With the exception of Minnesota defeating Northwestern, the favored team won every game last week. As I said last week, by now both Vegas and the BSD staff have figured out more-or-less how good teams are, and straightforward matchups make for easy picks. There are a couple interesting games for rivalry week this week, which should make for some off-the-wall predictions. How will this week’s games go down? Let’s find out!
Big Ten Week 13 Preview
#16 Nebraska (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) at Iowa (7-4, 5-3)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Iowa City, IA
Line: Iowa -1, O/U: 41.5
FARMAGEDDON. Last week Nebraska defeated Maryland 28-7 on the arms of backup quarterback Ryker Fyfe, which is one of the best names I’ve had the privilege of typing. Iowa, meanwhile, shut out Illinois 28-0. In this game, Nebraska is playing for a chance at the Big Ten West title, with the hopes that Wisconsin loses. However the Hawkeyes have been resurgent the last few weeks, and I’m going to ride the hot hand. Iowa surprises Nebraska at home.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Nebraska 20
Purdue (3-8, 1-7) at Indiana (5-6, 3-5)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Bloomington, IN
Line: Indiana -20.5, O/U: 63
Purdue was technically on the field while Wisconsin won 49-20. They scored a couple points, at least. Indiana gave Michigan a fair shake before the Wolverine ground game put the Hoosiers away. I’d like to say that stats don’t matter in rivalry games, but I just don’t see how Purdue wins this one. The Hoosiers become bowl-eligible.
Prediction: Indiana 36, Purdue 21
Illinois (3-8, 2-6) at Northwestern (5-6, 3-5)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Evanston, IL
Line: Northwestern -16.5, O/U: 45
Illinois was shut out at home by Iowa 28-0 for Senior Day. Northwestern got a little big for their britches and were actually favored against Minnesota, only to lose 29-12. This one goes in the chalk column for me, as I just don’t see Illinois putting up much of a fight. Like Indiana, Northwestern gets to six wins and will go bowling.
Prediction: Northwestern 42, Illinois 10
Rutgers (2-9, 0-8) at Maryland (5-6, 2-6)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at College Park, MD
Line: Maryland -14, O/U: 51.5
Rutgers surrounded Penn State with a charming, boisterous atmosphere, but ultimately succumbed 39-0. Maryland scored their first touchdown in 3 weeks, but lost to Nebraska 28-7. Maryland has only beaten bad teams this season, and luckily for them, Rutgers is a bad team. Yet another Big Ten team qualifies for a bowl in the last week of the season.
Prediction: Maryland 31, Rutgers 14
#3 Michigan (10-1, 7-1) at #2 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Columbus, OH
Line: Ohio State -6.5, O/U: 45.5
Michigan was trailing at home against Indiana 10-6 in the third quarter before De’Veon Smith scored two long touchdown runs, and the Wolverines held on to win 20-10. Ohio State got a tough test from Michigan State, and were it not for Mark Dantonio opting to go for two and the win, rather than the tie and overtime, may have lost. Rather, the Buckeyes escaped 17-16. Neither team looked very good last week, and so I’m having a little bit of a tough time predicting The Game. Given that this game is at Columbus, and that the Michigan passing game has all but disappeared without Wilton Speight, I’m going to take OSU in a nail biter.
Prediction: Ohio State 27, Michigan 24
Minnesota (8-3, 5-3) at #6 Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Madison, WI
Line: Wisconsin -14.5, O/U: 44
Minnesota put a lid on the suddenly feisty Wildcats of Northwestern, winning 29-12. Wisconsin toyed with and ultimately defeated Purdue 49-20. I’m a big fan of Minnesota this season, and think that they’re very underrated. That being said, with a chance at the B1G Conference Championship Game – and perhaps a spot in the playoffs – on the line, I think the Badgers are too much for the Gophers to handle. Wisconsin wins and awaits the Big Ten East champs, whomever they may be.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 21
BSD Staff Picks
A week of straightforward matchups led to a lot of perfect records on the week. Both Aaron and Dena went 7-0 on the week, and so maintain their 1-game lead over Chris Taylor. Patrick went for the Wildcats over Minnesota and so dropped a game off the pace. It’ll take some real fireworks to upset the frontrunners with just one week left in the season. Let’s see what everyone’s thinking!
Despite this week being rivalry week – which typically means you throw out the stat book and ignore the point spreads – there is not much in the way of dissent from the staff. The only game with any real action on it is Nebraska – Iowa. Despite being ranked in the top 20, Nebraska is actually the underdog this week, and more of the staff sees the Hawkeyes defeating the Cornhuskers than not. Only thing left to do is wait and see! On to another weekend of Big Ten action! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!