You know the drill, you heathens. All games Saturday, all times CST.
#17 Iowa (-1) @ #20 Northwestern || ABC, ESPN2
ALL TIED, 10-10
Whitespeedreceiver: I have no idea why I just immediately dismissed Iowa when looking at the picks, but I did.
MNWildcat: Iowa can grind out drives better than Northwestern can. If CJ Beathard is really banged up to the point he's a pocket statue, I think the 'Cats make this a game and rely on some Ryan Field magic to pull off the minor upset of the Hawkeyes by getting to the QB against two backup tackles. If Beathard can play, #OldKirk scrounges up some play action, picks on Keith Watkins II, and the Hawks break a couple big plays to win. Northwestern needs to expose the exterior of Iowa's defensive line (in the absence of Drew Ott, which is a major bummer both for the Hawkeyes and the quality of play) with the physical running of Justin Jackson and the speed of Solomon Vault. If the 'Cats can do that, Clayton Thorson might actually have time to make some throws. Whether the WRs hold onto them is another matter. All this text is to say ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, Iowa 20, Northwestern 14.
Andrew Kraszewski: Iowa's best player is now out for the season, and their QB has an injury of as-yet (Tuesday afternoon)-unknown severity. Wizgerald is in his lair. Give me the MEOWTARPS straight up.
Alnamiasiv: It's been a fun ride. Can't see Iowa escaping Evanston with a win. NU Wins: 21-17 in one of those classic NU scores in the closing seconds and Iowa fans grit their teeth.
Ray Ransom: I think Michigan might be really good. That NU defense is no joke. I don't believe in Iowa yet. Northwestern wins a B1G punt fest.
Stewmonkey13: Before the season CR Gazette writer and beer snob, Marc Morehouse, ranked the 40 most important players for this Iowa team. Iowa is currently missing #2 WR Tevaun Smith, #5 DE Drew Ott, #7 OT Boone Myers, and #8 OT Ike Boettger, and there are rumors a plenty swirling about #1 QB CJ Beathard being banged up. All this to say this game scares the hell out of me. Still, though, it is just Northwestern. Iowa wins.
Creightonm: Iowa 17--Northwestern 9: At the end of the season we might look back at this game as the de facto Big Ten West championship game, but it's going to be ugly. With backup tackles playing on offense, CJ Beathard will have to be mobile in the pocket to get the passing game going. Unfortunately CJB is nursing a hip injury, which means hip mobility will be an issue. #OldKirk grinds out another win on the back of Jordan Canzeri (and also his punters).
Candystripes: This seems like anodd spread no matter what you're looking for with it. Can Northwestern rebound from getting utterly decimated by Michigan? Maybe, but I still like Iowa to win and cover.
Jesse Collins: Iowa, because Iowa needs to keep winning so Nebraska can ruin their perfect season and all we get is arguments about "Super Bowl" and whatever in the offseason. It's too perfect. Iowa 15, Northwestern 7.
G43: Iowa wins and covers. I'm sticking to my guns that Northwestern was a fluke who hit a few good teams early before they got their act together. I think NW would get boatraced by Stanford now and I think Iowa's defense will clamp down on NW's wheezy offense all day.
87townie: Northwestern the Vegas line says it all about this game. Two brawlers will take roundhouse swings. Unfortunately for the Cats, Iowa's offense has a pulse. Iowa wins and covers.
Aaron Yorke: Didn't get N00M last week, but maybe this one will be close. I still have faith in Northwestern at home. NU 10, Iowa 7.
thumpasaurus: I hope I'm wrong about Northwestern's ability to rebound from The Wreck Of The Patrick Fitzgerald.
Purdue @ Wisconsin (-20.5) || BTN
SU: Wisconsin, 20-0
ATS: Wisconsin, 15-5
WSR: Wisconsin wins, covers, and still does nothing to impress.
MNW: Copy and paste whatever I said for Wisconsin against Troy, Hawaii, or whatever their third cupcake was. Wisconsin 27, Purdue 3.
