Big Ten Football: Week 12 Predictions
Predicting Week 12 Games in the Big Ten
There are just two Big Ten games this week that will garner most of the attention. Michigan State hosts a Northwestern team that is coming off a heartbreaking defeat against Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Spartans will clinch a bowl birth with a win Saturday and will try to avoid losing their fifth straight home game.
The other enticing game of the week will take place in Madison as Wisconsin hosts Ohio State in one of the conference's budding rivalries. The Badgers will look to eliminate the Buckeyes from unbeaten status.
Michigan is the newest Big Ten team to enter the AP Top 25, coming in at No. 21 and they will play host to the Iowa Hawkeyes in what should be the Wolverines eighth win of the season. The Hawkeyes started the season on a promising note at 4-2, but haven't been on the winning end of a game since Oct. 13-- yes, over a month ago.
Last week: 4-1
Northwestern vs. Michigan State, 12:00 PM
Michigan State is in danger of missing their first bowl game since Mark Dantonio took over head coaching responsibilities in 2007. They have made five straight bowl games and are looking for their sixth with a win this weekend in East Lansing against Northwestern. Venric Mark has emerged as one of the best running backs in the conference while Kain Colter has proven to be one of the most versatile quarterbacks in the country. However, the Spartan defense will shut them down and Andrew Maxwell will do just enough to put the Spartans on top when the game ends.
Prediction: Northwestern 17, Michigan State 27
Iowa vs. Michigan, 12:00 PM
Michigan has been without their starting quarterback Denard Robinson for the past two games and will hope to have him back against the Hawkeyes on Saturday. Devin Gardner has proven to be a solid replacement for the senior quarterback, leading the Wolverines to two straight wins without Denard. The Hawkeyes have been one of the most disappointing teams in the conference, starting the conference season with a 2-0 record and then reeling off four straight losses. The Wolverines will have no problem improving to 8-3 on the season and putting the Legends Division title to be decided in the final game of the season.
Prediction: Iowa 14, Michigan 31
Indiana vs. Penn State, 12:00 PM
Indiana missed out on their chance to compete for a Legends Division title last week after getting blown out by Wisconsin at home. The Nittany Lions are also coming off a loss against Nebraska on the road and are looking to kick an already-down Hoosier team. Matt McGloin is one of the best quarterbacks in the conference this season and has come out of nowhere to lead the Nittany Lions to a six-win season when no one thought they would win even four. Penn State will take care of business at home against the Hoosiers and McGloin will be reason why.
Projection: Indiana 20, Penn State 33
Minnesota vs. Nebraska, 3:30 PM
This is one of two Big Ten matchups in week 12 between two bowl eligible teams. The Golden Gophers are going to their first bowl game under second-year head coach Jerry Kill. However, Nebraska is a far stronger team than Minnesota and will have no problem mopping the floor with the Golden Gophers. The Cornhuskers have the best offense in the conference and a big reason for that is the resurgence of Taylor Martinez in 2012. The Cornhuskers will win big on their home turf and will be one win away from a Legends Division title.
Prediction: Minnesota 13, Nebraska 41
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, 3:30 PM
Ohio State is the only undefeated team in the conference and one of the only left in the entire country, but no one is talking about it because they aren't allowed a ranking in the BCS standings and can't make a bowl this season. Urban Meyer has done the most with the talent that he was given and Braxton Miller has proved to be the best quarterback in the conference and a possible Heisman candidate. Wisconsin will have something to say about the possibility of an undefeated Buckeye season. The Badgers and Montee Ball will rack up another 300 rushing yards as they run over the Buckeyes for their first loss of the season.
Prediction: Ohio State 28, Wisconsin 35
Purdue vs. Illinois, 3:30 PM
Purdue is looking to finish the Big Ten season with three straight wins in an improbable series of events that even Purdue fans didn't see coming. The Boilermakers had to travel to Iowa last week and come away with a crucial win in a tough place to play in order to keep their bowl dreams alive. They won the game and made their bowl picture more likely as they have two games remaining against Indiana and at Illinois this week. They will beat the struggling Illini this week and Robert Marve will pull off the unthinkable: make a bowl game after tearing his ACL earlier in the season.
Prediction: Purdue 27, Illinois 7