The penultimate week in the B1G was mostly chalk, and as such both the East and the West have been decided - Ohio State will face Wisconsin for the conference championship. So what’s left to play for? Bowl seeding! And pride, I guess, for those teams whose bowl hopes have long since sailed. How will this week’s B1G games go down? Let’s find out!
Big Ten Week 13 Preview
Iowa (6-5, 3-5 Big Ten) at Nebraska (4-7, 3-5)
Friday, 4:00 PM at Lincoln, NE
Line: Iowa -3.5
Last week Iowa inexplicably lost to Purdue, while Nebraska got thoroughly destroyed by Penn State (final score notwithstanding). I think Iowa has it in them to win this game, but their season has been so up and down that a loss wouldn’t surprise me either.
Prediction: Iowa 28, Nebraska 24
#9 Ohio State (9-2, 7-1) at Michigan (8-3, 5-3)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at Ann Arbor, MI
Line: Ohio State -12
The good news for the participants The Game is that it actually won’t decide anything with respect to the B1G championship. The bad news is that Ohio State still needs some help to make the playoffs, and Michigan may not have any quarterbacks left on its roster. I expect this one to be ugly for the home dog.
Prediction: Ohio State 49, Michigan 14
Indiana (5-6, 2-6) at Purdue (5-6, 3-5)
Saturday, 12:00 PM at West Lafayette, IN
Line: Purdue -3
In what figures to be the most interesting game of the week, bowl eligibility is on hte line for two of the middling teams in the league. Purdue gutted out a win against Iowa to keep their postseason hopes alive, while Indiana put a hurting on Rutgers. Though the Boilermakers are favored, I’m going with the Hoosiers to make it back to their third straight bowl game.
Prediction: Indiana 31, Purdue 27
#5 Wisconsin (11-0, 8-0) at Minnesota (5-6, 2-6)
Saturday, 3:30 PM at Minneapolis, MN
Line: Wisconsin -17
I must give credit where it’s due - Wisconsin has taken care of every opponent they’ve faced this year. No one else in the conference can say the same. The spread here appears to be about right, as I think the Badgers will get a lead and then coast, in an attempt to avoid injury prior to the conference championship game.
Prediction: Wisconsin 34, Minnesota 14
#16 Michigan State (8-3, 6-2) at Rutgers (4-7, 3-5)
Saturday, 4:00 PM at Piscataway, NJ
Line: Michigan State -14
Ouch. After looking competitive against Michigan and Penn State, Rutgers took on the not-so-might Hoosiers and got blanked, losing 41-0. Michigan State rebounded from their beating at the hands of the Buckeyes to defeat the Illini easily. Michigan State is in the same boat as Penn State - hoping for a good bowl to end the year, and need to win this game to keep pace with the Lions.
Prediction: Michigan State 38, Rutgers 14
#22 Northwestern (8-3, 3-5) at Illinois (2-9, 0-8)
Saturday, 4:00 PM at Champaign, IL
Line: Northwestern -16.5
Somehow, some way, Northwestern finds itself in contention for double digit wins. The Wildcats are on a six-game win streak, and look to close out the season against the hapless Illini. A win here and in their bowl game, and the Wildcats could reach 10 wins on the season - not bad after their early season struggles.
Prediction: Northwestern 35, Illinois 17
As we enter the final week of the challenge, yours truly holds a one game lead over Tim. I don’t plan on relinquishing that lead, but crazy things happen in pick ‘ems! Let’s see if I can ride out this victory!
For this week, all but one game was decided unanimously by the staff:
- Iowa over Nebraska
- Indiana over Purdue
- #10 Penn State over Maryland
- #5 Wisconsin over Minnesota
- #16 Michigan State over Rutgers
- #22 Northwestern over Illinois
Everyone on the staff picked the Buckeyes to take down the Wolverines, but Eli, ever the contrarian, has opted for Michigan. After watching Penn State thrash the Wolverines - and then lose to Ohio State - I can’t say that I have much faith in his pick. But if the Buckeyes were to lose, it would only help Penn State in its bid for a New Year’s Six bowl game. What say you, dear reader? Did the masthead get it right?