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Big Ten Week 6 Picks and Predictions

Iowa and Nebraska, Rutgers and Purdue, Michigan and Penn State. Which will be the worst? COME FIND OUT WITH US.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Simple conceit, really: Games are scheduled. We pick them.

Need more material to help you vote in the Incredibly Serious Polls found below? We’ve got you covered from this week:

OK, so it’s less “previews” and more “here’s stupid shit that’s happening.” It’s OTE. Sue us.

All times CT, all picks super-serious and super-biased against Your Team.

Friday, November 27

Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (3-2)

12pm | FOX | Iowa -13.5 | O/U 52.5

Straight-Up: Iowa, 12-1
Against the Spread: Nebraska, 7-6

BoilerBettor: I usually pick this game completely wrong. I’m fairly certain Iowa will win but 13.5 feels just a touch inflated. Iowa is 4-1 ATS this year, so there’s that.

MC ClapYoHandz: Oh there’s still viable games left? I’ll take Iowa. I’m pretty comfortable with the result and very uncomfortable with the spread. No money changing hands here. In Petras we trust?

MNW: Two straight decided by a field goal? Scott Frost having to feel like a caged animal at this point?

Feels like the kind of game where we get the kitchen sink from the Huskers. I’m talking Luke McCaffrey power right, Luke McCaffrey power left, Luke McCaffrey on a QB draw. EVERYTHING that’s viable in the Huskers playbook, Frosty’s gonna try it. Hawkeyes, 31-21.



This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Six Heroes (and a cover!) to go with Six Floyds
    (28 votes)
  • 28%
    Six Heroes with Six Floyds is good enough; don’t care about the close margin
    (15 votes)
  • 17%
    (9 votes)
52 votes total Vote Now

Saturday, November 28

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-3)

11am | FS1 | OSU -28.5 | O/U 70.5

Note: These picks are not taking into account the reports that Ohio State is dealing with a COVID outbreak in the locker room. If the game is canceled, we will likely make note of it on the main page but not update these picks. —MNW, 11/27/20, 7:45am

Straight-Up: Ohio State, 13-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State, 11-2

Beez: We all know Illinois would be favored in, and win, this game had they not gotten COVID from(?) Wisconsin way back in their Week 1 shitstomping. Alas, Illinois is gonna lose by 40.

BoilerBettor: This one has beatdown written all over it but I’m still taking Illinois and the points.

MC: By the time we publish this I’m guessing we’re looking at molecules here. Why was OSU afraid of Illinois? Is Indiana-Northwestern back on the menu?

MNW: Unless Isaiah Williams goes straight-up Terry Wilson Jr. against Florida, I don’t think the Illini are rolling this particular boulder up the hill. The Brandon Peters “aw that’s cute, look at the statue run” reads don’t work against a defense as athletic as Ohio State.

No, the Illini bust a couple and get a few points, but if the Death Star is operational, Justin Fields and Chris Olave hit approximately 5 deep shots and run ‘em, just like they have every year for the last five (all decided by 25 or more). Buckeyes, 56-14.



This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Buckeyes big :(
    (61 votes)
  • 23%
    Buckeyes less than big :(
    (26 votes)
  • 21%
    (24 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins (2-1) at #12 Indiana Hoosiers (4-1)

11am | ESPN2 | IU -12 | O/U 62.5

Straight-Up: Indiana, 13-0
Against the Spread: Maryland, 7-6

BoilerBettor: Indiana is 5-0 against the spread. That said, this line dropped 3 points from the opener meaning early sharp money came in on the Terps looking for a letdown from Indiana’s loss to Ohio State. I’ll take the points but if it were to drop to 10, I’d probably lean back towards Indiana.

MC: Indiana has nothing to be ashamed of from their OSU game and has looked solid all year. I can see Indiana running away here but Maryland’s recent competence has me nervous that this one will be close throughout. I’ll take Indiana for the win, Maryland to beat the spread.

MNW: Maryland is such an unknown quantity at this point that it’s tough to make any kind of sensible read on this one. Is Taulia Tagovailoa healthy and ready to go? Will Jake Funk be barreling forward into a tough IU defense?

I don’t know that it matters. Like BoilerBettor mentioned, there’s always the fear that IU has its 2013 Northwestern-style meltdown after a close loss to Ohio State, but unlike that Northwestern team, the Hoosiers don’t have to go into Camp Randall. Michael Penix Jr. and Ty Fryfogle should be able to feast on the Maryland secondary, and this one’s settled by the third.

Most importantly, though, I really just would like to see Mike Locksley getting around fine and to know everyone on the Maryland sideline is healthy and recovering properly. That’s scary shit, and it’s a good reminder that this season probably shouldn’t be happening.

IU, 42-28.


