Every week I log into this article to enter my picks and take care of some of the miscellany that RockyMtnBlue leaves for me as part of our work on these picks articles, and every week it says “MNW wit goes here.”
I am really letting you all down.
We’re to the end of another Big Ten season, this one perhaps simultaneously dumber and more predictable than any before. The Big Ten West folded like a house of cards, the weight of expectations collapsing Purdue and Illinois and Minnesota in upon themselves and the detritus of inertial rot gathering at the feet of Iowa and Northwestern and wisconsin, leaving only the team that picks up its feet high enough to survive. At least one Big Ten West team will finish with a winning conference record, though none deserve to.
At the same time, the “Big 2, Little 8” of old appears to reign across the conference. Michigan and Ohio State have become the seemingly unstoppable juggernauts of old, bolstered by a coaching rivalry and all the 5-star players you can shake a stick at. Even Penn State—the 11th-best team in the country—could not come within two scores of either club.
The answer seems to be “sit there and take it,” and take it we shall. Know your place, play your part, and hope the Belk Bowl is everything it’s cracked up to be.
(all times CT)
Friday, Nov 25
3:00pm | BTN | Iowa -10.5 | O/U 38
Straight-Up: Iowa 10-2
Against the Spread: Nebraska 12-0
[RMB - In two years of doing this I’ve built 211 Picks graphics. This is the first time we’ve had splits, and upsets, but nobody picking the favorite to cover]
misdreavus79: All this hoopla just for Iowa to make the championship game anyway. What a shame. Iowa 12, Nebraska 10
Dead Read: My prediction is that Nebraska will Nebraska, just as Iowa will Iowa. Tautology aside, this contest will be putrid. The losers? The game of football and the viewing public. The winners? Those without an interest in the outcome. Obligatory Go Big Red, etc., etc.
BoilerUp89: GOOOOOOOOOOOO BIG RED! Iowa is losing late but scores a field goal to take the lead with under 2 minutes to go to make Purdue Pete sad. Which seems like a bad idea, but hey, you do you Iowa.
Thumpasaurus: It’s been nearly nine months since we last sought you, but once again Illini Nation calls on the power of Big Red. Come to us in our darkness. We offer you these false West champions. Take them and cast your light upon us, for the West is dark and full of terrors.
BoilerPerson nailed it already. Casey Thompson gives the Huskers a chance here, but they’ll have to go full-on option to cash it in. I don’t think they’ll commit to the bit. Their offensive output against Wisconsin was...Iowa-esque. Sam LaPorta’s absence just means that Ragaini will catch 20 balls.
MaximumSam: Brian Ferentz is going to run on the field nude and wag his finger and everything else at all the haters. Iowa 15, Nebraska 7.
RockyMtnBlue: I want Nebraska to win this game so much. Nothing against Iowa (ok, not much against Iowa), but it would be a fittingly chaotic end to the West race. I just can’t see that happening. Even with Thompson back Iowa’s defense is too much. Iowa 17, Nebraska 10
Buffkomodo: I want Iowa to win so the Purdue spirit is crushed at kickoff on Saturday.
MNW: How big a lead would be too big a lead for Nebraska to blow? We thinking 28 points? Could they pull a Full Northwestern?
Whatever that number is, I’m excited to watch them try. Let’s say Iowa 30, Nebraska 28, with the Hawks winning on another walk-off field goal.
Corn v Corn
This poll is closed
Iowa covers as a favorite. Seriously? Is that a thing now?
Nebraska shows uncommon commitment to the bit, losing a close game.
Nebraska, because the Big Ten West is living in the Stupidest Timeline.
Saturday, Nov 26
11:00am | BTN | Maryland -14.5 | O/U 49.5
Straight-Up: Maryland 11-1
Against the Spread: Maryland 8-4
misdreavus79: There should be no reason why Maryland loses this one, but, you know, you can’t put it past them either. Maryland 31, Rutgers 24
BoilerUp89: Maryland wins. Greg Schiano watch begins.
Thumpasaurus: Gut check time for both of these coaches. Rutgers has been eliminated from bowl contention; can Schiano coax a building-for-the-future type performance out of this young and battered team that would also bring Rutgers within a game of fourth place in the division? How will Mike Locksley’s squad respond to a heartbreaker against the Buckeyes following a demoralizing blowout by Penn State? I think Maryland wins a surprisingly low scoring game by a touchdown.
