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Big Ten Football Week 11 Picks, Predictions, Previews

Time for some Obligatory Predictions: can Penn State slow down Michigan? Will Iowa-Rutgers get to a 20-point total? Is Illinois?

NCAA Football: Michigan at Penn State
imagining this but it’s these two men’s faces on the cover of the 1997 hit face/off
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been managing this site for something like six years now, and it’s nice to finally have the respect of these writers like RockyMtnBl—

[MNW blah blah blah]

This season has been a slog. I realized in trying to pick most of these games that I fundamentally just don’t know what to choose. Maybe this is the OTE writer’s curse: I don’t know what a Brendan Sorsby is, don’t want to learn Drew Allar’s third-down completion rate, and I start weeping whenever I see Brendan Sullivan trot onto the field.


About Last Week

* Must pick at least half the games to qualify


  • BuffKomodo leads the pack at 5-1-1 ATS this week to storm into second place.
  • misdreavus79 and yours truly go 6-1 straight up.
  • Thumpasaurus continues to lead in both categories. His acc straight up is .857.

Houston, we have a problem:

  • Rough week for BoilerUp89. 1-5-1 ATS and his team got a little man-handled by Michigan. It’s ok. I’m pretty sure he’s just marking time till basketball season
  • Your authors continue to languish well into the lower half in the ATS standings.

The Picks

Saturday, November 11

Indiana Hoosiers @ Illinois Fighting Illini

11:00am | BTN | Illinois -6.5 | O/U 43.5

Straight-Up: Illinois 10-2
Against the Spread: Indiana 8-4

The ayes have it.

BRT: I’m really happy for Indiana that they were able to stagger up off the mat last week, but I think Illinois is a better team, and a better coached team. I’m picking the Illini, but hoping this is a spicy, stupid game.

Buffkomodo: Everything about Indiana football is stupid BRT, but it’s rarely spicy. More like bland and unappealing. I’ll split this however because Illinois has shown this season they can play poorly against average to bad teams at home.

misdreavus79: I don’t think Illinois has won two games in a row yet this season. Well I need them to, for the three-way-tie, of course. Illinois 27, Indiana 24

Larry31: That is a big point spread for what seems like a really close game. I’ll go with the home team, but take Indiana to cover.

Thumpasaurus: I just spent some time mapping out Big Ten West title scenarios, and for that reason Indiana will win this. Illinois under Bielema is 4-8 at home (7-5 on the road) against Big Ten opponents. The Berting Illini have been fundamentally incapable of defending Memorial Stadium after a crucial road win.

AlmaOtter: Turns out Illiniois and Indiana haven’t played this matchup with both coming off of a conference win since 2001. In that year, Indiana beat Wisconsin the week prior and Illinois beat Minnesota. Is this relevant to 2023? Not particularly, but it is weird. Illinois by a field goal.

RockyMtnBlue: Just call me Mr. Recency Bias. A late season surge by Indiana probably locks in Tom Allen for another year. The universe clearly has it out for the thirteen Indiana fans who care about football, so clearly this is what will happen. Indiana 20-17.

RUReady4Brazil: These are two teams who actually are improving over the course of the season, is that allowed in the Big Ten? I would have liked either of these teams against anyone outside of the Big Three this week as they are both feeling it.

MNW: Brendan Sorsby? Illinois, 24-14.


Basketball schools meet on a football field

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    FIghting Berts by at least a touchdown
    (68 votes)
  • 41%
    "Closer than expected, but a loss nonetheless" is Indiana’s theme this year.
    (79 votes)
  • 22%
    Indiana with a winning streak. They’re the anti-Maryland.
    (43 votes)
190 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins @ Nebraska Cornhuskers

11:00am | Peacock | Maryland -2 | O/U 45.5

Straight-Up: Nebraska 7-5
Against the Spread: Nebraska 7-5

Is it just me, or are these logos annoyingly similar?

BRT: Well, picking against Nebraska in a “sure win” game worked well enough for me last week, so why not go with it again? I don’t trust this team as far as I can fumble them directly into the hands of the opponent at a critical juncture, which isn’t very far at all.

Buffkomodo: Nebraska wins and Maryland spirals into sadness.

misdreavus79: I have no idea how this game is going to turn out, but one has to assume the Maryland that went 5-0 will show up at some point, right? Maryland 31, Nebraska 28

Larry31: Maryland will continue their death spiral until proven otherwise. How is Maryland favored?

