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Big Ten Week 1 Picks and Predictions

Wisconsin and Illinois kick off the Big Ten season tonight, with a tilt between Minnesota and Michigan and a massacre of Nebraska headlining tomorrow’s affairs. Who you got?

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Nebraska
a true meeting of the minds
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

We back, we in this. Picking games, making bad jokes about your teams, watching as BRT dominates the competition again.

Need previews for the teams and the games? How the Big Ten will finish in 2020? Who’s going to the Rose Bowl or the College Football Playoff or any other SEO friendly terms? [/waves at Corporate, awaits next Pivot to Video] Want to join the Survivor League pool?

We’ve got your answers here.

Friday, October 23

All times CT. You know that.

Illinois Fighting Illini at #14 Wisconsin Badgers

7pm | BTN | wisc -23.5 | O/U 51
Straight-Up: wisc, 16-0
ATS: Illinois, 11-5

Beez: Illinois should cover here. In addition to the loss of most of the O Line, the top RB, and the top WR from 2019-20, Wisconsin lost their presumed started like 15 days ago. Wisconsin had better win, but it’ll be “closer” than 24.

BoilerDegen31: Can’t trust Wisconsin to cover that kind of number this “early” in the season, even with the revenge factor. Bucky wins, Illnois covers.

WSR: I want Illinois to cover. I want Illinois to win. I think I’m only getting one of the two. 2020 continues to be the worst.

LPW: Wisconsin will be out for revenge, and it won’t be pretty.

Stew: Think this week could get a bit weird. Not going to go out and predict Illinois winning...but yeah, I’ll take that many points.

MNW: Reggie Corbin is gone. Dre Brown is gone. Ricky Smalling is gone. Dele Harding is gone. Ra’Von Bonner opted out.

Even if the Illini defense can hold off the badgers for a while and capitalize on Graham Mertz in his first game as the starter, I’m not convinced they can hold up, particularly if Garrett Groshek actually does get RB1 reps. wisconsin, 35-7.


PAUL CHRYST REVENGE TOUR: This time, uh, y’know, we’d like to win every game, and, uh, I think we have a really good chance to do that this week.

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    wisconsin covers
    (36 votes)
  • 55%
    wisconsin wins, illinois covers
    (68 votes)
  • 14%
    (18 votes)
122 votes total Vote Now

Saturday, October 24

Nebraska Cornhuskers at #5 Ohio State Buckeyes

11am | FOX | OSU -25.5 | O/U 64.5
Straight-Up: Ohio State, 16-0
ATS: Ohio State, 14-2

Beez: Only thing I’m concerned about with this game: which team will get more credit for saving the B1G?

BoilerDegen31: Congrats Nebraska, you got your season, enjoy your reward. Buckeyes roll and may end up going over the total by themselves.

BigRedTwice: I’m actually glad this is the first weekend. It was always going to be a massive L, so may as well get it out of the way. For the same reason, I’m happy this is in the 11 am timeslot. The sooner this one is over, the better.

WSR; Corn kernels and shreds of starter jackets everywhere.

LPW: When the Buckeyes are done destroying the Husker football team, can they move onto Lil’ Red next?

Stew: I said this week could get weird, but let’s not get too crazy. This is still a blood bath.

MNW: Just let the beating begin. Buckeyes, 63-20.



This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Ohio State wins
    (140 votes)
  • 16%
    Ohio State wins, does not cover
    (28 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan State Spartans

11am | BTN | MSU -12.5 | O/U 47
Straight-Up: Michigan State, 14-2
ATS: Rutgers, 12-4

Beez: Does the East have the three worst teams in the conference? How bad is the bottom 13 of the B1G right now? ACC bad?

BoilerDegen31: I don’t like this matchup and tend to agree with the early money that came in on Rutgers. Going to take the points but don’t feel great about it.

BRT: I have no idea what to expect from MSU right now, but I’ll assume they’re about where they were last season, which means this should be a low-scoring, shameful affair.

WSR: I think Rutgers could pull this one off. I have no idea how or why, but I just have that dumb sneaking suspicion that it could happen. This game could be one of the dumbest of the B1G season, and I’m ready for it.

LPW: This game is going to be complete trash. You never know what to expect from new coaches.

Stew: No way I can trust MSU as double digit favorite. Another middle.

MNW: So I’m supposed to believe in Rocky Lombardi, right? Or Greg Schiano?

Dear God, you almost fooled me into believing in Greg Schiano. Sparty, 17-12.


pick sword guy

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    green sword guy
    (88 votes)
  • 45%
    red sword guy
    (73 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now

#8 Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers

2:30pm | FS1 | PSU -6.5 | O/U 56.5
Straight-Up: Penn State, 14-2
ATS: Penn State, 12-4

BoilerDegen31: If this line gets to 7, I’m firing a unit on Indiana. I don’t know if Indiana finally pulls one off but I have a tough time seeing Penn State running away with this one.

BRT: Operating purely off of a hunch, I think PSU comes out hot and looks good in this one.

WSR: Kirk Ciarrocca offenses don’t start the season fast, but PSU should have enough talent to pull it off. This should be a pretty fun game to watch if you’re a neutral.

MNW: Different Michael Penix Jr., same Indiana.

