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Big Ten Preview: Week Twelve

Each of the Big Ten conference contests in bloggerific preview.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the biggest B1G game is in the books, the conference largely returns to anonymity.

Iowa @ Illinois

When: Saturday, 12pm ET BTN

Line: Iowa -3.5

Over/Under: 56.5

Who is Iowa? The team that blew out Northwestern two weeks ago, or the one that just got destroyed by Minnesota last week? I really have no idea what to say about this random number generator of a football team. Illinois is Illinois, and therefore is the type of team Iowa manages to crap the bed against and repeatedly drive their fan base insane. Meanwhile, Tim Beckman is just waiting for the academic challenge to start.

#8 Ohio State @ #25 Minnesota

When: Saturday, 12pm ET ABC

Line: Ohio State -14

Over/Under: 56.5

In a rare noon marquee B1G matchup, Ohio State travels to snowy Minneapolis for a showdown with the Gophers. Will the Buckeyes be in line for a letdown against a Minnesota team more than capable of ruining their second chance at the playoff? The bye week seemed to be just what the Gophers needed to get sorted out after their upset at Illinois and look to keep momentum rolling. Ohio State can't afford another Virginia Tech slip up now that they managed to dig themselves out of hole the season started in.

Indiana @ Rutgers

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET BTN

Line: Rutgers -7

Over/Under: 55

If Rutgers can't get the victory against the Hoosiers, their chances at making a bowl drastically plummet. This season should prove to be a wake up call to the Scarlet Knight fan base that entered this year thinking conference championships. Tevin Coleman and Indiana should get back on track against the Rutgers following the throttling at the hands of the Nittany Lion defense and it's still uncertain how much Gary Nova will play or how effective he can be, so the Hoosiers are unlikely to be caught in a track meet.

#16 Nebraska @ #20 Wisconsin

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET ABC

Line: Wisconsin -6.5

Over/Under: 57

The B1G West playoff starts this week as Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all face each other the last three weeks. A combination of Wisconsin's defense and Ameer Abdullah being at less than a hundred percent would seem to point toward a Badger victory, but Wisconsin faced a lot of filler since the season opening loss to LSU and still couldn't manage to get through that stretch unscathed. Nebraska has been the more consistent squad this season with only a loss at Michigan State, and the Huskers very nearly managed to pull off the upset in that one.

Northwestern @ #18 Notre Dame

When: Saturday, 3:30pm NBC

Line: Notre Dame -18

Over/Under: 52.5

Northwestern and Notre Dame are both at a crossroads. After failing in their two-point conversion attempt for the win against Michigan and likely missing their opportunity at a bowl this season, the Wildcats could fix it all with a win against the Irish. Notre Dame could likewise be watching their season circle the drain following their embarrassment at Arizona State and the ensuing loss of a potential playoff bid. With Louisville and USC remaining on their schedule, the Irish need to stop the bleeding quickly and Northwestern should prove tougher than the point spread would indicate.

#12 Michigan State @ Maryland

When: Saturday, 8pm BTN

Line: Michigan State -11

Over/Under: 58

Michigan State got lit up by big plays last week against Ohio State, but should have no such problems with week against the Terps. Stephon Diggs serves his one game suspension and takes all Maryland's explosive offensive potential with him. The Terps defense should offer little resistance to Connor Cook and the Michigan State offense. Assuming the Spartans can manage to stay focused following their loss, this game shouldn't be much a contest and you can freely enjoy the likely far more competitive Auburn-Georgia game Saturday night.