Picks rolls on, as the East matchups begin to heat up and the West...well, the West has three chances left to break Iowa. Somebody do that, please.
As usual, all games Saturday, all times CST, you heathens.
Purdue at #18 Northwestern (-13) || BTN
SU: Northwestern, 18-0
ATS: Northwestern, 15-3
alnamiasIV: So many weird teams in the B1G. PU: good enough to beat Nebraska, bad enough to get destroyed by Illinois. Where does Northwestern fall into this? I say NU wins, covers, and has their best offensive outing against FBS competition. NU: 35, PU: 17
Ray Ransom: Northwestern dominates through and through. This team is weirdly good. This isn't the Big Ten I signed up for.
MNWildcat: I still don't believe in Northwestern's offense to really put up enough yards and offense to cover this spread, but I have zero confidence in Purdue's offense: they are 112th in passing efficiency, 109th in rushing offense (and only piling up 3.88 ypc), and 101st in third down conversion (fun fact: Penn State is 126th). In those same categories, Northwestern's defense is 3rd, 42nd, and 13th nationally. So my pick of Northwestern to cover is based less on confidence in Northwestern's offense than in Northwestern's defense to make that spread happen. The 'Cats score a couple TDs and Jack Mitchell rights the kicking ship. Northwestern, 23-7.
Candystripes for Breakfast: This one probably shouldn't be close, but the Purple Cats might try to Nebraska this one. They likely won't, though. Cats where it's at.
87townie: I had this marked on my schedule as a possible trap for Northwestern, but after last week, I'm not seeing it. The cats run wild on Purdoes...and covers.
Thumpasaurus: Northwestern beats Purdue and covers. Wes Lunt ran for a 6 yard gain against Purdue. I could probably stop there. This is a classic tarp game for the Cats, but I don't think they'll fall into the tarp. I'm being realistic. Nothing fun happens.
Andrew Kraszewski: Meowtarps cover. Purdue ain't going nowhere against that front, though I haven't heard yet if Thorson is playing.
Jesse Collins: Apparently Purdue Harbor used up their one ridiculous conference win on Nebraska. So that's fun. Northwestern wins and covers this game I guess? This is not a fun week of football...
Stewmonkey13: Purdue is awful. jNW is not awful. jNW should be able to run all day, protect Thorson, harrass whoever it is Purdue decides to play at QB this week, and get out with an easy win.
Aaron Yorke: Is Thorson healthy? Either way, Justin Jackson looked really good last week. Purdue is turning into a wildcard, especially against the spread, but I'll take the 'Cats at home. NU 27, PU 10
Thomas Speth: Well Northwestern is really good as long as you don't have a defense. Redacted doesn't have a defense. I mean I guess they could be forgiven for giving up 45 points to a Tommy Armstrong led Nebraska team after what the Huskers did to MSU, but they gave up 45 points to something called Ryker Fyfe. Between him and Zander Diamont, what is it with the names of backup QBs is this conference? Bart Houston is the name of a quarterback. Ryker Fyfe is the name of a European gangster. Northwestern wins and covers.
WhiteSpeedReceiver: Remember how Purdue looked like they turned the corner two weeks ago? Yeah, that was a mirage. Prepare for the return of justNorthwestern hype.
GoForThree: I feel like Purdue has another one in them. No, sorry, I was thinking of Roy Hobbs and one last homerun. Northwestern wins, probably only by 10 though.
#3 Ohio State (-17) at Illinois || ABC
SU: Ohio State, 18-0
ATS: Ohio State, 14-3-1
alnamiasIV: With Barrett back, this one is in the bag for OSU. I'd almost be surprised if they don't double the spread.
RR: Ohio State starts really stating their case for a top ranking with a complete and total beatdown of the Illini.
MNW: I thought ABC was prohibited from showing snuff films? Illinois is not Minnesota. Wes Lunt throws for 300 yards in an admirable attempt to cover. Ohio State, 41-21.
