Last week ATS: 8-4 (4-1 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 34-28-1 (11-9 National, 23-19-1 B1G)
After last week’s performance it would be a crime to miss this week’s national picks, but if for some reason you did you can find them here.
B1G games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
Nebraska (-6) v. Illinois - Friday 9/29 8:00 PM EST - FS1
I’m not sure this is exactly what the Big Ten had in mind when they decided to have a few Friday night games. What an ugly Friday night game this could turn into. Who knows what is going on at Nebraska right now, and while Illinois might be a little more stable off the field, they are just as big of a dumpster fire on the field.
Last week the Cornhuskers didn’t take the lead for good against Rutgers until late in the third quarter, eventually earning a 27-17 win in Lincoln. Apparently, Nebraska has nobody else who can play quarterback, which is why they keep trotting Tanner Lee out there to throw interceptions.
Illinois has their own problems at quarterback, as through three games Fighting Illini quarterbacks have thrown for just 539 yards, two touchdowns, and five interceptions. This game is going to feature some nightmare quarterback play. Can’t say I trust Illinois all that much, but at least I get a few points in a game that’ll probably resemble a tire fire.
Nebraska 23, Illinois 20
Northwestern v. No. 10 Wisconsin (-15) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Points have been at a premium in the last few meetings between these schools, with 41 points or less being scored in each of the last four meetings. More of the same could be in store for tomorrow as both teams will likely look to establish the run game early.
Northwestern looked lost in a blowout loss at Duke earlier this year, but rebounded with a 49-7 win against Bowling Green two weeks ago. Senior running back Justin Jackson needs just 109 yards to become Northwestern’s all-time leading rusher, passing Damien Anderson’s 4,485 yards.
It’s not surprising the leading rusher in the Big Ten comes from Wisconsin. What is surprising is the leading rusher is freshman Jonathan Taylor. The running back is averaging 146 yards per game, and has rushed for five touchdown. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook has also been sharp this year, throwing for eight touchdowns and just one interception.
I feel like this might be just a few too many points against a rested Northwestern team. I could see this ending with Wisconsin winning by two touchdowns, but nothing more than that.
Wisconsin 30, Northwestern 21
Maryland v. Minnesota (-13) - 12:00 PM EST - FS1
Maryland is down to their third-string quarterback, which is something called a Max Bortenschlager. I just don’t see how the Terrapins are going to keep up with everything Minnesota is going to throw at them here. The Golden Gophers start off Big Ten play with a big win over a wounded opponent.
Minnesota 37, Maryland 17
Indiana v. No. 4 Penn State (-18) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
What a win last week for Penn State. Trace McSorley showed more moxie than Matt McGloin ever had with a walk-off touchdown pass to secure a 21-19 win against Iowa. Saquon Barkley added to his legend with a school record 358 all-purpose yards against the Hawkeyes, with 211 of those coming on the ground.
Indiana had little trouble dispatching Georgia Southern last week, but that isn’t too hard to do this year. The Hoosiers still haven’t solved their quarterback questions, but they didn’t need to last week with the way Morgan Ellison ran the football. The freshman ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the blowout victory.
Penn State should have little trouble securing their 20th all-time victory against Indiana. The Nittany Lions have dominated the series since joining the Big Ten. The Hoosiers do have the tools to put a scare into Penn State, but I just don’t see it happening. This one plays out almost like Ohio State-Indiana in Bloomington earlier this year. Penn State might struggle a little early on, but they put their foot on the gas when it counts.
Penn State 44, Indiana 20
Iowa v. Michigan State (-3) - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
Both of these teams will be looking to bounce back after losses in primetime last week. Iowa was just one play away from upsetting Penn State, while Michigan State never really threatened Notre Dame. Now Iowa will be looking to avoid an 0-2 start in the Big Ten, while Michigan State is looking for some momentum heading into next week’s game against Michigan.
Akrum Wadley has played a lot like Saquon Barkley this year. The running back not only has rushed for 338 yards, but he has also done some damage as a receiver, racking up 227 receiving yards. Nathan Stanley has tossed 12 touchdowns and just one interception this year, which is a lot better than I expected from any Iowa quarterback this year.
I think the Michigan State we saw on Saturday night is the Michigan State we’ll see more often than not the rest of the year. Sure, the Spartans might pull an upset or two, but they just don’t quite have the talent to keep up with a number of teams they’ll face the rest of the year. Iowa is one of those teams they’ll fall short against. The Spartans show some heart, but in the end Iowa wins by a touchdown.
Iowa 28, Michigan State 21
No. 11 Ohio State (-29) v. Rutgers - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Usually I show Ohio State a little extra love and give them a longer writeup than the other games, but I don’t think I need to do that this week. We all know how this game is going to play out. Ohio State has beaten Rutgers by at least 39 points in each of their three meetings since the Scarlet Knights have joined the Big Ten.
Rutgers has played teams tough this year, but they’ll be taking on a whole different animal in J.T. Barrett and the improving Ohio State offense. Last week Barrett threw for five touchdowns in the blink of an eye before sitting down so Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow could get some work. It might be more of the same this week. While Rutgers’ defense has improved, I just can’t see them slowing the Buckeyes down.
Rutgers on offense is a pretty big mess right now. Kyle Bolin has thrown six interceptions and just three touchdowns, and I can’t really think of anybody the Scarlet Knights have on offense who could be a weapon besides Janarion Grant. It won’t be the 58-0 drubbing that Rutgers received in Columbus last year, but this game isn’t going to pretty for the Rutgers faithful in attendance on Saturday night.
Ohio State 55, Rutgers 14