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Predicting every Big Ten football game in Week 13


It’s rivalry week, and there’s a lot at stake all across the conference.

From bowl eligibility (Maryland at Rutgers) to a New Year’s Six bowl for one team (Michigan State against Penn State) to the Big Ten West (Wisconsin at Minnesota) to the Big Ten East and more (Ohio State at Michigan), it’s easily the biggest slate of games in the conference.

It all starts Friday afternoon as Iowa travels to Lincoln to take on Nebraska, but Saturday features the main event — The Game, where both Fox ‘Big Noon Kickoff’ and ESPN ‘College GameDay’ will be. We have a decent understanding of the complexion of the conference, but upsets happen in college football. Will any of the above manage to walk away with a win over its rival?

Here is how the WolverinesWire crew is expecting the weekend to play out and why.

List

Former Michigan football players predict outcome, final score of Ohio State game

No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes at Nebraska Cornhuskers

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: Nebraska just may be the best 3-8 team to ever play football. The Huskers are in every game that they play, but Nebraska just self-destructs every single game it plays. Nebraska will have its hands full this week at home against Iowa, who still remains a great defense. Tyler Goodson, the Iowa running back, has been really hot as of late, and he will need to have another solid day against Nebraska. I’m going to give the Huskers a win here, one which they can enter the offseason with some confidence with. Nebraska 28, Iowa 24

Isaiah Hole: Poor Nebraska — every one of the eight games it’s lost has been winnable late. Iowa brings its powerful defense to Lincoln, but we’ve seen it be susceptible to the pass game, while its own offense has struggled mightily. In a game of matchups, this could be the one where the Huskers get back over the top, barring too many mistakes. It’s a rivalry game, one where the two sides debate who has the best corn for some reason. While Iowa has all year long, I’m taking Nebraska and the upset. Nebraska 24, Iowa 17

Maryland Terrapins at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: Both teams are 5-6 entering the last game, and the winner will be bowl eligible. Maryland only has one win out of the last five game its played, and the Scarlet Knights have won a few games, but just cannot get the offense rolling. I’m picking the Terps here, but mainly because I think Maryland may have more success in a bowl game. Maryland 31, Rutgers 17

Isaiah Hole: This is the game of anti-matchups. Rutgers is halfway decent against the pass, which Maryland is good at, but neither team is good against the run, which Rutgers is OK at. Whoever wins this one gets bowl eligibility, and while I’ve loved the Scarlet Knight resurgence, the Terrapins have the better players overall. Maryland 27, Rutgers 20

Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 12 Michigan State Spartans

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: There are two main keys here: Does Sean Clifford play, and how does MSU respond after getting throttled by Ohio State? If Clifford doesn’t play then I think the Spartans will run away with this game behind the legs of Kenneth Walker III, but if Clifford does play, then this game is a toss-up to me. Walker III was a non-factor last week in a loss against the Buckeyes, but I think he will be the main reason that MSU gets the job done. Michigan State 34, Penn State 24

Isaiah Hole: Coming off of as embarrassing loss as one could have, how will Michigan State regroup? It’s been atrocious at pass defense, and guess what Penn State is good at? With a stifling defense that had the best game outside of Oregon against Ohio State, while I think MSU will be able to hit a few big plays with Walker and the receivers, expect whoever is under center for the Nittany Lions to have a big day. Penn State 35, Michigan State 23

Northwestern Wildcats at Illinois Fighting Illini

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: Nothing is on the line here — neither team is very good and bowl eligibility is gone — but there is bragging rights at stake. Brandon Peters has been playing better as of late for Illinois and Chase Brown has been looking really solid. I’ll take the Fighting Illini at home in this one. Illinois 17, Northwestern 10

Isaiah Hole: Northwestern is on like its 90th quarterback, but it has a semblance of a run game with Evan Hull. However, we’ve seen Illinois have success sporadically, and overall just looks like the better team. It has a solid defense and at times can move the ball well on the ground — though not much through the air. I think that the Illini get the job done on Saturday. Illinois 17, Northwestern 7

Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: Indiana is a broken team, especially on offense, so it doesn’t matter who suits up at quarterback in this one. The Boilermakers are having the best season that they have had in a long time, and there is still an outside chance that Purdue can still tie for the West division. Purdue will handle business here in a lopsided win. Purdue 42, Indiana 10

Isaiah Hole: Like Northwestern, Indiana is on its 90th quarterback and has progressively fallen more and more apart as the season has worn on. Purdue, the giant killer, has shown it’s a good, not great, team. The passing attack will likely be far too much for the Hoosiers, coupled with the fact that the game is in West Lafayette. Indiana secures a winless Big Ten season and the worst in the conference title. Purdue 42, Indiana 10

No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: This is for all the marbles for the West. If Wisconsin wins, then it is the winner and goes to the Big Ten Championship game, but if the Gophers win they will need Iowa to lose in order to go to the championship game. I don’t see how the Badgers can lose this game tough, they are playing like the Wisconsin team we all expected to see in the beginning of the year. Braelon Allen looks like an absolute stud running the ball, and the Badgers defense will shut the Gophers down. Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 14

Isaiah Hole: Again, this being a game of matchups, Minnesota’s made its living on offense through running the ball, whereas Wisconsin has done the same in stopping the run. With it being strength-on-strength, I believe the Badgers have the upper hand here. Throw running back Braelon Allen into the mix, and Wisconsin secures its right to go back to Indianapolis as it does every other year. Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 20

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 5 Michigan Wolverines

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: The Game, the biggest game of the year in college football — Michigan vs Ohio State. It really doesn’t get much bigger than this, the winner goes to the Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State will win this game if it can get off to another fast start and makes Michigan play in a shoot-out type of game. But if the Wolverines can slow the game down and sustain long drives by running the ball, then I think the maize and blue have a legit chance to win this game. Michigan has not won against the Buckeyes since 2011, mostly due to Ohio State just being heads and shoulders better than every team in the Big Ten. Michigan has proven to be a different team this year, it has battled adversity all year, and it has won games that previous teams would have lost. The Buckeyes are really good, and they have elite talent, but it feels like a different year. I’m taking Michigan — while it probably won’t happen— in a close win. Michigan 41, Ohio State 38

Isaiah Hole: While I’ve counted this game as an automatic loss before the season even started, I do think Michigan has a chance on Saturday. Mike Macdonald’s defense is uniquely suited to present problems for the Buckeyes and I think the Wolverines, despite not being overwhelming offensively, also have enough to take advantage of Ohio State. It all comes down to whether or not the defense can pressure C.J. Stroud enough, and I think the secondary will do its part to give Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo time. Meanwhile, though OSU has gotten really good at stopping the run, it is susceptible to the pass, and Cade McNamara has been able to find a new top target seemingly every week.

I think this will be a game, unlike the previous two, but Ohio State has just too much going for it. I’d be glad to be wrong here. Ohio State 37, Michigan 33

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