Thumpasaurus: Mike Locksley needs to get his shit together. He now needs to beat Michigan (as well as Nebraska and Rutgers) to win my over 7.5 wins bet.

AlmaOtter: When the Illini went 6-0, then 0-6 in 2011, I remember thinking that the tide had to turn at some point. As it turns out, the losses can continue to pile up. Nebraska to get bowl-eligible at home, Maryland to lose out.

RockyMtnBlue: I’ll believe Maryland can beat anyone in any stadium outside the month of September when they prove it. Lincoln, Nebraska is not the best place to try. Nebraska 24-21

RUReady4Brazil: Maryland will wake up eventually and it better not be against Rutgers in the season finale to become bowl eligible.

MNW: No idea. November Maryland? Nebraska, 24-21.


Sea Turtles travel to the great plains of Nebraska. What could possibly go wrong?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Turtles with a resounding cover. They win by 3.
    (52 votes)
  • 12%
    Turtles by exactly 1.
    (24 votes)
  • 61%
    Nebraska is bowl eligible!
    (122 votes)
198 votes total Vote Now

(2) Michigan Wolverines @ (9) Penn State Nittany Lions

11:00am | FOX | Michigan -4.5 | O/U 43.5

Straight-Up: Michigan 8-4
Against the Spread: Michigan 7-5

I love that the Michigan PSU graphic is always just Michigan colors.

BRT: With Stalions riding off into the sunset, whatever will Michigan do? I still think the answer to that question is that they’ll win. They may well be dirty rotten cheaters, but they’re also still a pretty decent football team. The Nits wilted the last time they were in the spotlight, and unfortunately, I think they do that again.

Buffkomodo: Penn State can’t really move the ball well it appears and Michigan can. Michigan wins and pulls away late.

misdreavus79: The last time Michigan played Penn State in State College, they needed Kalen King and Curtis Jacobs to run into each other trying to stop Eric All, leaving him open to score the go-ahead touchdown on a semi-hail mary at the end of the game. That game, as a reminder, featured half a Clifford on offense, and virtually no running game.

This Michigan team is considerably better than that one, but so is this Penn State team. Penn State 27, Michigan 24

Larry31: College football is such an emotional sport, which explains the weekly (or in Maryland’s case the monthly) swings/fluctuations. Harbz is a cheating-ass weirdo who I think will be able to work this current unseemly situation to his benefit. I think Michigan comes in motivated with an “us-against-the-world” attitude, and wins and covers.

Thumpasaurus: I’m out here rooting for James Franklin because the other head coach is so insufferable.

AlmaOtter: Wish fulfillment here, but go Lions of Nittany. Let’s make the final year of B1G divisions a complete and utter shitshow.

RockyMtnBlue: With a win, Penn State would set up a similar situation to 2016. Penn State very likely goes to the title game in the event of a 3-way tie. Screw that. I very very badly want Michigan to win this game. I want it so badly I’ve put more money on Penn State to win than I’ve ever wagered on any sporting event not called “The Game”. Penn State 21-20. (at least it’ll fund Christmas)

RUReady4Brazil: Michigan is a better team and this is one of the few times I ever root for them, because it’s the lesser of two evils. Well used to be before the sign stealing anyway.

MNW: I’m mostly banking on the hilarity of a three-way tie atop the East, with Penn State winning in because the West teams they beat were slightly better. Lions, 24-21.


It’s time for a real game.

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Michigan cheats their way to a nice win
    (113 votes)
  • 16%
    Michigan cheats their way to a close win
    (41 votes)
  • 37%
    Penn State wins because Michigan isn’t allowed to cheat anymore.
    (94 votes)
248 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Purdue Boilermakers

1:30 | NBC | Minnesota -1 | O/U 46.5

Straight-Up: Minnesota 9-3
Against the Spread: Minnesota 9-3

Second week in a row the Purdue graphic has me singing “Oom-pah-pah”

BRT: God, I’m excited for this game. My game promises to be stupid, but I’m too invested to fully enjoy it. But Minnesota-Purdue? Oh yes. Inject this idiocy straight into my veins. Who will win? All who love the B1G West in its purest forms. And also, probably Minnesota. Even though Peejus is having a tough year, Purdue has looked quite hapless of late.

