Miss yesterday’s national picks while slamming home pounds of turkey and fixings? They are just as good when reheated today.
Last week ATS: 9-3 (5-0 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 74-77-4 (30-34-1 National, 44-43-3 B1G)
B1G games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 16 Nebraska v. Iowa (-3) - Friday 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Right now Nebraska’s quarterback situation is a mess. Tommy Armstrong Jr. missed last week’s game against Maryland with a hamstring injury, while backup Ryker Fyfe broke a bone in his wrist and had surgery on Sunday. It sounds like Armstrong Jr. will start against the Hawkeyes, but who knows how long he’ll be able to go and be effective.
Iowa doesn’t have nearly as much to play for as they did last year, when they capped off a perfect regular season with a 28-20 win over the Cornhuskers. Last week the Hawkeyes avoided a letdown after their win over Michigan by beating Illinois 28-0. After Akrum Wadley did most of the work the week before against the Wolverines, last week LeShun Daniels Jr. ran for 159 yards in the win over the Fighting Illini. The two running backs each have rushed for over 800 yards this year, making them just the third pair in school history to rush for at least 800 yards each.
Even with the injuries, I still like Nebraska to score the victory over Iowa in this one. After a 5-7 season in his first year in Lincoln, Mike Riley has a chance to win 10 games and earn a share of the Big Ten West title with a victory. The Cornhuskers are just a little bit better than the Hawkeyes, and I think this is a game that comes down to the wire so give me the points.
Nebraska 23, Iowa 20
Rutgers v. Maryland (-14) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNews
Rutgers has lost eight straight and hasn’t scored a point since the first week over November. Maryland has lost six of seven. The Terrapins get the win to become bowl eligible, but I don’t know what more I can say about this game. Rutgers somehow scores some points and finds a way to cover.
Maryland 30, Rutgers 20
Purdue v. Indiana (-20.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNU
Not only will the Old Oaken Bucket be at stake in Bloomington on Saturday, but Indiana will earn bowl eligibility for the second straight season with a win over the Boilermakers. Interceptions will probably be plentiful in this game, as Purdue quarterback David Blough and Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow have combined to toss 32 picks on the year.
Purdue has packed it in on the year and is now more focused on landing one of the bigger head coaching candidates. Indiana didn’t look bad against Michigan, and it looked for a while that they had a shot at pulling the upset. I can’t say I’m crazy about laying nearly three touchdowns here, but I think Indiana takes Purdue to the woodshed here.
Indiana 45, Purdue 20
Illinois v. Northwestern (-17) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
I had a little too much faith in Northwestern last week and the Wildcats responded by showing little fight in a 29-12 loss to Minnesota. Now Northwestern needs a win in their regular season finale to get to the six wins needed to become bowl eligible. Luckily the Wildcats are taking on Illinois to close out the regular season.
The Fighting Illini have been terrible this year, and surely the season can’t end fast enough for Lovie Smith. Illinois hasn’t scored a touchdown since a 31-27 win over Michigan State on November 5th. The Northwestern offense gets back on track with a solid performance on Saturday.
Northwestern 38, Illinois 17
Minnesota v. No. 6 Wisconsin (-14.5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Minnesota might not be able to make it to the Big Ten Championship Game, but they can still possibly earn a share of the Big Ten West crown with a win. At least a win could throw a wrench into Wisconsin’s plans of making the Big Ten title game and possibly the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Mitch Leidner has struggled throughout the year, and things won’t get any easier against a stingy Wisconsin defense.
The Badgers will be looking to make it 13 straight wins over Wisconsin, as the rivals battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Saturday’s game will be the 126th between the school, making it the most played contest between FBS teams. Running back Corey Clement topped 1,000 yards last week, but might find yards harder to come by this week against a Minnesota defense that is allowing less than 120 yards per game on the ground.
This just feels like a few too many points in this matchup. Minnesota has overachieved this year, and while I don’t think they’ll win in Madison, they at least make Wisconsin work to earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game. Leidner makes a few plays to put just enough points on the board to stay within two touchdowns.
Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 13
Michigan State v. No. 7 Penn State (-13) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
How the tables have turned in just a year. Last year Ohio State fans were rooting for Penn State to take down Michigan State in East Lansing so the Buckeyes could earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game. This year Buckeye fans will be rooting for Michigan State to beat Penn State in State College to earn the Buckeyes a trip to Indianapolis next week (as long as Ohio State beats Michigan).
Even though Michigan State has been pretty awful this year, they at least played Michigan and Ohio State tough. The difference is those games were in East Lansing. The last time the Spartans won at the road this year came earlier in the season against Notre Dame. Running back L.J. Scott has been one of the very few bright spots for Michigan State this year, with the sophomore running back nearing 1,000 yards for the season.
Penn State started off slow against Rutgers last week, but had little trouble in disposing of the Scarlet Knights. The Nittany Lions have quite a strong combination in the backfield with quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. I think the duo leads Penn State to their eighth straight victory, but the Spartans won’t make it easy.
Penn State 31, Michigan State 21
No. 3 Michigan v. No. 2 Ohio State (-6.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
MC&J has saved the best for last. Michigan and Ohio State will square off inside Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon essentially with a College Football Playoff berth on the line. Should the Wolverines win, they’ll be headed to the Big Ten Championship Game next week. If Ohio State wins, they possibly would at least share the Big Ten East title, and could be going to Indianapolis depending on what Penn State does.
There is a possibility that quarterback Wilton Speight could return on Saturday after missing last week’s game with a shoulder injury, but even if he does play how effective will he be against a tough Ohio State defense. With the pressure the Buckeyes are capable of creating, Speight could be in for some hard hits if he plays. If Speight doesn’t play, John O’Korn will get the nod. The Houston transfer didn’t show much against Indiana last week, but some of that could be attributed to getting used to the offense, as well as the weather in Ann Arbor last week.
Ohio State also had to deal with some gnarly weather last week in East Lansing, and it certainly showed in their offense game plan. Apparently the Buckeyes decided to run the let J.T. Barrett run a billion times offense. I understand it with the weather, and also not wanting to give Michigan much to try and prepare for. I’d be shocked if the Buckeyes don’t throw in a few new wrinkles to try and catch the Wolverines off guard. Maybe we see a little more of Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel together in the backfield than we have so far this season.
There is no question the rivalry is back with Jim Harbaugh taking over at Michigan prior to last year, and this is the first time in quite a while in which The Game has meant so much when it comes to both teams being in the national title race. Ohio State’s defense has carried them much of the year, and I don’t think they give up much to the Wolverines. The same can be said about Michigan, but I do think the Buckeyes have a few more game changers on offense than the Wolverines do. Also I’m hoping Ohio State exposes just how overrated Jabrill Peppers is. It won’t be a blowout like last year, but I think Ohio State does end up winning by 10 points to make it five straight wins over Michigan.
Ohio State 27, Michigan 17