Who has the uglier helmets this week?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    (63 votes)
  • 62%
    (104 votes)
167 votes total Vote Now


OK, but who wins the football game?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Indiana covers
    (67 votes)
  • 23%
    Indiana in a close one
    (35 votes)
  • 30%
    Terps pull the stunner
    (44 votes)
146 votes total Vote Now

Penn State Nittany Lions (0-5) at Michigan Wolverines (2-3)

11am | ABC el oh fucking el | Mich -2 | O/U 58.5

Straight-Up: Michigan, 9-4
Against the Spread: Michigan, 8-5

pkloa: Oooo, a nationwide audience for this shitshow! Screw football, screw 2020, screw MNW on principle. PSU 31-30, all points scored in idiotic fashion.

BoilerBettor: Why in the everliving Hell is this game on national TV? Also, screwing the boss is generally not recommended. Michigan to win and cover. Ugh, I need a shower.

MC: MC Riverboat threw a “meh, they’re due” bet here. Casuals probably have this one circled as a classic marquee matchup and are sure to be surprised with butt fumbles and fat guy touchdowns and Uncle Rico intentional groundings.

MNW: Luckily, this boss is open to such forwardness. Penn State, 33-31 in some wonderfully stupid fashion. I hope it’s a game-winning safety.


Whose khakis stay a little more pleated?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    (27 votes)
  • 27%
    (48 votes)
  • 56%
    Kirk’s. The answer is always Kirk’s.
    (97 votes)
172 votes total Vote Now


Fine, pick the football game’s winner, too.

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Penn State
    (51 votes)
  • 65%
    (95 votes)
146 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-3) at #18 wisconsin badgers (2-1)

1pm | BTN | wisc -21 | O/U 54.5

BoilerBettor: MinneSARS-Cov-2 was supposed to play WisCovid. It ain’t happenin’.

MC: Like most years, didn’t even have to wake the Axe up.

MNW: Imagine I put the molecule graphic here. (I forgot to make it and I just don’t give a shit anymore. Enjoy the NFL, Rashod Bateman.)

#11 Northwestern Wildcats (5-0) at Michigan State Spartans (1-3)

2:30pm | ESPN2 | NU -13.5 | O/U 42

Straight-Up: Northwestern, 12-1
Against the Spread: Michigan State, 8-5

BoilerBettor: Early steam rolled to Northwestern with the line moving up a couple of points. Hope you like defense and ineptitude with a total like that. Purple Cats continue to roll and cover.

MC: My fanhood dictates that I have to believe Northwestern’s defense is galaxy class and they will win this one by about 55. Anything less will be...well, 2020.

MNW: Yep, Michigan State has been outscored 73-7 in its last two games, and is likely in full rebuilding mode.

But here’s where all those demons come bubbling back up.

I think the Northwestern secondary can and should pick off Rocky Lombardi another 2-3 times—Brandon Joseph is a phenomenal safety, and the lights-out Greg Newsome II should be able to keep Jayden Reed in check. (GRAB THOSE INT TOWELS, J.R. Pace!)

But the Wildcats’ inability to establish a run game is really starting to get concerning. And a game against a “down” opponent like Sparty is prime time for Fitz to tell me we NEEDED to establish the run, stats be damned, and plow Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson straight ahead into a defensive line that will not yield. Another game of playing not to lose, and the wheels finally fall off with a Sparty twist in the fourth quarter. Michigan State, 19-16.



This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Purple cover.
    (53 votes)
  • 46%
    Purple win.
    (66 votes)
  • 16%
    Best carnival fight song singalong voice: GREEEEEN.
    (23 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-4) at Purdue Boilermakers (2-2)

3pm | FS1 | Purdue -12 | O/U 62

Straight-Up: Purdue, 11-2
Against the Spread: Rutgers, 10-3

pkloa: Both teams are good enough and bad enough that no outcome would shock me. Purdue wins by 8.

BoilerBettor: Just sittin’ here waitin’ on Purdue to have an outbreak after playing at MinneSARS-Cov-2 last week. Karlaftis has already tested positive, so yeah. Boilers win, Rutgers gets the money (insert Jersey mob joke here).

MC: Which officiating crew is working this one? I need a better feel for who exactly Purdue has pissed off before answering this with any confidence. Until then I’ll say Rutgers at least beats the spread.

MNW: Between Aron Cruikshank and David Bell (to say nothing of Rondale Moore, of course), there are some excellent playmakers on the edges. Between Noah Vedral and Jack Plummer, there’s going to be plenty of quarterback derping to get us through this one.

Why Rutgers? I couldn’t tell you. Put me down for 31-28, Rutgers, but don’t ask any follow-ups. Let’s just enjoy the struggle, comrades.



This poll is closed

  • 59%
    (84 votes)
  • 40%
    (57 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now

Dead Read will be along with your game thread in an hour or two! Leave your picks in the comments, and be sure to check out our other features for this weekend’s Big Ten football! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the leftovers and beer today.