- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Northwestern (5-4) at No. 4 Iowa (9-0)
11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa
Radio: WGN-AM 720
What you need to know: Northwestern has won its past two games at Iowa, but this isn't the same Hawkeyes team of 2006 or 2008. Iowa is among the nation's best and is fighting for a higher position in the BCS standings. The Hawkeyes aren't unbeatable though. Six of their games have been decided by 10 or fewer points, and Indiana even had them on the ropes last week. Northwestern will need to put together a full game to pull off the upset. The Wildcats have had a number of quality quarters this season, but not many quality games. Quarterback Mike Kafka is expected to play after being banged up in last Saturday's loss to Penn State. Northwestern needs a win in one of its final three games to be bowl eligible.
Scott Powers' prediction: Iowa 27, Northwestern 17
Illinois (2-6) at Minnesota (5-4)
11 a.m. at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-AM 560
What you need to know: Illinois is coming off its biggest win of the season as the Illini knocked off Michigan 38-13 for their first Big Ten victory. Illinois' offense and defense finally clicked for the first time all season. Running back Mikel LeShoure has put together back-to-back 100-yard games for the Illini. Minnesota also is riding a high after defeating Michigan State 42-34 last week. The Gophers have been an up-and-down team, but have beat the teams they are supposed to this season. On paper, they are supposed to beat Illinois.
Powers' prediction: Minnesota 31, Illinois 20
Southern Illinois (7-1) at South Dakota State (7-1)
1 p.m. at Coughlin Alumni Stadium in Brookings, S.D.
What you need to know:This game will decide who wins the Missouri Valley Football Conference and receives an automatic bid into the FCS playoffs as both teams enter the game with 6-0 conference records. Redshirt freshman Paul McIntosh was able to ease himself into the starting quarterback spot last week in a rout over Indiana State, but he will need to play like a veteran against South Dakota State. Southern Illinois will also need a big game from Deji Karim, who is second among FCS running backs in yards. South Dakota State has allowed more than 17 points only once this season.
Powers' prediction: Southern Illinois 20, South Dakota State 17
Western Illinois (1-7) at Illinois State (4-4)
1 p.m. at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
What you need to know: Illinois State is on a two-game winning streak. Running back Clifton Gordon ran for 122 yards last Saturday to give the Redbirds their first 100-yard rusher this season. Western Illinois has been on the other end of the spectrum. The Leathernecks have lost seven in a row. Their past three losses have been decided by seven or fewer points. Dre Gibbs is averaging more than 100 rushing yards a game, and wide receiver Lito Senatus has 47 receptions for Western Illinois.
Powers' prediction: Illinois State 17, Western Illinois 10
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at email@example.com.