We have reached the final two weeks of the Big Ten football regular season, and I must say that the games on tap for this Saturday are far from intriguing.
Purdue, Iowa and Indiana must win in order to keep hopes of bowl eligibility alive. A win for Michigan State against Northwestern and the Spartans reach postseason play. The Legends division title is coming down to the final week, with Nebraska in control of its own destiny, Michigan still has an opportunity to take advantage if the Cornhuskers slip up.
There are several games with a lot of meaning this week, it just won’t be very entertaining. The marquee match up of the day will be Ohio State against Wisconsin, as the Buckeyes try to remain unbeaten this season.
It won’t be much to watch this week, but we may see some teams keep their seasons alive and championship dreams within reach, as well as some devastating losses on Saturday.
With two weeks left, here are our picks for week 12:
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
- Kevin’s Pick – Michigan State 35-27
Last week Northwestern blew a road victory in Ann Arbor. Hail Mary and folding in the first over time. Which one the scale of 1 to Purdue, is… Purdue (see week 8). With a label like that I have to pick Michigan State over Northwestern. It could easily go the other way though, because the trend so far for the Wildcats in conference play has been win, lose, win, lose, win, lose. Sparty will handle this game, coming off a bye week and playing it’s last home game of the season for their seniors.
- Dustin’s Pick – Northwestern 27-23
The Wildcats haven’t been able to close out major games this season and it has cost them a chance to play for a Big Ten championship. Despite their struggles in the big games, Northwestern is still a solid ball club. Michigan State on the other hand, has been like most everyone else in the conference this year, hit or miss. In front of a hostile environment, Northwestern beats Michigan State for the first time since 2007.
Indiana vs. Penn State
- Kevin’s Pick – Penn State 49-13
Penn State is coming off a tough loss in Lincoln while Indiana was dismantled by Wisconsin and their running game last weekend. This week, Penn State and the Happy Valley crowd will happily eat up the Hoosiers for an early afternoon snack. Sorry about even mentioning “IU” and “Big Ten Title game” in the same sentence in last week’s pick em article. I feel ashamed of myself and so should every other Big Ten writer.
- Dustin’s Pick – Penn State 36-9
If it makes Northwestern fans feel any better, at least their team didn’t play like Indiana did last week in a major game. That was pretty embarrassing for Kevin Wilson’s team. But, alas, the Hoosiers still have an opportunity to make a bowl this year….if hell freezes over. Penn State ends IU’s chances at a bowl appearance this season and the Nittany Lions get win number seven on the year.
Iowa vs. #21 Michigan
- Kevin’s Pick – Michigan 32-10
Michigan looks comfortable with Devin Gardner at quarterback even though it took a miracle (or choke job by Northwestern, however you see it). Even if Denard Robinson is ready to go, they should keep him on the sidelines so that he is 100% for the Ohio State game next week. Maybe not, it is senior day so he could see some limited action. Iowa could not seal a late victory over Purdue last week, so losing by 22 in Ann Arbor is actually closer than it should be.
- Dustin’s Pick – Michigan 45-10
Iowa’s offense has been horrendous all season long and in front of the fans at the Big House, I don’t see it getting much better. Michigan, on the other hand, has a lot on the line for the next two weeks because one loss means their hopes of getting to Indianapolis will be over. The Wolverines get revenge in a major way after the Hawkeyes won last year’s clash.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
- Kevin’s Pick – Ohio State 37-31
Wisconsin has revenge on their minds after losing in Columbus. The loss didn’t ruin their Rose Bowl birth season, but there are grudges that the two schools hold against each other. Seem like every year one team is look for revenge for something. I would say Ohio State has a bye week advantage but Wisconsin had a very easy time in Blooming last weekend. It should be a lot of offense most of it on the ground but some big exciting passing plays down the stretch for both teams. Buckeyes steal another win going into their “Bowl” game against Michigan next weekend.
Dustin’s Pick – Wisconsin 24-22Post
I think back to the 2010 game, when the Badgers upset the Buckeyes in Camp Randall Stadium and what a site that was as Wisconsin faithful rush the field. Then I go back to last year, when Ohio State’s late game heroics handed the Badgers their second-straight loss of the season. Now, we come to this season. I think Ohio State is a very good team, but I just can’t believe they will remain undefeated. The Badgers get revenge this week, possibly on a last second field goal to end the Buckeyes hopes of an unblemished season.
Purdue vs. Illinois
- Kevin’s Pick – Purdue 34-17
Stating the obvious, Illinois is one of the poorest excuses for a BCS conference team this year. Even though Louisiana Tech’s lone loss was by 2 against Texas A&M, that 52-24 loss showed how incapable the Illini would be in 2012. Purdue is coming off a win and after beating Illinois this weekend they are all of a sudden 5-6. Not that a win over the worst team in the conference will cool the Danny Hope hot seat any measurable amount of degrees.
- Dustin’s Pick – Purdue 24-14
Purdue finally got in the win column in conference play last week, beating an unimpressive Iowa team. Now, the Boilers have a chance to get another road win and keep postseason hopes alive. Even though Purdue won the game last week, their offense was ugly, especially late in the game. On Senior Day, the Illini will hang around and make this one interesting, but Purdue just isn’t bad enough to lose to Illinois.
Minnesota vs. Nebraska
- Kevin’s Pick – Nebraska 42-10
I would say this is a trap game for Nebraska look ahead but it’s not considering the Huskers must win out with Michigan ready to steal the title if they slip up. Also, a weak match-up like this that makes me have to tell myself that rivalry weekend in the Big Ten is less than 7 days away. And so is Thanksgiving, which we will get to eat left over turkey sandwiches to the Iowa – Nebraska game on Friday afternoon. Yes, nothing else to write about for this Minnesota and Nebraska game. Everything to look forward to for the fan but the Nebraska football coaches and players cannot afford that luxury this weekend.
- Dustin’s Pick – Nebraska 36-3
Nebraska is too focused to slip up in this contest. Bo Pelini will have his guys ready, knowing that if they win, the Huskers will be one week away from clinching a spot in the Big Ten championship game in a few weeks. There isn’t really too much to say about this game, Nebraska is going to cruise to victory over the Gophers.
- Kevin – 68
- Dustin – 61