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Big Ten Championship Game Picks and Predictions

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Will Ohio State make its case for the College Football Playoff, or will Northwestern secure its first Rose Bowl in 23 years?

Northwestern v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Holy crap, it’s almost here.

Fans of Northwestern and Ohio State alike are already descending on Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship, and with a full day and a half of revelry planned for the conference, it is sure to be a fun clash of two programs—one happy to be there, another rolling up its sleeves and preparing for the grim task of euthanizing a largely benign, mostly harmless program that stands between it and a College Football Playoff berth.

We’ve had our shares of previews this week, and you should absolutely go peruse each of those if you’re looking for deep(er) dives on the Ohio State defense’s sudden turnaround, Northwestern scheming to make up the talent gap, whether the Wildcats’ slapdash special teams can keep pace with the Buckeyes’ battle-tested units. Go ahead, check ‘em out. We’ll wait.

Anyway, off to the picks. Enjoy!

The Vitals

[21] Northwestern Wildcats vs. [6] Ohio State Buckeyes

NU: 8-4, 8-1 B1G | S&P+ 78 | Sagarin 38
OSU: 11-1, 8-1 B1G | S&P+ 8 | Sagarin 4

Time: 7:17pm CT
TV: FOX
Line: OSU -14, O/U 60

The Verdict

Straight Up: Ohio State, 13-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State, 9-4
Over/Under: Over, 8-5

The Verbosity

Boilerman31: I’m just going to throw this tidbit out there. The underdog is 12-0-1 ATS in Northwestern games this year. That’s a strong enough trend for me. Buckeyes by 10.

Thumpasaurus: Ohio State finally played to their potential on offense and now need to make a statement to get back in the playoff picture. If Northwestern wins this game, I will start a petition to rename the Big Ten Coach Of The Year Award after Pat Fitzgerald.

The potential to get ugly is all over this one. Bourbon Meijers roll.

Dead Read: I very much want Northwestern to win this game. It would be a great counterargument to “B1G Wurst.” Alas, the universe is not that kind to me. Buckeyes win by three touchdowns.

beezer07: OSU murder-death-killed a really good team last week. They’re going to do it again this week and then they’re going to make the playoffs and win it all again and it’s awful.

Creighton: I’ll be rooting for Northwestern purely because nothing good should ever happen to Urban Meyer ever again, but we live in a vicious hellworld so Ohio State is going to win.

Pat Fitzgerald, the embodiment of seeing your coworkers outside of work, is going to make things pretty uncomfortable for OSU in the first half.

It’s how he wins: he makes damn sure that both teams are going to play like absolute shit. Buckeyes will pull ahead late and we’ll forget the game was ever close before it’s over. Buckeyes win and beat the dumb spread, and the Fox broadcasters will talk about how much Urban Meyer deserves the playoffs without once using the word “enabler”.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Ohio State beat a really good team last weekend. A letdown might be a bit of a concern if they were playing a good team.

Stewmonkey13: NW will be successful making the game ugly for a little while.

1. But jNW’s secondary is not good.
2. OSU passes the ball very, very well.
3. Urbz is a morally bankrupt piece of shit who will be motivated to run up the score to make up ground on Oklahoma.

OSU by 30+.

MNW: Look, it’s been a fun week. And I really want to buy that the ‘Cats can keep this close by the same strategy that they’ve used the rest of the year—offensive efficiency underneath, grinding the game out with a low-risk defense that bends but doesn’t break, and a special teams that does just enough to help you forget that they don’t have a true kickoff specialist, their punter has served as their kicker, and they lack the athleticism to stop OSU if they decide to block a punt.

I see this game following much of the same thread that both the 2017 game did and Creighton predicted above. I really do think Clayton Thorson can have himself an OK day, and while the ‘Cats will concede those yards on the ground, they’ll force a couple stops and maybe get some momentum off a missed OSU field goal. Let’s say they head into the locker room trailing something like 17-14.

From there, though, the talent gap is just too much to overcome. Isaiah Bowser has been running strong, and I think Flynn Nagel and maybe Kyric McGowan will take advantage of some busted coverage in the Ohio State secondary. But with Montre Hartage coming off injury and the Buckeyes possessing the speed to beat Paddy Fisher and Nate Hall to the boundaries, a couple busted plays in the third quarter put this one out of reach.

We’ll always have an amazing regular season and 15 of the last 16. Buckeyes, 41-24.


There it is! Do you agree? Disagree? Be sure to check out the rest of our Big Ten Championship coverage, let us know where you’ll be and what you’ll be drinking, and weigh in on the rest of the games in college football this weekend.

Poll

Over or under 60 points?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Over
    (97 votes)
  • 39%
    Under
    (63 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Pick ‘em.

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Buckeyes cover
    (90 votes)
  • 21%
    Buckeyes win, ‘Cats cover
    (39 votes)
  • 27%
    ‘Cats straight up
    (49 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now