Last week ATS: 8-4 (3-2 National, 5-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 53-62 (20-26 National, 33-36 B1G)
If you missed this week’s national game picks, feel lucky you didn’t see me totally miss on Baylor-West Virginia. At least there are still picks for six of Saturday’s games still out there for consumption.
B1G games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
Indiana (-3) v. Minnesota - Friday 10/26 8:00 PM EST - FS1
What a tough game to start the week with. Last week Indiana had one of their patented “close, but not close enough” games against one of the better teams in the Big Ten. The next game after Indiana takes a ranked team to the limit isn’t normally pretty for the Hoosiers. There’s no question Indiana is the better team, but I’ve seen this play before.
Minnesota played Ohio State tough two weeks ago, but the Golden Gophers didn’t show much in a 53-28 loss to Nebraska last week. P.J. Fleck’s team is giving it their all, but injuries and youth have led to mixed results for the Golden Gophers. Minnesota does have Tyler Johnson at wide receiver, but Indiana has some players on defense who could make it hard for freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad to find his favorite target.
All the signs are pointing towards taking Minnesota this week. The Golden Gophers return home after two games on the road to take on an Indiana team that just lost a tough game to Penn State. Plus, winning on the road in the Big Ten is extremely tough. Sometimes I’m too stupid to listen to the signs. I just think Indiana is a little better team. The Hoosiers are sniffing bowl eligibility and they get a little closer on Friday night.
Indiana 31, Minnesota 21
No. 20 Wisconsin (-4.5) v, Northwestern - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
There are questions whether Alex Hornibrook will be able to play this week, but I don’t really see this changing my opinion on Wisconsin much this week. Really, all whoever starts at quarterback has to do to be successful is hand the ball off to running back Jonathan Taylor. The sophomore has already rushed for 1,109 yards and eight touchdowns this year.
I think what we saw last week from the Wildcats is a closer representation of what we see from Northwestern the rest of the year than in previous week. Northwestern really struggles to rush the football, which allows opposing defenses to key on quarterback Clayton Thorson more.
The Wildcats have done well to find success after the career-ending injury to running back Jeremy Larkin, but I feel like their luck has run out. Northwestern might put up an early fight against the Badgers, but eventually Taylor and the Wisconsin running attack is going to wear the Wildcats down.
Wisconsin 38, Northwestern 20
Purdue v. Michigan State (-2) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
This would a perfect spot for a letdown, but I think this Purdue team is a little too mentally tough to fall for that trap. Not only do the Boilermakers now have to live up to the hype of a win with Ohio State, but they also will start hearing more talk of Jeff Brohm possibly moving on to bigger programs. Even with that, they have already dealt with a three-game losing streak to start the season, so I’m confident they’ll continue to play at a high level now that people are singing their praises for the big win.
Michigan State is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Spartans were feeling good after a win against Penn State, but then a loss to big brother Michigan happened. The pregame shenanigans were the least of Michigan State’s problems, as leading wide receiver Felton Davis III was injured, and it was revealed quarterback Brian Lewerke has a bum shoulder.
Had Michigan State not been so banged up, I would like the Spartans here. I just can’t trust a schizo Michigan State game here. Purdue comes in hot, and they have plenty to play for when it comes to the Big Ten West race. Rondale Moore has another big games as the Spartans struggle to keep pace with a dangerous Purdue offense.
Purdue 34, Michigan State 23
Illinois v. Maryland (-17.5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Illinois is bad but does Maryland have any business laying this many points against anybody? The Terrapins are a better team, but I see them going through the motions and winning by a couple scores a lot easier than I can see them blowing the Fighting Illini off the map.
The Fighting Illini may be terrible on defense, but they can at least move the football a bit. Illinois was close to covering a pretty big number at Wisconsin last week, but couldn’t quite get there. The number isn’t quite as big this week, but Maryland isn’t as good. When in doubt, just take the points in a Big Ten crapfest.
Maryland 37, Illinois 24
No. 18 Iowa v. No. 17 Penn State (-6) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
In a pretty light week in the Big Ten, this game no doubt is the best of the bunch. Since losing to Wisconsin, Iowa has been vicious, winning all three games by at least 17 points. The Hawkeyes have been so good on defense of late, allowing just 16 points over the last two games.
Penn State rebounded from a tough loss to Michigan State with a hard-fought win over Indiana on the road last week. The Nittany Lions have Trace McSorley and Miles Sanders, but I’m feeling like they might need more against Iowa. Somebody else is going to have to step up.
Even if Penn State wins, I think it is going to come down to the wire. Last year’s game was decided on the last play of the game, with Penn State winning in Iowa City. I think the roles will be reversed this year, as somehow Stanley and company will leave Penn State fans having to chew on another close loss at home.
Iowa 24, Penn State 21