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The Obligatory Predictions Competition - Week 12


I have to be on the road to Iowa City at 7:00 a.m., so I'm afraid that this is a poor man's version of the OPC.  Please have your picks in by 11:00 EST Saturday.

1. No. 7 WISCONSIN at MICHIGAN, 12:00 p.m. ESPN (11/20)



PICK THE UPSET. Not happening. I have a wonderful Michigan fan in my office who believes this upset can happen. "If they score early, the Wolverines have a chance. Then Wisky will have to pass to catch up!" Positive, but wishful thinking. Let me give you an analogy. Let's say you're dating this girl. She was amazing for the first couple of months and then got increasingly crazy and erratic. She's hot and fun, so you keep her around. Let's say you start taking her to a different restaurant or switch up your usual date night. She's still crazy. That doesn't change overnight. Michigan is that hot, crazy, erratic girl. If you believe the Wolverines can all of a sudden stop the Wisconsin run when all this year's history say they can't, good luck to you. Wisky wins on the road.


I hate to admit it, but I'll be pulling hard for the Wolverines in this one.  Still, there's no way I put my money where my mouth is.  Sure, Wisconsin's track record in Ann Arbor is abysmal.  You know what else is abysmal?  Michigan's run defense.  James White and Nick Toon will have the Badgers ahead of the downs all day in Ann Arbor.  Wisky early and often.

Odds are...
Wisconsin - 7
Big Ten Portal* says "Rich Rodriguez is 1-1 SU and ATS versus Wisconsin, including a very rare cover in a Big Ten game in 2008. Wisconsin comes in hot, having won and covered 4 games in a row, while Michigan is 0-6 the last 6 weeks ATS. Both teams are solid plays on the OVER, having combined to go Over in 9 of their 12 Big Ten contests, though at 67 this is a very high total."

2. ILLINOIS at NORTHWESTERN, 3:30 p.m. ESPNU (11/ 20)



I have faith in the Illinois run game. I have tremendous faith in the NW offensive system, which is so consistent that Evan Watkins can succeed right away. I have no faith in the overwhelmed Illini secondary. I have no faith in the Wildcats ability to finish scoring drives in the red zone...or make field goals. So do I pull the upset pick and believe that Watkins can win in his debut? Or should I stick my belief in the Illini and their frosh starter? I'll take the Illini in a close one. Although they've been giving up points to vertical passing, I'm not sure Northwestern will have their vertical pass game going on Saturday.


This might be the first time that a College Gameday game won't air nationally.  Illinois defense may be a bit of a specter, but without Dan Persa Northwestern is too big of a question mark.  Pick the visitors at Wrigley.

Odds are...
Illinois - 5
Big Ten Portal says "Pat Fitzgerald has fared better than Zook in their head-to-head matchups, winning 3 of 4 SU and also covering the spread in these 3 wins. Each of these 3 wins has also gone Under. Northwestern has struggled ATS this season (2-7) while Illinois is 6-3, but Northwestern is coming off an Underdog ML victory over Iowa, while Illinois lost a game to Minnesota in which they were 21 point favorites."

3. No. 16 VIRGINIA TECH at No. 24 MIAMI (FL), 3:30 p.m. ESPN (11/20)



VT has been the only semi-consistent team in the ACC...and they lost to James Madison. This is the kind of game where the run gets stuffed early and Miami has to depend on a freshman QB to convert third and longs. VT wins on the road.


It wouldn't surprise me if the Canes pulled this one out, but without Jacory Harris i just don't trust their offensive chemistry.  And don't give me the home field advantage argument.  Sun Life Stadium is lame.  This is another one of those games where my heart and my head are at odds since I need a Miami win to boost Ohio State's strength of schedule.  Nevertheless, I'm going with the team that was left for dead in September.

Odds are...
Virginia Tech - 3
Big Ten Portal says "The Hokies are 5-1 ATS in ACC games this year, and they're 8-1 since 2008 when they're a road favorite of three points or less. Meanwhile, every trend regarding the U ends up being mediocre. One random bet to consider: VT is 3-0 on the UNDER in its past three games, and Miami is 4-0-1 on the UNDER in its past five games. On top of that, the teams have hit the UNDER in their past two head-to-head matchups. We're just saying."

4. No. 9 OHIO STATE at No. 20 IOWA, 3:30 p.m. ABC (11/20)



Road favorite week for me, per usual. Maybe that explains my struggles? Ohio State and Iowa have similar talent levels, but there is one big difference. OSU plays complete football games, while Iowa fades late. Can the Hawkeyes pull a "MSU" on Jim Tressel? Of course. But I'm betting on the Bucks here, who have an improved run game to stand behind if TP gets erratic.


I almost went the other way on this one.  Then I remembered Iowa's recent performances against Indiana and Northwestern.  Adrian Clayborn may well be the best defensive end in recent history in the Big Ten, and Marvin McNutt might have a field day against Chimdi Chekwa but at the end of the day those who sleep with the dogs arise with fleas.  Don't get me wrong, I bet the Hawks bring their A-game on senior day.  But I also bet Ohio State will too.  Here's hoping for a fine afternoon in Iowa City.  Go Bucks!

Odds are...
Ohio State - 3.5
Big Ten Portal says "Jim Tressel has enjoyed success in this series, going 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS, though 4 of the games were prior to 2007. In last year's affair OSU won 27-24 in an OT thriller in Columbus. Iowa has gone UNDER in 6 of 9 games this season. OSU has gone OVER in 8 of 10 games, and is 8-2 ATS but only 1-2 ATS away from the Horseshoe."

5. No. 8 NEBRASKA at No. 19 TEXAS A&M, 8:00 p.m. ABC (11/20)



The Cornhuskers are so talented, yet so vulnerable, making this an easy week to pick TAMU. It's just so odd though - I've never been impressed by TAMU each time I see them play in 2010. Sure, they lit up Baylor. But everyone lights up Baylor...except Texas. This is a toss-up game, so I'll take the home team. TAMU continues its run back to relevance.


Sure Taylor Martinez isn't 100 percent.  But the Cornhuskers' defense is the best the Aggies will see all year.  I think this game will go into the fourth quarter but in the end the better team will win.

Odds are...
Nebraska - 2.5
Big Ten Portal says "A&M is just 5-11 ATS since 2008 when they're listed as an underdog, while the Huskers are 7-3 ATS as a road favorite and 9-4 ATS in road games overall during the same timeframe. One wrinkle: Nebraska is 8-1 straight-up this year in Saturday games, but just 3-6 ATS."


Big Ten Portal is a website devoted to the culture and trends associated with following and betting Big Ten football. Each week their team provides recent and historic analysis so you have all the data you need to make your picks.