MaximumSam: Greg Schiano has one more rabbit to pull out of his hat. Maryland remembers it is November. Rutgers 24, Maryland 23.
RockyMtnBlue: Ahh. The annual clash of the unwanted step-children. These teams are improving, though not so much as they will when divisions stop being a thing. Sadly for the Fighting Schiano’s, though, Maryland is further along the Let’s-Try-To-Not-Completely-Suck curve. Maryland 31, Rutgers 13
Buffkomodo: I’d laugh at Rutgers but they’ve won 2 straight over the Hoosiers. Maryland rolls in this one.
MNW: I won’t think about it, you can’t make me try. Maryland, 31-21.
The battle for Delaware
This poll is closed
Maryland rolls. Rutgers’s season is blessedly over.
Maryland, but it’s close. Rutgers’s season is blessedly over.
Rugters screws up their draft pick.
11:00am | FOX | Ohio State -7.5 | O/U 57
Straight-Up: Ohio State 7-5
Against the Spread: Michigan 8-4
misdreavus79: Everyone else has been, and will continue to, slurp these two teams until Georgia burns a hole in whoever ends up playing them, so I’mma go ahead and sit this one out. Ohio State whatever, Michigan whatever but less.
BoilerUp89: All season long I’ve maintained the belief that Michigan is better, but not by that much and the game is at Ohio State this year where 100k of my fellow state citizens and terrible people will be attending. So, I’ve taken the approach that Ohio State will likely win.
But Ohio State still looks mortal. Their defense isn’t great. Against Iowa’s defense they had just four drives over 25 yards. And Michigan’s passing defense is better than Iowa’s (not to mention Michigan’s offense is miles in front of Iowa’s). Michigan’s run game is good enough to bleed the clock and shorten the game.
If either of Michigan’s first two running backs on the depth chart is good to go, I’ll take the Wolverines to win again and continue that Buckeye drought that is already over 1000 days.
If they aren’t, then Ohio State to win and cover.
Thumpasaurus: Ever since Jim Harbaugh publicly came out as a real son of a bitch, his Wolverines are virtually unbeatable. This is Ohio State’s last chance to beat the “finesse team” charges, and I don’t think they’ll do it. Let’s face it; Michigan is living a charmed existence. They came out against Illinois with an ignorant and arrogant game plan and were rewarded for it with a victory. They haven’t faced a passing game like Ohio State’s, but this was also true last year and I simply don’t see this year playing out any differently.
If James Franklin really wants to put Penn State over the top, it’s time for some commentary on historical events at Penn State football in the offseason.
MaximumSam: Can’t wait to yell at my television for this one. Michigan running back health is a big question mark, but I figure at least one of them will be healthy. Michigan has always moved the ball pretty well on OSU under Harbaugh, they just didn’t play enough defense for it to matter. They finally seem to have figured that out. Michigan 31, Ohio State 28.
RockyMtnBlue: Thinking about this game even a little drives home how fleeting success can be. It occurs to me that this year I’ve been remiss in reminding everyone that Michigan is the Reigning Conference Champions. As a long-time fan (and alumnus) of the Reigning Conference Champion Wolverines, I’m dreading this game. Ohio State’s run defense is better than their pass defense, but your Reigning Conference Champion Wolverines throw like soccer players.
On the other side of the ball, the only way to stop OSU is to pressure CJ Stroud (and even that doesn’t guarantee you anything), but pass rush is the weakest point of your Reigning Conference Champion Wolverines’ defense. And finally, the game is in Columbus, where your Reigning Conference Champion Wolverines haven’t won this century.
If you’re picking the Reigning Conference Champion Wolverines to win this game, you should have your head examined. I’ve got a cool grand bet the other way. Ohio State 42, Your Reigning Conference Champion Michigan Wolverines 20.
Buffkomodo: Give me Michigan so that I can continue hearing the bitching of the Ohio State fans I know.
MNW: I wish I had a cool grand to do anything with.
Also, I absolutely fucking loathe The Game. Go away, both of you.
This poll is closed
Ohio State by two scores or better. Fuck you, Ohio State.
Michigan keeps it close, but can’t pull it out in Columbus. Fuck you, Ohio State.