C4B: Beating Ohio State with JT Barrett back would be a nice thing. So, you know, Buckeyes win big.
Townie: Can the Illini beat the spread? Yes...OSU wins Ill covers.
Thump: Based on my history with Illinois, I will pick OSU to cover in order to maximize the chances that Illinois wins.
AK: I'd say the AD going up in a pillar of smoke would distract this Illinois team, but they've had the practice dealing with this already. Not that it's likely to matter. OSU wins, Illini cover.
JC: Is JTB back? Yes? Okay, Ohio State wins and covers. Really, who are we kidding? Ohio State most likely wins and covers this game no matter what, but it's fun to think that Urban Meyer took it easy on JT so that they could deal with the mighty Illini.
Stew: I really want a repeat of of 2007. Alas, Barrett is back, and even if OSU sleep walks through this game (which is really easy to do in Champbana), they'll still win going away.
AY: We're getting down to crunch time, and Ohio State appears to be getting serious. OSU 42, Illinois 13
TS: Speaking of backup QBs, Bart Houston picked apart the Illini defense. My expert sources tell me that JT Barrett is a better quarterback than Bart Houston. (insert half assed "not if he's drunk" joke here) I don't see how Illinois (or anyone) stops OSU's offense with Barrett at QB. (insert mob of Iowa fans making half assed comments about their all-universe defense) OSU wins and covers.
WSR: Remember how Illinois looked like they turned a corner last week? Yeah, that was a mirage. Prepare for the return of justOhioState hype.
GF3: Jesus, JT, don't fuck this up. Buckeyes win, hit the line exactly when Ferguson busts a late run.
Maryland at #13 Michigan State (-18) || ESPN2
SU: Michigan State, 18-0
ATS: PUSH, 9-9
alnamiasIV: MSU will be raging mad, but Maryland has enough (undeveloped) talent to keep it close. Plus MD has the secondary to keep Cook in check a little. MSU: 31 MD: 21
RR: Michigan State is pissed and comes out for blood. The field runs red and black and white and yellow and gray and pewter with the blood of the turtles.
MNW: Maryland has the second-worst passing efficiency rating in football. Michigan State's woeful secondary gets a break this week. Will Likely scores two touchdowns. Sparty, 41-14.
C4B: Retreat into your shell, Terp bros. This one's gonna get ugly. Sparty rolls.
Townie: Hmm, I smell toast with a hint of Old Bay. Sparty spears the Turtle and covers.
Thump: Michigan State should cover against Maryland. But they also should have done a lot of things that they haven't done. So, Maryland covers.
AK: Spartans are 2-7 against the spread. I expect a bounce back after a loss like they always have under Dantonio, but style points no longer have any value, so when the game is in hand expect MSU to pull up. Because that's never bitten them in the ass before.
JC: I'm just gonna assume that in Connor Cook's last [home] game that the Spartans win by a lot.
Stew: MD can't throw, thus completely negating MSU's biggest weakness. But I still think MD covers because it's a lot of points, this is kind of a trap game for MSU, and MD is still playing hard, despite being awful.
AY: The Terps have kept things close in their last four losses. That should continue against a Spartan squad that doesn't play defense as well as we thought. MSU 30, UMD 17
TS: I thought you had to disband your football team if you lost to a team that lost to Purdue? I guess not. Also I will gladly eat all of the crow for that joke if Purdue torpedoes Iowa's season next week. I'm still trying to figure out how MSU lost to a team that has like -6 scholarship players in the secondary. Literally blows my mind. Such a waste of Connor Cook. Send him to a team that would actually appreciate his quarterbacking talents. That said, MSU wasn't blowing anyone out before Husker Harbor and Maryland actually had a pulse last week. MSU wins, Maryland covers.
WSR: Sparty will be looking to kick all the ass following last week's embarrassment. Fortunately for them, Maryland has been providing all the ass.
GF3: Connor Cook is angry. You won't like him when he's angry. Sparty crushes Maryland.
