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Big Ten Week 8: Previews, Picks, Predictions

Can Iowa spring the home upset for the Heartland Trophy? Does Penn State stand a chance? Does rutger score?

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Live from Ireland, it’s Townie! Break it down for the kids:

Wow, fireworks! I love fireworks. Like when a coach gets fired midseason! Or the exploding green and white excuses from a poor football team playing bad football. Isn’t this fun?

It’s time for another round of forecasting, so let’s start with Indiana going to Evanston to play the nerds. It’s a tight spread at just a point and a half, in favor of Northwestern. I don’t see it. Indiana ain’t Sparty (in a good way). Indiana wins outright.

Rutgers at Minnesota is just an excuse for the Gophers to feel good about their football team, briefly, and then feel bad about that feeling. The goofs win and cover.

Oh Wisconsin, you top ten ranked team you. Two close losses to Michigan and Ohio State have you guys higher than a plastic handle of cheap vodka. Travelling to Iowa could be a trap game. I wouldn’t put it past Ferentz to have thrown a few games and had his guys play like shit, just to fool you. The spread is close, just 3.5 points. I think you pull it off and cover.

Illinois visits Michigan. Harbaugh builds a pyramid just to carry the Illini up it and tear out their hearts. UM by 42 points.

Purdue at Nebraska…trap game? Not this year. Lil Red runs his scary demon ass all over, just like Tommy A. Huskers win and cover.

Michigan State takes their godawful brand of ugly to Maryland…where they are 3 point favorites. Did the odds makers not watch Sparty the last two weeks? Jeez. Maryland, I’m backing you again. Terp your sorry asses up and win this game. Lose and I’m penning another open letter that will pin your fricking ears back. And no, it isn’t basketball season yet…

Ohio State at Penn State…It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be raucous. It’s going to be a slaughter. OSU wins big, but doesn’t quite cover.

Let’s pick’em!

Indiana at Northwestern (-1.5)

11am || BTN

SU: Indiana, 9-7

GoForThree: Indiana avenges last week's loss the Ain't Played Nobody Huskers and defends the reputation of the East.

Creighton M: Indiana is through the worst part of their schedule but if they let this game slip, their road to bowl eligibility gets a lot tougher. Wilson will make sure they take care of business

ZuzuRU: Indiana is reminded that they are Indiana. Good kitty, Northwestern.

Thumpasaurus: Overlooked in MSU's defensive meltdown was the fact that Northwestern didn't do too well on defense either. Can they stop the two-headed monster of Lagowmania and Xander Crews at quarterback? No, but it doesn't matter, as Justin Jackson keeps the ball out of their hands. Northwestern covers.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Nerds win, cover. It should be the best B1G game of the weekend.

Aaron Yorke: Northwestern has now won three of four games, with a somewhat close loss to Nebraska thrown in. Indiana also did not get blown out by Nebraska, so this should be a close game. I'll give the edge to the home team that has won two straight Big Ten games. NU 24, IU 21.

Stewmonkey13: The Hoosiers get a much needed win while jNW goes back to struggling on offense.

Candystripes for Breakfast: If we don't manage to beat Northwestern, I think I have to begin giving up on this season and prepping for basketball. Don't make me do it yet. Hoosiers pull the "upset."

MNW: I said it in the preview on Thursday, and I’ll say it here, especially given that CB Trae Williams is now out for this and we’re seriously asking whether Fitz is going to move CB-to-WR convert Marcus McShepard back to CB for this. Lagow gets a couple big plays when it matters, ‘Cats choke it away late. IU, 27-24.

Rutgers at Minnesota (-21 lolololololol)

11am || ESPNU

SU: Minnesota, 15-1 || ATS: Minnesota, 9-7

GF3: Minnesota abuses the cooling cadaver of Rutgers football and covers.

CM: The Gophers are only going to win by 7 based on my theory that Iowa and Minnesota are secretly the same, terrible team this year.

ZuzuRU: Rutgers is going to shock everyone with movement on offense and upset Minnesota!

Thump: All Minnesota has to do is get a lead and then avoid back-breaking mistakes. If Illinois can do it on the road, Minnesota wins. Rutgers covers and nobody feels good about this game.

