The Big Ten has been full of surprises over the past month since the conference returned to play. The conference has also been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and last Saturday's game between Ohio State and Maryland was canceled as a result of an outbreak within Maryland's football program.
The big matchup that everyone will have their eye on this week will be No. 3 Ohio State playing host to No. 9 Indiana in arguably the most-anticipated game in the Big Ten so far this season. Indiana has been one of the surprises in the conference as its jumped out to a 4-0 record with wins over Michigan and Penn State. The Hoosiers are coming off of a dominant win over Michigan State. If Indiana truly wants to challenge for a spot in the Big Title title game, this one that they're going to need to win.
On the contrary, Ohio State has its eyes on the College Football Playoff and needs to keep the train on the tracks. There aren't any more ranked teams on Ohio State's schedule following this week's contest, so this is a chance for a marquee win for the Buckeyes.
Let's dive into all the Big Ten action with this week's Big Ten picks.
Minnesota is the team that I just can't seem to quit. After being burned by the Golden Gophers multiple times so far this season, I'm still confident in what Minnesota will be able to do from an offensive standpoint this weekend. Purdue has held its opponents to just 3.8 yards per carry in 2020, which is one of the best rates in the Big Ten. However, the Boilermakers haven't faced a rushing attack like Minnesota. Even in last week's four-touchdown loss to Iowa, star running back Mohamed Ibrahim still racked up 33 carries. Minnesota won't ever shy away from the run game and I think the Gophers can easily take this one. Pick: Minnesota (+2.5)
I came away very surprised with Nebraska's effort against Penn State last week. Luke McCaffrey got the start under center and didn't have a bad game. His athleticism certainly gives the Cornhuskers some upside at the position, but I still need to see more from McCaffrey on a weekly basis. This is the game where McCaffrey could definitely break out against an Illinois that is giving up almost 35 points a game. While 15.5 points is a lot, Illinois just doesn't have enough talent at the skill positions to keep up. Pick: Nebraska (-15.5)
Indiana at Ohio State
Indiana has easily been the biggest surprise in the Big Ten this season and Saturday offers its biggest test. If the Hoosiers want to earn a spot in the Big Ten title game, this is a game that they have to win. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and what Indiana has done this season. However, defeating Ohio State is a completely different animal. Justin Fields will have success against this tough Indiana defense, but the Hoosiers will cover in this one. Indiana has way too much talent to lose by three touchdowns. Pick: Indiana (+20.5)
This is one of the most intriguing games on the Big Ten schedule this week. Wisconsin returned to the field after a three-week hiatus and absolutely demolished Michigan last week. However, Northwestern is no slouch as the Wildcats have gotten off to a 4-0 start and are one of the more dangerous teams in the conference. Points are going to be at a premium in this one with Northwestern and Wisconsin being the top two defenses in the Big Ten. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Northwestern won this game outright. Pick: Northwestern (+7.0)
Iowa at Penn State
Penn State is just not a good football team right now. Things got so bad last week against Nebraska that James Franklin pulled quarterback Sean Clifford from the game in favor of Will Levis. Franklin has yet to commit to a starting quarterback for this game, but it honestly doesn't matter all that much. Penn State can't be trusted and Iowa has completely shifted its fortunes over the past two weeks. The Hawkeyes outscored Michigan State and Minnesota 84-14. The offense is churning and the Nittany Lions haven't stopped anyone this season. Iowa takes this one. Pick: Iowa (-2.5)
Michigan at Rutgers
Michigan is absolutely spiraling right now. After opening up the season with a convincing win over Minnesota, Michigan has been tripped up by Michigan State, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The Wolverines have dropped their past two games by at least 17 points and the Badgers absolutely manhandled the Wolverines last week. Their offense is only averaging 26.3 points per game and the Jim Harbaugh era may be finished after the season. It's just hard to trust Michigan in any game and Rutgers has been solid. If you're offering 10.5 points in favor of Rutgers, I'm trusting Greg Schiano's group. Pick: Rutgers (+10.5)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,900 in profit over the past four-plus seasons -- and find out.