If you didn’t catch yesterday’s national game picks, you missed out on MC&J calling a Houston cover over Louisville. You can get four picks for Saturday’s games here.
Last week ATS: 6-5-1 (3-2 National, 3-3-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 65-74-4 (25-34-1 National, 40-40-3 B1G)
No. 2 Ohio State (-22) v. Michigan State - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
After a sluggish middle part of the year, it looks like Ohio State is firing on all cylinders once again. The Buckeyes have a nice mix of run and pass going on that is keeping opposing defenses guessing. Two straight 62-3 wins have many thinking once again that Ohio State might be the only team that could challenge Alabama this year for the national title. Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber needs just 65 yards to reach 1,000 rushing yards this year. Quarterback J.T. Barrett is also in fine form right now, as he hasn’t thrown an interception since the Wisconsin game, and has thrown for at least 220 yards in each of the last five games.
Michigan State finally snapped a seven-game losing streak last week with a 49-0 win over Rutgers, but it’s hard to take much away from the game since Rutgers is a dumpster fire. Even with that, no matter the record of the Spartans it is always nerve wracking for Buckeye fans when they play Michigan State because of past history. Add in that Michigan State doesn’t really have much to play for the rest of the year, aside from trying to spoil the season for Ohio State and Penn State, who they play next week.
It definitely would be easy for Ohio State to look ahead to Michigan next week, but I feel like Urban Meyer will have his team focused on the Spartans, especially after what happened last year in Columbus. The Buckeyes are playing to well in all facets of the game right now for me to think this one will even be close. The weather in East Lansing isn’t going to be pretty, but I don’t think it slows down the rushing attack of Ohio State.
Ohio State 37, Michigan State 10
Iowa (-10) v. Illinois - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
The bright spot on what has been an underwhelming season for Iowa came on Saturday night when the Hawkeyes upset Michigan in Iowa City. Running back Akrum Wadley pretty much did it all on offense for Iowa against the Wolverines, rushing for 115 yards to go along with 52 receiving yards.
Illinois at least got senior quarterback Wes Lunt back against Wisconsin, but it didn’t really matter since the Badgers were way too much for the Fighting Illini. Iowa doesn’t quite have the caliber defense as Wisconsin this year, but the Hawkeyes will still make life miserable for Lunt and the rest of the offense since Illinois is terrible this year. In this spot I’d usually be leery of a letdown after Iowa’s big win last week, but I just can’t trust Illinois to do anything positive right now.
Iowa 31, Illinois 17
Maryland v. No. 18 Nebraska (-14) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNews
After such a promising start to the season, everything is falling apart for Maryland. Not only did the Terrapins get pasted by Ohio State last week, but running back Lorenzo Harrison, who has rushed for 633 yards this year, has been suspended. If Maryland can’t upset Nebraska, they’ll need a win against Rutgers next week to become bowl eligible.
After the scary scene at Ohio Stadium a couple weeks ago, it was good to see quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. back on the field last week for Nebraska. The senior is dealing with ankle and hamstring injuries but I wouldn’t put it past him to start for the Cornhuskers on Saturday in his final game in Lincoln.
Maryland has lost their last two games by a combined score of 121-6. Nebraska might not quite be Michigan and Ohio State, but the Cornhuskers are still very talented. Mike Riley’s team adds to Maryland’s recent woes on senior day .
Nebraska 44, Maryland 21
No. 7 Wisconsin (-28) v. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
After not running the football quite like in years past, Wisconsin got back to their roots last week against Illinois, rolling up a season-high 363 yards on the ground against the Fighting Illini. More of the same could be in store against a Purdue defense that is allowing nearly 250 yards per game on the ground to opponents this year.
There have been a number of times this year in which I thought Purdue might have the offensive tools to at least earn a late cover, but most of the time it hasn’t worked out. I’m done with all that. The Boilermakers have allowed at least 44 points in four of their last five games. Corey Clement and company run wild and send Purdue to their sixth straight loss.
Wisconsin 45, Purdue 13
Indiana v. No. 3 Michigan (-23.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
Not only did Michigan’s dream of a perfect season end with last week’s loss to Iowa, quarterback Wilton Speight suffered a shoulder injury against the Hawkeyes. Houston transfer John O’Korn is likely to start against Indiana, and it’s unknown how long Speight will be out of action for. O’Korn isn’t a slouch though, as he was the American Athletic Conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2013 before Greg Ward Jr. won the job from him.
Indiana played Penn State tight most of the way last before a couple late Nittany Lion touchdowns opened up the score a little. What’s concerning this week about the Hoosiers is the turnover issues quarterback Richard Lagow has had this year. Against this Michigan defense it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lagow throw a couple picks and set the Wolverines up with some short fields.
While it might take O’Korn a little bit to get into the rhythm of the offense, I don’t see a big drop off between him and Speight. After the loss last week, Harbaugh has to be going nuts and I feel like he isn’t going to show any mercy to Indiana as the Wolverines head into next week’s showdown with Ohio State.
Michigan 41, Indiana 14
Northwestern (-1) v. Minnesota - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Take away the loss to Illinois State and the four losses Northwestern have suffered this year have been to teams with a combined five losses. The Wildcats are well-coached, and have strong skill position players. Clayton Thorson is nearing 20 passing touchdowns for the year, while running back Justin Jackson and wide receiver Austin Carr have both cracked 1,000 yards for the year.
Remember when there were some that were touting Mitch Leidner as a first round pick? That was hilarious. This year Leidner has more interceptions than touchdowns, and has cracked 200 yards passing in just three of his nine games. Good thing the Golden Gophers have running back Rodney Smith and a tough defense or else they wouldn’t be anywhere close to seven wins.
Northwestern still needs a win to become bowl eligible and I think they get it here. The Wildcats just have too much talent on offense, and while their defense has been shaky at times, I don’t think Minnesota has the personnel to exploit some of the holes.
Northwestern 27, Minnesota 20
No. 8 Penn State (-28) v. Rutgers - 8:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Penn State good. Rutgers bad. Do I really need to say more? If Michigan State can beat up on Rutgers 49-0, imagine what Penn State is going to do to the Scarlet Knights.
Penn State 48, Rutgers 10