Week 14 is upon us! Welcome to the corner…
Iowa @ Nebraska
Both teams are coming off of wins last weekend; Nebraska a thriller in OT at Penn State and Iowa coming off a three point win over Michigan at home. I look for both of these teams to come out and put together a decent game.
Iowa has been consistent this season on offense, starting with QB Jake Rudock throwing for nearly 2,200 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with running back Mark Weisman’s 870 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. Nebraska is still having trouble at the QB position trying to find someone consistent to stay in the game. Ron Kellogg III was able to lead another amazing comeback win last week but I think there is just too much missing from that offense, and they are really going to struggle this weekend. They do have a decent run game in running back Ameer Abdullah who is averaging over six yards per carry this season, but I don’t think that will be enough. I look for Iowa to pound the rock, again, and try to make a statement to bowl selection committees and try to get a game on New Years Day. Iowa wins by 10 on the road.
Minnesota @ #11 Michigan State
Minnesota is starting to take that down turn in the season that I foreshadowed earlier this season on PreSnap Read. I knew that they were a great football team, and even players across the B1G Ten were able to agree with that saying that the team was more focused and was a lot more competitive this season than in past years. However, I think the magic tank has run empty on the Gophers and it will be hard for them to be able to put together a win this weekend.
One thing that they would have in their favor is the fact that Michigan State has already locked up their position in the B1G Ten Championship game vs. Ohio State. Will that become an issue for Sparty? I don’t think so because I know they will be ready to play as it is the last week of the regular season and last home game for all the seniors. Even though Michigan State still struggles to produce a lot of yards and points on offense I look for their defense to come up big again this weekend stopping the rushing attack of David Cobb and back up quarterback Mitch Leidner, both have seven touchdowns a piece this season. Said it before and will probably say it again after this, but, offense wins games but defense wins championships! Michigan State by 14 at home.
Purdue @ Indiana
Indiana is coming off of two lack luster performances on both offense in defense in playing B1G Ten powers Wisconsin and Ohio State. Early in this season they were able to score with ease and hang a lot of points on the board. However, as of late they have had issues not only scoring the ball on offense but stopping their opponents from scoring as well. Over the last two games they have a point differential of 93-17. A big reason they have been able to put up so many points this season is quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
He has thrown for over 2,500 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. This is due in big part to his wide receiver tandem of Cody Latimer (who’s approaching 1,000 yards on the season) and Kofi Hughes (almost at 700 yards) who have combined for a total of 14 of Sudfeld’s 21 scoring tosses. Purdue on the other hand is a team that still has yet to win in the B1G Ten this season and I really don’t know when or if they will win a conference game. They have struggled all season and I think will continue that struggle this weekend. Look for Indiana to air the ball out early and often this weekend and try to blow up the score board with points. However, since both teams will not be bowl eligible this season also look for a lot of trick plays and possibly an upset in the making. I’m going to go with logic in this game though and I don’t see an upset for Purdue. Indiana wins BIG at home by 21.
Northwestern @ Illinois
This is another one of those games between teams in the B1G Ten that we seem to talk about every week. Mostly because every week we’re talking about one of these two teams which have had their struggles throughout this season. Northwestern is still having trouble trying to find some consistency at the quarterback position. It seems that there is a pattern starting to form for teams at the bottom of the conference this season. On the other side of the game though, you have quarterback Nate Scheelhaase who’s approaching the 3,000 yard mark passing this season with 19 touchdowns.
As much as I want to see Northwestern get a conference win this season, I think Illinois is just going to be too much for them this weekend. Northwestern will need to get back to the basics in the off season and hopefully be able to bring in a great recruiting class. If there is anything I know about their program, it’s that Pat Fitzgerald is a great coach and won’t keep this program in the dumps for long. I look for Illinois to have a huge game from their senior QB in his last home game and Illinois wins this game by 14 at home.
Penn State @ #15 Wisconsin
Great match up in this conference this weekend. Penn State is coming off of a tough loss last weekend in OT at home vs. Nebraska while Wisconsin just continues to roll over their competition, climbing up the rankings trying to secure an at large bid to a BCS bowl. Even though Penn State does have some great offensive weapons on paper, you look at this game and only see one thing: Wisconsin’s rushing game.
I know I’ve talked about these guys in the past and will most likely continue to do so in the future, but it’s hard to talk about the Badgers and not mention the running back duo of Melvin Gordon and James White. These two have become one of the most electrifying tandems in all of college football as Gordon has rushed for 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns while White has compiled over 1,280 yards and 13 touchdowns. The stats alone are just mind blowing. It’s hard to pick against a team that’s extremely good at running the ball and also has the 5th ranked defense in points against rendering only 13.4 points per game to opponents. I look for Wisconsin to have another huge day on the ground and really make the push for that at large big for a BCS as the win by 14 at home.
#3 Ohio State @ Michigan
Well, it’s finally here! The granddaddy of them all in B1G Ten play, and maybe even college football; Ohio State vs. Michigan. The anticipation for this game starts long before the season does with both teams and fans just counting down the days until this game. This will be the 109th meeting of “The Game” and Ohio State will look to improve their win streak to two after their win last season. Michigan leads the all-time series 58-44-6. Last season, we were able to see a typical Ohio State vs. Michigan game down in Columbus, one in which Ohio State came out the victor 26-21.
For those who don’t know much about this game, well I could talk and type out stories for hours but I’ll just have you Google it instead, or watch the new B1G Ten production of ‘The Tie Breaker.’ A tale of how Ohio State and Michigan tied in the last game of the regular season for the B1G Ten title, and somehow Ohio State went on to play in the Rose Bowl that season. It was up until a few weeks ago that Michigan was undefeated at home in the Brady Hoke Era, and for them that was a huge positive looking into the rest of their schedule this season. However, Nebraska ruined that for them by beating them at the Big House. So now you have the #3 ranked team in the country, the Ohio State Buckeyes, coming to town for a rivalry game in which you really have no hope for. You have struggled as of late on both sides of the ball, the team chemistry seems to be out of whack, and you have lost three of your last four games to middle of the road teams. This is a rivalry game though, and the hatred for one another’s opponent runs deep on both benches. Buckeyes don’t like “The Team up North” and Wolverines don’t like “Ohio” (which, by the way Hoke, makes no sense as Ohio is the Bobcats). I look for this to be a typical B1G Ten grudge match in the first half each team just trying to feel out how the game is going to go and trying to take advantage of every opportunity they can to try and get an early lead. I think halftime adjustments by Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and coaching staff will have the team come out in the second half with a poise and maturity that we have seen so much this season, and they will pull away with this game. I like Ohio State to make a big statement in this weekend’s game for not only the rest of the country but as well for their B1G Ten counterpart in the championship game in Michigan State. Look again for big games on offense by Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde and don’t sleep on linebacker Ryan Shazier who last week had 20 tackles in the win over Indiana. Ohio State by 17 points on the road at the Big House.
COACH G’S UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK
#21 Texas A&M over #5 Missouri
Listen to PreSnap Read this Friday as Coach G breaks down the B1G Ten.