It is understandable that the Michigan-Ohio State game is the one garnering all of the attention in the Big Ten in Week 13. However, there could be some chaos while deciding which team will face the Michigan/Ohio State winner in the Big Ten Championship Game.
If Iowa is upset by Nebraska and Purdue falls to Indiana, there will be at least three teams tied atop the division and Illinois could make it a four-way tie.
Iowa has the inside track right now and will play on Friday so that part of the equation will be known before Saturday’s games get underway.
Ohio State and Michigan rank second and third in the College Football Playoff rankings as well as in the Associated Press and American Football Coaches Association polls. Penn State is 10th in the coaches poll and 11th in the other two rankings.
According to the college football playoff odds, Ohio State (+250) and Michigan (+1100) are only behind defending national champion Georgia in the odds to win the national title.
Here’s a breakdown of the Week 13 schedule in the Big Ten.
Game of the Week
Michigan vs Ohio State
- Date, Time (TV): Saturday, Nov. 26, Noon ET (FOX)
- Line: Ohio State -7½
What game were you expecting? This is about as good as it gets with 11-0 Michigan meeting 11-0 Ohio State. The winner earns a spot in the Big Ten title game and likely in the College Football Playoff field. The loser will become the biggest University of Georgia fans, rooting for the Bulldogs to knock LSU out of national title contention with a win in the SEC Championship Game.
There are concerns about the health of Michigan’s Blake Corum, who has the best odds to win the Heisman Trophy among running backs according to the sportsbook.
Michigan leads the Big Ten in rushing offense and Ohio State is first in passing offense.
The teams are loaded with future NFL players and this will once again be one of the most anticipated games in the college football season.
Michigan snapped an eight-game losing streak to Ohio State with a 42-27 win in 2021, with the pass rush playing a key role. Ohio State might have the best set of offensive tackles in college football in Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones, who have yet to allow a sack this season.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 22, 2022
Just two of Michigan’s games this season went over the college football odds total while eight of Ohio State’s contests went over the total. The total is set at 56 for this showdown.
Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker and running back Donovan Edwards join Corum with questionable tags. For Ohio State, running back TreVeyon Henderson is probable and running back Miyan Williams is questionable.
Rest of the Schedule
Nebraska vs Iowa
- Date, time (TV): Friday, Nov 25, 4 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
- Line: Iowa -10½
It hasn’t always been pretty this season for the offensively challenged Hawkeyes.
However, a win on Friday would give Iowa the West Division title and a spot in the Big Ten title game regardless of what happens when Purdue plays at Indiana on Saturday, based on the Hawkeyes’ win over the Boilermakers.
If Iowa (7-4, 5-3) does take care of business, the Hawkeyes will look to make up for a nightmarish effort in the 2021 conference championship game – a 42-3 loss to Michigan.
Iowa allows the fewest yards per play in the conference but also averages fewer yards per play and per game.
The best news for Nebraska is that this will bring an end to a frustrating season with the Huskers. Nebraska (3-8, 2-6) had three losing seasons from 1962-2016, but it will finish with six in a row as the search heats up for a new coach.
Iowa will be without starting tight end Sam LaPorta.
Both teams have seen eight of their 11 games go under the Las Vegas odds total. That has played a role in the total coming in at 38.
Nebraska has covered in four of the last six times it played at Iowa.
Each of the last four games have been decided by seven points or less with the Hawkeyes winning all of them.
Rutgers vs Maryland
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov 26, Noon ET (Big Ten Network)
- Line: Maryland -14
There could be some points scored in this one with Rutgers (4-7, 1-7) and Maryland (6-5, 3-5) ranking ninth and 10th in total defense in Big Ten play.
Both teams have had issues protecting the quarterback and that could come into play even if the Scarlet Knights are tied for last in the Big Ten with 15 sacks and Maryland has only 21.
After throwing for 151 yards and completing only 21 of 46 passes in losses to Wisconsin and Penn State, Taulia Tagovailoahad 293 yards and a pair of TDs as the Terrapins threw a scare into Ohio State last week.
Maryland has covered in five of the last seven meetings with Rutgers.
Illinois vs Northwestern
- Date, time: Saturday, Nov 26, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Line: Illinois -14½
Only Nebraska has allowed more rushing yards than Northwestern among Big Ten teams, and now the Wildcats try to slow down Chase Brown, the leading rusher in the country.
Illinois (7-4, 4-4) has been one of the best stories in the country. After having 10 straight losing seasons, the Fighting Illini have suffered four losses by eight points or less.
The Fighting Illini use a strong running game and one of the best defenses in the conference to surprise those who bet online with their sustained success.
Northwestern (1-10, 1-7) has lost 10 games in a row after upsetting Nebraska in the season opener. With it being a neutral site, the Wildcats are winless both at home and on the road.
Bryce Gallagher needs four tackles to hit the 100 mark for Northwestern.
Illinois is 3-1 against the spread on the road while Northwestern has covered just once in five home games.
Northwestern has covered against the college football predictions in five of the last seven games against Illinois.
Illinois linebacker Seth Coleman, who has four tackles for loss and 3½ sacks, is questionable.
Minnesota vs Wisconsin
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov 26, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Line: Wisconsin -3
Minnesota (7-4, 4-4) and Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4) are both just a game out of first place in the West Division so there is still something to play for.
Minnesota has lost to both Iowa and Purdue so the tiebreaker likely would not be a friend to the Golden Gophers. Wisconsin has split with the two teams ahead of the Badgers.
Look for plenty of running plays in this one. Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim is second and Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen fourth in the conference in rushing yards. The teams rank third and fourth in the conference in rushing defense so keep that in mind.
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan is questionable while four of Wisconsin’s tight ends are either questionable or they have been ruled out.
Wisconsin has won 16 of the last 18 games against Minnesota.
Purdue vs Indiana
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov 26, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
- Line: Purdue -10½
Purdue needs to win on Saturday and get some help from Nebraska to earn a spot in the Big Ten title game as the West Division champion. With Nebraska facing division co-leader Iowa on Friday, the Boilermakers (7-4, 5-3) will know the situation before they take the field.
Purdue leads the Big Ten with 465 pass attempts and Indiana isn’t far behind at 440.
A concern is that Indiana (4-7, 2-6) is allowing the most passing yards and has the worst defensive pass efficiency rating among conference squads, which could be a problem against a pass-happy Purdue team.
Purdue leading rusher Devin Mockobee is questionable due to a concussion, as is Indiana linebacker Cam Jones.
This has been one of the most competitive series in the Big Ten in recent years with the teams splitting the last 10 meetings. Purdue has averaged 461 yards in those matchups and Indiana is not far behind at 455.
Both teams are 4-7 against the spread this season.
Michigan State vs Penn State
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Nov 26, 4 p.m. ET (FS1)
- Line: Penn State -19
Michigan State can become bowl eligible with a win. However, the only home loss for Penn State has come against No. 2-ranked Ohio State.
The Spartans (5-6, 3-5) overcame a leaky defense to be a factor in the Big Ten a season ago. It has been a different story in 2022 as five of their six losses are by double digits.
If Penn State (9-2, 6-2) could get out of the East Division, the Nittany Lions would be a threat to make the Big Ten title game pretty much every year. However, the inability to beat division rivals Michigan and Ohio State relegates the Nittany Lions as a “not ready for primetime” program.
Multiple players remain suspended for Michigan State due to their actions following a loss to Michigan.
Something to consider for those who bet online: Michigan State has covered in six of the last nine meetings with Penn State.