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Big Ten Football Week 12 Picks, Predictions, Previews

The Big Ten West could be decided today as Michigan and Ohio State look to punch their tickets through to the Big Game. What tickles your fancy today?

Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Look, my ideas are gone thanks to this week’s DWT;WT. (Which you should read!) So when I get this sass from RockyMtnBlue...

[mnw writes about something other than this placeholder note] really kinda torques me off.

About Last Week

* Must pick at least half the games to qualify


  • HWAHSQB was 6-1 against the spread this week. Doin work.
  • HWAHSQB also vaults into first place in straight-up standings, edging LincolnParkWildcat by only 2 points (.835 to .833)
  • Thump is going to be awfully tough to beat ATS, picking almost 23 of the winners all year.

Houston, we have a problem:

  • MNWildcat with another rough week ATS (2-5)
  • AlmaOtter with just as rough a week straight up (2-5)
  • Thump falls out of first in the straight-up standings (third place at .821)

The Picks

Saturday, November 18

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ (12) Penn State Nittany Lions

11:00am | FS1 | Penn State -20.5 | O/U 42

Straight-Up: Penn State 14-0
Against the Spread: Rutgers 9-5

BRT: Rutgers, I was never going to pick you to win this, but god, you were disappointing last week. I know you already know that, but think you need to hear it again. Have fun with mad, embarrassed PSU though.

RockyMtnBlue: Rutgers has been the feel-good story of the Big10 East this year, but they’ve scored 7 points in their two home games against real defenses, and none in their last 7 quarters. I think PSU probably covers, but I’d stay away from the spread. I’d hammer the under on this one. Penn State 24-3

Larry31: I’m with BRT and RMB. Rutgers is solid this year. But, their offense is bad and Penn state’s defense is very good. Giving 20.5 points to a solide team with a good defense is alot but, I don’t know how Rutgers will score more than 10 points. I think Penn state covers.

RUReady4Brazil: Rutgers is banged up at an already thin receiver spot and with Kyle Monangai nursing injuries, their only real chance of winning this thing is kaput. I just don’t see any chance of an upset, sadly. Basically they need Penn State to be on an emotional let down with an even more inept playcaller in a torrential downpour AND just want the game more than PSU AND get some lucky bounces. After what I saw against Iowa I know Rutgers has more heart than they showed last week, but can they pull a complete 180? Basically everything has to go right, including the coaching to win.

Kind of...: Jerry Tarkanian once acidly called out the NCAA’s hypocrisy by saying “the NCAA is so mad at Kentucky it’s going to put Cleveland State on probation.” While this quote is certainly worth keeping in mind with every “Michigan vs. everybody” t-shirt you see, it also accurately conveys PSU’s station in the conference. Penn State is so pissed they can’t beat OSU or Michigan, that they’re going to take it out on Rutgers. 20.5 in Vegas begging you to take PSU to cover, but I’ll bite.

Thumpasaurus: Nope. A Rutgers win would be too fun and wholesome for me to think it is possible in 2023. Give me Penn State by at least 3 scores.


Who’s really the 3rd best team in the East?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Penn State murders teams not named OSU and Michigan. Rutgers is named Rutgers.
    (153 votes)
  • 25%
    Scarlet Knights keep it close-ish, but of course they’re not winning in that stadium.
    (59 votes)
  • 7%
    Penn State DID NOT PREPARE
    (18 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now

Michigan State Spartans @ Indiana Hoosiers

11:00am | BTN | Indiana -4.5 | O/U 47

Straight-Up: Indiana 9-5
Against the Spread: Indiana 9-5

BRT: The most I can say about this one is that the B1G West salutes you, MSU @ Indiana.

RockyMtnBlue: Indiana’s had a bit of a renaissance lately, but MSU also won their last non-autoloss game. Give me Sparty in an upset, mostly because that would be the sad event.

Larry31: Gee What a shocker. IU gets rid of Walt Bell and all of the sudden they play respectable football. Hmm. Coincidence? I think not. Sparty’s QB situation is as bleak as Nebraska’s. IU covers.

RUReady4Brazil: Usually in games like this, only one team will probably show up while the other sleepwalks, so this is about as 50-50 as they come. I feel like Michigan State can stop teams who can’t pass and Indiana doesn’t pass really. That said, Michigan State will blow a close game. Indiana did lose last week but has played well three weeks in a row. I’m putting my eggs in the IU basket but it’s entirely possible that with a bowl bid no longer a reality barring some APR magic, they fail to show up.

Kind of...: MSU is averaging 12 ppg in their seven B1G tilts. Indiana is fully capable of beating themselves, but I’m still taking Indiana.