Andrew: Purdue's best player is now out for the season, and their hopes of building off of a moral victory against MSU were smothered in their collective sleep by a neutered Minnesota offense. Give me Bucky to cover.
Alnamiasiv: Just when I think Purdue is out of the smoke, they suck once again. And just when I think Stave isn't awful, he's awful once again. Wisconsin wins, doesn't cover.
Ray Ransom: This is the game that Wisconsin needs. When does Rutgers get to play Purdue?
Stewmonkey13: Stave is the QB? Yeah, give me the points. PU to cover, WI to win.
Creightonm: Wisconsin will win (because Purdue), but the Boilermakers will beat the spread (because Stave).
C4B: The Badgers are likely to come into this game angry. And I know all too well what happens when Wisconsin gets angry. Wisconsin wins 84-20.
Jesse: Um, Wisconsin is not winning by 21. They're probably winning. They're probably winning by more than like, I don't know... 1 point or something, but 21? Nonsense. It'll be more like 20. Purdue covers, Wisconsin wins 28-8.
G43: Sweet Christ. Somebody give Purdue a hot dog for showing up.
87townie: Boilers scare the Badgers, but can't quite pull the upset. Wisconsin wins but doesn't cover.
Aaron Yorke: The Badgers are just a better version of Minnesota right? Wisconsin 38, Purdue 13.
thumpasaurus: Wisconsin will get at least one defensive score.
Rutgers @ Indiana (PICK) || BTN
SU: Rutgers, 11-9
WSR: Let's think about what Carroo did against Sparty last week. Now let's realize that Indiana isn't Sparty.
MNW: I feel bad for Indiana's injuries, I really do. But Rutgers might actually be angry enough to put together a quality performance. RU Rah Rah 37-24.
Andrew: Rutgers' best player is out for the season, but Indiana's issing a helluva lot more, and Rutgers got Carroo and now their head coach back. Indiana's sandcastle continues its annual disintegration against the tide of conference play, Rutgers wins.
Alnamiasiv: IU ends the loss streak at two. One game away from a bowl. Carroo puts up over 200 yards from scrimmage alone, but it's not enough.
Ray Ransom: You know what happens when your two drunk uncles start arguing about something really late at night and then some crazy shit goes down? This game happens. Luckily, Rutgers has way more experience being punch drunk this season. Knights by a score.
Stewmonkey13: Ugh, I can't middle this. Buttgers still doesn't have a secondary, so give me IN.
Creightonm: Rutgers 34 Indiana 24: This could actually turn out to be a pretty good game to watch. Rutgers looks like a completely different team with Carroo on the field, and I'm selling all my Indiana stock. Give me Rutgers.
C4B: Since Indiana is rightly being cagey with who exactly will be QB for the Hoosiers this Saturday, I can't make this pick with all the knowledge I'd like to. I'm going to make the obvious (for me) choice and say IU wins, but if Nate Sudfeld doesn't start, I will be regretting this pick all day.
Jesse: Ha, I love this is a pick ‘em game. Let's go with Rutgers because let's go with Rutgers. Isn't Indiana basically a walking triage unit at this point? Rutgers might be on their seventh option at DB, but Indiana will need a healthy offense to make that happen. I don't know. 35-17 Rutgers?
G43: Rutgers, because Flood and Indiana and yadda yadda yadda.
87townie: This is going to be a good game, but if IU gets its starting quarterback healthy, they win walking away. Don't sleep on Carroo though. Last week PSU's receivers ran wild deep. This could be a close contest.
Aaron Yorke: Hopefully Sudfeld is ready to lead the Hoosiers back into the win column, but if not, Danny Cameron actually looked decent last Saturday. IU 24, RU 20.
thumpasaurus: This one could be pretty fun to watch. Indiana vs. no secondary, a defense that couldn't Sack The Hack against Laviano-to-Carroo, two teams that Penn State surprisingly crushed. Carroo wins
#7 Michigan State @ #12 Michigan (-7.5) || ESPN
SU: Michigan, 13-7
ATS: Michigan State, 15-5
WSR: In this battle of Top 10 teams, #7 upsets the team that really deserves to be #1 in the eyes of its fans.