Buffkomodo: Minnesota because PJ has the goods and, well, the Boiler army has already moved into firing Ryan Walters.

misdreavus79: One must assume Purdue has packed it in for the season. Minnesota 17, Purdue 14

Larry31: October Maryland and and All-Season Purdue are the two teams that have just shown no fight. ‘Nern and Indiana have dragged themselves off the mat to fight. Even Michigan State. I gotta go with Peej and the Gophers to win and cover.

Thumpasaurus: Did Purdue prep for anybody on their schedule besides Illinois? I’ll believe PJ loses to Purdue when I see it.

AlmaOtter: Minny -1 is just rude to the Gophers. I mean, yeah. Bert ate PJ’s lunch last week, as he is wont to do. But Purdue hasn’t done much of anything since blitzing the Illini back in September. Golden Rodents to get their 6th win this week.

RockyMtnblue: Two unpredictable, not particularly good west teams. When in doubt, go with the home team. Purdue 20-14

RUReady4Brazil: Purdue has let me down so many times. Yes, even more than Peej.

MNW: Ryan Walters gets smediumer than PJ Fleck. Unfortunately, I’m told that has no bearing on the outcome of a college football game. Minnesota, 24-21.


West Division Sickos Action

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Minnesota wins a silly, ugly game
    (122 votes)
  • 29%
    Purdue wins a silly, ugly game
    (52 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now

Northwestern Wildcats @ Wisconsin Badgers

1:30 | FS1 | Wisconsin -11.5 | O/U 42.5

Straight-Up: Wisconsin 9-3
Against the Spread: Northwestern 11-1

Is it just me, or do these logos and colors clash like hell?

BRT: Count me in as a total fan of this new, less-good Wisconsin. I’m very much here for it, and hope it lasts forever. I don’t think it will last this week in Camp Randall though, as Northwestern has not won a single road game this season. I guess it’s harder to play when the seats are filled with people.

Buffkomodo: If Wisconsin had a competent QB, they’d have beaten Indiana. If they have a competent QB, they’ll beat Northwestern. If not, Northwestern may just win. I’ll split and hope for the funniest.

misdreavus79: I’d be more at ease if I knew Braelon Allen were coming back for this game. If he is, Northwestern probably won’t be able to keep up. If he isn’t, well, see last week. Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 17

Larry31: Wow, misdreavus. That’s a bold pick, my firend. Before I even noted the spread, I had assumed it woudl be less than 7 points. That’s a big spread that Wisconsin won’t cover. However, unlike misdreavus, I’m not going all in on the Purple Hazers. Badgers win but do not cover.

Thumpasaurus: I can’t believe we’re Purdue’s only win.

AlmaOtter: Braelon Allen’s injury status is still uncertain and Northwestern plays every game ugly and close. I’ll be a coward and take the points.

RockyMtnBlue: Wisconsin is missing basically all their guys, and Northwestern is playing inspired. Sadly, I think that’s only enough to keep it close. Wisconsin 18-16

RUReady4Brazil: Wisconsin without their QB was bad, and now running back black hole is making all of us who lost to them when they fielded most of a team look bad. If Northwestern had Bryant they would have beaten Iowa last week, but without him I guess Wisconsin wins?

MNW: If Braelon Allen is fully ready to go, I’m really going to regret picking the ‘Cats to beat the spread here. I don’t know that Brendan Sullivan will even make it to a three-step drop most downs. wisconsin, 21-14.


Oooh more sickos action!

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Yeah they’re banged up, but this is still Wisconsin in Camp Randall. Badgers roll.
    (48 votes)
  • 49%
    Northwestern keeps it close on sheer moxie (it clearly isn’t on talent). Alas it’s not enough.
    (91 votes)
  • 24%
    Northwestern’s march to the West crown continues!
    (46 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Iowa Hawkeyes

1:30 | BTN | Iowa -2 | O/U 29.5

Straight-Up: Tied 6-6
Against the Spread: Tied 6-6

Figures the lowest O/U ever would be split down the middle

BRT: You know, I think the ‘gers comes to Iowa City for a bit of culture shock, and leaves with the W. Obviously, this is my wishful thinking talking, but so say all of us, right?