Penn State, 24-17.


does charlie brown kick the ball

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    yes, talk to your kids about ranked indiana
    (46 votes)
  • 47%
    no, penn state covers
    (84 votes)
  • 26%
    no, penn state pulls it away at the last second
    (47 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now

Iowa Hawkeyes at Purdue Boilermakers

2:30pm | BTN | Iowa -4.5 | O/U 53.5
Straight-Up: Iowa, 11-5
ATS: TIE, 8-8

BoilerDegen31: HC Jeff Brohm is out after testing positive for Covid-19. His brother Brian takes over sideline duties for the weekend. A starting QB hasn’t been announced but Jack Plummer, Aidan O’Connell, and Austin Burton will have plenty of weapons to throw to, regardless of who starts. I lean Purdue (mainly because Iowa can Get Fucked).

BRT: Like all good and decent people, I’m pulling for Purdue. I think Iowa wins this, but I’m hoping Purdue looks good—this seems like it could be one of the two best games of the B1G slate this weekend.

WSR: While nothing would be better or funnier than Iowa losing, I’m just not sure it’ll happen. I haven’t seen anything on defense from Purdue not named George Karlaftis that gives me hope in the Boilermakers.

MNW: Best of luck to Jack the Snake. Even with Spencer Petras taking the reins at quarterback, the Hawkeyes will lead on Tyler Goodson. You’ve seen this movie before. Iowa, 23-20.

Thumpasaurus: Jack the Snack! I’m just jumping in here to remind everyone that Brian Brohm was one of two quarterbacks the Packers drafted in 2008 just in case the first-round pick they’d been sitting on for three years didn’t work out. They used a second-rounder on a QB that never made it past the practice squad and then was out of the league in three years.

Stew: I gotta say I’m a bit worried about Purdue just throwing bombs, all day. Iowa’s defense typically isn’t quite up to snuff in the first game, and that could be a disaster against David Bell and Rondale Moore. However, I think they manage to ugly it up enough to pull out the win against Purdue.

Can’t wait to follow Jordan Love’s coaching career that’s presumably starting soon.



This poll is closed

  • 58%
    (93 votes)
  • 41%
    (66 votes)
159 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins at Northwestern Wildcats

6:30pm | BTN | NU -10.5 | O/U 54.5
Straight-Up: Northwestern, 13-3
ATS: Maryland, 11-5

Beez: How is Northwestern a double-digit favorite?

BoilerDegen31: If you watch this game, get help. Seriously.

BRT: If the other game at this time didn’t seem as compelling as it does, I’d watch this out of pure, morbid curiosity.

WSR: If you accidentally ingest poison, contact your physician immediately and do not watch Maryland-Northwestern football.

LPW: I’m overjoyed to see a new offense in Evanston! Don’t listen to these debbie downers

Stew: LOL jNW as double digit favorites. Maryland is awful. Completely shit. But jNW shouldn’t be double digit favorites against anyone.

MNW: It’s pure, morbid curiosity and pure, uncut alcoholism, BRT. Get it right.

Anywho, I want to believe in Peyton Ramsey. I really do. We’ll see Fitz come out and pound the ball, though, with Isaiah Bowser and Evan Hull pounding the rock and Drake Anderson coming on for a change of pace. Even while I think the ‘Cats will win, I don’t think it’s more than a couple touchdowns—this line is insane.

My other matchup I’m excited to watch? How the ‘Cats will handle an offensive system that empowers the QB to make plays. Whether it’s Taulia Tagavailoa or Lance LeGendre, I’m going to need to see an anemic Northwestern pass rush—without graduated Joe Gaziano and opted-out Samdup Miller—actually pressure the Terps’ playmakers.

We’ll see. Northwestern, 23-18.



This poll is closed

  • 20%
    What, you doubted? ‘Cats cover.
    (34 votes)
  • 52%
    Yeah, uh...they can get the win, but that’s about it.
    (85 votes)
  • 26%
    Nah. Terps straight up.
    (43 votes)
162 votes total Vote Now

#18 Michigan Wolverines at #21 Minnesota Golden Gophers

6:30pm | ABC | Mich -2.5 | O/U 54.5
Straight-Up: TIE, 8-8

Beez: I saw a thing about PJ Fleck acknowledging players are out with COVID but won’t say how many? Or maybe I made that up? Either way, good time to remember how this isn’t really a real season and we’re going to see massive “upsets” in games where one of the teams is just missing a bunch of dudes.

BoilerDegen31: This is an intruiging game. If it were in Ann Arbor, I’d lean Michigan but I legitimately don’t know. It’s a pass for me but since they make us pick anyways, I’ll take Minnesota outright.

BRT: I can’t remember who I picked, because I could see this one being close. On the other hand, Minnesota started mighty slow (albeit lucky) last season (I think? It feels like it was 3 years ago now), and a similar start would probably not play out quite as well against Michigan.

WSR: I can’t remember the last time I felt good going into a Michigan game, which means we’ll probably lose. But it’s a new season and I’m always stupidly optimistic. Let’s do this Gophers.

Stew: Ok, that’s enough of Minnesota being good. We tried it for a year, it’s just not for me.

MNW: With a new QB and a retooling Gophers defense, Harbaugh comes out and rides Zach Charbonnet. Wolverines, 27-21.



This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Maize jug
    (68 votes)
  • 64%
    Maroon jug
    (124 votes)
192 votes total Vote Now

Let us know your picks in the comments!