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Big Ten Picks and Predictions, Week 6

The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry headlines an interesting Big Ten slate in which Minnesota rows down the Wabash to visit Purdue, Penn State avoids an early-morning dicktrip in Evanston, and wisconsin-Nebraska...definitely happens. We’ve got previews, lines, times, and TV channels, along with our super-insightful picks...

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Wisconsin
I searched “Heartland Trophy,” “Heroes Trophy,” and finally had to give up and search “wisconsin nebraska rivalry” to figure out what the fuck this thing was called. Dear God this is just a terrible rivalry trophy idea.
Plus, no lazerz?!
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

While doing these predictions, Thumpasaurus informed us that the Naperville North HS fight song is to the tune of the Iowa Fight Song. I already know that Eastview High School (Apple Valley, MN) and Spring Lake Park (MN) both use “Go U Northwestern” for theirs...which Big Ten fight song did your high school use?

Part of the issue with doing these predictions is herding these cats in the direction of “stop batting at some string and actually write shit.” This week it took some time to actually do that. BRT told me to publish it instead of predictions, so we’ll at least add it. You can tell me how many of them filled this shit out:

Lotta people who I'd still love to hear from, either just on the spreadsheet or with some narrative, too:

@Creighton you're in Virginia, surely doing this is more fun than doing that
@dj stop trading destroyers for bases or whatever you do and fill this out (note: I also think you're a 1930s State Department employee with a fedora named Smitty, in which case give Cordell Hull my regards)
@goforthree I covered SMCD for you and you not filling this out would be the tiny dark cloud hanging over us next week, in which I would look like I was about to cry the whole time
@jimmybuckeye millennials might be ruining college football but YOU'RE RUINING PREDICTIONS
@jessecollins I dunno, some joke about how Nebraska sucks or something
@insertname get your dirty Naperville goatee into the spreadsheet right now and oh my god this sounds like a sex act I'm so sorry
@stewmonkey13 I'm going to get your kids "A Very Merry Chipmunk Christmas" already in the cassette player, glue down the "Loop" key, and have them play it from this weekend onward if you don't fill this out
@tspeth5 are you getting yourself tested once every three months? my doctor friend says that's how often you're supposed to do it. second thought, i'm sure science would appreciate your body because it's one big self-contained (tom) petri dish up there
^^that's just some straight up good fox valley political humor, you fuckers better appreciate that and also tom petri walked across wisconsin when running for the Senate in 1974 and gaylord nelson kicked his ass but it was the watergate year and also gaylord nelson
@whitespeedreceiver you told me you had funny things to say about saquon barkley's heisman campaign, you jamoke. do that now.

Sigh. We do this for you, reader.

#4 Penn State Nittany Lions (-14.5) at Northwestern Wildcats

11am || ABC

SU: Penn State, 15-0 || ATS: Penn State, 8-7


Candystripes for Breakfast: As if James Franklin would allow Saquon's Heisman campaign to be derailed by a bunch of nerds.

Andrew Kraszewski: The line feels about right, so in a coin flip I'll take the points.

Aaron Yorke: At what point does defensive coordinator Brent Pry start to steal some of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead's spotlight? The defense for Penn State has outperformed the offense, so I'm feeling a low-scoring game unless special teams blows up again. Penn State 24, Northwestern 13

Thumpasaurus: Penn State covers big time. I continue to be annoyed by the success of purged Illinois assistant coaches, such as Penn State coordinator Tim Banks, who was the mind behind the worst Illini defense I can remember in 2013. Saquon with the fumble recovery touchdown somehow.

Stewmonkey13: I don't think jNW is capable of stopping both YOLOBALL and Barkley, and there's just no way for their offense to keep pace.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: In this week's effort to get him the Heisman, Saquon Barkley will line up to take a snap in the wildcat on 4th & medium around midfield. He will then quick-kick the ball dead inside the 5. B1G fans everywhere will be unable to stand for at least 15 minutes.

Creighton M: I think Northwestern will put up a really good fight in the first half, but Penn State is going to be in full Heisman campaign mode and there are few teams in the country that can keep up with that much Saquon.

MNW: This is going to be wisconsin, part II. Only with 6” grass at Ryan Field that Nebraska fans will carefully and tactfully inform Penn State fans they should be outraged about.

I would, for the record, like to add that WSR made his prediction in response to my assertion that Saquon will kick an extra point to make it 52-20. Someone did also correct me that if really wants the Heisman, he’ll go full Flutie and drop-kick it. Penn State, 34-20.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Iowa Hawkeyes (-18)

11am || BTN

SU: Iowa, 15-0 || ATS: Iowa, 10-5

Candy: This is either gonna be a three touchdown game, or a three point game. Leaning towards the former, but I don't feel great about it.

