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Big Ten Week 11 Picks and Predictions

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Two ranked matchups, two rivalry trophies. But did it have to be these two?

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Indiana Hoosiers

I’m on limited computing power this weekend: No graphics for you. Sorry.

Purdue Boilermakers at Northwestern Wildcats

11am | BTN | NU -2 | O/U 43.5

Straight-Up/ATS: 14-3 (beez, LPW, MC)

pkloa: Vegas knows more than I do, but I’m still thinking Purdue, straight up.

Boilerman: So here’s the thing about the line. It’s not what Vegas knows. It’s how they are reacting to the money. The line for this game opened as Purdue being a 1.5 point favorite. What likely happened is that “smart” money looked at the game, saw Purdue starting Aiden O’Connell, a 4th-string walk-on QB, and said, “Yes, Northwestern’s offense is fugly. But Purdue is starting a walk-on QB on the road. We’ll jump on the Wildcats.” So while the public is betting Purdue (65% of the ticket count thus far), the money is coming in on Northwestern. It will be interesting to see if there’s any buyback if the line moves to the key number of 3.

As to the game, I’m clearly going to disagree with the sharps. I think Northwestern is a broken football team. If Purdue remains aggressive on defense and patient on offense, they take the W. The weather forecast looks tolerable and that favors the Boilers. Purdue 24-10.

Thumpasaurus: Purdue Aidans harder. Pat Fitzgerald can right this ship to the tune of .500...but not until the offseason.

Townie: I picked the Boilers. Northwestern is falling apart fast and Purdue isn’t.

BRT: Purdue is banged up, but still has fight and a modicum of competence. Northwestern has incompetence and a coach who appears to be fixated on the perils of modern technology more so than the perils of not having an offense, like, at all. I like Purdue in this one.

Stew: A lot of Purdue’s problems have been on defense. Brohm has found ways to move and score despite all the injuries. I think that can continue. The struggles on defense, though, disappear for a day against jNW.

MC: I’ll be honest, I’m going with Northwestern because it’s eyebrow-raising to me that Vegas favors them after all they (haven’t) done. Most times I go against Vegas on a sure thing it doesn’t work out, so I’m just going to trust them which...also doesn’t work out?

WSR: The only reason to watch this game is to induce vomiting if you have imbibed some poison. Please do not imbibe poison so you can avoid this game.

MNW: Yeah, everyone who said Northwestern here remains completely oblivious to just how bad the situation is in Evanston. Unless today is the breakout game for Drake Anderson (and we’d be talking 150+ and multiple scores on the ground)—and, to remind you, Northwestern hasn’t scored since approximately the Kennedy Administration—just take Purdue and the under and let’s get on with our lives. Boilers, 24-7.

Poll

which aidan

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    black and gold aidan
    (174 votes)
  • 8%
    purple and white aidan
    (24 votes)
  • 32%
    is this a question about that dress
    (96 votes)
294 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins at #1 Ohio State Buckeyes

11am | FOX | OSU -43.5 | O/U 65

Straight-Up: Duh.
Against the Spread: 14-3 (Townie, BrianB2, and Dead Read)

Boilerman: There’s nothing to be said about this game. You can’t accuse Maryland of being in a lookahead spot. They were just plain bad against Michigan. Huge lines like this give me pause and there’s no way in Hell I touch this game in real life. Buckeyes cover because death machine. Chase Young continues to terrify. Ohio State 52-3.

Thumpasaurus: Ohio State is probably concerned about being jumped by the winner of Bama-LSU, so they’re going to get people’s attention by covering this enormous spread

Townie: Is this the game that Maryland doesn’t lose by a gazillion? Maybe. Buckeyes roll, but UMD covers.

BRT: If you’re a Maryland fan, I suggest you do something less painful with your Saturday. Clean the gutters. Go to IKEA at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon. Hand cut your lawn with scissors. Break a filling. Really anything will do.

Stew: I really don’t know what the line would have to get to for me to pick Maryland ATS, but 43.5 isn’t it. OSU covers, easily.

MC: This spread is crazy which automatically makes me want to pick Maryland against the spread, but good lord OSU is a death machine that has openly recognized that the CFP era requires style points. Sorry, Maryland.

