Last week ATS: 7-5 (3-3 National, 4-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 57-51-3 (24-21-2 National, 33-30-1 B1G)
This week got off to a rough start with SMU not being able to create some separation on Houston, but there are still five national games left that could be winners. If you missed yesterday picks, you can find them here.
No. 20 Iowa (-10) v. Northwestern - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Good thing Wisconsin-Ohio State will be on at this time so people won’t have to watch this game. Northwestern isn’t good. The Buckeyes had their way with the Wildcats last week in a 52-3 romp in Evanston. The Northwestern offensive line won’t get a break a week after facing Chase Young, as they’ll have to try and slow down A.J. Epenesa and the Iowa pass rush.
Iowa was able to get back in the win column last week against Purdue, but the Hawkeyes didn’t make things easy for themselves. The Boilermakers hung around and were able to cover the number against Iowa. Something just isn’t right with the Iowa offense right now. The Hawkeyes should be better with a veteran quarterback like Nate Stanley, but nothing is clicking.
Northwestern may be beaten up and not as talented as the Hawkeyes, but the one thing you can count on the Wildcats for is to give maximum effort. Iowa has struggled in Big Ten play, while Northwestern is itching for their first conference win this season. The Wildcats will still be searching after this week, but they dig deep and push Iowa to the limit.
Iowa 20, Northwestern 17
Illinois v. Purdue (-9.5) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Should Purdue really be laying nearly 10 points to anyone right now? Jack Plummer is moving the Boilermaker offense, but Jeff Brohm is still dealing with a lot of problems. Purdue can’t run the football and their defense is terrible.
Illinois got a huge win last week when they knocked off Wisconsin. The victory of the Badgers might have bought Lovie Smith a little more time to work in Champaign. Expect big days for quarterback Brandon Peters, running back Reggie Corbin, and wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, as they get to work against Purdue’s swiss cheese defense.
It’s entirely possible that Illinois could be pulling off a grift, as they make people believe a little bit in them after an improbable win, only to quickly revert back to the losing football we have become accustomed to. Illinois will regress, but they give us a little more entertainment with a close game against the Boilermakers.
Purdue 34, Illinois 31
Liberty (-7.5) v. Rutgers - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Hugh Freeze against Rutgers is a thing. I just wish Freeze was still working from the press box in random medical furniture. Come to Rutgers and coach in a dentist chair. It would be the only thing to make this game interesting.
Liberty isn’t actually that bad it looks like. The Flames are 5-2 and quarterback Stephen Calvert has put up some good numbers this year. I can’t believe I’m taking an Independent squad against a Big Ten team, but Rutgers is that bad. I can’t really see how the Scarlet Knights keep it closer than 10 points.
Liberty 27, Rutgers 17
No. 6 Penn State (-5.5) v. Michigan State - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Penn State impressed with their win over Michigan last week, but the Nittany Lions couldn’t cover the spread against the Wolverines. The Nittany Lions are coming off consecutive weeks of playing Iowa and Michigan, and now they have to take on a Michigan State team they have lost four of five to. Quarterback Sean Clifford will have his hands full trying to stay clean against a talented Michigan State defensive front.
The Spartans looked pretty awful in their last two outings, but that’s to be expected when taking on Ohio State and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks. After the losses, Michigan State couldn’t have asked for a better time for their bye week to come along. The week off gave the Spartans some extra time to heal up and address their issues.
This has upset written all over it. I’ve doubted Penn State on numerous occasions this year and it hasn’t worked out too well for me. But this feels different, since Penn State comes in off two tough games, while Michigan State has been resting. Even if Michigan State doesn’t spring the upset, I see this game being decided by three to four points.
Penn State 24, Michigan State 21
Maryland v. No. 17 Minnesota (-16.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
Imagine someone telling you during the offseason that Minnesota would be undefeated in late October. That probably would have gotten a few laughs. Not that Minnesota is bad, they just had a lot of questions. The Golden Gophers have a trio of running backs in Rodney Smith, Mohamed Ibrahim, and Shannon Brooks, which has done a lot of the lfiting lately.
Surprisingly there is some reason for optimism for Maryland fans the rest of the way. Sure, it may be a stretch to get bowl eligible, but at least the Terrapins should have quarterback Josh Jackson and running back Anthony McFarland Jr. back for this game. If Maryland is able to getting those two going early, they could put a real scare into Minnesota.