Rutgers at Nebraska (-9.5) || BTN
SU: Nebraska, 11-5-1-$$$$
ATS: Rutgers, 11-5-1-$$$$
alnamiasIV: I didn't fully understand the reference to Reilly as the "old Kirk [Ferentz]" until this week. Lose to Purdue? Beat MSU? Baffling. But if he's truly the old Kirk, then he should win this week, though not decisively. Nebraska wins, makes it much closer than necessary, doesn't cover. Neb: 34, RU: 30
RR: Rutgers wins in dominating fashion. 300+ yards rushing and wins by 2 scores. The Knights come out throwing haymakers i the first half, but run the ball to a respectfully dominant win, because we're not assholes. Lookin' at you Harbitch.
MNW: Love you, Ray. You've earned it. The Scarlet Knights have one more comeback in the tank. RU Rah Rah, 41-38.
C4B: Nebraska's back, but only kind of. Huskers win, Knights cover.
Townie: Rutgers is a who's who of injuries...with no depth to speak of. Without RB Paul James and future NFL star receiver Leonte Carroo, this team sucks. But they are listed on the depth chart this week. We'll see. I don't think they pull the upset here, but I think they can keep it under the spread. Nebby wins but doesn't cover.
Thump: Nebraska at Leonte Carroo. Not only does Leonte cover the spread, I think he wins this one straight up. If he does indeed suit up, they're not gonna be able to stop him. This one will outscore the basketball game these two play.
JC: This seems like a game Nebraska could lose. This also seems like a game Nebraska can win. I don't know... I'm just going to continue to refuse to pick Nebraska games. Oh, and this is 11 games in 11 weeks for Nebraska. Thanks scheduling people.
Stew: I'm tempted to pick Buttgers straight up, but man, Buttgers is bad. Still, I think Carroo goes nuts against UNL's "secondary".
AY: We can still count on Rutgers getting blown out, right? Nebraska 45, Rutgers 20
TS: Beating MSU doesn't automatically make you a good football team, but it probably means you're good enough to house Rutgers. On second thought, the transitive property is dumb. On third thought, I need Nebraska to prove they're a good football team so when Iowa dicktrips the last week of the season Nebraska can take full advantage. Have I mentioned that the spreads this week are a nightmare? My God. Nebraska wins and covers (maybe? What do I know)
WSR: IT'S THE BTN AD REVENUE BOWL! The only winners are the coffers of the BTN athletic departments.
GF3: Oh, let's try the football equivalent of dabbling with crystal meth and say Rutgers wins.
#14 Michigan (-11.5) at Indiana || ABC/ESPN2
SU: Michigan, 16-2
ATS: Indiana, 10-8
alnamiasIV: UM is on a roll. Their B1G East Championship hopes are revitalized and in their own hands. Will Indiana make a bowl? They won't do anything to further their chances this week. UM wins, easily covers.
RR: Fuck you Khakass. Indiana YOLOs the win because Harbaugh is a twat.
MNW: #CHAOSTEAM continues to lead its bowl-starved fans to the brink, only to remind them that basketball's started and their attentions are probably best served in Assembly Hall. Michigan, 28-20.
C4B: It's Senior Day in Bloomington. Which, since the game is against Michigan, probably means we'll get blown the ever-loving [EXPLETIVE DELETED] out. However, I have faith...that we'll somehow cover. Fighting Harbaughs still win, because that's what good teams do: win games.
Townie: I like this scrappy Indiana team. They almost pulled several upsets. They won't this week either. Michigan rolls and covers.
Thump: Michigan covers, but only because Harbaugh calls for a fake kneel down and deep pass to Butt for a touchdown as time expires.
AK: Though our Hoosier writer is understandably tired of hearing it, Indiana has at least shown good fight despite a string of losses. But their tendency to run out of gas bodes ill against a head coach with no regard for respecting opponents. Michigan keeps the foot on the gas and covers.
JC: Eff it. Indiana wins this, Michigan looks like an awful win for OSU, the SEC gets four playoff bids, and the internet explodes. Note: There is absolutely no way I can imagine Indiana actually winning, but I'm picking that way still.