MNW: I'm receiving news that Mark D'Antoni has recently received a fresh batch of chips to his offeses in East Lansing. Sparty 27, MU 24.
Andrew: -FULL HOMERSPARTY TIME I know that one team has scraped by a collection of mediocre opponents while the other has basically been on a crescendo of improvement all season, one team is ravaged by injuries while the other is mostly healthy minus a couple of defensive linemen, and the game is hosted by the team favored by those factors and plenty of others. But this is a game where I refuse to hedge my bets to make sure that if I'm not happy, I can at least be right. Eff that, give me the Spartans to send the Hypebaugh train off the rails and into a fucking ravine. State by 20.
Alnamiasiv: UM has scored 97 unanswered points; two of those opponents were ranked. They are playing as well as anybody in the conference and yes, the country right now. UM wins and covers.
Ray Ransom: I want to believe that MSU is really good and Rutgers went toe-to-toe with them. Please, Sparty, show me that bright things are on the horizon for both our programs. Sadly, I think Michigan is the real deal and walks away with this one.
Stewmonkey13: Michigan just beats up Sparty and wins, but Sparty covers. Our life here at OTE becomes unbearable as both fan bases explode. MI is a horrible, horrible place.
Creightonm: Sparty 24 - Michigan 17: Ok MSU has yet to play like a top 5 team this season, but I've seen Sparty play enough times over the years to know that they always take their game to a whole other level against two teams: Notre Dame and Michigan. MSU doesn't play the Irish this year, so the Wolverines are going to get the full brunt of Sparty-angst.
C4B: Michigan has looked very, very good this season. MSU has not looked quite as good. Based solely on that, I like the Wolverines to win, but I think Sparty will make it close and cover.
Jesse: MSU covers, Michigan wins, everyone not related to Michigan loses. Sound about right? Man, this hype train is about to get turned to 11. Michigan wins a mean 24-17 type game.
G43: Michigan wins, probably by two scores, Sparty leans on "yeah but injuries" and doesn't count it. Which is sort of true and sort of lame. I had plenty of excuses for tOSU in 2011.
87townie: The Michigan hype now covers the college football world like a blanket of soot from a tire fire. But they are still the little bro in this rivalry. Expect some big hits and explosive plays. But Sparty puts Harbaugh in his place. Sparty wins.
Aaron Yorke: Michigan should be favored, but not by this much. Sparty is going to be the first team in a while to put points on the Wolverines. UM 27, MSU 24.
thumpasaurus: This is a toss-up, but Michigan is 0-1 against teams with a talented, experienced quarterback. Spartans just have to make sure the Butt is covered to slow down the UM offense and take away Rudock's safety blanket. Rudock-to-Butt is like Stafford-to-Johnson in that in the absence of that connection, the quarterback will turn it over. Sparty is comin' for that Butt.
Nebraska @ Minnesota (-1.5) || ESPN2
SU: Minnesota, 15-5
ATS: Minnesota, 13-7
WSR: Minnesota wins, covers, and still does nothing to impress.
MNW: The $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy is the only redeeming thing about the occurrence of this game. I wanna take a picture with it at the State Fair next year (get on that, U of M Athletics!), but #FreeChair is a pretty overwhelming emotion. Nebraska 24, Minnesota 21.
Andrew: Part of me knows Nebraska's numerous close losses mean they're probably a bit better than their record, but Minnesota's OL may be getting back to health to a large enough degree to cover the fact that they still can't pass. Gophs win and cover.
Alnamiasiv: UNL has the worst passing D in the country - 20 yards worse per game than the 2nd worst team, Bowling Green. And they haven't played even one passing juggernaut. UNL makes Mitch Leidner look good. Minny wins and covers. Lincoln erupts.
Ray Ransom: Good thing you all got rid of Pelini!
Stewmonkey13: MN keeps the $5 bits of broken chair trophy on a pick 6 in the last minute.