BigRedTwice: Poor Illinois. The only good news is that that Iowa offense doesn't look like it can run the score up too badly. The bad news is you might go another week without a touchdown.

Andrew K: It’s starting to look like one of those Iowa offenses that doesn't score even in games they control, El Assico notwithstanding. I'll take the points but only because I think 17-0 is a real possibility.

Aaron Y: It's going to be tough for Illinois to score, and I see Iowa grinding out enough offense to cover the spread. Iowa 27, Illinois 6

Thump: Iowa wins at least 21-0. Drink when Iowa gains 10+ yards on a stretch play. People are feeling good about Gay and Roundtree, our freshman defensive ends. Those feelings will evaporate when Iowa forces them to try to win the game themselves and punishes us running to the edges all day. I don't believe in this squad's ability to move the ball.

Stew: The last time Illinois performed a kickoff against Iowa was with 10 minutes to go in the 2015 game. I really want this streak to continue at least a few more quarters.

WSR: See Illinois. See Illinois lose. Lose Illinois lose!

Creighton: Rarely do I predict Iowa to cover a double digit spread, but Illinois' offense is going to get in their own way a lot. Will Iowa take this opportunity to tune up their offense and finally start moving the ball? Probably not, but I still think Illinois might spot them a few points.

MNW: Really tempted to take the push here with a 21-3 scoreline, but I could see Illinois scoring a pick-six off an errant Nathan Stanley throw. Iowa, 20-10.

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers (-4)

2:30pm || BTN

SU: Purdue, 8-7 || Minnesota, 8-7

As promised, we have returned to PENISTRAIN for Purdue. Should’ve beaten Michigan, Purdue.

Candy: We haven't had a good train derailing in a while, and the Gophers are gonna want some revenge for the "upset" by Maryland last week.

BRT: Goophs may well win this, but wouldn't it be funny if they didn't?

Andrew K: I'll take the home team to cover. Trains are faster than boats, everybody knows that.

Aaron Y: This is a toss-up that would be a big win for either upstart. I'll just take the points. Minnesota 23, Purdue 21

Thump: Purdue straight up. Let's go 31-24 here. Purdoin' it purdoin' it purdoin' it well.

Stew: It's probably not going to take that much time for Purdue to start to annoy me (11/18, it looks like), but I'm all aboard the Brohm train. Trains>Boats

WSR: Purdue can throw, Minnesota has problems against the pass with depth issues at DB. Thankfully there's another side of the ball for the Gophers, and that should be enough to get out of there with the win.

Creighton: PJ Fleck has hidden fake geese around Minnesota's football complex (because geese are...leaders or something? I don't know, it's stupid) in another gimmicky attempt to motivate his players. I'm picking Purdue out of principle.

MNW: Holy shit, I just looked that up now as I was finishing the predictions. I want to go back and change my pick, because fuck that noise.

Whatever. Apparently I’ve picked Minnesota. I’m not even sure why at this point, but I have. Gophers, 27-24.

Indiana Hoosiers vs Charleston Southern Buccaneers

2:30pm || BTN

To review: Because of Hurricane Irma, Indiana’s game with Florida International was canceled. Due to scheduling issues, IU was forced to turn to an FCS program to get a 12th game, which likely is the difference between 5-6 and bowling.

This should not be that hard for people to understand.

Maryland Terrapins at #10 Ohio State Buckeyes (-30.5)

3pm || FOX

SU: Ohio State, 15-0 || ATS: Maryland, 10-5

Candy: The Buckeyes are gonna run roughshod over Bort. Don't let the young ones watch this slaughter.

BRT: If I were a Maryland fan, I'd just re-watch last week's game instead.

Andrew K: Lotta points, even for OSU at home. I'll take the turtles to keep it closer than that.

Aaron Y: I'd be really impressed if Ty Johnson can average 100 yards per carry or whatever it is against the beefy Buckeye front. Ohio State 42, Maryland 10

Thump: Maryland will cover but never seriously contend. They'll hold on to the ball long enough that they won't get flat out embarrassed but will be highly outclassed.

Stew: Remember when all OSU fans were bitching about the offense? Was rutger really the cure? Maryland covers.

WSR: I get the impression that Maryland will do just enough to cover. I don't know why. It's probably lingering hangover from last week's game.

Creighton: Listen, I have no idea what Maryland is this year. Are they a good team? A bad team? Are they the new Team Chaos? Are they just a bunch of weird crab people with flags on their helmets? I don't know. But giving them (+30.5) seems a little generous so I'll take the points.

