Big Ten football is back! Need previews for this week? We got you:
And now we pick the games. A reminder that the lines we operate on were usually listed on Tuesday of this week—they may have shifted since. And don’t forget to leave your picks in the comments!
All times CT. That never shifts. God’s Time Zone.
Friday, November 13
6pm | FS1 | Iowa -4.5 | O/U 58
Straight-Up: Push, 9-9
Against the Spread: Minnesota, 10-8
BoilerBettor: From a betting perspective, I’m wary of this one. I don’t like the number, I don’t like the teams, there’s just not much to like. Going with the home dog outright but not rushing to lay any money on this.
pkloa: I'll partially echo my Purdue fan above, I don’t like the teams.
Stew: I’ll take Iowa, because Floyd, but I’m not going to feel good about it. Not because I think they’ll lose (they might!), but because this whole thing feels really fucking gross.
BRT: I’m still learning to manifest the things I want, so I want this game to be 3-2 in a blizzard with Minnesota winning.
Thumpasaurus: Don’t be fooled; MInnesota’s victory over Illinois proves nothing. Iowa is a more complete team at this juncture
Beez: Minnesota is my pick for easy money the rest of the year. They got thoroughly embarrassed early on, but they had lots of dudes out! They’ll only be moderately garbage by the end of the season and they’ll win tonight.
MNW: It’s been ten years or whatever since Minnesota brought Floyd home. As Jeff Horton [/checks notes] currently does not coach the Minnesota Golden Gophers, I am inclined to choose their opponents.
That, and I mean, a conversation needs to be had about Minnesota’s inability to stop the run—running backs picking up like 14.2 ypc (don’t bother fact-checking me, I don’t care) against the Gophers—and the fact that Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent are a pair of damn good running backs. Oh, and #puntingiswinning, and I’ll take Tory Taylor over whatever “15 yards and a cloud of shank” the Gophers have been tossing out.
This could be a decently-fun, weirdly high-scoring game of running backs doing good things. We’ll see if Spencer Petras’ fastball works in the Minnesota cold, or if Tanner Morgan can find time to throw. Not that it helped last year. Iowa, 34-31.
WSR: I just can’t bring myself to really care about this game right now. I know it’s the battle for Floyd, but...eh? All I’ve been able to muster the strength to taunt Iowa fans over this week was to tweet the picture of a bunch of Iowa football players meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump ages ago.
In addition to everything else, having this on a Friday night just and not being able to go just takes all the fun out of it.
All I really want out of it is Brian Ferentz’s racist ass crying.
This poll is closed
Stays in exile.
Returns to Minnesota.
Saturday, November 14
11am | ABC | IU -7.5 | O/U 52
Straight-Up: Indiana, 16-2
Against the Spread: Indiana, 12-6
WSR: This is not the week the wheels come off the Hoosier Express. They’re not as good as a top-10 ranking, but they’re good enough to sleepwalk through this.
BoilerBettor: This screams lookahead spot with a date with Ohio State next week. I think Indiana wins but there’s potential for a sloppy track. Give me Sparty to cover.
Stew: I’ll take the Hoosiers, but think it may be a bit of a sucker’s bet.
BRT: I’ve decided I’m cheering for this red and white team this year.
Thumpasaurus: Either IU covers or MSU wins at the last second in a very stupid way.
Beez: Indiana is absolutely going to win, but wouldn’t it be funny if they didn’t?
MNW: I am operating on a working theory that the only time Michigan State will “get up” in 2020 is for rivalry games. And you KNOW that Mel Tucker, like the rest of us, does not sleep on Ol’ Brassy staying in East Lansing.
That, and ESPN talked up Rocky Lombardi so much against Iowa that I’m sure he’s a good quarterback. Right? RIGHT?! Michigan State, 27-21.
This poll is closed
Tight one, but Indiana prevails.
Sparty and the season of trophies
11am | FS1 | PSU -3.5 | O/U 56
Straight-Up/ATS: Penn State, 15-3
WSR: As I mentioned while we were doing “previews” for the season, Penn State is in a rough place becuase Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense takes time to get going. Not having a handful of non-conference games and an offseason to prepare doesn’t make his life easy at all. Thankfully, Nebraska is on the schedule this week and is just what the doctor ordered for a team that couldn’t get a dose of the Illini.
