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Big Ten Football Week 11: Picks, Predictions, Previews

LARGE BRONZE BULLS and dumb Eastern rivalries—must be a November Saturday in the Big Ten.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Every week RockyMtnBlue asks me to “write something clever” here, and every week I am at a complete loss for what to do. This website is making me dumber.

Anyway onto our picks. Seamless transition.

The Picks

(all times CT)

Saturday, Nov 12

Indiana Hoosiers @ (2) Ohio State Buckeyes

11:00am | FOX | Ohio State -40 | O/U 57.5

Straight-Up: All Death Star
Against the Spread: Indiana 8-6

MaximumSam: WEATHER CHECK Columbus should be around 40 degrees with mild winds at noon on Saturday. That’s not quite dome weather, so I’ll pick Indiana to cover. OSU 56, Indiana 21

misdreavus79: Ohio State is back home, so they should be able to finally cover a spread. Ohio State 63, Indiana 10


Buffkomodo: Don’t watch this trash team and trash program this weekend. You were more likely to win the Powerball than Indiana is to win this weekend. Don’t even bother reading my article either. The season is at least over after this.

BoilerUp89: Is the spread or winning streak bigger? I’m fairly sure this one falls into the Purdue vs. Badgers category.

RockyMtnBlue: Good lord, a 40pt spread in conference? Indiana is tragically broken (particularly their OL) and it’s just about that time of year when OSU yawns, stretches, and says in a sleepy voice “Ok, I guess it’s time to pay attention.” It’s never good when OSU pays attention. Ohio State 52, Indiana 7

WSR: Will there be a shitload of rain and wind? If so, will TreVeyon Henderson be available? Not that I really think either of these things matter, because Indiana is swirling the drain right now.

MNW: OSU does all the scoring they were a’sposed to do last week, because CJ Stroud has a Heisman Trophy campaign to salvage.

...huh, I really thought SBN had an auto-tag for Heisman Trophy. Guess our crack SEO teams are falling down on the job. TIME TO PIVOT TO VIDEO! Ohio State, 55-10.


Jebus. I thought OSU’s line was big LAST week.

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    OSU covers a 40pt spread because Death Star
    (91 votes)
  • 54%
    Of course OSU wins, but 40 is ridiculous
    (113 votes)
  • 2%
    Indiana with the upset of the millenium!
    (5 votes)
209 votes total Vote Now

Purdue Boilermakers @ (21) Illinois Fighting Illini

11:00am | EPSN2 | Illinois -6.5 | O/U 44.5

Straight-Up: Illinois 11-3
Against the Spread: Illinois 8-6

MaximumSam: I take it as maxim that the West will be as weird as possible, and to get that we need a Purdue win. Purdue 24, Illinois 21.

misdreavus79: It’s the West. Of course Purdue is winning. Purdue 27, Illinois 21

Thumpasaurus: It is my sincere belief that more prep work is going into this game than the MSU game got. The last time Illinois did a bunch of stupid things to lose a game, they ripped off a 6-game win streak. Our Nebraska tax is paid and I have to believe the offensive gameplan is going to be more diverse than it was last week. This is a must-win for Illinois. The offense has been effective at racking up yards but not at scoring. It needs big plays to score.

Time to make some happen. This Purdue defense is nothing special. It’s worse than the Minnesota defense against which Illinois nearly got to 500 yards. Barry Lunney Jr. just got paid and it’s time to show us why by unleashing the West’s best quarterback.

My confidence in Illinois remains shaken, but have you seen what’s been going on with Purdue the last couple weeks? Devon Witherspoon is going to lock up Charlie Jones and either get a pick or force O’Connell to look elsewhere, during which time he’ll be sacked. This is the ideal sequence of events anyway. This game could be a shootout if O’Connell can get the ball out to secondary targets quickly; Purdue will probably not move the pocket as much as MSU did.

I really think Illinois will win this one by a touchdown.

Buffkomodo: I like Illinois.

BoilerUp89: The cannon is a glorious trophy and I’m hoping Purdue can win it this season. I don’t think they will though.

RockyMtnBlue: You had ONE GODDAMN JOB last week, Illinois. Well I still believe in you. Or, more accurately, I believe in Purdue’s ability to continue stinking up the joint once they convinced us they were a contender. Illinois 24, Purdue 14

WSR: There are no winners in this game, but somebody has to lose. I think Illinois will win, therefore let’s fade that.

MNW: At this point I am holding out hope for that silly 4-5 Northwestern record to win the West, but Purdue was so bad against Iowa last week that I can’t in good conscience take them to win it. Illinois, 20-17.


Can Illinois lock up the West?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Illinois wins big at home. All hail our Western overlords!
    (49 votes)
  • 21%
    Purdue loses a heartbreaker.
    (49 votes)
  • 56%
    Purdue wins because the West is all about chaos.
    (129 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Michigan State Spartans

11:00am | BTN | Michigan State -10.5 | O/U 41

Straight-Up: Michigan State 13-1
Against the Spread: Rutgers 9-5

It’s like Christmas, but suckier!