Thumpasaurus: Say this like an old timey Virginia Confederate gentleman: “The 85th Spartan cavalry, under the command of Colonel Harlon Barnett, suffered heavy casualties in the battle”


Who’s really the 5th best team in the East?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    I never bet against Indiana to cover when they’re favored (this rule doesn’t really affect me much)
    (56 votes)
  • 43%
    Indiana proves "We’re not worst!" (barely)
    (81 votes)
  • 27%
    (51 votes)
188 votes total Vote Now

Purdue Boilermakers @ Northwestern Wildcats

11:00am | BTN | Purdue -1.5 | O/U 47

Straight-Up: Northwestern 11-3
Against the Spread: Northwestern 11-3

BRT: Both of these teams surprised me a lot last week! I don’t even remember who I picked on the spreadsheet, and am too lazy to look it up, so I look forward to being surprised not only by the outcome of this game, but also to finding out if I picked correctly or not!

RockyMtnBlue: Another game between two teams that have turned it up lately. I was shocked by Purdue last week, but I think Northwestern wins this game even without removing the interm tag from Braun. As it is, jNW players are even more excited and they show it to the 263 people who come to the game. Northwestern 30-19

Larry31: Purdue favored by 1.5 points!?! That’s crazy talk. ‘Nern wins

RUReady4Brazil: If Ben Bryant plays, Northwestern should cruise.

Kind of...: Everything scream Northwestern...except the spread. I’m sure Gopher fans have plenty to say about why you should overreact to Purdue’s performance vs. Minnesota last week. But, well, I’m a Wisconsin fan and let me tell you, the Badgers are in crisis. No disrespect to Northwestern. They stomped all over UW. I just don’t think that means any more than Northwestern is a .500 football team. Purdue’s defense isn’t great, but I double NW converts their first ten third downs against it. I’ll take the Boilers.

Thumpasaurus: We’ve gotta set the stage for me to have a really bad time next week. Nerncats win this.

MNW: I don’t like this matchup with a Purdue offense that should be able to find some spcae against a still-iffy pass. There’s going to be plenty of slapstick in this for anyone, though, and since Northwestern has gone a perfect LWLWLWLWLW on the year, logic dictates the next one’s going to hit L.

I’ll hold out hope but I can’t argue with fate. Purdue, 23-14.


West action in front of tens of fans

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Purdue looked great last week! They "cover" a 1.5pt spread.
    (33 votes)
  • 12%
    Purdue by exactly 1 point. (ballsy choice, this)
    (26 votes)
  • 71%
    Northwestern looked great last week! They "upset" the trains.
    (146 votes)
205 votes total Vote Now

(2) Michigan Wolverines @ Maryland Terrapins

11:00am | FOX | Michigan -19 | O/U 51

Straight-Up: Michigan 14-0
Against the Spread: Michigan 11-3


BRT: Oh dear. Turtle Soup. More sanctimonious Harbaugh press conferences and dick swinging from UM (the one being investigated for cheating, not the Terps.) If there was ever a hilarious time for Maryland to get it together for a massive upset, boy is this is it—but there’s no chance of that, unfortunately for us all.

RockyMtnBlue: Well I’ll be at this game so I’d really like this to be something silly like 50-0. It won’t be. Michigan will have an emotional let-down coming off of PSU (and looking ahead to OSU), while still dealing with all the drama. I don’t think we fully succumb to the trap game and lose, but I do think it will be irritatingly close. Michigan 31-24

Larry31: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. Let’s see. Penn State more than tripled Maryland’s score. Michigan beat Penn State 24-15. So, Michigan will score 5 times the points than Maryland scores. 35-7? 42-10? That sounds about right. Michigan covers by the end of the 3rd quarter.

RUReady4Brazil: Maryland didn’t impress much last week, but they did win. I could see a trap game for Michigan, but they are so airtight with assignments, they will roll. The problem is that Maryland should be down and start to throw the ball around, getting themselves in rhythm for the first time in a month, just in time for a date with Rutgers in the season finale.

Kind of...: Michigan covers, feels vindicated somehow.

Thumpasaurus: supervillainy shall win the day once again. there are no more heroes.


UofM v UofM (not that UofM). Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Maryland just keeps getting worse. Michigan by many.
    (139 votes)
  • 22%
    Michigan wins, but "No Harbaugh" == "no cover"
    (46 votes)
  • 10%
    Wolverines somehow manage to lose to November Maryland with RMB in the "crowd".
    (21 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now

Illinois Fighting Illini @ Iowa Hawkeyes

2:30pm | FS1 | Iowa -3.5 | O/U 30.5

Straight-Up: Tied 7-7
Against the Spread: Illinois 9-5

BRT: I’m genuinely intrigued by this game in a West kind of way, and am sad I’m not able to watch it. The storyline of Bert winning this would be delicious, and that’s what I’m hoping for, even though Kirk’s soul-trading barter seems to be once again in effect this year. Maybe that’s what happened to Brian - Kirk having sold his soul to undeservedly win things in other years, by this point he had no choice but to offer up BF to whatever football deity is in charge of these things.

RockyMtnBlue: Right there with BRT on being sad not to be able to watch this game, especially with a laptop in my lap, hammering out shitpost after shitpost in the game threads. I really don’t know what to think of Illinois right now, but I’m pretty sure the Universe is a bastard and that means Iowa’s going to win this game. Iowa 10-3

Larry31: Iowa absolutely should win this game. But, I would not be shocked at all if Illinois wins. What the hell. I’ll go with Illinois to win, just ‘cuz Big Ten West.