Your Reigning Conference Champion Michigan Wolverines! (got in another one)
I’m a fan of neither of these teams and I’m SO GODDAMN TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THIS STUPID GAME! (also, fuck you, Ohio State)
2:30pm | BTN | Illinois -14 | O/U 37
Straight-Up: Illinois 10-2
Against the Spread: Illinois 8-4
misdreavus79: Man, what could have been. If Illinois just won one of the past three games they’d been good to go. Alas. Illinois 29, Northwestern 3
HWAHSQB: Every pick I made this week is just because it’s what needs to happen for Illinois to get a rematch with Michigan and if they get another go at the Wolverines Kevin Warren and all the B1G officials in the world won’t stop Bert and crew from winning. Hey, Kevin Warren, get bent and Fuck michigan!
Thumpasaurus: I’m worried. If Iowa wins, all this game means is keeping the hat and an opportunity to pad some stats. Northwestern proved that they can stop the run if they rightfully do not believe anything else is going to happen. Will we continue to just give it to Chase Brown from the shotgun to slam into loaded boxes? That...seems like a blueprint for a loss!
I certainly hope it’s not this way. While Barry Lunney Jr has raised the floor of this offense, he’s put a pretty hard ceiling on what it can accomplish. We had Brandon Peters throwing bombs in this game last year. If we don’t disperse the 9-man box with some Big Time Tommy action, we’ll give Hugh Robertson the opportunity to fuck everything up by punting 10 yards with the wind.
Illinois should win. The above is the path to them losing. I assume it also involves a healthy dose of Donny Navarro.
BoilerUp89: While I wouldn’t be shocked if HWAHSQB is right (Purdue seems like a lock to lose if they have something to play for), I don’t see it happening because of the Nebraska-Iowa game. For this one though, Ireland-11 happens.
MaximumSam: Bert is mad, but that’s a big spread. LOL just kidding that is not a big spread against Northwestern, but still feels like a low scoring game. Illinois 24, Northwestern 11.
RockyMtnBlue: Northwestern is awful, but always seems to show up when Hats are involved. This should be a fun rivalry going forward, matching up the two biggest Neanderthals in the conference. Illinois 28, Northwestern 17
Buffkomodo: Illinois wins and somehow the Illini fans are unsatisfied with an 8 win season in Bert’s second year.
MNW: It’s not going to be remotely close. Cole Freeman is a nice guy, I’m sure, and a fun story—he’s a place-holder because literally everyone else is dead. Northwestern will mix in the Wildcat formation at some point—it’s “run left,” “run left,” “run left again because they think you’re going right.” If you see Cam Porter in there, Illini, he’s not throwing. Save yourself the trouble.
I’m just tired of it, tired of the season, tired of an off-season full of morons at InsideNU saying “WE SHOULD’VE FIRED FITZ” as if it’s a take moored to anything approaching (1) reality or (2) common sense.
Fuck Jim O’Neil with the base of HAT. Illini, 35-8.
This poll is closed
Illinois covers a 2TD spread. All 14 Big10 fan bases are happy they won’t see another Northwestern game this year.
Illinois in a tight one against a terrible Northwestern team, but hey, a hat is a hat!
Wildcats win a game in North America! Thumpasaurus joins a monastery.
2:30pm | ESPN | Wisconsin -3.5 | O/U 34.5
Straight-Up: Tied 6-6
Against the Spread: Minnesota 7-5
misdreavus79: Can Mo Ibrahim run for 300 yards while Minnesota still loses? Find out on Saturday at 3:30 PM on ESPN!
BoilerUp89: Minnesota is dead to me. wisconsin continues their status as the great evil. I don’t care. I’m not even sure who I picked.
Thumpasaurus: I’m just disgusted with the rest of the league. Illinois did great work in October to endanger Wisconsin and Iowa’s bowl chances and nobody capitalized on this. Breaking losing streaks is great. Breaking someone else’s winning or bowl streak is EXQUISITE.
Anyway, Wisconsin gets the axe back because their offense is just balanced enough to be more consistent than Minnesota’s one man show.
MaximumSam: Man, the luster came off of this game. Minnesota 17, Wisconsin 14.
RockyMtnBlue: I’ll bet a wooden nickel this is the dumbest game of the week in the Big10. I mean, Nebraska’s playing Iowa, so I’m out on a limb here, but it just feels like this will be next-level stupid. Anyways I think Wiscy is a bit better and the game’s in Camp Randall. Wisconsin 21, Minnesota 17
Buffkomodo: My mind says Wisconsin but my heart says Wisconsin. Wisconsin it is.
