This week’s national slate isn’t the greatest, but if you missed this week’s pick you can find them here.
Last week ATS: 3-7-1 (2-2-1 National , 1-5 B1G)
Season ATS: 37-45-3 (15-19-1 National, 22-26-2 B1G)
Minnesota v. Maryland (-6.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNU
Does anybody want to play quarterback in this one? We already know Mitch Leidner won’t be suiting up due to a concussion, while Perry Hills has been dealing with a shoulder injury. After injuring his shoulder against Central Florida earlier in the year, and re-injuring it last week, it sounds like Hills will play, but nobody knows how effective he will be.
Minnesota may have lost their last two games, but at least they have shown some fight while doing so, losing those games by a combined 10 points. Even with former walk-on Conor Rhoda at quarterback instead of Leidner, I still like Minnesota’s chances on moving the ball on a Maryland offense that just gave up nearly 400 yards on the ground to Penn State. This just feels like too many points in a game that I think will come down to the wire.
Maryland 27, Minnesota 24
Iowa (-12.5) v. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Purdue can win on the road in the Big Ten? What kind of world are we living in? Well that’s exactly what happened last week when the Boilermakers downed Illinois in overtime. I wouldn’t get too cozy with the idea of Purdue starting some kind of win streak though, since they’ll be welcoming Iowa to West Lafayette.
The Hawkeyes have won eight straight road games, and should make it nine in a row on Saturday. The question is will they be able to cover the number? Even though Iowa has been winning on the road, it has been pretty of late, as their two most recent wins have come by the same 14-7 scoreline.
The Hawkeyes have been awful against the run this year, but I’m not sure if the Boilermakers will be able to exploit that. I am looking for reasons to take Purdue here, but even though Iowa hasn’t looked very sharp of late, I still think they are at least two touchdowns better than Purdue.
Iowa 34, Purdue 17
Illinois (-6) v. Rutgers - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNews
No, just no. Do anything besides watch this game. Nothing good will come of it.
Illinois 17, Rutgers 7
No. 10 Nebraska (-3.5) v. Indiana - 3:30 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
Is Nebraska back? Alright, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but the Cornhuskers have a shot to start 6-0 for the first time since 2001. The problem for Nebraska heading into this week is it feels like everybody is injured. Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp, tight end Cethan Carter, and running back Devine Ozigbo are all expected to miss Saturday’s game, while Tommy Armstrong Jr. is dealing with an ankle injury.
Even though they lost by 21 points, Indiana still raised some eyebrows with their performance against Ohio State. The Hoosiers gave the Buckeyes all they could handle, and now they return home where they’ll look to win their second game over a ranked team in three weeks. Richard Lagow has played well at quarterback for the Hoosiers, but he is still turnover prone, and I could see Nebraska grabbing a couple passes.
Indiana might be the trendy pick in this one because of how they’ve performed in the last couple weeks, but you have to wonder how much is left in the tank after tough games against Michigan State and Ohio State. Even though they’re dealing with injuries, Nebraska did have last week off so they’ll come into this game somewhat fresh. Can’t say I’m the biggest fan of siding with a ranked road favorite against an unranked team, but I’ll take my chances.
Nebraska 30, Indiana 23
Northwestern v. Michigan State (-5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Honestly though, what happened to Michigan State? I knew they might regress a bit due to some of their players graduating, but I don’t know if many people thought it’d be this bad. The Spartans have just been awful to watch the last few weeks. Even worse, it sounds like it might be musical quarterbacks in East Lansing, as Tyler O’Connor will start but who knows when Mark Dantonio will bring in Damion Terry.
Northwestern looked pretty good against Iowa a few weeks ago, but of course they’ll probably fall on their face now after having a bye last week. It probably won’t be that bad, but it seems like a good rule that whenever you are thinking a Northwestern game will go one way, the total opposite will end up happening. It’s scary that I trust Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson more than anything that Michigan State will trot out there on Saturday.
Even if Michigan State does end their three-game losing streak, I’m not comfortable enough with seeing them win by more than five. If anything this feels like it’ll be a game that comes down to the end and is decided by a field goal. Give me Northwestern in this one to add on to Sparty’s woes.
Northwestern 23, Michigan State 20
No. 2 Ohio State (-10) v. No. 8 Wisconsin - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
It seems like every trip to Madison for Ohio State sees the Buckeyes ranked high in the polls with everything to lose. Saturday’s showdown is no different. The Buckeyes are coming off their worst performance of the season, but they still won by 21 points. If this doesn’t tell you that this team has the possibility to be special I don’t know what will.
At this point of the season not a lot of people expected Wisconsin to be where they are right now. I know I certainly did. This will be the fourth top 10 team that the Badgers have played this year, and they might have won all three of the previous games if they had anything resembling a quarterback. I’m probably being a little hard on Alex Hornibrook, but if his performance against Michigan is anything like how he plays on Saturday night, Wisconsin could be in trouble. Unlike the Wolverines, the Buckeyes likely won’t waste opportunities like Michigan did.
Last week marked the first time since Ohio State lost to Michigan State last year that the Buckeyes didn’t put up 40 points and 400 yards in a game. While against this strong Wisconsin defense I don’t think they’ll score 40, I do think their offense will look better than last week. Mike Weber has been great so far this year, and even though I think he could struggle against the Wisconsin rush defense, just his presence will open up the passing game for J.T. Barrett, who I expect to look better throwing the ball than he did against Indiana.
Wisconsin will give Ohio State quite a test on Saturday night, but I think turnovers and special teams will be the difference here. Cameron Johnston will be able to flip the field position and pin the Badgers back in their own territory, and the defense will bring the pressure to force Hornibrook into some turnovers. It may not look pretty in the first half, but eventually the Buckeyes wear the Badgers down and end up winning by two touchdowns.
Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 17