Season ATS: 8-11 (3-4 National, 5-7 B1G)
If this week’s Big Ten picks aren’t enough for you, be sure to check out picks for five marquee national games this week that went up on Thursday.
New Mexico v. No. 5 Wisconsin (-35) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
New Mexico just allowed over 550 yards to something called Incarnate Word. If the Lobos give up that much to a FCS team, imagine what Wisconsin will do to Bob Davie’s team. The Badgers played with their food a bit in the season opening 34-3 win over Western Kentucky, but that won’t be the case in Madison on Saturday.
Wisconsin 59, New Mexico 14
Western Michigan v. No. 21 Michigan (-28) - 12:00 PM EST - FS1
You know what is hilarious? Michigan has lost four games in a row. It doesn’t really factor much into my pick, it is just fun to mention. The Wolverines latest loss came to Notre Dame in South Bend last Saturday. I’m still waiting to see what all the hype about Shea Patterson is about. I can imagine we’ll see a little crisper game from the Michigan offense, but I just don’t see it as something that Ohio State can’t handle later in the year.
I feel like this game might play out a bit like the game in 2015 when Western Michigan came to Columbus to play the Buckeyes. The Broncos won’t really threaten the Wolverines, but they’ll be just pesky enough to cover against their in-state foe.
Michigan 38, Western Michigan 17
Duke v. Northwestern (-3) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNU
Somehow Northwestern has the longest current winning streak among Power 5 teams, with the Wildcats having won nine straight games. Clayton Thorson was able to play against Purdue, but the real story was running back Jeremy Larkin, who rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s not like going to Northwestern is the toughest experience for the road team. Duke goes to some more hostile environments in the ACC, so I’m having a hard time seeing them having trouble with the atmosphere. David Cutcliffe has transformed the football program into a respectable one. The Blue Devils have given Northwestern fits lately and they make it two wins in a row against the Wildcats.
Duke 27, Northwestern 24
Eastern Michigan v. Purdue (-17) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Eastern Michigan doesn’t have Brogan Roback anymore so what’s the point? Purdue has Rondale Moore so that equals plenty of points. The Boilermakers score early and often.
Purdue 44, Eastern Michigan 20
Colorado v. Nebraska (-4) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
It would have been good if we could have gotten a peak at Scott Frost’s Nebraska squad before this battle of old Big 12 foes, but Mother Nature had other plans. The Cornhuskers season opener against Akron was scrubbed due to weather, so Nebraska has to wait an extra week to open up their 2018 season.
Colorado laid a good ol’ fashioned beatdown on Colorado State last week. I sorta like the combination of quarterback Steven Montez and Virginia Tech grad transfer running back Travon McMillan. I could imagine Nebraska being tight with having to wait a week to play. Scott Frost might have to wait a little longer to get his first win for the Cornhuskers.
Colorado 31, Nebraska 28
Iowa State v. Iowa (-4) - 5:00 PM EST - FOX
EL ASSICO BACK! Much like Nebraska, Iowa State had to wait a week to open their regular season after their opener against South Dakota State was cancelled. This feels like the year that Iowa State ends Iowa’s four-game winning streak in the rivalry, doesn’t it? The Cyclones are coming off an 8-5 season and Matt Campbell returns quarterback Kyle Kempt and David Montgomery at running back.
Iowa was essentially a snake in their opener that wrapped around Northern Illinois, squeezed them to death, and then slowly picked away at their dead body. The Hawkeyes only went into halftime up 3-0, but in the second half their appetite improved and really went to work on the Huskies.
Iowa State may be the underdog in this one, but they feel like a little too trendy of a pick. The Cyclones will find some success on offense, but Iowa will just be too much on defense for Iowa State to overcome.
Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
Maryland (-16) v. Bowling Green - 6:00 PM EST - ESPN+
I don’t pay for ESPN+ so this isn’t really a game to me. I’ll pick it just because, but I’m going to do the bare minimum. Somebody not named Tim Beck is going to be calling the plays for Bowling Green so I like their chances to cover.