MNW: Huh. I chose wisconsin in this one? I wonder why that was. (I genuinely could not tell you. I have not watched a second of badger football since the Northwestern game.) But let’s say they win 17-14 anyway. Mo runs for 492 in the loss, probably.
This poll is closed
Wisconsin covers as a small favorite. This game is dumb.
Wisconsin wins a very close game. Close doesn’t mean "good". This game is dumb.
Minnesota defends the Axe! Fun fact: The last time that happened, resident cloud-yeller-atter RockyMtnBlue was in college.
2:30pm | BTN | Purdue -10.5 | O/U 55.5
Straight-Up: Purdue 10-2
Against the Spread: Tied 6-6
misdreavus79: Man, what could have been. If
Illinois Purdue just won one of the past three Iowa or Wisconsin games they’d been good to go. Alas. Illinois Purdue 29, Northwestern Indiana 3
BoilerUp89: If Iowa beats Nebraska, Purdue covers. If Nebraska wins, Purdue loses.
Thumpasaurus: BoilerUp, I’ll have you know that I am insured (75 to 1) against the nightmare scenario of everything happening to support Illinois to Indy except we lose to Nern somehow.
Anyway, Indiana avenged one of the Illini losses last week with the emergence of Sexter Thrilliams at quarterback. Could this be the second coming of Zander Diamont? Probably not.
MaximumSam: The Hoosiers are bad, though there are signs they are back to being a chaos team. Would love to see them get like 4 pick sixes and still lose. Purdue 30, Indiana 10.
RockyMtnBlue: Indiana got a spunky upset win against MSU last, week, and we’re all very grateful. But at the end of the day this is a flawed and badly injured team. Plus Purdue is a weirdly good road team. /shrug. Purdue 34, Indiana 10
MNW: That hook on the line is exactly what I’d want to see if I were betting this game with RMB’s cool thousand. Good for Dexter Williams and the Hoosiers for getting a win. Blanket Charlie Jones in this one, and you just might realize that Aidan O’Connell and the Boilers are a big fat pumpkin train.
That might be a sex act. I’m not really sure what’s happening right now. Purdue, 27-17.
Buffkomodo: All your logic sucks. Indiana may not win, but they’re not getting destroyed (me uttering this means they’re probably going to get killed). They will lose most likely because Jeff Brohm has Tom Allen’s number. Allen is 1-3 against Purdue in his career and likely doesn’t get number two this weekend, but Indiana will manage to cover what I assume will be a close game.
This poll is closed
Purdue covers. Yawn
Indiana almost closes the season with back-to-back double digit upsets. But doesn’t. Because Indiana.
Hoosiers!!! Bonus: How fun would this be if it happens after Iowa loses on Friday?
3:00pm | FS1 | Penn State -18 | O/U 52.5
Straight-Up: Penn State 10-2
Against the Spread: Penn State 7-5
misdreavus79: Forecast does not predict snow, so, you know... Penn State 56, Michigan State 17
BoilerUp89: Penn State by a lot. LAZERZ!
MaximumSam: Sparty loses with dignity. PSU 28, MSU 21.
Thumpasaurus: If I’ve learned anything about the 2022 Michigan State Spartans, it’s this: you have no idea how the 2022 Michigan State Spartans are going to play, and whatever you assume will be wrong. I’d assume they’re reeling from a horrible upset. I’m wrong. Sparty by a touchdown.
RockyMtnBlue: I was very tempted to pick Sparty for the upset here, mostly because it would annoy me and therefor feels likely. But this game’s in Happy Valley and Penn State really is a lot better than MSU. Let’s hope this pick is right. Anything that gets that God-awful trophy further from my house is a good thing. Penn State 35, Michigan State 21
Buffkomodo: Usually Indiana gets beat by bad teams to miss bowl contention. How’s it feel Sparty? You’re welcome. Penn State roars.
MNW: Why? Why would I choose a Sparty cover a week after they lost to Indiana? Penn State, 38-24.
This poll is closed
Penn State finishes an impressive late season run of stomping broken teams.
Sparty hangs tough. Penn State "only" wins by 17. Nit Nation blames Clifford for the unacceptable showing.
Sparty goin’ bowling, y’all!
Pew Pew Pew