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Big Ten Football Week 12 Preview: Picks & The Points

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was highlighted by Michigan's double overtime win on the road against Indiana.  I suspected Indiana would play them close and they did.  Ohio State finally won a game other than against Rutgers by four scores and Iowa predictably did just enough against Minnesota.  This week is highlighted by three marquee conference match-ups.  Michigan and Penn State should be a close, defensive battle, as will Northwestern at Wisconsin.  The game of the week in the country is Michigan State at Ohio State, which should be a high scoring affair.  Let's dive in and as always, use the spreads for legal means only.

Rutgers at Army 12:00PM CBSSN

Line: Rutgers -4.5

Army is a bad team, However, so is Rutgers, and sadly the Cadets have a better chance to beat us this week then they do their last game of the season against Navy.  If Leonte Carroo is even 75% healthy, he should have a big game. Josh  Hicks and Robert Martin should both have close to, or over 100 yards each.  I know the offensive line's health is a concern, but it's a good opportunity to rotate the second string in and get some reps. Actually, I hope Kyle Flood utilizes the second string in every positional group to some degree, as development is badly needed.  Especially for the players he wasted a redshirt on that have barely played.  The triple option of Army will cause the defense fits at times, but I think Rutgers wins in unimpressive fashion.

Prediction: Rutgers 31, Army 20

Purdue at Iowa 12:00 PM ESPN2

Line: Iowa -23

Iowa won another close game last week, outlasting Minnesota 40-35.  This game though will be a different story, as Purdue has fallen back into form after stunning Nebraska.  Iowa will want to put this one away early, as they play the Cornhuskers on a short week, the day after Thanksgiving.

Prediction: Iowa rolls 49-10

Indiana at Maryland 12:00PM

Line: Maryland -2.5

The only two Big Ten teams that haven't won a conference game square off at high noon.  I think Maryland has played tough since interim head coach Mike Locksley took over.  However, their quarterback play has been really bad.  Indiana lost another heartbreaker last week, this time in double overtime to Michigan.  Indiana has running back Jordan Howard ready to go after demolishing a stout Michigan defense.  Along with quarterback Nate Sudfeld, Indiana has one of the best offenses in the conference.  They continue to prove it on the road this weekend and pull one win away from clinching a bowl berth.

Prediction: Indiana wins 45-27

Illinois at Minnesota 12:00PM ESPNNEWS

Line: Minnesota -4.5

Minnesota has played well under new coach Tracy Claeys, giving Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa all they had. Illinois is one win away from becoming bowl eligible, and with Northwestern on their schedule next week, Minnesota is their best chance to do so.  Minnesota will be fired up looking to get the first win of Claeys tenure and I don't see Illinois doing much damage against a solid Gopher defense.

Prediction: Minnesota wins 27-17

Michigan at Penn State 12:00PM ABC

Line: Michigan -3.5

Michigan lived dangerously on the road last week against Indiana, barely surviving.  Again, I think Indiana has a great offense and proved it against a very tough Michigan defense.  Penn State is coming off a bye week after a tough loss to Northwestern.  They will be primed at home and should have Saquon Barkley feeling fresh.  It should be a tight game and Penn State's defense should put a lot of pressure on quarterback Jake Rudock.  I would prefer to see Penn State lose, however I think they pull off the upset with a balanced attack. After watching tape of the Indiana game, Quarterback Christian Hackenberg plays his best game of the season and hurts Michigan with the deep ball.

Prediction: Penn State upsets Michigan 28-24

Northwestern at Wisconsin 3:30PM BTN

Line: Wisconsin -10

This is a big game in the West division, as both teams enter with 82- records. Northwestern only beat last place Purdue by one touchdown last week, as Wisconsin did the same against last place Maryland in their last game before their bye week.  Both defenses define these teams and it should be an old school battle in the trenches.  The health of running back Corey Clement is a major factor in this game.  Regardless, coming off a bye at home with a couple key contributors healthy on defense, I expect Wisconsin to win this ugly affair.

Prediction: Wisconsin battles to a 24-13 victory

Michigan State at Ohio State 3:30PM ABC

Line: Ohio State -13.5

ESPN Gameday is headed to Columbus, Ohio for this Big Ten showdown. The luster of this match-up has worn off a bit after Michigan State was upset by Nebraska.  However, they still have a title to play for and could spoil Ohio State's plans for back to back undefeated seasons.  It's a shame the Spartans have had to deal with so many injuries this season.  I think this is the week it really catches up to them, as Ezekiel Elliott will be looking to shine on the national stage.  J.T. Barrett v. Connor Cook could make this a fun shootout, but I think Ohio State's defense will make enough big plays to march on to the Michigan game undefeated.

Prediction: Ohio State 38-28

Head to Head Results: Last week 6-0 ; Season 84-14

Season Against The Spread: Last week 5-1; Season 47-43-1