WSR: Snuff films aren’t legal.

MNW: Gross. Just disgusting, even with Chase Young suspended now Score me a lot of fantasy points, JK Dobbins. Ohio State, 63-7.

#4 Penn State Nittany Lions at #17 Minnesota Golden Gophers

11am | ABC | PSU -6.5 | O/U 48.5

Straight-Up/ATS: PSU, 15-2 (WSR, MNW)

pkloa: Give me the bald coach with excess enthusiasm for the win! 42-12, Nittany Lions

Boilerman: Alright, Minnesota. You want your chance to prove yourself, here it is. Show us something. Penn State 38-27.

Thumpasaurus: No amount of James Franklin Doofus Maneuvers during this game can overcome the disparity between Penn State’s front 7 and the Gopher offensive line. Name the best defensive line Minnesota has played. Is it Illinois?!

Townie:

Lions by 2 touchdowns.

BRT: I can’t decide if it would be really funny if Minnesota somehow won this, or if the resulting influx of uptight Gopher fans around here is totally not worth rooting for this. In any event, I think Penn State wins. Still, if the Gophers find a way, a lot of that fraud talk (not all of it, let’s not be silly) will die down. However, I think the best way to follow up a contract extension is with a massively disappointing loss, so that’s what I think will happen.

Stew: Thump’s line of thinking is where I come down, too. Minnesota breaks a couple passes with their great WRs, but that PSU DL mostly wreaks havoc. And Minnesota just cannot cover KJ Hamler. PSU covers.

WSR: I’ve picked us to win every week, so I’m not going to change that now regardless of facts presented. So let’s just take a look at what Minnesota will need to do to pull it off. 1) Kick the damn ball out of bounds on kickoffs. No need to let Hamler make things easy for them. 2) Attack the middle. It worked for Michigan, and I’d love to see how the best WRs in the West do when trying the same thing. 3) No stupid mistakes. We kept the non-conf opponents in games with stupid turnovers and penalties, and Penn State is light years better than any of them. We can’t let those appear again. 4) Antoine Winfield Jr., Benjamin Saint-Juste, Chris Williamson, and Coney Durr have been playing lights-out. If Kamal Martin is back he’s a gamechanger at LB. Carter Coughlin finally gets a shot at a Matt Limegrover OL that wasn't a present left from the old staff. These guys need to take advantage of their opportunity on the biggest stage. 28-27 Minnesota because LOL let’s get dumb.

MC: do i even have to explain myself

MNW: Whatever absolute moron the KFAN Power Trip morning show brings on to talk about the Gophers has offered us these gems leading up to this game:

  • Not being able to remember Sean Clifford’s name, “but he’s not going to hurt the Gophers”—then being confronted with Clifford’s TD:INT line and waving it off
  • The only place we have to worry on offense is their tight end, Pat Freiermuth, hurting our linebackers, especially Thomas Barber
  • This is my favorite quote: “They may have one K.J. Hamler, but we have three.”

Because it is 2019 and absolute dipshits like these have a public platform in the media to spew that bullshit, the Gophers will someone win. Gophers, 24-17. Pandemonium in Minneapolis (until the Gophers play—huge game with the Cowboys Sunday night).

Poll

BATTLE FOR THE GOVERNOR’S VICTORY BELL

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    penn state
    (240 votes)
  • 31%
    minnesota
    (155 votes)
  • 19%
    i just hope the winner breaks it again
    (94 votes)
489 votes total Vote Now

Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan State Spartans

2:30pm | FS1 | MSU -15.5 | O/U 46

Straight-Up: MSU, 10-7 (Townie, beez, BRT, Creighton, Dead, Jesse, MC)
ATS: Illinois, 17-0

pkloa: I haven’t seen a Sparty line this outrageous since at least Thermopylae. Lovie’s beard will blot out the sun as his Illini cover the spread.

Boilerman: The Illini are flyin’ high. Sparty can seem to find their offense. I think Michigan State wins this game but I’m nervous about that spread. Michigan State 17-14.