BoilerBettor: One of these teams is going to do something they haven’t yet this season. Get a win and cover. No way in hell do I watch this game or lay a penny on it. Penn State wins and covers.
pkloa: Townie has the right idea, betting against Dear Old State. If only I were as seasoned as he.
Stew: I think PSU finally shows up, and plays through a game.
BRT: Nebraska! I’m going to wish for this until it happens! And it might, someday!
Thumpasaurus: Penn State can’t be this bad, can they? Maybe.
MC: There’s a lot of older fans that lived through football 25 years ago and will probably enjoy this battle to get out of the basement. I’ll take the team newer to its depths.
Beez: This line is, what, 20 points lower than we thought preseason? 25? More? Go Corn dudes.
MNW: I second the sentiments of Thump and MC, though...maybe Sean Clifford really just is that mediocre? Add the retirement of Journey Brown—and man, keep that guy in your thoughts...what a tough situation—and the Ciarrocca transition into the mix, and it’s been anywhere from ugly to just indifferent, and I’m not sure which is worse if you’re a State fan.
This week I’d bet you’ll see a healthier dose of Luke McCaffrey after the experts at the Big Red Prav-duh this is the OWH and LJS have deemed Adrian Martinez’s body language unacceptable and his backslide so awful that he’s irredeemable as a quarterback. (None of this is Scott Frost’s fault, mind you—this unfair schedule from the Big Ten has really set his AAC-level coaching behind the 8-ball.)
Will Penn State prepare for that overcorrection? Nittany Lions, 38-28.
An incompletion or fumble or 12 men on the field or something from 1983?
This poll is closed
12pm | BTN | RU -5.5 | O/U 52
Straight-Up/ATS: Rutgers, 16-2
WSR: More proof that 2020 is drunk as hell: I would be stunned if Rutgers didn’t win this football game easily.
BoilerBettor: I can’t believe I’m saying this. This line has move towards Rutgers since I set the lines on Monday. Are things looking up for the Scarlet Knights? Maybe. I’ll take Rutgers to cover.
Stew: rutger fans gonna get real loud after this game.
BRT: The giant awakens! The giant will hear no argument that awakening against Illinois doesn’t count.
Beez: This is a game that is being played.
MNW: Consensus appears to be either Rutgers easy or Illinois in a stunner? In retrospect this feels like a game I should middle, because while Rutgers acquitted itself nicely against Ohio State—hell, anything that’s not closing your eyes and thinking of England qualifies here for the Knights—I’m not, like...
...we see that Noah Vedral, for his 63% completion percentage, is still 3:4 in TD:INT and under 5 ypa, right? That as a team the Knights are averaging 3.5 ypc? God love Bo Melton’s fun PR TDs and Isaih Pacheco and all the goofy shit Schiano is bringing back, but let’s stop and remember what’s beneath that feel-good 1-2.
That said, The Champaign Room has completely flipped to basketball previews, and that tells me what I need to know. Unless Coran Taylor has become a B1G-caliber QB or Brandon Peters is back and hits the ground running, this can’t end well. I hope your latest ILLINUTGERS brew is good, Thump. Knights, 34-24.
Thumpasaurus: I hope you enjoyed your time in the limelight, rutger, because Illinois will decisively prove that we deserve to reclaim our rightful spot as the standard-bearer for Big Ten shittiness. This feels like a divergence. We used to have Purdue as our basement friend, then they left and The ‘Gers came down to party with us. They won’t stay much longer. They might have made themselves comfortable in this basement, but THIS IS OUR HOUSE.
A GOOD DAY TO ILLINUTGERS
This poll is closed
2:30pm | BTN | OSU -25.5 | Over 243,000 dead for no damn good reason
WSR: Who knew that turtles could cough?
BoilerBettor: LOL, Nope.
Stew: Oh sure, I’ll take those points. Why not?
BRT: It was a Turtle Harbor, in its way.
MC: It’s not often a pandemic is the best case scenario in life, but for Mike Locksley that just may be the case.
Beez: Oh right, OSU is still a team. Alas, this game won’t be played.
