You know what goes well with these Big Ten picks? Picks for this week’s big national games that were posted yesterday.
Last week ATS: 5-7 (2-3 National, 3-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 50-55-3 (20-24-1 National, 30-31-2 B1G)
No. 2 Michigan (-24.5) v. Michigan State - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
You know Jim Harbaugh has had this game circled on his calendar ever since Michigan fell to the Spartans in the most hilarious way possible last year. Expect Harbaugh to pull out all the stops in this one. Flea flickers while up 50. Onside kicks when Michigan is up 80. After dropping 78 on Rutgers, who knows what Harbaugh will have his Wolverines do to Michigan State.
Not saying Michigan State is as bad as Rutgers, but these days it isn’t too far off. The Spartans have lost five straight games, with their most recent loss coming at the hands of mighty Maryland. Who knows who will start at quarterback for Michigan State in this one, and I really don’t think it’ll matter that much.
Normally I’d be scared to lay this many points on the road in the rivalry game, but Michigan is worlds better than Michigan State right now. I know if there was any game the rest of the year that the Spartans would get up for it’d be this one, but this one is gonna get ugly.
Michigan 44, Michigan State 17
No. 24 Penn State (-13.5) v. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
Could this be a letdown spot for Penn State? The Nittany Lions scored their biggest win under James Franklin on Saturday night, and now are ranked for the first time since 2011. Running back Saquon Barkley should have a field day against a Purdue defense that is allowing 249 rushing yards per game.
Purdue actually didn’t play all that bad in Lincoln last week in their first game under interim coach Gerard Parker. Even though they didn’t win, the Boilermakers kept the score within the number. Quarterback David Blough can at least move the offense a little bit, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him lead a late scoring drive or two to push Purdue to a backdoor cover.
Penn State 31, Purdue 21
Minnesota (-9) v. Illinois - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
This is your Big Ten garbage game of the week. Minnesota almost lost to Rutgers last week. Rutgers. Illinois couldn’t even stay within two touchdowns of Rutgers. Seriously. Minnesota might have a few more pieces in place here. Avoid this game at all costs.
Minnesota 34, Illinois 20
Maryland v. Indiana (-4) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPNU
This game could actually end being a sneaky good game. Maryland is a win away from bowl eligibility, while Indiana has played some good teams tough this year. Maryland is going to want to use the ground game to wear down the Hoosiers and keep the football out of their hands. The Terrapins are rushing for nearly 250 yards per game, so they can’t afford to fall behind Indiana since D.J. Durkin’s team doesn’t have much of a passing game.
Indiana can do a little bit of everything on offense. While Devine Redding can hurt teams on the ground, Indiana is going to look to use Richard Lagow in the passing game since Maryland is banged up in the secondary. This has the feel of a back-and-forth game which Indiana ends up pulling out in the end to get back to .500.
Indiana 34, Maryland 27
No. 7 Nebraska v. No. 11 Wisconsin (-9) - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN
Ohio State fans have seen how hard it is to go into Camp Randall and leave with a victory. Nebraska will have their work cut out for them if they want to stay undefeated and on top of the Big Ten West. Things may have gotten a little easier though for the Cornhuskers when it was announced that Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy wouldn’t play due to injury. While Wisconsin is hurting a bit, Nebraska is getting healthy, as wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp should play after missing the last two games.
Wisconsin isn’t going to do anything fancy to beat you, just play solid defense and try and not make too many mistakes on offense. Corey Clement has really stepped up these last couple games for the Badgers, rushing for 298 yards over the past two games. Wisconsin might need another big game from Clement, since along with Cichy, a couple other defenders are banged up.
I’m not saying I think that Nebraska is going to stay undefeated on Saturday night, but I think this is just a few too many points for Wisconsin to be laying. The Badgers could be a little banged up after tough, physical games against Ohio State and Iowa the last two weeks. This game feels like it is one that will come down to the wire.
Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 20
Northwestern v. No. 6 Ohio State (-27) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
Northwestern makes their first trip to Ohio Stadium since 2007 on Saturday, and they hope things are a lot closer than the 58-7 drubbing the Buckeyes laid on them that day. The Wildcats have won three straight games, and have won their last five Big Ten road games dating back to last season. Clayton Thorson has really came into his own as a sophomore, throwing three touchdowns in each of the last three games. His main target is Austin Carr, who has caught 50 passes and nine touchdowns so far this season. Add in the work that running back Justin Jackson is doing, and the Wildcats have a few weapons on offense that Ohio State needs to beware of.
Ohio State suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday night to Penn State, but their College Football Playoff chances are still alive as long as the Buckeyes win out. Ohio State needs to get better play out of their offense line this week, since they couldn’t get much offense going with how Penn State was getting into the backfield. Northwestern’s defense is solid but it’s nothing that J.T. Barrett and company shouldn’t be able to figure out. If the Buckeyes can get Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber going in the running game it might be able to open up the passing game and get some of Ohio State’s young wide receivers some confidence.
I was a little too overconfident in picking Ohio State last week. Of course now that I think Northwestern will cover the Buckeyes will probably blow the Wildcats out. Really though, this line is too high. Northwestern is a good team and they’ll give the Buckeyes a few problems. I don’t think this will end up being a one-possession game, but I also can’t see Ohio State wins by four touchdowns. The Buckeyes rebound for the loss to Penn State with a solid win but Northwestern covers.
Ohio State 41, Northwestern 20