Stew: #ChaosTeam once again comes up just short of pulling a big upset. C4B actually starts drinking.
AY: Playing at home, Indiana always has a chance to ruin your day. Michigan 27, Indiana 24
TS: Goddamnit Indiana. YOU HAD ONE JOB. Still Indiana is fun to watch and they have loads of talent on offense. I can't wait for Purdue-Indiana. Two terrible defenses, one great offense, and one offense that looks great against terrible defenses. I don't care who you beat Nebby, you gave up 55 points to Purdue and that by default means you have a terrible defense. I'm not sure what to make of Michigan. They're a better team than Indiana, but I can't see them scoring 12 more points than Indiana. Michigan wins, Indiana covers.
WSR: So this is an actual game? One that we have to talk about? Eh, I hope nobody gets hurt while Michigan puts them away.
GF3: Another Minnesota game in the offing? Maybe. If Mitch Leidner can throw on you, whole the hell can't? Michigan wins a close one.
Minnesota at #5 Iowa (-11.5) || BTN
SU: Iowa, 14-3-1
ATS: Iowa, 10-7-1
alnamiasIV: Hard to see Minny having a chance here. Both teams try to do the same thing (MANBALL), but Iowa does it better, at least this year. This will be close and Iowa won't pull away until the final quarter. Iowa wins by 10, doesn't cover.
RR: Iowa wins and wins with style, formally announcing another Big Ten playoff contender.
MNW: I want to believe, Minnesota. Under the lights in Iowa City, the Gophers and #YOLOMITCH come out ready to go. Iowa holds them off, narratives abound. Hawkeyes, 31-20.
C4B: It is not yet Iowa's time to fall. Hawkeyes win, cover, and keep their fans' sights on 12-0. For now.
Townie: Blech. While Minnesota is this year's sentimental favorite, my brain tells me this won't be close. Iowa wins this one by two touchdowns.
Thump: Minnesota is playing some inspired defense, but while that will be enough to give them a chance and cover, I don't think it's enough to win.
AK: Iowa #freesfloyd, but gets enough of a fight from a Gopher team with no quit in them to yield the points.
JC: Iowa is the best team to ever play football and they are unstoppable and their QB is the best QB ever because he's the first guy to play hurt and its different than other coaches who let their QB play hurt because grit and determination and stuff. Iowa will win by 80 points, get the pig, go undefeated, win a national championship, and show the world why Iowa is the best.
Stew: FREE FLOYD!! IOWA flying high on the absolute insane atmosphere of a blackout night game, with the crazy wrestling meet earlier avenges last year's beat down and absolutely crushes MN, 56-0.
AY: The most underrated overrated team in the country is going to show why they should continue to be overrated. Does that make sense to anyone else? Iowa 23, Minnesota 6
WSR: Undefeated Iowa is undefeated. Minnesota is not. Undefeated Iowa is #5 in the playoff poll and is undefeated. Minnesota wins by 10.
GF3: Iowa is trash. Go Gophers. They still lose, but go Gophers anyway.
Last week Aaron Yorke vaulted himself back into things, though Stewmonkey13 looks like he's going to run away with it. Not too strong of a showing from Candystripes, who turned the squadoosh against the spread.
Stew's lead percentage-wise looks about insurmountable at this point...maybe we'll have to add bowl games into the mix and see if someone can topple him. I'm four games off his pace of 78 correct picks with 74, and Andrew K is one back of me with 73.
Against the Spread
Babaoreally is giving 87townie a run, and Aaron's strong Week 10 showing has pushed him (farther?) past me in an effort to get on the list for the first OTE Vegas trip. Graham will be taking the Bottom 4 to Nicaragua, which...oh god, if Ted Glover shows up at the airport with you, turn and run. Save yourself.
As always, major tip of the cap to InsertName for the graphs.
And also as always, thanks for reading! Let us know your picks and thoughts in the comments, and vote in the poll!