Maryland 42, Bowling Green 31
Virginia v. Indiana (-6.5) - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
There is 100% chance this game is going to be incredibly stupid. I have no doubt that both the Cavaliers and Hoosiers are going to trip all over themselves in their attempts to lose this game. In a game where stupidity is bound to happen just take the points.
Indiana 28, Virginia 24
Fresno State v. Minnesota (-1.5) - 7:30 PM EST - FS1
Jeff Tedford is ruthless. The Bulldogs just dropped a 79 spot on newly-FCS Idaho in the season opener. In a span of just over nine minutes in the second quarter, Fresno State returned two blocked field goals for touchdowns, with an interception return for a touchdown sandwiched in the middle. Both field goal blocks were returned for the score by Jaron Bryant.
Minnesota didn’t score 79 points, but they found little resistance from New Mexico State. Freshman quarterback Zack Annexstand had a respectable debut, while running back Rodney Smith added 153 yards on the ground.
In Tedford’s first season as head coach, Fresno State went 10-4 in 2017. The Bulldogs are going to be good again this year. I think not only do the Bulldogs go to Minneapolis and beat the Golden Gophers this week, but I think they also win next week against Chip Kelly’s UCLA squad.
Fresno State 34, Minnesota 27
No. 13 Penn State (-9) v. Pitt - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
Nice to see Penn State matching up with their most hated rival again. The Nittany Lions almost came into this matchup with a loss after they needed overtime to beat Appalachian State last week. Penn State was horrific on defense last week, allowing over 450 yards to the Mountaineers.
Pitt beat Albany to open their season, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know Albany had a football team. The Panthers lost a lot of close games last year, so I guess I could see this one coming down to the final minutes, but it is taking a lot of brain power to do that, and it’s not like I have a ton of that left.
With a game under their belt, Penn State’s young team looks better than they did last week. Trace McSorley has a big game in prime time, and I think a two touchdown victory by the Nittany Lions sounds about right.
Penn State 38, Pitt 24
No. 15 Michigan State (-6) v. Arizona State - 10:45 PM EST - ESPN
It would be fitting if, after an offseason full of jokes about Arizona State hiring Herm Edwards, the former NFL head coach leads his team to a win over a ranked team in his second game with the Sun Devils. Manny Wilkins to N’Keal Harry is a smooth combination. If the Spartans don’t have a plan in place to stop the Arizona State duo, it could be a long night for a Michigan State defense that looked suspect in defending the pass against Utah State.
A few weeks ago I figured it’d be a no-brainer that I’d be picking Michigan State here, but I’m not all that impressed with how the Spartans opened up the season. Now Michigan State has to make the trip out west for a late game against the Sun Devils. I honestly don’t think the Spartans win here, and if they do I don’t think they win by more than six points.
Arizona State 34, Michigan State 31
Rutgers v. No. 4 Ohio State (-35) - 3:30 PM EST- Big Ten Network
It’s amazing that in his third year as Rutgers head coach, Chris Ash is still looking for his first points against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have shut the Scarlet Knights out the last two years, and have scored at least 49 points in each of their wins the last four seasons.
Feeling sorry for Rutgers yet? Not so much? Now think about how true freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski has to try and stay upright against Nick Bosa, Dre’Mont Jones, and the rest of the Ohio State defense. Last week Sitkowski threw three interceptions against Texas State. Who knows how many he might throw against an athletic Ohio State defense.
Rutgers has made some strides in Ash’s two seasons as head coach, but much like last week, Ohio State should be able to name their score against the Scarlet Knights. I do think that with TCU on deck, acting head coach Ryan Day might pull his starters a little earlier than normal, but there is so much quality at the backup positions that it won’t make a huge difference.
Dwayne Haskins will probably pass for 3-4 touchdowns and I think this week J.K. Dobbins cracks the 100-yard mark on the ground. Really the biggest story of the game will be if Rutgers can actually score any points, and I think third time is a charm for Ash against the Buckeyes. Heck, Rutgers might even make it to double digits!
Ohio State 55, Rutgers 10