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Big Ten Week 12 Picks and Predictions: Purdue, Minnesota should become bowl-eligible tomorrow

On a weekend of...whelming(?), which will be the cream to rise to the top? We’ve got a whole slate of bad, bad Midwestern football — and if you’re lucky, there might even be some snow!

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

[14] Penn State (7-3, 4-3) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-9, 0-7)

11am | BTN | PSU -27 | O/U 49.5

Straight-Up: Who the hell do you think, 14-sheer fucking lunacy
Against the Spread: Take a wild guess, 13-2

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Rutgers players going out and getting shellacked every week almost makes me feel bad for student-athletes not getting paid. But then I realize that they chose to go there, and getting walloped by PSU is their own fault.

Thumpasaurus: It feels like Rutgers covers. Where is penn state’s focus?

Boilerman31: Funny things have happened in New Jersey this year. They’re covering home conference games with double digit spreads. That doesn’t mean they’re going to win. Far from it. However, I will pick them to cover (No regerts, right? Right?!?!). PSU by 24.

[MNW: Yes, I realize it does not show Boilerman taking RU to cover. He has PSU covering on the spreadsheet I use to make the graphics. I do not regret the error; blame him.]

Stewmonkey13: James Franklin gonna run up the damn score. Why? Because he’s kind of a douche. Also because rutger is super duper terrible.

BigRedTwice: Rutgers had a fairly nice first quarter last week. A repeat performance of that is likely the best they can hope for here, though if they do anything more than that, I’m sure we’ll all enjoy it.

MNW: We’re all very happy for Rutgers covering last week, I’m sure, but man does it seem like at this point Trace McSorley and the Penn State offense will do it just because they can be dicks. Miles Sanders’ big games have come in bunches this year, and I don’t think Rutgers is bringing the rush defense that Iowa, Ohio State, or Michigan—the only teams to hold him under 4.8 ypc—have stood Sanders up with. Penn State with a 42-7 redux.


does rutger cover

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    (186 votes)
  • 36%
    (107 votes)
293 votes total Vote Now

[22] Northwestern Wildcats (6-4, 6-1) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-5, 2-5)

11am | BTN | NU -2.5 | O/U 47.5

*Note: The line on this game slowly shifted over the course of the week, settling at MN -2 [which is also the approximate game-time wind chill]. The spread was offered to our writers on Monday at NU -2.5. C’est la vie.

Straight-Up: Northwestern, 8-7
Against the Spread: Minnesota, 9-6

People who split a 2.5 line are the fucking worst.

WSR: Minnesota is a great place to visit. When you arrive at MSP, you’re minutes away from Ikea and the Mall of America! But instead of a nice bookshelf or a Hamermade dress shirt, the only things the Purple cats will leave with are going to be frostbite and an L.

Northwestern is missing their top 3 defensive backs, they have nothing to play for, the Gophers defense actually showed some creativity and talent last week against a much better Purdue offense, and it’s going to be around 15 degrees at kickoff on Saturday.

I’m not saying that the Wildcats are going to lay down and play dead, but the Wildcats are going to lay down and play dead.

Boilerman: I want to put Northwestern on Upset Alert but I can’t do it. There’s no forecast for snow this weekend. [MNW note: Unfortunately, friend, you’re wrong—4”+ coming on Friday night into Saturday!] The Fightin’ Fitz’s get the job done. Northwestern by 10.

Stew: The pissiness of these two fanbases towards each other is just great. Hey, did you know that jNW is missing a bunch of their secondary and MN has good WRs? Because, uh, it may have been mentioned a few times.

I really have no clue about this game, or these teams. So I’m just gonna go with the home dog.

BRT: I mean, Northwestern should win this, and perhaps they will. I have no idea what to make of Minnesota this season, and they do seem to be mostly terrible... but who knows. NW has flirted with disaster an awful lot, and just going out and losing this after clinching the west does seem like something they’d do for some reason.

MNW: I’ve gone back and forth on this about 10 times over the course of the week. Ultimately, I just can’t bring myself to trust Clayton Thorson to throw the ‘Cats through this one, which is what they’ll need in the end. Isaiah Bowser should get his, even with the “simplified” Minnesota defense, but I don’t trust Northwestern to control the clock enough to see off the Gophers. Minnesota, 24-21.

Thump: Northwestern will enter the fourth quarter down 17-10 and then throw a pick six. Then they’ll drive to their own 48 and lose 2 yards on 4th and 1 with a speed option. Minnesota will take over and audible to a rollout, on which Tanner Morgan will run into his own blocker during his throw, disrupting it enough to send it straight into the arms of a defensive back, who scores untouched because the receiver beat him badly.