Creightonm: Minnesota 48 - Nebraska 44: The Husker defense is going to make Mitch Leidner look like Aaron Rodgers. Huskers will be calling for Mike Riley's head before you can say "We can do better than 9-4"
C4B: Um, what? Does Vegas really have that little faith in the Huskers. Wow. Gib points plox. Nebraska wins and covers.
Jesse: Nebraska gives up an 11 point lead with 7 minutes to go by a) fumbling deep in the opponent's territory instead of covering the ball, they try to recover and run after which Minnesota does scoop and score. Oh, and then the Gophers get an onside kick and score to go up 3. Nebraska misses a FG as time expires. Sadness in Nebraska is celebrated everywhere but Nebraska. Minny 24-21.
G43: Nebraska can't break their corn fed hearts again...can they? I mean come on. Seriously. Have you no decency, at long last, Riley? Have you left no sense of decency? Minnesota wins. Covers.
87townie: Nebraska is just snake-bit this season. Mr. Murphy (of Law fame) has camped out with the team. Minnesota is too good a team to lose this one. Minny wins and covers.
Aaron Yorke: Tommy Armstrong hasn't been good in conference play, but Nebraska finds a big play or two to lift them past the Gophers. Nebraska 17, Minny 16.
thumpasaurus: This game will end hilariously. Minnesota on a game winning safety.
Penn State @ #1 Ohio State (-17) || ABC
SU: OSU, 19-1
ATS: PSU, 14-6
WSR: I'd like to say something encouraging about Penn State, butr all I can come up with is "At least you get to play Maryland next weekend."
MNW: Christian Hackenberg sucks. Penn State essentially wins, 21-31.
Andrew: If there's a defense that can prevent Zeke from saving OSU's bacon and providing a reassuring margin, it would be Penn State. Of course, their offense ain't gonna do squat against an underappreciated Buckeye defense, but PSU should be able to keep this one close enough to cover.
Alnamiasiv: PSU has improved and is a legitimate threat here. OSU has gotten by. OSU wins unimpressively, but wins nonetheless. Doesn't cover.
Ray Ransom: PSU has been beaten up in the media so uch, the rage HAS to be building. This game feels like that moment when you get to prison and have to murder someone orrrr....Anyways, sorry PSU, I think the Buckeyes make an example out of you. Then again, there is the alternative....
Stewmonkey13: PSU essentially wins when OSU beats them by only 15 points.
Creightonm: I think Penn State has been quietly improving week to week all season long. I'm not comfortable picking the upset, but I'll take PSU to cover the spread. Bonus prediction: I'm boldly predicting that OSU will have a ho-hum outing offensively. You heard it here first.
C4B: The Buckeyes finally put most of a complete game together against Maryland (eventually). I expect they might finally put it all together (for realsies) against Penn State. Either way, #PrepareforSackenberg. OSU wins and covers.
Jesse: OSU will cover this spread and everyone will freak out that it's not by more points. That's how this works. OSU 42-PSU 12
G43: OSU in a squeaker. Lots of "but REFS!" and "essential" wins. Also, black uniforms are stupid. Special unis are what you wear for embarrassing losses. OSU wins, no cover.
thumpasaurus: Maybe I take PSU to cover 17 in Happy Valley, but in Columbus the PSU offense will make a lot more mistakes. OSU might not prove they're the best team in the country, but they'll prove they're a damn sight better than Penn State.
Hat tip to StewMonkey13, who continues to kick ass and take names in the straight-up. Everyone laugh and throw marshmallows in LincolnParkWildcat's direction, because I think he's using the penguins at the zoo to pick for him or something.
Meanwhile, against the spread, babaoreally's the guy you want to take with you to Vegas...though I hear Townie knows his way around the Strip, too. (And I'm not saying no to a trip, if you're inviting, unless your name is Mike Jones.)
A major thank-you to DJ for putting the Word.doc together for us and InsertName for his awesome graphics work! All the standings, including total number correct, can be found here.
Vote in the poll, and let us know your picks in the comments!