Last week ATS: 3-9-1 (0-5-1 National, 3-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 58-61-3 (22-25-1 National, 36-36-2 B1G)
If this week’s B1G action wasn’t enough to keep up with, MC&J picked 10 national games this week, which you can find here.
No. 7 Penn State (-8) v. No. 24 Michigan State - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
Don’t overthink this one. Penn State gets back on track after last week’s tough loss to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have a good core of leaders on both offense and defense that won’t allow them to feel sorry for themselves for too long about how they blew last week’s game.
The only way Penn State loses for the second week in a row is if Michigan State has their own J.T. Barrett at quarterback. The Spartans don’t. Michigan State had been flirting with losing the last couple weeks before taking on Northwestern last week, and the Spartans finally saw their luck run out.
Michigan State has a solid defense, but they have done most of their damage this year against offenses that don’t have much of a clue. Against teams that can actually move the football like Notre Dame and Northwestern, the Spartans haven’t fared as well. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley will be too much for the Spartans to keep up with.
Penn State 30, Michigan State 14
No. 9 Wisconsin (-13) v. Indiana - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Heading into this season it looked like Indiana might have one of their better seasons in school history ahead of them. Instead, Tom Allen’s first year as head coach has turned into a nightmare for the Hoosiers. Indiana has lost three straight games by a combined 18 points.
Wisconsin is still undefeated this year, but the Badgers are getting no respect because they haven’t played anybody. It’s a problem when your best win of the year has come against Florida Atlantic. The Badgers have Jonathan Taylor on offense but not much else.
Unlike most years, at least Indiana can play some defense this year. I’m sick of backing the Badgers to cover big spreads only to see them either barely cover like they did against Maryland, or miss them completely, like they did against Illinois and Purdue. Taylor racks up some yards on the ground, but Indiana finds some offense of their own to keep this within two touchdowns.
Wisconsin 27, Indiana 17
Illinois v. Purdue (-14) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
At least Illinois is sorta trying. The Fighting Illini have covered their last two games despite being pretty awful. Quarterback Cam Thomas might be exciting down the road for Illinois, but he is still just a freshman.
Purdue really could be 5-3 right now instead of 3-5. The Boilermakers have lost the last two weeks by a combined three points. Last week Nebraska scored with 14 seconds left to hand the Boilermakers a 25-24 loss in West Lafayette.
I’m worried I might have waited a little too longer to jump on the Illinois cover train. I’ll take my chances that there is one more stop on the route before the Fighting Illini go back to being absolutely terrible again. Purdue might win, but I don’t think they win by more than two touchdowns.
Purdue 31, Illinois 21
Maryland (-2) v. Rutgers - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
After having lost their previous three games, Maryland found themselves down 16-7 last week against Indiana after the first quarter. It would have been easy for the Terrapins to give up, but they fought back and beat the Hoosiers 42-39. Now the Terrapins will be looking to earn another win before a tough final stretch of Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State
Rutgers at least scored points against Michigan this year. The Scarlet Knights kept things respectable last week against the Wolverines in the 35-14 loss. Rutgers is greatly improved this year on defense, but their offense is still a dumpster fire. If Maryland puts up a couple early touchdowns I just don’t see the Scarlet Knights having the firepower to respond.
Maryland 21, Rutgers 13
Northwestern v. Nebraska (-1.5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Northwestern has been going to overtime for their wins lately. After squeaking by Iowa in overtime two weeks ago, last week the Wildcats needed three overtimes to upset Michigan State. Clayton Thorson had his best game of the season, throwing 356 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a rushing touchdown in the win.
Nebraska needed some late-game heroics of their own last week, as a Tanner Lee 13-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan Jr. with 14 seconds to go gave the Cornhuskers a 25-24 win over Purdue. Lee finished with 431 yards passing and two touchdowns, which easily was his best game during his short time at Nebraska.
This will be Nebraska’s first game at home since getting blown out by Ohio State, so the Cornhuskers will want to put forth a strong performance in front of their fans. Northwestern sees their luck run out as Nebraska moves a little closer to becoming bowl eligible.
Nebraska 31, Northwestern 24
Minnesota v. Michigan (-15.5) - 7:30 PM EST - FOX
You think Michigan’s offense is bad? Just wait until you watch the Golden Gophers. At least the Wolverines are trying to shake things up a bit with Brandon Peters getting his first start at quarterback on Saturday night.
I’m not sure if P.J. Fleck has any plan at all for Minnesota the rest of the year at quarterback. Demry Croft looked good for a little bit against Michigan State, but the sophomore quarterback has looked terrible the last two weeks for the Golden Gophers.
Even though the Wolverines have lost a couple games this year, five of Michigan’s six wins have been by at least 16 points. I’m just not sure how Minnesota is going to find the end zone against the Wolverines here. Michigan wins the Little Brown Jug by at least 17 points.
Michigan 37, Minnesota 14
No. 6 Ohio State (-16) v. Iowa - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
Had it not been for awful special teams play, along with a lot of terrible officiating, last week’s game against Penn State likely wouldn’t have taken years off the lives of Ohio State fans. J.T. Barrett was near perfect in the win, pretty much assuring his spot in New York City in December for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
The Buckeyes can’t afford to sleep on the Hawkeyes. Not only is Kinnick Stadium a tough place to leave with a win, but the Hawkeyes have a couple players on offense in quarterback Nathan Stanley and running back Akrum Wadley.
Normally I’d grab the points when a team has to hit the road after such an emotional win, but this Ohio State team is different. Not only will the senior leadership of Barrett not allow for a sluggish performance against the Hawkeyes, but the defense will be the biggest difference.
The Hawkeyes have issues on the offensive line with two freshmen starting at the tackle spots, which should allow for Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard to cause plenty of disruption in the Iowa backfield. The Buckeyes show why many people are expecting them to be a part of the College Football Playoff with a convincing win over a quality opponent on the road.
Ohio State 38, Iowa 17