Last week ATS: 5-7-1 (1-4-1 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 44-40-3 (18-15-1 National, 26-25-1 B1G)
Did you miss yesterday’s national picks from MC&J because Ohio State’s on a bye and you’re thrown off your routine? Lucky for you I’m going to make it easy to find them. Mash this to find my picks for Oklahoma-Texas, Florida-LSU, and more.
No. 16 Michigan (-23) v. Illinois - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
How hilarious would it be if Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters engineered an upset of his former team? We really do need this in our lives. Honestly though, we shouldn’t get too attached to the idea because it’s not going to happen. While Peters hasn’t been bad for Illinois this year. pretty much the rest of the team has been awful. The Fighting Illini couldn’t even beat Eastern Michigan at home.
I’m not sure if Michigan won last week, or if Iowa beat themselves. The Wolverines have now allowed just three points over their last two games. Michigan now gets another layup before their next possible huge, embarrassing failure, as the Wolverines travel to Penn State next week.
This game has a feeling like it’ll play out similar to Michigan’s game against Rutgers. Illinois will actually get on the scoreboard, but they won’t score much. The Wolverines wear down the Fighting Iliini and the final scoreline looks a lot like the last meeting between the schools, when Michigan won 41-8 in 2016.
Michigan 38, Illinois 10
Rutgers v. Indiana (-28) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
I doubted Indiana’s ability to cover a four touchdown spread a couple weeks ago when they played UConn. I will not make the same mistake twice. The Hoosiers showed a lot in a tough 40-31 loss to Michigan State a couple weeks ago, becoming the first team since the beginning of the 2018 season to score at least 30 points against the Spartans.
Do we really have to spend any more time talking about Rutgers? I know they’re bad, you know they’re bad, we all know they’re bad. At some point they are going to cover a big number, but I’ll take my chances they don’t do it in Bloomington on Saturday afternoon. Michael Penix Jr. has a strong performance, while the Indiana defense forces Rutgers into a number of turnovers.
Indiana 48, Rutgers 13
Maryland (-3.5) v. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Saturday is the Backup Quarterback Bowl in West Lafayette. Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar was lost for the season a few weeks ago, leaving Jack Plummer to take the snaps for the Boilermakers. Plummer might not be long for the job though, as he has attempted 97 passes while being sacked 14 times. Adding to Purdue’s problems, the Boilermakers sound like they’ll be without Rondale Moore again this week.
Tyrrell Pigrome will get the start for Maryland, as Virginia Tech transfer quarterback Josh Jackson won’t be available due to injury. At least Maryland has a running game to lean on to take some of the pressure off of Pigrome. Purdue is barely averaging 50 yards per game on the ground.
Both times are notoriously frustrating to get a read on. Once you think you have them figured out, they go the opposite way. I wish I had more confidence in Purdue in this game because they are at home, but I think Maryland is a little bit better right now after factoring in the injuries. I’ll officially take Maryland, so I’m pretty much assuring Purdue will blow out the Terrapins.
Maryland 34, Purdue 24
Michigan State v. No. 8 Wisconsin (-11) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
The Ohio State hangover is real. Last week Nebraska struggled to beat a bad Northwestern team after the Buckeyes mangled the Cornhuskers in Lincoln the week before. Michigan State comes into this game after suffering a 34-10 loss to Ohio State. While Wisconsin can’t do as much on offense as the Buckeyes, the Badgers and Jonathan Taylor have to be intrigued seeing Michigan State give up over 300 yards on the ground to Ohio State.
Michigan State didn’t exactly strike fear in opponents running the football this year, and they certainly won’t scare the Badgers, who are giving up less than 50 yards rushing per game. I don’t think Michigan State is a bad team, but this game could get ugly. Brian Lewerke will have his hands full trying to find holes against a Wisconsin defense that has three shutouts this year.
Michigan State is undoubtedly the best team Wisconsin has played this year, but that’s not saying a lot. The Badgers are catching the Spartans at the perfect time. Not only is Michigan State still recovering from the loss to Ohio State, but this will be the third time the Spartans have hit the road in their last four games. Normally I’d probably take Michigan State at this number, but this is an awful spot for the Spartans.
Wisconsin 33, Michigan State 17
Nebraska v. Minnesota (-7.5) - 7:30 PM EST - FS1
It sounds like the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy will be contests in some sloppy conditions in Minneapolis on Saturday night. This heavily favors Minnesota, who is coming of rushing for 332 yards in a 40-17 win over Illinois. Rodney Smith ran for 211 yards against the Fighting Illini, while Shannon Brooks added 111 yards rushing.
Nebraska’s 13-10 win over Northwestern last weekend was a thing that happened. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves, but it certainly was a thing that people saw. Coming into the season this had to feel like a game Nebraska could win, but how things change in less than half a season.
I’m terrified of taking so many favorites this week, but I’m not finding good reasons to take the underdogs. Nebraska’s defense is a mess right now, which should allow Minnesota to stay in the rhythm they have been playing with lately. The Golden Gophers use their running game to keep the football out of the hands of the Cornhuskers, while the Minnesota defense creates a few turnovers in possible bad weather.
Minnesota 31, Nebraska 21
No. 10 Penn State (-3.5) v. No. 17 Iowa - 7:30 PM EST - ABC
Penn State has been very strong lately, but they haven’t been tested by a defense like what Iowa will throw at them. Going to Maryland and winning under the lights is one thing for Sean Clifford and company, but going to Iowa City at night and leaving with a victory is a whole different task. Clifford isn’t going to be able to put up numbers like he has in the last few games, and he won’t have a running game to lean on, since the Hawkeyes will likely shut that down.
If only Iowa had been able to beat Michigan last week. The hype for Saturday night’s matchup at Kinnick would have been wild if both teams came in undefeated. The Hawkeyes have a lot to fix in a week, after putting just three points on the board against Michigan. Nate Stanley has been Iowa’s quarterback for about as Kirk Ferentz has been head coach it seems, so he has seen a thing or two. Stanley’s veteran leadership will help the offense bounce back and actually score double digits this week.
Since I have to pick an underdog somewhere, this is the perfect spot to do so. Iowa will come into Saturday night’s game pissed off after losing to Michigan last week. Add in Penn State’s lack of a real road game so far this year, and it will be tough sledding for the Nittany Lions. Penn State’s dreams of an undefeated season are ended on Saturday night, as Iowa snaps a five-game losing streak to the Nittany Lions.
Iowa 23, Penn State 20