Ohio State Football: With the Buckeyes idle, our Big Ten predictions

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts to a roughing the kicker call against his team during the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts to a roughing the kicker call against his team during the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Since the Ohio State Buckeyes are idle, we will predict Big Ten games this week.

I was on a roll In our weekly Scarlet And Game predictions of Ohio State games heading into the bye week. I have a three game winning streak going over Thomas Scurlock and my record is now 4-2-1.

But I am a little nervous this week picking Big Ten games. Tom is our No. 1 guy here at covering the conference and he is really on top of things. Since that’s the case, I’ll let Tom get things started.

TS:  Even though the Buckeyes are idle this week, that won’t stop Charlie and I from picking other games.  He got me again last week as the Buckeyes offense continued to roll. Maybe I will fare better picking the rest of the Big Ten games.

No. 19 Michigan at No. 2 Penn State

The game of the week in the Big Ten.  Last season, the Wolverines embarrassed the Nittany Lions 49-10.  Since that game, Penn State has been on fire winning the Big Ten and losing only to USC in the Rose Bowl.

With all the talk about strength of Michigan’s defense, it is Penn State’s defense that is better. They are currently ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and near the top at most of the other significant defensive statistics.

The difference in this game will be Saquon Barkley.  The Wolverines do not have a playmaker like him, nor have they seen one like him this season.

After a slow start, Penn State’s offense will heat up in the second half while Michigan’s offense sputters.  Nittany Lions win 31-10.   

CL:  Tom and I disagree right off the bat. A strong defense usually travels well and that is the Wolverines’ strength.

I see this the game the same way I did the Michigan-Michigan State game during my weekly predictions involving AP Top Ten teams that week. A close slugfest and an upset alert.

I think Penn State will win but it will be close. I have it 16-13 Nittany Lions.

Maryland at Wisconsin

TS:  The Terps have lost three of four and odds favor it becoming four of five.  They have not been competitive in losses to UCF, Ohio State and Northwestern.  Playing with a third-string quarterback tends to have that kind of impact.

The Badgers have glided through their first six games on the strength of their defense and running game.

Jonathan Taylor has run for over 200 yards in three games already and I think he makes it a fourth. Wisconsin wins 42-10.

CL:  I agree this should be an easy win by Wisconsin but I think Maryland will put up a better fight than Tom does. Badgers 34-16.

Iowa at Northwestern

TS:  The battle for second place in the Big Ten West.

The Hawkeyes are a solid team once again, losing close games to both Michigan State and Penn State.  The Wildcats have been up and down which is a little shocking given the offensive talent.

I expect this to be a low-scoring game with a key turnover deciding it in the fourth quarter. Hawkeyes win 20-14.

CL:  I have this a close game as well but a victory for the home team. Northwestern wins 24-17.

Purdue at Rutgers

First time meeting between these programs.  This game lacks flair, but it will gauge where they are in terms of rebuilding.

At this point, Purdue seems to be further along with decent wins over Ohio and Minnesota, and playing well against Wisconsin last week.

The Scarlet Knights finally won a Big Ten game last week, their first in two years.  Coach Chris Ash has built a competitive team, especially on defense.

Boilermakers have a better passing attack and Rutgers has a better ground game.  I expect Ash to do his best to shorten this game.  It will help, but won’t get him the victory.  Purdue wins 28-17.

CL:  I see these teams heading in different directions as of late. I think Rutgers comes out of the game with a two game winning streak after a 20-17 victory.

Indiana at No. 18 Michigan State

More from Scarlet and Game

TS:  The Hoosiers are a difficult team to predict. They hung with the Buckeyes for three quarters, beat a quality Virginia team and had a chance to beat Michigan but blew it in overtime.  They also laid an egg at Penn State caused by four turnovers.

The Spartans were supposed to be in a rebuilding year. Mark Dantonio has different expectations.  The lone loss against Notre Dame was aided by three turnovers.  

They’ve won their last three games by a total of 10 points. There’s no reason to think this won’t be another close game.  Michigan State wins 24-20.

CL:  Difficult game to predict for the reasons Tom mentioned. I guess I just have confidence Mark Dantonio’s team will take care of business at home and prove they are contenders for the Big Ten title. Spartans win 27-13.

Illinois at Minnesota

The loser of this game finishes last in the Big Ten.  Neither team is good, but Minnesota is not as bad.  The Golden Gophers cruise to an easy win, 34-20.

CL:  Minnesota isn’t that great but Illinois is lousy. The Gophers should win big or go back to the drawing board. Minnesota 37-13.

Next: Ohio State vs. Penn State: Stage Set for Epic Game

There you have our predictions of Big Ten games this week. We will be back next week with our predictions for the big Ohio State-Penn State game.