WSR: Rutgers gives up rushing yards by the bushel, Minnesota runs the ball well. Gophers win, cover. Somehow.

AY: Word is that the line on this game has dropped below 20 as the status on Minnesota starting quarterback Mitch Leidner is iffy. Either way, I'm taking the Knights to cover. They're not as bad as some people think, having gained more yards than Illinois despite losing by 17 points last week. They pulled the same trick against Iowa before being blown out by the eastern heavyweights. Minnesota 20, Rutgers 10.

Stew: Without Leidner MN just pounds the ball (which is what they should do anyway, but that's another thing). This is far, far too much for Rutgers to stop.

CfB: I'm still not convinced that Minnesota is anything approaching good. Gophers win, Knights cover.

MNW: This week’s edition of the Beth Mowins Special is no prettier than any other one. In fact, it’s uglier, as the mood around the Twin Cities appears to be "Let’s just get this the fuck over with." Happy Homecoming, Gophers! Minnesota, 34-7.

#10 Wisconsin (-3.5) at Iowa

11am || ESPN

SU: Wisconsin, 12-4

GF3: Wisconsin scores again, and again. And again.

CM: The spread for this game is pretty generous to Iowa. If Wisconsin wins by single digits I'll consider it a moral victory. Just take your stupid cut-rate Floyd of Rosedale and go home.

Zuzu: Wisconsin continues to dominate the B1G West by killing the B1G West 2015 Champion in true primal dominance fashion.

Thump: Methinks someone's quarterback is about to get beat hard. Wisconsin covers.

WSR: This feels like a wonderful spot for a letdown. All that emotion and effort put into the Ohio State game, and you're left with nothing but sadness and a hangover and a trip out of wisconsin to seek improvement. But enough about badger fans. The team could be facing the same thing. (Or they could come out and absolutely murderdeathkill Iowa, but I don't want that.)

AY: Cue Admiral Ackbar, because this game feels like a trap. I'm sticking with the favorites, though, because I don't think Iowa can repel the firepower of Sam Hornibrook. Just kidding; that was just to get another Return of the Jedi reference in. The young signal caller did look decent against Ohio State, though, and Wisconsin's defense is boss. Wisconsin 24, Iowa 14.

Stew: I don't see anyway Iowa wins. Especially with 2 OL and the starting TE potentially out. However, looking a bit at the betting tendencies of this game, the line seems super low, and about 90% of the bets coming in are on WI. THE LINE STILL ISN'T MOVING!! So, I'm taking the points, just to fade the public.

CfB: One of these teams is ranked, and the other is kinda meh. So...... Badgers win and cover.

MNW: If there’s one coach I would trust to figure out Alex Hornibrook and drag this game into the mud, it’s Kirk Ferentz. I think the clock strikes on wisconsin title hopes. I have no idea why. Iowa, 14-13.

Illinois at #3 Michigan (-35.5)

2:30pm || BTN

Unanimous, Michigan to win and cover. Seriously.

GF3: Harbaugh will manage to make this win feel dirty.

CM: Harbaugh is going to do more of that thing where he runs up the score just to get Peppers a Heisman trophy. Illinois can't cover the giant spread.

Zuzu: Michigan wins. This isn't even fun anymore.

Thump: Illinois is starting Jeff George Jr at quarterback. He's never taken a snap against an FBS team, is roughly as mobile as Lunt but doesn't have his arm, and hasn't taken many reps with the 1st string. But he has a wonderful mullet and is quite literally the second coming of Jeff George.

Jeff George went 0-2 against Michigan. Wolverines cover; let's just go running clock 10 minute quarters and get both teams out of here without any injuries.

WSR: Are you having fun in the B1G yet, Lovie? Would you like to go back to the shitass NFL where they want everyone to be equal?

AY: Michigan has won four of its six games this year by more than 35 points. Michigan 52, Illinois 10.

Stew: I've heard blood can stain field turf.

CfB: RIP Illini (and probably Thump's liver). Wolverines in a landslide.

MNW: We love you and we’re here for you, Thump.