I know Maryland is going to need more than Jackson and McFarland to pull the upset on the Golden Gophers, but at least they should be able to hang around Minnesota. The Golden Gophers could have their eyes on a matchup with Penn State in a couple weeks. Maryland is pesky enough to keep this within two touchdowns.
Minnesota 33, Maryland 27
Indiana v. Nebraska (-2.5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
The way these teams have been playing lately, you would think the number would be flipped and Indiana would be the favorite. The Hoosiers have won three of four games, with the only loss coming in a competitive game to Michigan State. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. left last week’s win over Maryland early due to injury, leaving Peyton Ramsey to finish out the game. Penix is questionable for this week’s game against Nebraska.
The bye week couldn’t have come any sooner for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have struggled lately, with losses to Ohio State and Minnesota sandwiching an ugly win over Northwestern. The week off should give Adrian Martinez time to heal up and refocus. If things don’t change in a hurry for Nebraska, the second year with Scott Frost as head coach isn’t going to live up to expectations.
I think we get a strong effort from Nebraska this week. The Cornhuskers know their backs are against the wall, which will yield their best performance in over a month. Indiana has been good this year, but the Hoosiers just aren’t quite ready to go on the road and beat Nebraska in Lincoln.
Nebraska 38, Indiana 31
No. 8 Notre Dame (-1) v. No. 19 Michigan- 7:30 PM EST - ABC
I was shocked to see Notre Dame as an underdog when these lines first came out. Since Sunday, the Fighting Irish have become a slight favorite, but it feels like they should be favored by more. Notre Dame had a bye week to ready themselves for Michigan after their win over USC in South Bend a couple weeks ago. Quarterback Ian Book has already gone down to Athens and played a pretty good game in the loss to Georgia earlier this year, so I don’t think the atmosphere in Ann Arbor will bother him.
Michigan has to be ready for a week off. The Wolverines have played Wisconsin, Iowa, and Penn State over their last five games, and now they’ll be taking on a tough Notre Dame team. Michigan looked like they got some things together in the second half last week against Penn State, but their comeback didn’t have enough legs. Shea Patterson wasn’t bad against the Nittany Lions last week, but who knows when he’ll revert back to some of the poor form we have seen from him this season.
This feels like Vegas is setting a trap for us, but I’m too stupid to go against my first instinct that Notre Dame is going to win this game. I just think the Fighting Irish are a better team right now. The Wolverines are beaten up while Notre Dame comes into this game pretty fresh. Maybe Michigan comes out a little fired up, but Notre Dame is just a little bit better than the Wolverines and wins by a touchdown.
Notre Dame 27, Michigan 20
No. 13 Wisconsin v. No. 3 Ohio State (-14.5) - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
If only Wisconsin hadn’t lost to Illinois last week. Not only would there be even more hype for this showdown, but the line probably would have been a little smaller for Ohio State. Not like I really think it’s going to matter in the end though, since Ohio State is so good on both sides of the football. The Buckeyes are the only team in the country with both their offense and defense ranked in the top five.
Wisconsin has the best defense in the country statistically but the Badgers haven’t played anyone who can hurt them quite like Ohio State can. Justin Fields has been phenomenal this year in his first season at Ohio State, accounting for 30 touchdowns through seven games. Key in on the pass and the Buckeyes are going to hurt you on the ground with J.K. Dobbins. The magic number for Ohio State to get to is 100 yards rushing for Dobbins, as the Buckeyes are 14-0 when the running back hits triple digits.
Ohio State’s defense has been just about as good as Wisconsin’s this year, and they’ll need to be on Saturday when trying to slow down Jonathan Taylor. The Wisconsin running back reached 5,000 career rushing yards last weekend against Illinois, becoming the fastest to hit that mark. The Buckeyes are going to need Baron Browning back after missing last week’s game against Northwestern. Browning and fellow linebacker Malik Harrison will be key in keeping Taylor in check on Saturday.
Lately the games between these two schools have been close, with five or the last six meetings being decided by seven points or less. I don’t think it’ll be that close in Columbus on Saturday. While Wisconsin is talented and would cause a lot of problems for many teams, I don’t think Ohio State is one of those teams. The Buckeyes have too much speed and talent on both sides of the football and can hurt their opponents in many ways. If Wisconsin sees their run game shut down, it’s a lot tougher for the Badgers to stay in the game. I think the Buckeyes win by at least 14, and think the final margin between the two teams on Saturday is around 21.
Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 17