Last week ATS: 9-4 (5-1 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 92-76-4 (43-32-3 National, 49-44-1 B1G)
No. 17 Iowa (-5.5) v. Nebraska - Friday 2:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Once Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, the conference has gotten in on the Black Friday football action with the tilt between the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers. While Nebraska got the better of the first few meetings, Iowa has dominated the series recently, winning the last four games between the schools.
If Iowa wins on Friday, they’ll secure their second consecutive nine-win season, but the Hawkeyes feel like they should have already hit that mark this year after suffering close losses to Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Nate Stanley will be playing in his final regular season game for the Hawkeyes, as he has been Iowa’s quarterback since 1974.
Nebraska really needs this win. If the Cornhuskers aren’t able to beat the Hawkeyes, it will mean no bowl games for Nebraska in Scott Frost’s first two seasons as head coach. The numbers would make you think the Hawkeyes should beat Nebraska, but I’m going against the numbers! I think somehow the Cornhuskers pull off the upset here and find a way to get to six wins on the seasons.
Nebraska 24, Iowa 20
Northwestern v. Illinois (-8) - 12:00 PM EST - FS1
Thankfully this will be the last time we have to talk about Northwestern this year. The Wildcats have been pitiful in 2019, with Pat Fitzgerald’s team staring a 10-loss season in the face. If Northwestern isn’t able to win on Saturday, it will mark the first time in 30 years the Wildcats have lost 10 games in a season. Maybe Fitzgerald should answer some of those emails to his “hashtagidontcare” e-mail account and look for some offensive tips this offseason since he’ll have plenty of time on his hands.
Illinois already has secured bowl eligibility this year, so anything else this year is a bonus for Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini. The football Illinois has played this year hasn’t been pretty, but they have been beating bad teams pretty handily. Northwestern is a really bad team. The Fighting Illini take of business and wins on Saturday by double-digits to snap a four-game losing streak against their in-state rivals.
Illinois 31, Northwestern 17
Indiana (-6.5) v. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Indiana has come back down to earth some recently, losing the last two weeks to Penn State and Michigan after a 7-2 start to the season. With bowl eligibilty already secured, the Hoosiers will turn their attention to taking back the Old Oaken Bucket from Purdue, who has won the last two meetings of the Hoosier State rivals.
The season can’t end fast enough for Purdue, as the Boilermakers are down to their third-string quarterback and have been without wide receiver Rondale Moore for most of the season. The Boilermakers are coming into their final game of the regular season off a 45-24 loss to Wisconsin. Jonathan Taylor gashed Purdue, rushing for 222 yards against the Boilermakers.
Indiana snaps out of their funk with a win over their rivals. Purdue is limping to the finish line and it’ll show on Saturday. Wide receiver Whop Philyor is questionable for Saturday’s game with a concussion, but I feel like he’ll end up playing after missing last week’s game against Michigan. Peyton Ramsey will have a bounce-back performance against a Purdue defense that is considerably easier than Penn State and Michigan.
Indiana 38, Purdue 23
Rutgers v. No. 10 Penn State (-41) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
As if Rutgers hadn’t already had a tough enough season, the Scarlet Knights finish up 2019 with a trip to State College to take on a pissed off Penn State team. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 28-17 loss to Ohio State, which saw Will Levis replace an injured Sean Clifford. Even if Clifford is healthy enough to play on Saturday, I still think we see Levis at times to give Rutgers some different looks on offense.
Penn State should blast Rutgers into the sun, but we have seen teams who have lost tough games to Ohio State lay an egg the next week. If the Nittany Lions were playing pretty much anyone beside Rutgers I’d think they’d give Penn State a little tougher time, but the Scarlet Knights have a tough time scoring points in the Big Ten, having already been shutout four times this year against conference foes. Rutgers gets a few points but Penn State gets a lot more on Saturday.
Penn State 56, Rutgers 7
Maryland v. Michigan State (-22) - 3:30 PM EST - FS1
If you are still looking for things to give thanks for this year, be thankful I won’t subject you to a longer Maryland-Michigan State writeup. If Maryland isn’t going to try anymore this season, why should I when it comes to the Terrapins? Michigan State gets a very easy win over Maryland and becomes bowl eligible at the deadline.
Michigan State 37, Maryland 10
No. 12 Wisconsin (-2.5) v. No. 8 Minnesota - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
It has been quite a while since the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe has been this important. Last year Minnesota snapped Wisconsin’s 14-game winning streak in the series with a 37-15 win over the Badgers. Now the Golden Gophers need a win to earn their first trip to the Big Ten Championship Game.
Jonathan Taylor is working his way towards 2,000 yards rushing for the second straight season. The Wisconsin running back has rushed for 1,685 yards so far this season. Minnesota will key on Taylor and if they can slow him down it will force quarterback Jack Coan to make some plays against a Minnesota secondary that included Antonie Winfield Jr.
I want some fresh blood in the Big Ten Championship Game, so I’ll roll with the Golden Gophers here. Minnesota has already taken down a ranked team at home, and on Saturday they’ll wrap up their regular season schedule with a win over their rival. The Badgers have a strong defense but the combination of quarterback Tanner Morgan and the running game the Golden Gophers offer up will be a little too much for Wisconsin.
Minnesota 31, Wisconsin 24
No. 1 Ohio State (-9.5) v. No. 13 Michigan - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
The Game is finally here! As if the annual meeting between the teams didn’t already mean enough, a little extra juice was added to the matchup when the Buckeyes were elevated to the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday. Ohio State is coming off their toughest game of the year when they down Penn State 28-17 in Columbus last week. The Buckeyes were firmly in control of the game in the first half, but some suspect play-calling in the second half allowed the Nittany Lions to creep back into the game.
Since Ryan Day has been so good at making adjustments, I don’t think we see Ohio State play like they did in the second half against Penn State. Justin Fields has been unreal this year against strong Big Ten teams like Wisconsin and Penn State, so I don’t think we’ll see him struggle against Michigan. Not that I think Fields will be held in check, but even if he is the Buckeyes have running back J.K. Dobbins to lean on.
Shea Patterson comes into The Game off one of the best performances of his career, throwing five touchdowns last week against Indiana. Hope Shea enjoyed that because he isn’t going to come anywhere close to that this week with Chase Young breathing down his neck. After a two-game suspension, Young had a triumphant return to the football field last week, destroying Sean Clifford and Penn State. If Patterson isn’t able to find his receivers Michigan is going to be in real trouble since I don’t think Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet have what it takes on the ground to get the job done against Ohio State.
Urban Meyer may be gone from Ohio State, but the winning ways against Michigan will continue. Ryan Day is going to outcoach Jim Harbaugh, who will leave Saturday’s contest still winless as head coach of the Wolverines against the Buckeyes. Watch out for Chris Olave to have another big game against Michigan this year after the wide receiver made a name for himself with his performance against the Wolverines last year. Ohio State wins their eight straight against the Wolverines, and it isn’t as close as some are thinking it could be.
Ohio State 37, Michigan 20