RUReady4Brazil: I think Iowa’s offense is high on their own supply and Bert does his usual shocker. Illinois can pass and Iowa has played very few teams who have even tried to do that all year.

Kind of...: This one is actually pretty simple. Illinois is playing pretty damn well, and Cooper DeJean won’t be playing. We’re all rooting for max chaos in the B1G West. But...Iowa loves messing with everybody’s narrative (none more than their own fans), and it would be so very Iowa to deprive us of a demolition derby send off to the B1G West. Hawkeyes win and cover because nothing nice is allowed to happen.

Thumpasaurus: As soon as I realized that all my Big Ten West Title Scenarios could be destroyed by Iowa acting as the fun police, I realized that was the inevitable conclusion. Imagine how mad I’m gonna be when we lose the last two games to finish 5-7.


Can anyone stop the Iowa menace?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Iowa covers, but ONLY because 2 safeties will do it.
    (87 votes)
  • 25%
    Iowa by 3 or less. Basically the most Iowa thing imaginable.
    (60 votes)
  • 38%
    Bert to the rescue! We have a division race!
    (92 votes)
239 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Golden Gophers @ (3) Ohio State Buckeyes

3:00pm | BTN | Ohio State -27.5 | O/U 49

Straight-Up: Ohio State 14-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State 10-4

BRT: Peej would love to be in any boat, anywhere, possibly including the Titanic, rather than at this game, I reckon.

RockyMtnBlue: Oh Minny. For what you are about to receive, may you be truly thankful. Ohio State 35-3

Larry31: No offense to Peej and the Gophers, but, the Gophers are the kind of team OSU was built to crush into a fine dust. Serious match-up problems all over the place. OSU covers.

RUReady4Brazil: Ohio State doesn’t need brownie points with the committee but will try to pad Harrison’s stats like they did against Rutgers. They are just too good for this year’s Gophers. Minnesota SHOULD cover, but will they?

Kind of...: Minnesota might cover, but it’s really entirely up to OSU if that happens or not. Last week’s performance vs. Sparty moves the needle for me. OSU covers.

Thumpasaurus: only in college sports do we get outcomes that are this 100% assured.


Adorable rodents take on Death Star

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Remember Alderaan? Yeah. Like that.
    (136 votes)
  • 19%
    OSU is 11-0, but 4 touchdowns? Gimme the points.
    (38 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    Dunno, but I’m going to refer to Minny as Team Ewoks from now on.
    (19 votes)
196 votes total Vote Now

Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Wisconsin Badgers

6:30pm | NBC | Wisconsin -5.5 | O/U 37

Straight-Up: Nebraska 9-5
Against the Spread: Nebraska 11-3

BRT: Oh look! Another game that will make me sad and angry, as the Huskers, a bowl game on the line, face another opponent who seems to be dead as a doornail, but who will still manage to win the game thanks to a convenient turnover or 15 by the Nebraska QB Corps of Non-Recovery.

RockyMtnBlue: Well at least I’ll be able to see this one. Unfortunately one of the friends I’m visiting this weekend is a huge Nebraska fan, so I’ll have to be nice. I’ve been showing Nebraska undeserved respect all year. Why stop now? Nebraska 24-17

Larry31: Nebraska is a solid team except for the most important position, QB. You just can’t win if you turn the ball over five times. Literally, Nebraska wins if they just limit their turnovers to 2 or 3. Question is, can they do it? None of those QBs look capable of simply managing a game and not throwing two stupid picks. I’ll go with Badgers to win but Nebraska to cover because Nebraska is destined to lose in an incredibly gut-wrenching fashion, because that is THE WAY. [for you Mandalorian fans]

RUReady4Brazil: If Mordecai is good to go, Wisconsin is winning this game and Vegas seems to agree. If he’s not, I like Nebraska to power through.

Kind of...: Our Nebraska “writers” have earned the right—and then some—to doomsay Nebraska’s chances. I don’t begrudge them that, and I’m not going to pretend Wisconsin’s situation is similar. However, last week’s game led to both the coach and one of Wisconsin’s best players to open question how many players are really bought in. I hear you, that’s the type of things that can galvanize the team. Except...pretty much the same stuff was said at a lower register last week after the Indiana game. The fix for Wisconsin is an offseason fix, not a one-week fix. Nebraska outright.

Thumpasaurus: Wisconsin is yet another team that, like Indiana and Michigan State last year and Purdue earlier this year, used up all their mana defeating Illinois. It took Indiana quite some time to regenerate theirs, MSU still hasn’t and Purdue took a month and a half. Can Wisconsin replenish their MP in time? Probably not. Also Illinois needs them to win. God forbid they do me any favors.


Prime time West-mas!

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Adam Sandler rights the ship in Madison with a big win
    (36 votes)
  • 40%
    Wisky wins, but barely. And also very, very ugly
    (79 votes)
  • 40%
    Nebby goin bowlin’ y’all
    (79 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now