Three punts are traded and eventually Northwestern gets the equalizer after a confused Minnesota gets caught with only nine defenders, and they’re all DBs, and they’re playing prevent. Bowser runs 70 yards untouched. Minnesota punts again, but Northwestern’s punt pins Minnesota inside their 5.

The gophers get to fourth down on their own 3 with only two seconds remaining.

Timeout Northwestern.

The snap is high and deflected out of the end zone for a walk-off safety as time expires. Northwestern 26, Minnesota 24.

[MNW note: I want this to happen, not just because it’d be hilarious, but because Glen Mason is the perfect person to have in the booth to explain exactly how you fuck up the end of a game this badly.]



This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Academically, Athletically, Spiritually, and Socially HYPRR Boat-Rowing Nektons Ski-U-Mah
    (122 votes)
  • 58%
    the Big Ten West Champions
    (175 votes)
297 votes total Vote Now

[10] Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1, 6-1) at Maryland Terrapins (5-5, 3-4)

11am | ABC | OSU -17 | O/U 58.5

Straight-Up: Ouch, 15-0
Against the Spread: oooooof, 14-1

WSR: I don’t want to even think about this game. It’ll be about as exciting as last week’s aOSU game. I just hope Chrisman can put on another clinic for the Buckeye’s sake.

Thump: It would be a great thing for the embattled Maryland team to shut down the traitor Dwayne Haskins en route to bowl eligibility. For that reason, Haskins will set a new record for most attempts without an incompletion as the buckeyes put up enough points to cover.

Boilerman: At first, I thought Maryland might have a chance in this game. Now, with Kasim Hill out, I’m not liking them so much. Buckeyes by 24.

Stew: Speaking of tired narratives. Can the terps possibly get revenge for Haskins’s flip? No, no they cannot.

BRT: OSU may be underwhelming and undermotivated, but they should still dispatch Maryland with no issues.

MNW: Hill’s knee was the death knell for a season hanging by a thread. Ohio State, 42-10.


does maryland cover

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    (123 votes)
  • 12%
    (31 votes)
  • 36%
    seems harsh giving them the same treatment as rutg—yeah, ok
    (88 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now

Michigan State Spartans (6-4, 4-3) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-7, 2-5)

11am | FOX | MSU -1.5 | O/U 49

Straight-Up: Nebraska, 9-6

WSR: I think this one has Nebraska written all over it. They’ve been playing some pretty good football since we helped with their self-esteem and showed them that they are beautiful on the inside (and on the offense) and that should be more than enough here.

Thump: Dantonio wasn’t quite embarrassed enough by the Ohio State loss, so that classic Reassuring MSU Victory isn’t in Lincoln. Huskers put up 31.

Boilerman: I can’t get a good read on this game. I’m leaning towards Nebraska with Sparty so banged up right now.

Stew: Another home dog with a weird matchup? Yes, please. UNL is gonna score. Will Dantonio be stubborn, or will he attempt to keep pace? I think we know the answer here. Bagels gets his wish.

BRT: In an uncharacteristically optimistic pick, I chose Nebraska, thus guaranteeing they’ll lose, I suppose. Though they’ll have a much harder time scoring than they have of late, I still think the Huskers have the goods to break a few big plays for points.

Unfortunately, MSU’s offense will also find it easier to score than normal--but they’re also not particularly good. Maybe the Huskers can hold on and give the fans a final home game win.

MNW: I predicted that Rocky Lombardi would throw for a lot of yards last weekend. I, uh, I will not make that mistake again. So let’s overcorrect! Nebraska, 34-17.


Who you got?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    (87 votes)
  • 64%
    (155 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now

Iowa Hawkeyes (7-3, 4-3) at Illinois Fighting Illini (3-7, 1-6)

2:30pm | BTN | Iowa -16 | O/U 58.5

Straight-Up: Iowa, 15-0
Against the Spread: Iowa, 10-5

WSR: I think Iowa wins, but 16 points? That’s a lot of points for them to score, especially when Illinois is going to be trying as well.

Thump: Illinois vs Iowa has “Gentleman’s Blowout” written all over it. You know. The kind of game where the margin is between 10 and 17 for the whole game, but it never feels like the losing team has a chance?

Boilerman: I don’t like this line. Illinois is a bad football team and I continue to claim Iowa is clownfraudtrash. Iowa wins but not by much. Iowa by 4.

Stew: Iowa blows Illinois out, giving some people false hope that Iowa can salvage something from this season.

BRT: I mean, I would only laugh a little bit if Illinois won. (By “a little bit” I do mean that I might crack a rib laughing.) This game, I think, depends on if the Hawkeye team is as defeated as its fanbase seems to be after last week.

MNW: Nah. Iowa, 27-3.