MNW: I’m subscribing to Thump’s line of reasoning here. Ty Johnson will bust one and remind us that he’s a pretty good running back, but he’ll do it when the Terrapins are down 28. You know, to do just enough to get the cover. Ohio State, 41-14.

Michigan State Spartans at #7 Michigan Wolverines (-10.5)

6:30pm || ABC

SU: Michigan, 11-4 || ATS: Michigan State, 9-6

green and gold are ugly colors

Candy: I'm not actually convinced that the Wolverines are good, but I'm pretty sure the Spartans aren't quite back yet.

BRT: Could be exciting--this one often doesn't go as expected. I don't know who will win, but I do know that I would never, ever bet on this game.

Andrew K: Beat Michigan.

Aaron Y: This should be a real slobberknocker. Michigan 20, Michigan State 13

Thump: Michigan 7 Michigan State 3. Two offenses whose philosophy in a perfect world is "hold on to the ball and don't make mistakes" against two defenses focused on stopping the run.

Stew: I'm not sure MSU scores.

WSR: Michigan is OK, Michigan State is meh. I think there's at least 11 points between OK and meh.

Creighton: Hey man... I still don't know what to make of the Spartans, but weird stuff happens when they play Michigan. Prediction: A Spartan player will get ejected for blatant and horrific targeting, MSU will think it was unfair and get all fired up and win the game on some fluke play or inexplicable overturned call. Get your chips ready folks.

MNW: I think the real steam in this one is surrounding the bullshit rivalry posturing these teams will do. Something like Harbaugh faking a knee when running the clock out at 10-3 and punching it in to get the cover. If Michigan State wins? D’Antoni is reading all of 1 Chronicles in his post-game presser.

Yep, even the list of names. Michigan, 17-6.

#9 wisconsin badgers (-12) at Nebraska Cornhuskers

7pm || BTN

SU: wisconsin, 13-2 || ATS: wisconsin, 8-7

wisconsin’s red is like the faded red on a Nebraska bumper sticker

Candy: The only people likely to enjoy this game are Badgers fans and people who have money on Tanner Lee pick six pools (because I assume some of you degenerates must have them at this point).

BRT: Oh, this is going to be so un-fun. Honestly, if we're competitive, I'll be happy. I think the Huskers have the ability to be competitive, as I don't think Wisconsin is Bama or anything. But where this could get really ugly, really quickly is, you guessed it--turnovers. UW harassed Thorson rather effectively--and Thorson doesn't usually panic in quite the same dramatic fashion as Lee. So this could get ugly. Still, if Nebraska has a miracle win in them this year... I sure wouldn't mind it being this one, because LOL.

Andrew K: Badgers win one of 8 different instances of red-on-red violence across the conference this year and cover in doing so.

Aaron Y: I'm not sure why this spread is lower than the Penn State number. If the Lions win by more than the Badgers, I imagine I'll be very happy. Wisconsin 30, Nebraska 14

Thump: Uhhhhh that's a low-ass spread. Wisconsin covers. Tanner Lee gets yanked off the field with a cane in the middle of a series like he's bombing at the Apollo.

Stew: BRT, please don't go to this game, as I'm fairly certain the meteor I'm hoping for would put a damper on your festivities.

WSR: Nothing but wishful thinking here. Nebraska is among the pile of meh in the West between wisconsin and Illinois, but a man can dream of something stupid happening.

Creighton: Tanner Lee finally gets yanked in the second half just in time for Nebraska to cover the spread.

MNW: Nebraska has only allowed 8 sacks, and Tanner Lee, for his faults, has at least had some time to throw the ball. That might be enough to keep the Huskers in this for long enough under the lights.

If the Blackshirts can force some third-and-longs, who knows. The badgers are converting third downs at a 51% clip this year—7th-best in the nation (while allowing just 26.3% themselves), while the Huskers get off the field a thoroughly-mediocre 61% of the time (76th) and convert just 40% themselves. A few of those break down late, though, and while Nebraska follows on the work of Northwestern and keeps Jonathan Taylor (Thomas) under wraps, the badgers have just enough to do it. wisconsin, 31-24.

There you have it. Give us your picks and comments below, otherwise feel free to go back to Infographics or arguing about Michigan and Michigan State. Mailbag’s up in a couple hours.


For the inferior Paul Bunyan-related trophy?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Kid Rock East
    (99 votes)
  • 51%
    Kid Rock West
    (107 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now


Which red wins?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    The one whose color has faded since Microsoft Clip Art printed it in 1995
    (126 votes)
  • 47%
    The one Barry Alvarez was trying to imitate
    (115 votes)
241 votes total Vote Now