MaximumSam: My opinion of Sparty was almost impossibly low a few weeks ago - they’ve surprised me by beating Wisconsin and Illinois. Still, I think they’ve got a real clunker left in them. Rutgers 24, MSU 20.

misdreavus79: I mean Rutgers can’t move the ball and their defense is starting to show signs of fraudness. So, you know... Michigan State 24, Rutgers 14

Thumpasaurus: This feels like a pretty Big Ten West game to be perfectly frank. MSU wins ugly and close

Buffkomodo: Split this game. Sparty can’t stop a wheelchair bound grandma and Rutgers couldn’t run a halfback into the ocean if they were on the beach. By virtue of Michigan State being the home team, I chose them to win and Rooty-gers to cover.

RockyMtnBlue: Sparty rallied around adversity last week and beat a pretty good Illinois team under very hard circumstances. Rutgers, meanwhile... well Rutgers frankly sucks. Michigan State 24, Rutgers 10

WSR: **inserts gif of kitten vomiting** This is really a football game occurring. And not only will people watch it, but some people paid to watch it.

MNW: Thank you very much for that hook, Mr(s). Vegas, that’s exactly what I needed to take the Knights to cover. Michigan State, 20-10.


Does Sparty’s resurgence continue?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Sparty rolls. Lord it sucks to be Rutgers.
    (63 votes)
  • 45%
    Sparty YES. MSU pulls out the close, competitive game.
    (89 votes)
  • 21%
    Fire the cannon!
    (42 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins @ (14) Penn State Nittany Lions

2:30pm | FOX | Penn State -10.5 | O/U 58

Straight-Up: All Penn State
Against the Spread: Penn State 10-4 (good buddy)

You lose one blowout to a shitty Wisconsin team and suddenly no one believes anymore.

MaximumSam: These teams look to be going in two different directions. After many weeks of Penn State erasing their performance against Michigan, I’m done doubting them. Penn State 45, Maryland 28.

misdreavus79: James Franklin does not like Maryland, and he’ll take every opportunity to remind the Terps of such disdain. Penn State 56, Maryland 17

Thumpasaurus: This really feels like the year Maryland has a complete enough team to establish themselves as a second-tier contender in the Big Ten East. Therefore, Penn State by five touchdowns.

Buffkomodo: I hedged my bets and went with a split but i think it’s more likely Penn State kicks the shit out of Maryland.

RockyMtnBlue: Penn State is a pretty good team, and there’s no pressure now that they’re basically guaranteed 3rd place in the division. Maryland’s swoon started later than usual, so...progress? Penn State 38, Maryland 20

WSR: Maryland’s better than I thought, but not really that good. Penn State is good but not great.

MNW: I’m not your buddy, pal.

I took Maryland to cover, but I’m not really a fan of how poorly they do at picking up at least one first down on each drive (81st in the country by Football Outsiders). Against Penn State, feels like the Terps’ offense keeping the Fightin’ Frankloins off the field is key—especially because Maryland’s defensive line isn’t stopping Penn State if they want to run the ball. Penn State, 31-21.



This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Penn State continues to roll through THAT portion of their schedule.
    (166 votes)
  • 17%
    Nits win a close one. No one is happy except those of us who point and laugh.
    (39 votes)
  • 6%
    Turtles win!
    (15 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now

Wisconsin Badgers @ Iowa Hawkeyes

2:30pm | FS1 | Wisconsin -1.5 | O/U 36.5

Straight-Up: Wisconsin 8-6
Against the Spread: No one is middling a 1.5pt spread.

MaximumSam: Iowa had nearly 400 yards of offense last week. That probably frightened many of the coaches and fans, and they will be back to their normal selves of punting and hoping for a pick six. Wisconsin 21, Iowa 15

misdreavus79: Wisconsin 17, Iowa 10

Thumpasaurus: Loser of this game gets eliminated with an Illinois win. Bye Iowa!

Buffkomodo: Iowa wins. Iowa inches closer to a very attainable 8 win season. As much as this site has bitched about Iowa football...they’re likely bowling. The West is hilarious.

BoilerUp89: I think I’m hoping for Iowa to win because they are more likely to lose a future game? By the time this one kicks off Purdue’s West hopes will be dead so who cares. I’ll try to find a way to watch UMass-Lowell vs. Rutgers basketball instead.

RockyMtnBlue: Oh goodie. It’s time for this game again. Iowa winning this game, and quite possibly the big10 West after the start they had would be SO on-brand. Iowa wins an ugly, ugly game. Iowa 13, Wisconsin 9

WSR: Once again, I beg meteors everywhere. Just once I need y’all to follow through for the good of everyone. If that doesn’t happen, please let this one get to double digits for all of the poor unfortunate souls that are wasting precious moments of their lives to watch it.