Kirk Ferentz mercy-killing?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Yes, but after the spread has been covered.
    (43 votes)
  • 52%
    Yes, a dry 17-7 affair.
    (114 votes)
  • 28%
    (62 votes)
219 votes total Vote Now

wisconsin badgers (6-4, 4-3) at Purdue Boilermakers (5-5, 4-3)

2:30pm | BTN | Purdue -5.5 | O/U 52

Straight-Up: Purdue, 11-4
Against the Spread: Purdue, 10-5

WSR: Purdue is at home, and wisconsin is just trash. CHOO CHOO.

Thump: Purdue seems to feed off moments like this. I know that seems trite and cliches but when you compare their results against Ohio State and Minnesota, it looks pretty reasonable. Purdue straight up.

Boilerman: There’s a giant elephant in Ross-Ade stadium. Will the players be able to see past the distraction? I think so. Purdue stacks the box, exorcises some demons, and gets the W against Wisconsin for the first time since 2003. Boilers by 3.

Stew: Rondale Moore against wisconsin’s secondary. I think I’ll just go ahead and take Purdue to cover.

BRT: Goodness, it’s hard to feel good about either of these teams right now. Hornibrook seems to still be questionable, and if he’s out, I think the Boilers can have a bounce-back here.

MNW: Purdue’s futility against wisconsin is unparall—OK, well, it’s still surprising.

I understand the enthusiasm in taking Purdue—I watched last week’s wisconsin-Penn State game with a couple big badger fans who couldn’t even bring themselves to watch the cold, bitter end, and I don’t blame them. Jack Coan is bad bad BAD, and one-dimensional wisconsin can’t get away with things like they used to.

Jonathan Taylor has a low YPC on the year of 4.2—against Big Ten West champions Northwestern, no less, with averages of 7.7 and 9.2 against Rutgers and Penn State—and Purdue is yielding 3.96 ypc to lesser running backs than him. I’m not going to pretend that Purdue’s defense didn’t get exposed last week against Minnesota by...well, precisely what wisconsin has been doing to Purdue since before I could drive a car.

You see that, Gophers? Four coaches and however many years later, and you’ve finally almost turned yourselves into wisconsin-lite, which I’m pretty sure has both the carbs and motivational ability of La Crosse Light. Anyway badgers, 27-21.


If you haven’t guessed it by now, I would like you to choose the winner of this game, played by teams to whom I will refer "humorously" below.

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    (92 votes)
  • 63%
    Some funny euphemism for trains
    (159 votes)
251 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers (5-5, 2-5) at [4] Michigan Wolverines (9-1, 7-0)

3pm | FS1 | Mich -28 | O/U 53.5

Straight-Up: Michigan, 15-0
Against the Spread: Michigan, 8-7

WSR: Michigan is playing like a team that actually might not finish 3rd, while Indiana is just plodding along. They’re going to have to wait another week to get bowl eligible, if it’s going to happen at all.

Thump: Indiana has an offense that is fairly balanced but does neither running nor passing especially well. This bodes poorly for them. Michigan covers.

Boilerman: I’ll give Indiana credit, they’ve played Michigan really tough ever since Harbaugh arrived. I think Michigan wins easily at home but with Ohio State looming, the Hoosiers catch Michigan in a lookahead spot. Give me Michigan by 17.

Stew: The Wolverines completely smother Indiana.

BRT: If this was the game and the year that Indiana finally got over the UM hump, it would be absolutely hilarious. However, I don’t see how they can get it done vs. Michigan’s D.

MNW: They’ll manage, as usual, for a half or so. I believed in you last week, Indiana, and you didn’t let me down. Thank you.

I’m sorry I can’t believe in you this week. Michigan, 35-10.


How long does Indiana keep this one relevant?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    lol it’s over by the first quarter
    (33 votes)
  • 32%
    After a frisky 1st quarter, the Hoosiers fade by halftime
    (94 votes)
  • 26%
    Close into the half, Indiana fades down the stretch
    (77 votes)
  • 12%
    Michigan sweats it into the 4th
    (37 votes)
  • 16%
    LONGER THAN VILLANOVA DID (this is a basketball joke for Michigan fans)
    (47 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now


I’m far too lazy to make this table prettier; thanks to Boilerman31 for running the stuff to get it all made.

Stew has slowly drifted back to the pack in Against the Spread, with beezer there waiting for him. Meanwhile, I’m not totally confident that Boilerman isn’t rigging the spreadsheet in his favor after he thinks I’m done looking. Quite the logjam for the final podium spot in both races, though.

There you have it, folks! Only one more week of me pissing the wife off by staying up late on Thursday making these graphics. Thank God. Head back up and vote in the polls, and let us know your picks in the comments! Thanks as always for making OTE one of your homes for Big Ten football talk.