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College Football Week 11 Picks: Spartans, Hawkeyes & Wolverines Continue to Roll on the Road
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10 Nov 2017 09:35 AM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Iowa tight end Noah Fant celebrates touchdown. (Image Source: Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Here are this week’s picks against the spread:

Last Week: 0-1 (-5 Units); Season: 18-13 (+65 Units)

12:00 – Michigan State +17 ½ OHIO STATE (FOX)

The Spartans showed us last week why we should never doubt them as an underdog. One big factor in MSU’s favor, in addition to their solid defense, is OSU’s secondary has proven to be vulnerable and Brian Lewerke is coming off back-to-back 400-yard games. He also has at his disposal a plethora of emerging pass catchers. Guys will get open, mark it down. On the flip side, Sparty’s defense has been even tougher than Iowa’s and J.T. Barrett hasn’t shown he can be consistent for 60 minutes when playing against better opponents.

Units: 15

12:00 – Nebraska +2 ½ MINNESOTA (FS1)

Nebraska is a team I have a pretty good feel for (4-1 when betting Nebraska games). Going into the season I thought they would have a big drop off from last season and they have, but they remain better than Minnesota. Against the bottom half of the Big Ten, the Huskers have a 3-0 record (Rutgers, @ Illinois, @ Purdue) and in case you haven’t noticed…the Gophers (1-5 in Big Ten play) are in the bottom half of the conference with their lone win coming against Illinois (24-17 at home). The defenses are close but Nebraska’s offense is averaging 5.7 yards per play (4th in the B1G) compared Minnesota’s 4.4 (tied for last). The Gophers simply can’t move the ball and are afraid to throw it, while Tanner Lee—as up and down as he’s been—at least gives his team a chance.

Units: 10

12:00 – Indiana -7 ½ ILLINOIS (BTN)

This game pits the two winless teams in the Big Ten, but it’s far from an even matchup. The Illini are legitimately the worst team in the Big Ten bereft of playmakers. Despite playing only one ranked team (Wisconsin), Illinois has lost every conference game by at least seven points and five of six by double digits. Meanwhile, Indiana took Michigan to overtime and pushed Michigan State to the final minute. IU has a solid defense (sixth in yards per play allowed), Simmie Cobbs (59 receptions, 6 TDs) is one of the B1G’s top receivers, freshmen runners Morgan Ellison and Cole Gest, (692 yards, 4.7 YPC) are up and comers, while both of their quarterbacks (Richard Lagow expected to start, Peyton Ramsey) would be major upgrades for the Illini. I also like that the Hoosiers can let go of the notion of “breaking through” and focus on winning with their bowl eligibility on the line.

Units: 15

3:30 – Iowa +12 ½ WISCONSIN (ABC)

More than any team in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes play to the level of their competition. They’ve gone up against three teams ranked in the top 14 in this week’s Playoff Rankings and have more than held their own each time: lost on the final play against No. 14 Penn State, lost by a touchdown at No. 12 Michigan State, and they smoked No. 13 Ohio State last week. Iowa has been in every game this season and their losses have come by seven points, two points on the final play, and in overtime at No. 25 Northwestern. On the flip side, we really don’t know how good the untested Badgers are. They have one win against a Big Ten team with a winning record—33-24 over Northwestern—and that was before the Wildcats got rolling. Fifth in the B1G in yards per play and fourth in yards per play allowed (despite playing Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern) Iowa is legit.

Units: 15

3:30 – Michigan -16 MARYLAND (BTN)

The Wolverines have found their identity and it’s that of a running team. They rushed for 334 yards against Rutgers and 371 yards against Minnesota to move up to third in the B1G in rushing offense, second in yards per carry (5.1), and first in rushing touchdowns (17). Junior Karan Higdon (7.3 YPC in conference games) is on his way to a 1,000-yard season (804 yards, 699 yards in six B1G games), Chris Evans (191 yards last week) is even more explosive in the open field, and Ty Isaac (three 100-yard games) could return this week after missing a game. It’s a deep stable and the O-line continues to improve. Maybe they’re pushing around weak run defenses, but Maryland’s isn’t very strong along the line of scrimmage. The Terps, who could be down to their fourth-string (walk-on) quarterback, will struggle to move the ball against a Michigan unit that leads the Big Ten in total defense (245.3 YPG, 4.2 YPP).

Units: 10

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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