Miss the national game picks from yesterday? Sadly you already missed one winner. For the other four picks you can find them here.
Last week ATS: 8-3 (3-2 National, 5-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 45-48-3 (18-21-1 National, 27-27-2 B1G)
No. 10 Wisconsin (-4) v. Iowa - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
Wisconsin is currently riding a two-game losing streak, but it's easy to understand why they are ranked 10th in the country when those losses came to Michigan and Ohio State. The Badgers gave the Buckeyes everything they could handle last week, but came up just short. Last week Wisconsin was able to rush for 236 yards against Ohio State, so they could be in for a big day against an Iowa defense that has struggled at times to stop opponents on the ground.
The Hawkeyes had little trouble dispatching Purdue last week, but they fell asleep just a bit in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Boilermakers to close the gap to 14 points. LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley became the first pair of Iowa players since 2008 to rush for 100 yards in the same game. Iowa will find the sledding a little tougher this week, as Wisconsin is allowing opponents just over 100 yards per game on the ground this year.
Iowa hasn't looked right this year, and I don't think a win against Purdue is going to fix many of their problems. On the other hand, Wisconsin needs a win to stay in the Big Ten West race. It won't be pretty, but Wisconsin wins in Iowa City for the fourth straight time.
Wisconsin 24, Iowa 17
Indiana v. Northwestern (-2.5) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Indiana yet again had another game against a tough foe in which they had a shot at winning, but just didn't have enough to earn the victory. A couple bounces go the other way and Indiana might be sitting at 5-1 right now instead of 3-3. The difference between this Indiana team and Hoosier teams of years past is this year they at least have a little bit of defense to go along with an offense that can move the football both through the air and on the ground.
So Northwestern can go from losing to Illinois State to take Michigan State to the woodshed in about a month. Ok. College football is weird sometimes. Justin Jackson had little trouble making his way through the defense of the Spartans, rushing for a career-high 188 yards against Michigan State. Quarterback Clayton Thorson was also very good last week, throwing for 281 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout.
Next week Northwestern comes to Columbus, so they'll want to head into the showdown with the Buckeyes on a high note. After playing Michigan State, Ohio State, and Nebraska the last three weeks, I wonder how much Indiana has left in the tank. This should be a fun game, but I think Northwestern ends up taking it in Evanston.
Northwestern 30, Indiana 23
Rutgers v. Minnesota (-19) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNU
For a second week in a row Minnesota will be without Mitch Leidner, but it's not like it'll matter since the Golden Gophers are playing Rutgers. Minnesota should be able to run all over a Rutgers defense that is allowing over 260 yards per game on the ground. Get ready for another ugly Rutgers loss.
Minnesota 38, Rutgers 10
Purdue v. No. 8 Nebraska (-24) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
So long Darrell Hazell, we hardly knew ye. The former Ohio State assistant was fired on Sunday, all before he was able to reach double-digits in wins with the Boilermakers. Wide receivers coach Gerard Parker will take the reigns for Purdue as interim head coach. If there is a little hope for Purdue, they can at least remember to last year when they took down Nebraska 55-45 in West Lafayette. That and quarterback David Blough usually puts up some big numbers since the Boilermakers have to throw the football so much because they are usually fall so far behind opponents.
Nebraska nearly blew an early 17-0 lead against Indiana last week, but the Cornhuskers were able to hold on to stay undefeated. Nebraska still has to deal with injuries all the over the place it seems like, but it shouldn’t matter all that much since they are at home this week and playing the Boilermakers.
This might seem a little crazy but I do like Purdue to cover this week. Maybe firing Hazell will shake things up a little bit and allow the Boilermakers to play a little looser than normal. Also, if Nebraska gets up big they could call off the dogs which would make them ripe for a backdoor cover. The arm of David Blough keeps things within 24 points late in the game.
Nebraska 48, Purdue 27
Illinois v. No. 3 Michigan (-39) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
The last time we saw Michigan, they crushed Rutgers 78-0. Illinois isn’t much better than Rutgers. Jabrill Peppers will do somethings against a bad team and people will give him even more Heisman hype. The Wolverines send a message to Michigan State with a blowout victory ahead of next week’s showdown between the teams.
Michigan 55, Illinois 7
Michigan State (-3) v. Maryland - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
What on earth has happened to Michigan State? Before the season began many thought the Spartans could be a sleeper in the Big Ten East, but now they just look like they’re asleep. It is not known whether Tyler O’Connor or Brian Lewerke will start at quarterback, and even if one does we’ll probably end up seeing the other at some point.
Maryland will be hoping to get quarterback Perry Hills back, and the Terrapins will certainly need him after the way they’ve played recently, losing their last two games. The Terrapins will probably try and keep the football on the ground since that’s where they excel, averaging 250 yards per game rushing.
I have to think that at some point Michigan State snaps out of it. The Spartans have too much talent, especially on defense, to play this bad. With Michigan on deck next week, I think we get a lot stronger performance out of the Spartans than we have over the past few weeks and they find a way to hand Maryland their third straight loss.
Michigan State 30, Maryland 20
No. 2 Ohio State (-19.5) v. Penn State - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
I was off on my Ohio State pick last week, but in the end I’m just happy they found a way to get the win in Madison. There was a point in the second half where it looked like the Buckeyes might have a shot to cover, but Wisconsin was just too tough. Now Ohio State plays their second night road game in a row, as they’ll head to Happy Valley for a “white out”.
Even though it’s never easy to go into Penn State and leave with a victory, the Buckeyes will probably find things a little more to their liking on Saturday night. Penn State doesn’t have nearly the defense that they’ve had in the past due to a number of injuries, and they certainly don’t have a defense like Wisconsin does. That should open up things a little more for J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber, Curtis Samuel, and the rest of the Ohio State offense.
Much like Wisconsin, Penn State had some extra time to prepare for the Buckeyes thanks to a bye week. Obviously the Nittany Lions are going to try and get running back Saquon Barkley involved early and often. Not only is the sophomore coming off a career-high 202 yard rushing performance against Maryland a couple weeks ago, but last year he gashed the Buckeyes for 194 yards in Columbus.
As long as the Buckeyes are able to contain Barkley, I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble in this game. Aside from last week when Wisconsin ran for 236 yards against Ohio State, the Buckeyes have been stout against the run this year. A good chunk of Wisconsin’s rushing yards came on the jet sweep as well. I don’t know if Penn State has something quite like that to keep Ohio State on their toes.
I feel like a homer going with Ohio State in this one giving so many points when they have had issues at Penn State under the lights but I just don’t think the Nittany Lions will be able to keep up. As long as Ohio State jumps out early and is able to put a couple scores on the board, they can take away a lot of what Barkley brings Penn State and put the ball in Trace McSorley’s hands, which will be bad for Penn State with the pressure the Buckeyes will surely bring.
Ohio State 45, Penn State 21