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Big Ten Picks, Predictions: Week 11 and the Battle for the False Idol

With the absence of Ohio State from playoff relevance, the wisconsiowans have developed the Bronze Bull, which they worship in a jerky-based cult.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a pretty big week here and we’ve got a shit-ton of weird picks and odd projections below, so feel free to just skip this if you’d like and get right to laughing at terrible picks in the comments.

Today’s my last day in Boulder, and I can’t help but bum a little bit that I didn’t get to see a game at Folsom Field. They’re readying the campus for a matchup with USC, and wouldn’t that be a wild game to watch in some PAC-12 After Dark?

I finally walked past the field yesterday, though, and I was struck by how this was nothing like where I’ve watched games in the Big Ten. The masonry characterizing the buildings on all sides of the field is decidedly western, there’s the weird COLORADO tarp across where there should be seats in the south end zone... The cloest comparison I could think of was Indiana, but that’s likely just because of the athletic performance center rising in the north end zone.

What it’s done is bummed me out that in all three cities I’ve done multi-week research trips in—Atlanta, Boulder, and Boston—I’ve not gone t a local football game. Here’s the problem, though: no one’s been home. I managed to spend three weekends in various cities, and Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Boston College, and Colorado have all been on the road.

I say that bums me out because that feels like such a cultural experience: turning up my nose in Bobby Dodd Stadium, cheering on Ralphie, or...turning up my nose in Chestnut Hill, I guess? If I could do it all again...

I still have a couple months of research before I start teaching my own classes this spring, though, and I guess there’s still time to... [/checks schedule] take in a hockey game in Grand Forks? [/checks schedule further]

Oh God. I’m going to go to a basketball game at UW-Green Bay or Drake, aren’t I?

Anyway, you know the drill. All times GTZ. Speth didn’t fill out the spreadsheet so I didn’t see he’d picked the games, so add (or subtract) him from each total. I can’t figure it out.

But yeah! Like 10 writers provided you really shitty jokes and internet memes this week. Read on if ye dare.

#12 Michigan State Spartans at #13 Ohio State Buckeyes (-15.5)

11am | FOX

SU: Ohio State, 11-4 | ATS: MSU, 15-0

James Snyder: That's a lot of points to give up considering how back the Buckeyes looked against Iowa.

Thumpasaurus: Given the results of last week, that's a pretty big spread, even for a squad as talented as Ohio State at home. Gimme MSU to cover but OSU to win.

BigRedTwice: While I wouldn't be surprised if MSU straight-up won this, I expect to see OSU double down a bit and get back to business. That said, I think MSU can hang with them enough to cover. Dantonio ain't scared.

Thomas Speth: Eh. I just... I mean OSU can't keep laying eggs and MSU can't keep getting all the bounces right? Is it going to rain? OSU wins, MSU covers.

Dead Read: Will it rain? OSU wins, does not cover.

The Polish Guy: Eh, screw it. I'll take MSU for the upset, and if it actually happens it's time to play the lottery.

LincolnParkWildcat: MSU continues their resurrection season and further humiliates the Buckeyes.

Creighton M: I thought long and hard about picking Sparty here, but I think Ohio State is going into full rampage mode after getting embarrassed by noted offensive mastermind Kirk Ferentz. Rampage + home field advantage = Buckeye victory.

Aaron Yorke: This spread is such a trap, but I'm going to step in it anyway. Hopefully Han can get the shield down in time. OSU 30, MSU 24.


Ohio State, 31-21.

rutger Scarlet Knights at #14 Penn State Nittany Lions (-31.5)

11am | BTN

SU: Penn State, 14-delusion | ATS: rutger, 11-4

Thump: Penn State is probably pretty upset about their two game losing streak and will punish The 'Gers accordingly.

BRT: I know it's Rutgers, but that's a LOT of points. PSU should win easily, but I think Rutger can cover this one.

TS: How can a Big Ten team that's won 3 of 4 be 31 point underdogs all 8 Rutgers fans are screaming I'm sure. Well Wisconsin's scout team could probably beat Illinois for starters. Still that's a lot of points. PSU wins, doesn't cover but it's like 42-14 and not close at all.

DR: PSU will obviously win. Pretty sure they will try to cover if they can. They can.

AK: Big spread there against a more-robust-than-last-year'll be interesting to see how PSU handles not having much to play for. PSU wins but I'll take the points.

