Last week ATS: 5-7 (3-2 National, 2-5 B1G)
Season ATS: 78-84-4 (35-34-2 National, 43-50-2 B1G)
If you missed yesterday’s national picks, there’s a chance you might have missed a couple Friday picks. Don’t worry, there are still a number of juicy plays for Saturday you can find here.
B1G games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
Iowa (-4) v. Nebraska - 4:00 PM EST - Friday 11/24 4:00 PM EST - FS1
Both of these teams are a mess right now. Iowa has scored just 29 points in two games since dropping 55 points on Ohio State. Nathan Stanley will look for a big performance to cap off a regular season in which he has thrown 23 touchdowns and just six interceptions to this point.
That said, Nebraska is an even bigger dumpster fire, having allowed at least 50 points in three of their last five games. Last week the Cornhuskers made the score look somewhat respectable against Penn State, but the game wasn’t really that close. Tanner Lee threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns, but a good chunk of those came in garbage time.
Nebraska fans will probably be paying more attention to the South Florida/UCF game, so they can get a look at who they are hoping will be their next head coach, Scott Frost. I am trying to find a reason to take Nebraska in this spot, but I just can’t trust myself to back such a terrible defense.
Iowa 31, Nebraska 20
Indiana v. Purdue (-3) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
The battle for the Old Oaken Bucket has a little more at stake this year, with the winner becoming bowl eligible. The Hoosiers have won their last two games, but those wins have come against Illinois and Rutgers, so not exactly the stiffest of competition. Richard Lagow has put up solid numbers since returning as starting quarterback for Indiana.
Last week Purdue surprised a lot of people by going into Kinnick and beating Iowa. Boilermaker quarterback Elijah Sindelar is sorta like a junior Lagow. The two quarterbacks have fought off competition for their starting jobs, and put up similar numbers this year.
Even though I like where Jeff Brohm has the Purdue program headed, I think Indiana is just a slightly more complete team at this point. The Hoosiers can run the football a little better, and have a little more to offer on defense than Purdue at this point. This game will likely come down to the wire, but Indiana wins late in enemy territory.
Indiana 30, Purdue 27
No. 5 Wisconsin (-17) v. Minnesota - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Not only will this be the 127th meeting in the most-played rivalry between FBS schools, but the Badgers and Golden Gophers play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Wisconsin has dominated the rivalry recently, winning the last 13 meetings.
The Badgers should easily make it 14 over Minnesota on Saturday. After scoring 54 points two weeks ago, the Golden Gophers were shutout last week against Northwestern. It’s hard to imagine Minnesota finding much on offense this week against one of the toughest defenses in the country. The Golden Gophers can’t pass at all, and they’ll have even more trouble moving the football through the air after losing leading receiver Tyler Johnson to a broken hand.
I’m a little nervous that the Badgers might be looking ahead to next week’s Big Ten Championship Game at Ohio State, but Paul Chryst knows his team has no room for error this week, as even one loss would destroy any College Football Playoff hopes.
Jonathan Taylor has another big game as Wisconsin runs all over the Golden Gophers.
Wisconsin 44, Minnesota 14
No. 10 Penn State (-22) v, Maryland - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Even though Saquon Barkley has said he won’t skip Penn State’s bowl game, you have to wonder if he might change his mind depending on where the Nittany Lions get sent. It’d be hard to blame the running back if he wanted to avoid getting himself hurt in what will likely be a meaningless game for Penn State.
Tomorrow afternoon should see big performances from Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley, who will both be playing their final regular season game for the Nittany Lions. Luckily the duo will get to pad their career stats by taking on a Maryland team that has been ravaged by injury.
Maryland has been a weird team to try and predict, especially with all of the injuries they have suffered. After getting steamrolled by Michigan a couple of weeks ago, last Saturday the Terrapins were able to secure a cover against the Spartans in the fourth quarter. However, Maryland won’t have the snow they saw in East Lansing last week to help them. The Nittany Lions have little problem in College Park.
Penn State 45, Maryland 17
No. 16 Michigan State (-13.5) v. Rutgers - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
Can we just say first team to score in this game wins? If you like defense, this is the game for you. Brian Lewerke threw for just 20 yards in last week’s 17-7 win over Maryland, but at least the Spartans had three players rush for at least 60 yards in the victory, with L.J. Scott leading the way with 149 yards.
After winning three of four games during the middle of the season, Rutgers has fallen back down to earth, getting outscored 76-6 in its last two games. It’s hard to see the struggling Rutgers offense finding any holes against a solid Michigan State defense. I can’t say I’m expecting a ton out of Michigan State against Chris Ash’s defense, but the Spartans do just enough to cover.
Michigan State 23, Rutgers 7
No. 22 Northwestern (-16.5) v. Illinois - 4:00 PM EST - FS1
We saw just how bad Illinois was last week. The Fighting Illini have a lot of youth on their roster right now, which could turn into quality talent, but it’s really, really tough to watch at this point.
Running back Justin Jackson became just the second Big Ten running back to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in each of his four seasons, with Wisconsin Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne being the only other player to accomplish that feat. Jackson and the Wildcats run all over Illinois as the Wildcats easily win their seventh game in a row.
Northwestern 34, Illinois 10
No. 9 Ohio State (-12) v. Michigan - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
Sometimes we take it for granted, but we really do have things pretty good as Ohio State fans. The Buckeyes have won 14 of 16 against That Team Up North (and yes I’m counting the vacated game in 2010 since we all saw what happened in Columbus), and Ohio State has come into the last six meetings with the Wolverines ranked inside the Top 10.
If Ohio State beats Michigan tomorrow, J.T. Barrett will add to his legacy and become the first Ohio State starting quarterback to beat the Wolverines four times. The Buckeyes are going to need Barrett to play a lot better than the senior did in losses to Oklahoma and Iowa earlier in the year, when Ohio State abandoned the run and asked Barrett to shoulder more of the load.
At QB for the Wolverines, Michigan might bring one of their key jingling fans out of the crowd to start at quarterback on Saturday. It is not known if Brandon Peters or John O’Korn is going to start at quarterback for the Wolverines, but I really don’t think it’ll matter. Michigan can’t do much through the air, and good defenses are able to stop the run, because they don’t have to respect the Michigan passing game all that much.
Whether it be Peters or O’Korn taking the snaps for the Wolverines, they’ll be harassed all day by the talented Ohio State defensive line. Expect big days from Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard, as they put plenty of pressure on the quarterback. Ohio State’s linebackers will also continue their improved play over the last few weeks after getting decimated by Iowa.
Michigan has one of the better defenses in the country, but they have gotten to feast a lot this year on offenses that aren’t very dynamic. Ohio State can hurt teams both through the air, and on the ground with the tandem of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber.
I’m not going to say the beatdown is going to be quite as bad, but I expect this game to play out a bit like Michigan’s loss to Penn State back in October. The Wolverines just won’t be able to keep pace with Ohio State’s offense. I can’t say I’m loving picking “The Game” to be a bit of a snoozer on the scoreboard, but Ohio State gets in another strong performance before the Big Ten title game.
Ohio State 35, Michigan 17