Buffkomodo: I think Schiano is a fantastic coach. I think the Iowa offense sucks. I don’t think the Rutgers offense is much better though and I’ll take the home team to cover, but would LOVE if the ‘Gers get the win.

misdreavus79: Take the under. Iowa 7, Rutgers 3

Larry31: Wow. A lot of great tricky/close games this week, and this one is no exception. I’m riding Buff’s coattails on this one. Both teams have sucky offenses and good-to-great defenses. Iowa is at home. Let’s go with the home team to win and cover

Thumpasaurus: If Iowa wins this game, they must lose to both Illinois and Nebraska to hit 8 wins exactly.

AlmaOtter: Both sides have great defenses, but Rutgers actually runs an offense. Monangai with a huge game and Rutgers with the win.

RockyMtnBlue: Dunno who will win, but you’re nuts if you don’t bet the under. Iowa 13-10

RUReady4Brazil: If Rutgers plays well they win, if Rutgers plays badly, they lose. Iowa is just Iowa. I’d go emotional hedge in survivor, but my gut tells me RU will finally beat a Big Ten team with a winning record for only the third time I believe since joining the conference. But this probably jinxed it.

MNW: Jesus, there are going to be so many Wimsatt QB power runs that go for -3 yards in this game. I can’t believe it already. Iowa, 11-8, the old-fashioned way: three field goals and a safety.


Who ya got in the lowest O/U ever?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Iowa won 10-7 last week. I believe they can do it again.
    (77 votes)
  • 21%
    Iowa by exactly 1. Probably 4-3.
    (54 votes)
  • 48%
    Rutgers is emphatically not a top 5 team. Ergo: not afraid of Kinnick. Knights with the upset!
    (123 votes)
254 votes total Vote Now

Michigan State Spartans @ (3) Ohio State Buckeyes

5:30pm | NBC | Ohio State -30.5 | O/U 46

Straight-Up: Ohio State 12-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State 8-4

BRT: Ah, the heady heights of beating the Fumblin’ ‘Skers are about to be replaced with something far less pleasant for Sparty.

Buffkomodo: Ohio State is just kind of silently getting better as the season goes on. Winning games in weird ways. At some point, they’re going to start looking like world beaters and dominate from wire to wire. Let it be this week. I need this cover.

misdreavus79: The only time Ohio State has covered a line over 20 this season has been against Western Kentucky. Ohio State 37, Michigan State 10

Larry31: Fine. Misdreavus has me convinced with that one singular stat line. OSU to win, but not cover.

Thumpasaurus: Ohio State seems to take a weird pleasure in kicking the shit out of MSU.

AlmaOtter: Hey, my wife and her dad will be at this game! 30.5 is a lot, but agreed with Thump; Ohio State tends to lay the smackdown early against MSU. 49-0 in the first half in 2021, 35-13 in the first half in 2022. I’m guessing that trend holds.

RockyMtnBlue: misdreavus makes a good point, but I’ve had a lot of success over the years just assuming OSU will be that annoying talking buffalo in the BW3 commercials. “What happens if I accidentally trample him and then I’m like ‘oh sorry’, and then accidentally trample him again because I just don’t know my own strength.” Tell me that’s not OSU. Ohio State 41-10

RUReady4Brazil: MSU has shown heart other than the whooping against their hated in state rival. OSU will probably cover just because they will be feeding Harrison the ball even with the game out of reach. I’m picking MSU to cover because karma I guess.

MNW: I genuinely don’t know who plays for Ohio State besides Beaver McCord and the car guy. Buckeyes, 35-7.


Remember when this was a marquee matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Death Star opens up a can of Death Star
    (97 votes)
  • 28%
    This is not your father’s OSU team. They’re good, but they don’t just hang 60 on people like it’s nothin’. I’ll take the points.
    (56 votes)
  • 4%
    For perhaps the first time in his 52 years, RMB is happy Sparty won a football game.
    (8 votes)
  • 18%
    Meteor please (I am a right-thinking individual)
    (37 votes)
198 votes total Vote Now


Bonus poll: Why are all three of our great opportunities for West Division sicko-ism in the same time slot?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    God hates us.
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    The universe hates us.
    (6 votes)
  • 18%
    The Big10 hates us. I suppose it’s only fair. We hate them.
    (41 votes)
  • 9%
    The networks hate us
    (22 votes)
  • 9%
    Everyone hates us
    (21 votes)
  • 56%
    Dunno, but I’m pretty sure it’s Michigan’s fault.
    (127 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now