LPW: Penn State wins but a confident Rutgers makes PSU work for it. PSU Win, buttgers covers.

CM: If rutger wins, they can have their "s" back. If they don't at least beat the spread, we get their "e". Your move, rutgr.

AY: Penn State's pass defense has been exposed, but Rutgers doesn't really throw the ball. PSU 38, RU 3.

MNW: Giovanni Rescigno has not attempted more than 18 passes in a game this season. No, seriously. PSU, 45-10.

Indiana Hoosiers (-9.5) at Illinois Fighting Illini

11am | BTN

SU: Indiana, 13-2 | ATS: Indiana, 11-4

Candystripes: his feels like one of those games that either ends 49-10 in IU's favor, or 17-10 in Illinois'. Suffice to say, I don't really feel good about making a prediction on this game, but MNW tends to insist that we at least try.

Thump: Congratulations, Indiana. I know it's been a long year, but at least for one day you get to feel like winners again.

BRT: This game makes me sad. I mean, Indiana should win, because if they don't... there ain't enough Vanilla Coke in the world to save our boy Candystripes.

TS: I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Indiana big. Like the "this is the team that had OSU on the ropes" Indiana shows up and Illinois is already dead.

DR: Indiana should win and cover. Pray for Thump and Candy.

LPW: Indiana defeats the hapless “Fighting” Illini and cover. As always, Lovie Smith’s facial expressions do not change.

CM: The Hoosiers have lost 5 of 6, but this game against the Champaign Central High Maroons is exactly what they need to get back on track.

AY: As miserable as the Hoosiers have been, they haven't lost to any bad teams yet. Oh wait, they lost to Maryland. Too late, I'm in. IU 21, Illinois 9.

MNW: Happy fucking Eeyore Bowl, everyone. If someone’s got a script where I can just hide Indiana and Illinois fans’ comments for the next 48 hours, that’d be appreciated. Indiana, 30-21.

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Minnesota Golden Gophers (-2.5)

11am | FS1

SU: Nebraska, 9-6

Thump: Gimme Nebraska in this one. Feels like they're gonna pull out all the stops to try and take back the chair.

JS: Minnesota, because I believe in the PEEJ.

BRT: This game also makes me sad. I don't know why I'm picking Nebraska. Probably because it's the last game they have a shot in for the rest of the season, so I may as well go bold, right?

TS: Blech. It's gonna be cold, both teams suck, and it's gonna be cold. I'm not sure which team is more mediocre. I mean I think it's Nebraska, but Minnesota is at home and playing harder. Did I mention blech? Minny wins and covers the sucker spread.

DR: I will pick Nebby to win. Why? Why not?

LPW: The Vile Goofball menace further ruins Nebraska’s season. Goofs win and cover.

CM: Mike Riley continues his scorched earth campaign against the Cornhusker fan base and surrenders the chair. PJ Fleck probably does something stupid with it afterwards.

AY: Minnesota's best win is a three-point loss to Michigan State. The Huskers will figure out a way to pull this one out like they have against the rest of the Big Ten's cellar dwellers. Nebraska 24, Minnesota 17.

MNW: This has all the makings of that game where Minnesota throws the ball a total of 14 times, racks up 240 rushing yards on like 55 carries, and finally gets the win. The Daily Gopher and Still Got Hope erupt in paeans to “WE’VE FINALLY REALIZED PEEJER’S VISION!” You, have not. Minnesota, 21-17.

#20 Iowa Hawkeyes at wisconsin badgers (-12.5)

2:30pm | ABC

SU: wisconsin, 10-5 | ATS: Iowa, 13-2

JS: Wisconsin, because Iowa has helped ruin Iowa State and Ohio State's season, it's time to get back to ruining their own.

Thump: Wisconsin 17, Iowa 10

BRT: I was less upset that Iowa had a big win last week because there's like an 80% chance they'll have a massively embarrassing loss to either Wisconsin or Purdue yet. They could get blown out by Wisconsin, but it'll probably be a close game. Which means... congrats in advance, Purdue!

TS: Hey Iowa, thanks for blowing your load against OSU. Would've been really embarrassing to lose by 30. Iowa's still a good team, but not good enough to suffer any kind of letdown and win in Madison. Wisconsin wins, Iowa covers.

DR: I was going to go with a Wiscy win, then I saw the Badger injury list - which is extensive. I will roll the dice and gamble that the magic from last weekend travels. Iowa win. (I feel gross for writing this.)