Thumpasaurus: I think Illinois is losing this game, but Michigan State’s offense is predictable and they won’t adapt to the flow of the game. That line is preposterous, and I like how it’s moved two points to MSU’s favor since it was announced that their leading receiver and starting center are out. Still, I think the Spartans defensive line is going to control this game, and their linebackers always play with great discipline. The Illini will struggle to get them out of position, and God help Brandon Peters in obvious passing situations where the protection hasn’t been good anyway. One thing’s for sure: with a bumbling MSU offense against the #1 team in points off turnovers, and an Illini offense that sometimes grinds Wisconsin and sometimes stalls against UConn, some very dumb things will happen and there will be a lot of kicking. 16-6 Spartans.

Townie: Illini with the biggest upset of the season. Last second field goal for the upset win. Dantonio punches a kid.

BRT: As I type this, I’m still not sure who I’m picking. I definitely don’t like that spread for MSU. Illinois is fired up, full of belief, playing for a bowl game, and playing reasonably well. None of those things are currently true for MSU (I guess the bowl game thing, but they end the season with Maryland and Rutgers, so there’s presumably not a huge amount of urgency here on that score.) I’m pulling for Lovie & Co though--they’re definitely the best storyline in the conference this year.

Stew: I think this is a close game either way. The line is just a smidge too high for me to take MSU. Gimme the middle.

MC: I’m fully on board with this Illini surge, once again primarily because it makes me feel less bad. Illinois straight up because I need more salve.

WSR: This one will make no sense at all. But because it’s on the road that means that Illinois won’t be able to win. Poor Thump will need to wait a bit longer to get bowl eligible.

MNW: I can see this being a game where Mork & Co. reassert themselves, and he gruffly pummels Lovie into a pile of stuffed Reggie Corbin runs. Spartans, 17-8.

Poll

THUMP’n’ANDY BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Illinois can’t win a game with "Braggin’ Rights" in the title, so Michigan State
    (92 votes)
  • 66%
    I don’t understand that reference, but I know Michigan State is bad: Illinois wins
    (184 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now

#18 Iowa Hawkeyes at #13 wisconsin badgers

3pm | FOX | uw -9.5 | O/U 38.5

Straight-Up: wisconsin, 14-3 (Townie, Jesse, WSR)
ATS: Iowa, 13-4

Boilerman: What do you get when you take an ugly team like Iowa with a good defense but no offense, mix in a team like Wisconsin with a good defense and a run heavy offense, and sprinkle in some classic Midwestern November weather? An over/under of 38. Woof. Badgers win ugly, 17-6.

Thumpasaurus: [spider-man-pointing-at-spider-man.jpg]

Townie: Iowa is sneaky good. Wisconsin is coasting. Give me Iowa with the upset win in Madison.

BRT: This might be unwatchable, but I think Wisconsin has more offensive possibility than Iowa (daring statement, I know) and they’ll score enough points to get this done, especially in Madison.

Stew: wisconsin’s offense actually attempts to score points, as opposed to Iowa’s. The defenses will control the game, but Iowa covers a game that doesn’t feel that close, yet is frustratingly within reach. I know it’s going to happen. I’m still gonna be angry when it does.

MC: No, I am not picking Wisconsin to cover the spread in a game I usually expect to end 6-3. Hopefully Wisconsin at least learned to pass a bit when teams are selling out against the run and succeeding. Iowa doesn’t miss tackles, so it might be good to work that into the gameplan. Wisconsin squeaks it out.

WSR: Can Jonathan Taylor score more than a TD? If so, wisconsin wins. If the badgers have to rely on Jack Coan at all, Iowa wins. Go Iowa. Make me proud on the one day a year I cheer for you fools.

MNW: BRING BACK THE HEARTLAND TROPHY TESTICLES, YOU COWARDS. I dunno, wisconsin wins 17-14.

Poll

but WHICH SPIDERMAN?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    fat, lazy, poorly-educated, personally-offensive, poorly-groomed, recovering-from-8-years-of-utter-mismanagement, and bedecked in red
    (165 votes)
  • 42%
    fat, lazy, poorly-educated, personally-offensive, poorly-groomed, recovering-from-8-years-of-utter-mismanagement, and bedecked in black/gold
    (124 votes)
289 votes total Vote Now