Last week ATS: 9-4 (5-2 National, 4-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 83-72-4 (38-31-3 National, 45-41-1 B1G)
Miss yesterday’s picks for national games like TCU-Oklahoma, Texas A&M-Georgia, and Oregon-Arizona State? No worries, you can find them right here.
No. 10 Minnesota (-14) v. Northwestern – 12:00 PM EST – ABC
It was a fun ride while it lasted. Last week Minnesota’s boat sprung a leak in the 23-19 loss to Iowa. The Golden Gophers not only lost their first game of the year, but quarterback Tanner Morgan suffered a concussion in the loss to the Hawkeyes. It is unclear if Morgan will play this week, but I wouldn’t blame P.J. Fleck if he held the quarterback out this week to make sure he is ready to go for next week’s showdown with Wisconsin.
Northwestern actually scored real football points last week. They didn’t actually score them against a real opponent since UMass is hot garbage, but I’m sure Pat Fitzgerald is feeling really good about himself after the Wildcats mashed one of the worst FBS teams out there. Freshman running back Evan Hull did most of the work last week for the Wildcats, rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns.
I’m going to bank on last week’s games being an anomaly for both teams. Minnesota won’t struggle as much this week as they did against the Hawkeyes, while Northwestern will revert back to their losing ways. Even if Morgan doesn’t play, I think the Golden Gophers have more than enough in the running game and with their defense to make it a long day for the Wildcats.
Minnesota 33, Northwestern 14
Illinois v. No. 17 Iowa (-15) – 12:00 PM EST – Big Ten Network
Illinois is already bowl eligible this season, so any wins the rest of the way is just icing on the cake for Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini. Illinois is coming into this game on a four-game winning streak, with their last win being an epic comeback against Michigan State. The Fighting Illini were able to rest up a bit for this week’s trip to Iowa City since they didn’t play last week.
Iowa really could be in the thick of the Big Ten West race, but they lost to Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin by a combined 14 points. Last week the Hawkeyes ruined Minnesota’s dreams of a perfect season with a 23-19 win over the Golden Gophers. Nate Stanley was steady at quarterback, while the Iowa defense did a lot of the heavy lifting in the victory.
It’s hard to see Illinois having much success running the football against the Hawkeyes, which will allow Iowa to tee off on quarterback Brandon Peters. What the Fighting Illini have done this year has been impressive, but I don’t think they are quite ready to go into Iowa City and give the Hawkeyes a game.
Iowa 34, Illinois 17
Michigan State (-21) v. Rutgers – 12:00 PM EST – FS1
Michigan State is bad, but this feels like one of those games where a bad team overwhelms an even worse team. The Spartans haven’t taken the field since blowing a big fourth quarter lead against Illinois a couple weeks ago. I think Michigan State takes out some frustrations on a Rutgers team that is flying high after covering against Ohio State last week. It’s going to be a long day for Rutgers quarterback Johnny Langan against the talented Michigan State defensive line.
Michigan State 38, Rutgers 10
No. 13 Michigan (-9.5) v. Indiana – 3:30 PM EST – ESPN
Who would’ve thought that a late November matchup between Michigan and Indiana would be so important. While neither team is going to make the Big Ten Championship Game, a win by the Hoosiers would give the Hoosiers the same record as the Wolverines. It’s even more hilarious when you think of all the Michigan fans who thought the Wolverines were a playoff contender coming into this season, and by the end of it they wouldn’t even be able to top Indiana in the Big Ten standings.
Indiana is coming off a tough loss to Penn State, but it was good to see the Hoosiers be competitive on the road against a highly ranked team. The Hoosiers might be without wide receiver Whop Philyor, who is questionable for Saturday’s game after suffering a concussion against the Nittany Lions. Even if Philyor doesn’t play, quarterback Peyton Ramsey has shown he can move the football against tough defenses.
The easy pick would be Michigan here, but I think the Wolverines have a tough time in Bloomington. Even though the Hoosiers are a little banged up, I think Indiana can stay in this game. The Wolverines might be looking ahead to next week’s game against Ohio State, which will keep the score within a touchdown here.
Michigan 31, Indiana 24
Nebraska (-5) v. Maryland – 3:30 PM EST – Big Ten Network
Nebraska has a lot of work to do if they want to become bowl eligible this year. Not only do the Cornhuskers need to win this week against Maryland, but then they need to find a way to beat Iowa next week. Taylor Martinez and company are good enough to take care of this week’s game against a Maryland team that has lost six of seven games, with the latest being a 73-14 pasting by Ohio State in Columbus.
Nebraska 34, Maryland 20
Purdue v. No. 12 Wisconsin (-24.5) – 4:00 PM EST – FOX
This is going to get real ugly in Madison on Saturday. Purdue is down to their third-string quarterback, and are still without Rondale Moore. I just don’t see how the Boilermakers are going to be able to generate the offense needed to stay within shouting distance of the Badgers.
Wisconsin has a lot to play for in this game, even if they are only playing Purdue. If the Badgers win they control their own destiny next week when it comes to the Big Ten Championship Game. Jonathan Taylor has rushed for over 200 yards in the last two games, and I see no reason why he can’t reach that number against a shaky Purdue defense. The Badgers score early and often on Saturday.
Wisconsin 45, Purdue 14
No. 8 Penn State v. No. 2 Ohio State (-19) – 12:00 PM EST – FOX
Ohio State didn’t really catch a break for the schedule makers this year. Before turning their attention to Michigan next week, the Buckeyes have to deal with a Penn State team who has played them tougher than anyone over the last few years. The last three meetings between the schools have been decided by five points, with the Buckeyes needing fourth quarter comebacks to secure one-point wins over the Nittany Lions the last two years.
I bet Sean Clifford is trying to make up some loans that Chase Young took out so the NCAA will keep the junior defensive end off the field for at least another week. Young has missed the last two games due to suspension, but he’ll be back on Saturday. Last time we saw Young all he did was register four sacks against Wisconsin, bringing his season total to 13.5 sacks.
Justin Fields continues his outstanding play in his first year with the Buckeyes. The transfer from Georgia threw four touchdowns last week and set a career high with 305 yards passing in just over a half of work against Rutgers. Wide receiver Chris Olave has been great this year, but expect Fields to target wide receiver K.J. Hill a lot. Hill will be playing in his final game at Ohio Stadium, and he needs 10 receptions to pass David Boston for most in a career in school history.
Even though I have faith the Buckeyes will stay undefeated on Saturday, this number is a little too big for my liking. The weather isn’t going to be great, which could keep the scoring a little lower. I don’t think Penn State is quite as talented this year as the past few years, but they still have a lot of good players who could give Ohio State trouble for a bit. This feels like a game Ohio State wins by 14-17 points.
Ohio State 37, Penn State 21
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