AK: Gotta stand by my PreDicktion of the week, gimme dem Hoccs.

LPW: I’m taking the Badgers for the win but Iowa, fresh off the OSU demolition, covers.

CM: Hawks keep their momentum going and eliminate the one final chance the B1G still had at making the playoffs this year. Totally worth it. The Heartland Trophy is still a false idol and win or lose I hope they leave it in Madison.

AY: I want to believe that Iowa figured something out in the passing game and did not just randomly beat Ohio State by 31 points. Besides, those losses to Michigan State and Northwestern aren't looking so awful now. Iowa 27, Wisconsin 24.

MNW: Ain’t no way they’re scoring that many points, Aaron. I’ve honestly talked myself into a 17-10 game and I’m not sure what to do with that. It totally works, doesn’t it? Whatever. wisconsin, 17-14.

Michigan Wolverines (-16.5) at Maryland Terrapins

2:30pm | BTN

SU: Michigan, 15-0 | ATS: Michigan, 13-2


Thump: If Rutgers stifled Maryland, Michigan's probably not going to be much kinder. Michigan and the points.

BRT: Michigan. This game is boring. However, Terps, if you'd like to make some friends in the conference, win this one and enjoy the well-wishes of conference mates and the Michigan meltdown.

TS: Man, this sucks. I don't want Michigan to win because it's Michigan, but I need a ranked Michigan team in Madison. Also Maryland's playing their 11th string QB. Michigan wins and covers.

DR: Maryland lost to Rutgers. Michigan wins and covers.

AK: Maryland is going to scuffle against the run game Michigan has discovered and you know there's no mercy in Jeem's heart even for a former assistant. Wolvies cover.

LPW: Nope. Not happening Terps. Wolverines dominate

CM: I don't know how good Michigan is anymore, but I know that they aren't losing to the Terrapins who will be playing what I assume is a department store mannequin at quarterback.

AY: Michigan has handled every bad team on its schedule pretty well. UM 42, UMD 17.

MNW: This is a battle of some weird-ass eastern teams with blindingly awful yellow colors. I don’t give a shit. Michigan, 30-10.

Purdue Boilermakers at #25 Northwestern Wildcats (-4.5)

6pm | ESPN2

SU: Northwestern, 14-1 | ATS: Northwestern, 12-3

Thump: Northwestern wins in overtime by a touchdown.

BRT: I'm surprised this line isn't larger, given that it's in the intimidating betarped environs of Evanston and that Northwestern has solidified itself as a "good" team with a series of OT wins, most recently over a pretty bad opponent. I suppose there's no reason to think that won't continue, and NW will continue to do just enough to win.

TS: Top 25 Northwestern- You have one job. DON'T LOSE. DO. NOT. LOSE. Purdue Harbor go away. Northwestern wins and covers.

DR: Northwestern has been playing it awfully close, but they have enough to cover versus the Boilers.

LPW: I remember the last time Purdue played us at night when we were ranked. THAT HAD BETTER FUCKING NOT HAPPEN AGAIN. I don’t think it will . Cats win outright.

CM: This seems like the game I want to watch least this week. Tarps win, Choo Choo to cover.

AY: It's the conference's best bad team against the conference's worst good team. But which one is which? Northwestern 31, Purdue 20.

MNW: I’m so setting myself up here. But in 2010, I’ve told myself, Northwestern was completely caught off guard by the legend of Rob Henry and readoptionreadoptionreadoptionreadoptionreadoptionreadoptionreadoptionreadoption. There’s some tape on Elijah Sindelar, Purdue has a decent enough run defense and those bowling ball running backs who scare me, it’s fine. Northwestern, 27-21?

Well, this was a disaster. Give us your picks in the comments, vote in the polls, and let me know which D-1 basketball arenas in North and South Dakota, Iowa, and wisconsin I should really check out.



This poll is closed

  • 48%
    (157 votes)
  • 51%
    (170 votes)
327 votes total Vote Now



This poll is closed

  • 51%
    One last hurrah for Riley!
    (160 votes)
  • 48%
    (151 votes)
311 votes total Vote Now


Who keeps the False Idol?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    heathens east of the Mississippi
    (181 votes)
  • 45%
    heathens west of the Mississippi
    (151 votes)
332 votes total Vote Now