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Big Ten Rundown: It Is Crowded at the Top of the West Division Standings

Minnesota, Iowa Meet in Huge West Division Contest

The Game 12 matchups mean different things for the division leaders in the Big Ten.

Michigan and Ohio State look to take care of business as 18 and 27½-point favorites to set up next week’s game that will determine the East Division champion.

Ronnie Bell #8 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a first half touchdown while playing the Nebraska Cornhuskers
Ronnie Bell / Gregory Shamus - Getty Images - AFP

Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Purdue are tied atop the West Division. However, with Iowa and Minnesota meeting on Saturday, at least one of the teams will fall out of first place. If Iowa wins, the Hawkeyes will join Illinois and Purdue with 2-1 records against the other three teams.

Ohio State and Michigan are second and third in the College Football Playoff rankings, Associated Press, and American Football Coaches Association polls. Penn State is 11th in the CFP and AP rankings and 12th in the coaches poll.

According to the college football playoff odds, Ohio State (+225) and Michigan (+700) are only behind defending national champion Georgia in the odds to win the national title

Let’s check the latest NCAAF picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAF predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAF expert picks for you to consider.

Game of the Week

Illinois vs Michigan

  • Date, Time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12 noon ET (ABC)
  • Line: Michigan -18 (-115)

The matchup of the running backs is worth the price of admission, assuming that Chase Brown is good to go.

Brown of Illinois leads the country with 1,442 rushing yards, while Blake Corum of

Michigan is fourth with 1,349 yards.

— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) November 16, 2022

Illinois has dropped its last two games to fall into a four-way tie for first in the West Division. Facing defending conference champion Michigan is not the best way for the Fighting Illini to return to their winning ways.

Michigan (10-0, 7-0 in the Big Ten) and Illinois (7-3, 4-3) rank first and second in the conference in total defense. Michigan is allowing 233 yards, and Illinois 247.

Michigan’s Mike Morris is second in the conference with 7½ sacks.

For Illinois, Jer’Zhan Newton and Keith Randolph Jr. have combined for 23 tackles for loss.

Michigan has won the last five games against Illinois. The college football odds total went under in six of the last nine contests in the series.

Rest of the Schedule

Wisconsin vs Nebraska

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12:00 noon ET (ESPN)
  • Line: Wisconsin -10½

With four teams ahead of them in the West Division, Wisconsin will miss the Big Ten title game for the third year in a row.

Braelon Allen isn’t getting as much attention as Michigan’s Blake Corum and Chase Brown of Illinois, but he has gone over 1,000 yards for the second time in as many collegiate seasons.

Graham Mertz has 11 touchdown passes and one interception in the five wins compared to seven TDs and seven interceptions in the five losses for Wisconsin (5-5, 3-4).

Northwestern is last in the conference with an average of 200 rushing yards per game and 20 TD runs.

The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in eight of the last 10 games in the series.

Northwestern vs Purdue

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12:00 noon ET (ABC)
  • Line: Purdue -18½

Currently, in a four-way tie for first place in the West Division, Purdue needs to beat last-place Northwestern to remain in contention for a spot in the Big Ten title game.

The Boilermakers will look to get the passing game going, as they have been held under 250 passing yards in each of the last two games. Purdue put up 423 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s game.

Northwestern (1-9, 1-6) has lost nine games in a row since a season-opening upset of Nebraska. The Wildcats are one-dimensional on offense, as they have been held under 100 rushing yards in four of the last six games.

The Wildcats are last in the conference with a -10 turnover margin.

Northwestern has covered in each of the last five road games in the series. The total has gone over in four of Purdue’s last five contests.

Indiana vs Michigan State

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12:00 noon ET (ABC)
  • Line: Michigan State -10½

Two disappointing teams meet up in East Lansing, with the host Spartans (5-5, 3-4) able to become bowl eligible with a win.

Michigan State has won three of the last four games, including wins against Wisconsin and Illinois.

Michigan State is 12th in the conference in total defense, with Indiana last in that category.

Indiana (3-7, 1-6) has allowed 167 plays of at least 10 yards, and among teams from Power-5 conferences, only Oklahoma State and Colorado have allowed more. Indiana has allowed more plays of at least 20 and 30 yards.

Michigan State has won 11 of the last 13 games against Indiana and has covered against the college football predictions in 13 of the last 18 games.

Ohio State vs Maryland

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Line: Ohio State -27½

This could be out of hand early on. Maryland’s offense was inept in last week’s game against Penn State, while Ohio State leads the Big Ten in total offense, scoring offense, and passing offense.

The Buckeyes did lose running back Miyan Williams with a lower-body injury, and TreVeyon Henderson has missed the last two games, so there could be issues at the running back position if they are both sidelined.

Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has completed just 47% of his passes in his two games since coming back from injury. He did throw for 279 yards and two TDs in last year’s game against Ohio State.

Ohio State has won the last seven meetings with Maryland and is putting up nearly 60 points in those contests.

Penn State vs Rutgers

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
  • Line: Penn State -19 (-120)

Penn State freshman Nicholas Singleton is coming off his first 100-yard rushing game in conference play, as he had 122 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-0 win over Maryland.

The Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2) have allowed just 330 yards and 2.7 yards per play in wins over Indiana and Maryland and now go against the second-worst offense in the conference.

Rutgers (4-6, 1-6) is coming off a 460-yard effort in a loss to Michigan State, the most in a Big Ten game since the 2015 season finale versus Maryland.

Kyle Monangai led the way with 162 rushing yards for the Scarlet Knights in place of the injured Samuel Brown.

Penn State has won the last eight meetings against Rutgers, with the total going under in each of those contests.

Gavin Wimsatt #2 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights throws a pass against the Minnesota Golden Gophers
Gavin Wimsatt / David Berding – Getty Images – AFP

Iowa vs Minnesota

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 19th, 4:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Line: Minnesota -2½ (-115)

Iowa has been held under 200 yards in total offense in four games and went 2-2 in those games, so that tells you all you need to know about the Iowa defense.

The Hawkeyes (6-4, 4-3) are allowing just 4.18 yards per play in conference play, the best mark since the 2019 Ohio State team gave up 4.13 yards per play.

Iowa is second in the conference with 18 takeaways and third with 28 sacks.

The Hawkeyes should see plenty of Mohamed Ibrahim, the No. 3 rusher in the Big Ten with 1,261 yards to go with a team-leading 18 TD runs.

When Minnesota drops back, the Gophers need to account for Joe Evans, Luke Van Ness, and Deontae Craig have combined for 17.5 sacks.

Minnesota (7-3, 4-3) and Iowa are two of the three Big Ten teams to average less than 200 passing yards per game.

Something to consider for those who bet online: The total has gone under in nine of the last 13 games between the Hawkeyes and Golden Gophers.

“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”

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