2019 Big Ten Picks – Week Eight
I was 11-9 entering the weekend and needed a good Saturday. Thankfully, that’s exactly what I got as I went 3-0 on the day. The perfect week moves me to 14-9 on the season as we enter the third Saturday of October.
The Big Ten schedule is as follows: Ohio State (-28) at Northwestern, Wisconsin (-31) at Illinois, Purdue at Iowa (-15), Minnesota (-29) at Rutgers, Indiana (-3) at Maryland, Michigan at Penn State (-7.5)
Michigan at Penn State (-7.5) – 7:30 on ABC
I have been fairly dialed in on both of these teams since the season began and you know what, Michigan is not “fixed”. They walloped Rutgers but the offensive struggles came back out against Iowa. The defense was outstanding but I chalked that up to equal parts good play from the Wolverines and bad play from Nate Stanley and Iowa (which continued for much of Saturday’s game against PSU). Last week, the Wolverines faced a back-up quarterback and struggled to put away the Fighting Illini. Shea Patterson continues to be unimpressive and he is struggling with his accuracy. That is a recipe for disaster going against the hyper-aggressive Penn State defense. The atmosphere in State College is going to be outstanding and I think the Nittany Lions are going to overwhelm the Wolverines and win this one by double-digits.
Indiana (-3) at Maryland – 3:30 on BTN
Taking the Indiana Hoosiers as a road favorite in a conference game might qualify as certifiably insane but the Hoosiers are giving a field goal at College Park and I like them to win this game by more than a touchdown. Indiana is now 25th in S&P+ and they have risen thanks to a good balance of offensive firepower and defensive improvement. Indiana has a pair of shutouts and a game where they surrendered only three points. They have scored more than 30 points in each of quarterback Michael Penix’s four starts and the redshirt freshman adds a level of big-play ability the Hoosiers have not had in a while. The IU coaches switched up personnel and dialed up the aggression after their bye week and it paid dividends as they gave up only 75 yards of offense to Rutgers on Saturday. Maryland is struggling right now, particularly on defense, after giving up 420 passing yards to Purdue’s Jack Plummer. I think the Hoosiers can make Maryland one-dimensional on offense, particularly if Josh Jackson does not play and they can exploit the Maryland secondary with receivers Whop Philyor and Donavan Hale plus running back Stevie Scott. I think the Hoosiers win this game comfortably.
Minnesota (-29) at Rutgers – 3:30 on BTN
Rutgers is abominable. This pick is as simple as that. I don’t think they will be able to slow Minnesota’s running game down at all. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the Gophers ended Saturday’s game with more than 350 yards of rushing and four or five rushing touchdowns. 29 is a huge number but the road venue will not be hostile at all and I don’t think the Scarlet Knights will put up many points (if any) so the Gophers won’t need to reach the 40s to cover this spread.