illinois can’t win too many games that are defensive struggles the way they did last week.

The Fighting Illini have a decent quarterback in Wes Lunt, but he’s battled injuries all year. They have no defense, and Northwestern’s below-average offense will be able to move the ball pretty well on them. Tim Beckman may have saved his job by keeping his football program’s postseason hopes alive after last week’s upset over Penn State.

Unfortunately, that has to come crashing down, and it’s going to come down on Saturday as the Wildcats eliminate the Fighting Illini from bowl contention. Northwestern wins a close one.

Next: Purdue-Indiana Prediction