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My B1G Game of the Week: #6 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Zach Clark (12:44 pm) @Zach_TSB

Saturday: 

Northwestern (+7) [7-3] vs. Michigan State (-7) [5-5]

2011 Records: Northwestern 6-7 and Michigan State 11-3
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN
Prediction: Northwestern 13 – Michigan State 24

With Northwestern dropping its last 3 out of 5 and Michigan State losing its last 3 out of 4, both teams enter Week 12 looking to turn things around and end the 2012 season strong.  Despite the Wildcats’ impressive 7-3 record, they are surprisingly .500 in B1G play and face an elite 11th ranked (points against) Spartan defense on Saturday at noon.  Mark Dantonio may have his flaws as a head coach, but I strongly believe that two weeks preparation for an average Northwestern offense provides ample time for Dantonio and a tough Spartan defense to effectively game plan for Wildcat playmakers Kain Colter and Venric Mark.  I see a close game early, but the Spartans surely covering the 7-point spread.

Iowa [4-6] vs. #23 Michigan [7-3]

2011 Records: Iowa 7-6 and Michigan 11-2
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ESPN/ESPN 3D
Prediction: Iowa 10 – Michigan 34

Coming off heartbreaking 3-point losses to both Indiana state powerhouses (Indiana and Purdue), this deflated Iowa team should extend their 4-game losing streak to 5 in Ann Arbor this Saturday.  The Hawkeyes have consistently ranked in the 100’s for points scored, and they now sit at 104th in the country, averaging 20.8 points per game.  The lone bright statistic Iowa ranks well in, points against (29th), is more of an indicator of B1G offensive mediocrity than Iowa defensive dominance.  The Wolverines, on the other hand, have won 5 out of their last 6, all with effective backup quarterback Devin Gardner.  Despite Denard Robinson’s status yet again being unclear for Week 12, I fully expect Michigan to roll over the Hawkeyes at home. 

Indiana (+18.5) [4-6] vs. Penn State (-18.5) [6-4]

2011 Records: Indiana 1-11 and Penn State 9-4
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: Big Ten Network
Prediction: Indiana 35 – Penn State 42

Aside from the massacre last week in Bloomington, I have been very impressed with Kevin Wilson’s much-improved 2012 Indiana Hoosiers football team.   They average an impressive 31.2 points per game, and as well all know, dropped 49 on our beloved Buckeyes in Week 7.  Penn State has also been impressive in 2012, despite losing 2 tough games in the past 3 weeks by margins of 12 points or less.  I see Vegas’s line of 18.5 points as much too large for the Nittany Lions to cover, and I think the hot bet is Indiana this week.  I fully expect Bill O’Brien to get the victory for Penn State, but if the Hoosiers buckle down and get back to their mid-season scoring form, the Lions may have to score 60+ points to even come close to covering the spread.

#6 Ohio State (+2.5) [10-0] vs. Wisconsin (-2.5) [7-3]

2011 Records: Ohio State 6-7 and Wisconsin 11-3
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern
Channel: ABC/ESPN2
Prediction: Ohio State 31 – Wisconsin 13

I don’t know the exact statistics, but I can’t imagine there have been too many instances where a 10-0 team enters Week 12 as underdogs against an unranked opponent.  I know playing in Madison is tough, but this is no night game.  I fully expect Coach Meyer to utilize the disrespect from Vegas as motivation for his team to go out and dominate on the road, making the seemingly impossible 12-0 dream one step closer to reality.  An important milestone to note: this week marks Coach Meyer’s first Buckeye game after having a bye week.  I, for one, am very interested to see how, if at all, this extra week of preparation affects his coaching style, demeanor on the field, and the Buckeyes’ level of play.  Everyone seems to think that this time, after 20+ point victories over Purdue and Minnesota and a 48-point victory over Indiana, the Badgers are back.  However, I am not sold.  Wisconsin’s quarterback situation is atrocious, and I think their run-heavy offense is tailor-made for this hot-and-cold Buckeye defense to stop.  Barring lack of composure on the road and/or a series of early turnovers, I see complete Buckeye domination throughout.

Minnesota (+20) [6-4] vs. #16 Nebraska (-20) [8-2]

2011 Records: Minnesota 3-9 and Nebraska 9-4
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern
Channel: Big Ten Network
Prediction: Minnesota 17 – Nebraska 31

Aside from a horribly disappointing Week 2 road performance against UCLA and a crushing loss to the Buckeyes in Week 6, the Huskers have put together a spectacular season under the stellar play of Taylor Martinez.  Nebraska’s last 4 wins come against some of the B1G’s best (I know, it’s not saying much…) in Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State, and they are performing at a very high level as of late.  If they can take care of business against Minnesota at home and at Iowa next week, they will have reached their 3rd 10-win season in the past 4 years.  For Minnesota in 2012, they have won the games they should’ve won and lost the games they should’ve lost.  I’m not sure I’d touch the big 20-point line, but I see this one playing out exactly as you’d expect: a sure Cornhusker win.

Purdue (-7) [4-6] vs. Illinois (+7) [2-8]

2011 Records: Purdue 7-6 and Illinois 7-6
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern
Channel: Big Ten Network
Prediction: Purdue 21 – Illinois 24

Despite having the worst record through 10 games since 2006, I somehow find myself hoping/expecting the Illini to “find it” for at least one week and look like a legitimate FBS B1G football team.  Realizing that this may be a product of my residing in Champaign, Illinois and my surrounding of Illini faithful, I still think this may be the week where they take care of business.  Both Purdue and Illinois have had abysmal seasons, and this is going to be a classic “grind it out” B1G football game.  While it may not be pretty, expect both Danny Hope and Tim Beckman to be coaching with high intensity, as this game would be considered a blowing loss to either coach’s résumé.  I’m warning you- I did fully inform you of my surroundings and possibly skewed thoughts on the Fighting Illini, but I am predicting a shocking Illini victory this week.  Purdue 21, Illini 24.
 


Comments

kevin zaideman
11/15/2012 11:41

good work as always clark! pretty confident with the bucks this week huh?

Reply
Zach
11/15/2012 12:47

Thanks Kev. Hope the acting career is going well. Yeah, hope the Bucks can pull it off. I know you're pullin' for em too, I know you hate the Badgers.

Reply
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