Purdue at #8 Nebraska (-24)

2:30pm || ABC/ESPN2

SU: Nebraska, 16-0 || ATS: Nebraska, 9-7

GF3: Purdue covers. The post-firing dead cat bounce is real.

CM: Will Purdue beat Nebraska again? Nope. Sorry.

Thump: Purdue puts the fear of the Harbor into Nebraska but can't close the deal after finding new life with an interim head coach and nothing left to lose. Purdue covers.

WSR: Purdue is probably going to be very disappointed that there isn't a new coach bounce in college football like there is in the EPL.

AY: Nebraska's previous three Big Ten opponents all kept the game within two touchdowns, and Purdue showed some spunk in garbage time against Iowa. A couple of scores like that is all the Boilers will need to cover this number. Nebraska 31, Purdue 20.

Stew: Wouldn't it be great if PU beat UNL again? Not going to happen, but it sure would be cool. Anyway, I think the interim gets Purdue fired up, they pull out some tricks, and they cover the spread.

CfB: An early chance to see why Purdue's interim coach probably won't be the full time guy next year. Huskers win and cover.

MNW: There’s a quiet, serene way that Nebraska is plodding through its Big Ten schedule. They slowly smother Purdue this weekend, inspiring no one. Nebraska, 38-10.

Michigan State (-3) at Maryland

6:30pm || BTN

SU: Michigan State, 9-7

GF3: MSU wins and covers. And because I said that they will do the opposite.

CM: Michigan State's freefall Will Likely prove to be worse than Maryland's freefall. Roll Terps, or whatever they say.

Zuzu: Michigan State is bad... but not Maryland bad. MSU wins and covers.

Thump: In the game of college football, the Haves are only going to lose so many to the Have-Nots. Time is a flat circle and Michigan State covers.

WSR: I really don't like this game. Sparty could be out to prove me wrong, but I liked a lot of what I saw out of Maryland (outside of the need to hold to run the ball effectively, and having their running QB throw too much). In the matchup of teams looking forward to basketball season, Sparty gets a jump on talking about PG play.

AY: Maryland had two chances to prove it was for real this season and failed both. Maybe D.J. Durkin will build something good, but it hasn't arrived yet. Sparty gets the win it desperately needs. Michigan State 31, Maryland 21.

Stew: I kind of think Sparty is really, really horrible. MD wins.

CfB: Guys, I think we broke Sparty. Terps spring the "upset."

MNW: Could it be that Northwestern isn’t that shitty and MSU is gonna be just fine? I mean, probably not, but Maryland is still pretty bad and Malik McDowell may break Piggy in half. Sparty, 37-20.

#2 Ohio State (-19.5) at Penn State

7pm || ESPN

SU: Ohio State, 15-1 || ATS: Split, 8-8

GF3: Oh good. Another night whiteout. Thank god the refs have been instructed for years to systematically haunt Penn State...or whatever the excuse du jour is.

CM: What are the prop bets on Franklin's excuses for this week?

Zuzu: Penn State is going to ram Barkley down Ohio State's throat, but Ohio State is going to ram their superior team right back.

Thump: Screw it, Ohio State gets into a second straight overtime game on the road and runs out of steam. If I'm right, I hope some humble pie finds Penn State by the end of the month. PENN STATE STRAIGHT UP.

WSR: I think OSU comes out and makes a statement after letting a mediocre team hang around last Saturday night.

AY: The Lions may be getting linebackers back, but slowing down the Ohio State running game will still be a tall task. Ohio State 31, Penn State 17.

Stew: PSU doesn't even get the essential win.

CfB: Depending on how this game goes, there's a non-zero chance that a second coach may be out of a job by this time next week. Buckeyes win and cover.

MNW: I enjoy that this slaughter will be broadcast live to millions across the nation in primetime. The Hype Clock keeps ticking toward zero. Buckeyes, 40-20.

Standings and Results

Thanks as always to Nate Peterson for the graphics. Aaron Yorke had a perfect week an moves up in the standings, but he still trails the Fightin’ Pierogi by a lot.


Against the Spread:

Let us know your picks, vote in the poll, and thanks as always for reading OTE!

-MNW and the Gang