4pm | BTN | NU -3.5 | O/U 50.5
Straight-Up: Northwestern, 9-8
Against the Spread: Purdue, 9-8
WSR: So having watched these teams play a couple times, I’m still in shock that this may well be for the West Division title. This is 2015 Iowa and 2016 Northwestern-levels of mediocrity, but neither of them tend to shoot themselves in the dick much. The winner of this game is everyone who ignores this game and watches literally anything else. I’d suggest a good repeat of Scrubs. Something that has Ted singing, preferably.
BoilerBettor: Hey, fuck you, guy. Could this be a repeat of last year’s festival of ugliness? Nope. Going complete homer here, Boilers win ouright.
Stew: Ugh, this is disgusting. Gimme the team with David Bell, though.
BRT: Let’s go, Purdue!
Thumpasaurus: What will happen is that Northwestern will open the scoring with a plodding drive, and then David Bell will take over the game as Purdue dominates the second quarter outside of one monumental mistake that allows Nern to keep within striking distance. Purdue will be coasting in control of this game until late in the 3rd quarter, when they will all suddenly forget what sport they’re playing, having all concept of “football” removed from their minds, make breathlessly stupid decisions from the coach to the players, and lose the game by a score.
MC: Northwestern is good every other year and this is the part of the cycle where they contend for the division. Wildcats get it done.
Beez: Y’all, Northwestern isn’t good. They’re never actually any good.
MNW: Does that ever matter though, Beez?
This game IS gross, and the Big Ten recognized that, moving it into the coveted 4pm CT slot to make up for Ohio State boatracing Maryland not happening anymore. Now you ALL have to watch it and be miserable, just like me!
Oh, I’ll be in a cabin in the woods, probably getting COVID because of selfish-ass people? Cool cool cool. This is great.
Anywho, David Bell is better than any WR Northwestern has seen or probably will see this year. Yep. And an ill-timed Peyton Ramsey mistake costs it, unless Isaiah Bowser is ready to rumble all over the Purdue front seven—perhaps still minus Karlaftis? I can’t be bothered to look. Boilers, 24-21.
FIRST PLACE in the West goes to...
This poll is closed
#13 wisconsin badgers (1-0- ) at Michigan Wolverines (1-2)
6:30pm | ABC | wisc -2.5 | O/U 53.5
Straight-Up/ATS: wisconsin, 14-3
WSR: It’s the battle of teams that everyone thought was really good after week 1! Except...Michigan carved up a depleted (and questionable) Minnesota, and wisconsin beat a bad Illinois. So because someone has to win, I went with which coach I believe is more likely to fuck up his team’s chances in spectacular fashion, and that man is Jim Harbaugh.
BoilerBettor: I got nothing here. Badgers win and cover.
pkloa: Trying to remember what we went with if Wisconsin loses this game. Assconsin Bu(tt)dgers, maybe? Probably won't matter, Wisconsin 43, Holeverines 17.
Stew: Yeah, wisconsin is probably going to win. Because this is 2020, and things are still terrible.
BRT: I think Wisconsin wins, but I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hilarious if they came back to the field only to lose to a Michigan team that appears... inept, to say the least.
MC: So who is Wisconsin going to play here, particularly at QB? Is it their de facto starter who made his debut start throwing 20/21 and 5 TDs? Or...OR...is it their 4th string QB that owns a 100% career completion and has thrown a touchdown every single time he tried? Pick your poison, Jim, Wisconsin covers either way.
Beez: People are putting WAY too much juice behind a team that hasn’t played in 3 weeks. On paper Wisconsin should cruise, but we saw in Actual CFB Week 1 what happens when one team goes full speed and tackles and the other doesn’t practice, or avoids contact during practice.
MNW: In the battle of Midwestern dads wearing khakis, I would be shocked if Michigan wasn’t prepared—the third time around, right?—for a team playing YOLOball and beating them on defense. Can Graham Mertz do that? Possibly, but as Beez suggests, it’s been a minute since the badgers have put it on the field. Michigan, 27-24.
Which Khakiboi gets it done?
This poll is closed
No standings this week; I’m off to Hy-Vee to get so much beer I can’t spell my name by the time Northwestern-Purdue kicks off. Have a great weekend! Leave your picks in the comments.