MNW: I assigned Iowa as “heads”, wisconsin as “tails”, and flipped an oblong rock 7 times to determine the outcome of this one.

Results were inconclusive.

badgers, 13-10.


Oh goodie. It’s THAT game again.

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Wisconsin wins (and might win the west!) ewww.
    (110 votes)
  • 16%
    I’m middling a 1.5pt spread because I’m secretly Austin Powers, and I, too, like to live dangerously.
    (40 votes)
  • 37%
    Iowa wins (and might win the west!) ewww.
    (91 votes)
241 votes total Vote Now

Northwestern Wildcats @ Minnesota Golden Gophers

2:30pm | BTN | Minnesota -17.5 | O/U 41

Straight-Up: Minnesota 13-1
Against the Spread: Tied 7-7

misdreavus79: Ok, hear me out. If Northwestern wins out, and some other shenanigans happen, they can still win the West! But Minnesota’s probably done losing for at least another week. Minnesota 31, Northwestern 14

Thumpasaurus: Time to pay up. A huge Nebraska Tax bill comes due for the Gophers. Northwestern 9, Minnesota 6.

Buffkomodo: Split because Minny isn’t as good offensively and I thought they’d be.

MaximumSam: Did you see Northwestern last week? Clearly they are one of the best teams in football. Minnesota really has little chance against the unstoppable death engine that is Northwestern. Minnesota 20, Northwestern 10.

RockyMtnBlue: Did you see how Northwestern really turned a corner last week? Yeah, I didn’t either. I saw a tornado and an extremely bored OSU team. On the other hand, Minnesota isn’t very good, either, so I suppose Northwestern covers. Minnesota 27, Northwestern 7.

WSR: I am going to this game, and I am dreading every second of it. The only enjoyable NU-MN game I’ve been to in ages was 2019, and that was in Evanston. Both coaches want to have this one end in about 75 minutes and will just try to rock fight each other to death. Minnesota should be able to pull it off because Mo is the best player on the field and Northwestern isn’t good, but we’ve fallen into this trap plenty of times before. Please don’t hurt me again Gophers.

MNW: Minnesota doesn’t need Kaliakmanis to throw a bunch in this one; in fact, if Peejus asks his QB to throw more than 15 times against a Wildcats front 7 that can be pushed around, you oughta Mason him on the spot.

For NU, it’s hoping and praying that Brendan Sullivan is good to go and that the ‘Cats can feed Evan Hull in front of a home audience—did you know he’s from Maple Grove?—while mixing in Cam Porter and Andrew Clair. Honestly, put all four of them in the backfield and let’s just go full triple option on the bit. It’d be more fun than watching us heave something in the general direction of Donny Navarro. Gophers, 28-7, and it’s never that close.


Yea and verily, there shall be rushing

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Minnesota blows out Northwestern. It’s not you, Minny, it’s Northwestern.
    (81 votes)
  • 49%
    Northwestern keeps it close and nobody understand how.
    (90 votes)
  • 6%
    Northwestern with the 3 score upset. (don’t pick this one)
    (12 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now

Nebraska Cornhuskers @ (3) Michigan Wolverines

2:30pm | ABC | Michigan -29.5 | O/U 51

Straight-Up: All Michigan
Against the Spread: Nebraska 11-3

I hate it when the ‘writers’ join me in my lack of faith.

misdreavus79: Well Nebraska is no longer contractually obligated to lose one-score games, so that’s nice. Michigan 34, Nebraska 7

Thumpasaurus: Yes, Michigan. Beat Nebraska ahead of a game against Illinois. You do that. That’s a wonderful idea.

Buffkomodo: Split because I feel like Michigan needs to let down at some point before the Ohio State game and this feels like a good opportunity for that.

MaximumSam: No Casey Thompson for Nebraska, not that it matters. Michigan 45, Nebraska 7.

RockyMtnBlue: Nebraska isn’t good enough to beat Michigan in the Big House, but they’re a LOT better than Rutgers. Michigan 33, Nebraska 14.

WSR: They’re soft and they’re not as good as you, Michigan. But it is pretty funny to watch the response after you play around with them and let their fans think they belong on the field with you.

MNW: Michigan covers this if Corum busts a couple big ones—which, against Nebraska’s defense, he’s liable to do. Seriously, Huskers, how in 10 years in this stupid-ass conference have you not figured out you need offensive and defensive line play?

Nebraska’s just explosive enough to reign this in, but barely. Michigan, 35-10.


Somehow this giant spread is more than 10pts less than the OSU spread

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Michigan trucks Nebraska, which is right and proper.
    (135 votes)
  • 29%
    Nebraska loses a ‘close’ game, or possibly an actually close game because that’s kinda what they do.
    (60 votes)
  • 4%
    Nebraska with a huge upset! RMB desperately misses Scott Frost.
    (9 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now