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Cappin’ the B1G: Big Ten Championship Game

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Wisconsin Badgers

  • Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
  • Saturday December 3rd, 8 PM
  • TV: FOX
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -2.5
  • Total: 47

Pretty odd scenario going on here as the two teams playing for the Conference Championship are going to be underdogs to being able to get into the College Football Playoff while Ohio State gets the week off knowing they are pretty much a lock to be one of the four teams in the playoff. This game will be a fantastic prime time matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Badgers. Penn State is one of the hottest teams in the country right now, winning eight straight games overall including their shocking win against Ohio State in Happy Valley. James Franklin definitely has Penn State playing with a ton of confidence right now but they’re going against a Wisconsin team that is tougher than a two dollar steak. Wisconsin just throws haymakers at you on both sides of the ball and doesn’t let up until you submit. Wisconsin won the Big Ten West relatively comfortably and threw in a win against LSU just for good measure. With all of the talk about Penn State and their momentum, few are talking about the fact that Wisconsin is coming off of a six game winning streak and they are playing their best football of the year.

On offense, Wisconsin certainly will look to rely on their ability to run the football with lead RB Corey Clement. Clement has ran for 1,140 yards and 13 touchdowns this season and the Badgers are very deep at the RB position to keep Clement fresh all game long. Penn State is mediocre at stopping the run and I don’t think their defense will be able to withstand Wisconsin’s physicality up front for four quarters. If Penn State grabs an early lead, however, it will be tough for Wisconsin to come back with their very pale passing attack but if the Badgers can control the game early and get a lead I think it’s going to be very tough for the Nittany Lions to win this football game.

Penn State is led on offense by surprisingly solid QB Trace McSorley and stud RB Saquon Barkley. McSorley has done a good job getting the Nittany Lions downfield consistently despite having a very average arm. McSorley’s ability to extend plays and pick up chunks of yardage with his legs is a huge asset to this offense and it will play a key factor in this matchup. The real cog in the machine for this offense is RB Saquon Barkley who has over 1,200 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on the ground this season. Barkley is also very good at catching the ball out of the backfield, adding 21 catches and averaging 15.6 yards per catch on the year. The Wisconsin defense is absolutely amazing against both the run and the pass so Penn State OC Joe Morehead will definitely be up late cooking up a game plan for this one. Wisconsin has only allowed over 20 points all year one time and that was to Ohio State in a game that went to overtime.

It doesn’t feel like there will be many points scored in this one so I think the under will be a good play here. What makes me love the Badgers in this matchup is that I’m very confident that they will win the rushing and time of possession battle. Wisconsin is also a very solid fundamental football team and I don’t expect them to make many mistakes in this game. Penn State has struggled this season against good defenses and RB Saquon Barkley doesn’t appear to be 100% after suffering a foot injury last week against Michigan State so look for that to play a factor here as well. I’m taking Wisconsin and I’m making it my play of the year!

  • Projected Score: Penn State 13 – Wisconsin 27
  • Total Pick: Under 47 (2 units)
  • Spread Pick: Wisconsin -2.5 (5 units)