Big Ten Football: Jay's 2017 Week 11 Quick Picks

Posted by on in Big Ten Conference Blog

With apologies to Will Smith, Big Ten life got flipped, turned upside down. I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, to tell you how the B1G could get left out of the College Football Playoff this year.

While Michigan State beating Penn State and Iowa crushing Ohio State may have been entertaining to watch, it really puts the conference in a precarious position. Wisconsin most likely has to win out to get to the CFP, and that’s assuming Bucky doesn’t play a two-loss team coming out of the East Division. That could very well be the only way a B1G team gets to the football final four. Even getting to the conference championship game means Bucky has to beat Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.

The winner of the Michigan State-Ohio State game this week holds the keys to the East, but there’s no guarantee the winner of that game won’t lose again.

So while it may be the best conference in the land, there is a realistic possibility the B1G gets left out depending on how things shake out. How will the landscape look after week 11? Let’s go to the Quick Picks…

Michigan State at Ohio State

Once again this weekend, the two best games on the B1G schedule are not in primetime. That is an absolute crime. Anyone wanting to watch this game on the west coast will need a wake-up call (Noon EST kickoff). Talk about two teams riding different waves. Michigan State provided Penn State its second loss in a row, while Iowa beat the snot out of an Ohio State team seemingly suffering from a Nittany Lion-sized hangover. I am not going to get sucked into last week’s craziness when making this pick. I think both games were anomalies; MSU isn’t that good and OSU isn’t that bad. Plus, this game is in the Horseshoe and Ohio State doesn’t make a habit of losing at home (ignore the Oklahoma game). The Buckeyes get back on track against Sparty.

Rutgers at Penn State

I’ve used this one before, but it doesn’t get old… one of these teams has won three of its last four games. The other team is Penn State. Rutgers is on a roll! The Scarlet Knights now have three conference wins and need two more wins to become, wait for it, bowl eligible. Inconceivable! Yeah, that’s not happening. Rutgers finishes with Penn State, Indiana, and Michigan State. And like Michigan two weeks ago, Penn State will be looking to take out two weeks of losing frustration out on someone. Rutgers just happens to be standing in the way. Penn State takes the first step in salvaging a season now considered by many to be a disappointment with a big win.

Indiana at Illinois

Considering all of the close games (or first halves) Indiana has put together this season, it’s odd to see their record at 3-6. Last week the Hoosiers put a scare into Wisconsin for a quarter before Bucky started running the ball and Indiana started turning it over. Illinois has now lost seven games in a row after starting the year 2-0. The Fighting Illini can’t seem to generate any offense, and the young defense just can’t handle that much time on the field. The losing streak continues Saturday against a Hoosiers offense that has no trouble scoring points against the bottom half of the conference.

Nebraska at Minnesota

This may be the most interesting game no one is talking about in the B1G this week. Nebraska is losing football games, big-time recruits, and possibly another football coach. Minnesota, for all of the talk about rowing boats before the season, is just not living up to anyone’s expectations. But hidden in that negativity is both teams are 4-5 and trying to scratch and claw their way to six wins and bowl eligibility. Both teams have shown signs of brilliance and stupidity at times this season. Both teams want to win the “5 Dollar Bits of Broken Chair” trophy (no, really, it’s a thing). Nebraska, if it can get out of its own way, should win this game. And, against my better judgement, I think they will and leave the Twin Cities with a win and a broken chair.

Michigan at Maryland

Maryland is so tough to figure out. The Terps gutted out a win over Indiana two weeks ago, only to go on the road and lose at Rutgers. Michigan, on the other hand, has seemed to find its way after getting punked by Penn State. Back-to-back blowouts of Rutgers and Minnesota have been fueled by good, old-fashioned Michigan football – also known as running the ball and defense. There is an outside shot Michigan can win the East, but at the very least the Wolverines can play spoiler with both Wisconsin and Ohio State left on the schedule. Before they get to those games, however, they’ll find a way to steamroll the Terps despite Maryland being a much better team at home than on the road.

Iowa at Wisconsin

If you thought Iowa was going to put up 55 points on Ohio State please raise your hand. Now didn’t your mother tell you it’s not nice to lie? The Hawkeyes shocked the world, and probably themselves, by hanging half-a-hundred on the Buckeyes. Nate Stanley played out of his mind, throwing five touchdown passes. Wisconsin, on the other hand, needed a lot of help from the defense to put away Indiana with ease. The Badgers are the team, thanks to a soft schedule, you keep expecting to lose at some point. Plus they are without a top receiver and linebacker this week and Iowa is coming off that unthinkable performance. But remember what I said about last week being an anomaly. Iowa isn’t as good as it showed last week, and Wisconsin isn’t as bad. Bucky wins a classic Big Ten brawl.

Purdue at Northwestern

On behalf of the B1G I would like to apologize to the country for having a dog of a game in primetime for the second week in a row. Well, someone has to play under the lights, so let’s put some spin on it. Northwestern made history last week by being the first team to ever win three overtime games in as many weeks. The ‘Cats clawed their way back against Nebraska and may very well have nine lives. Purdue did beat Illinois last week. That may be the best thing you can say about a Boilermakers team in a bad spot right now. Northwestern is peaking at the right time and won’t need OT to get a win Saturday night.

Last Week: 4-3

Season: 57-21

Sadly it was a second straight week of barely picking over the .500 mark. While the upside down week ten in the Big Ten was thrilling to watch, it was a nightmare for those who put their picks on the World Wide Web for anyone to see. What surprises will this week have in store? That’s the beauty of November football in the B1G. Bundle up if you’re headed to the stadium this weekend. If not, lucky you -- crack a beer for me in the comfort of your living room. Smell ya later!