Well, dog my cats. We were playing golf in shorts in Chicago a week ago, and I forgot to check the weather, to find out that a frigid, snow-flurry wind would force Ohio State and Michigan to go into their shells offensively in East Lansing and Ann Arbor.
I also forgot to remember that the College Football Playoff is rigged in the Big Ten’s favor. Close wins were as good as blowouts for the Buckeyes and Wolverines.
No excuses for Northwestern, which inexplicably managed to make Minnesota look like a juggernaut. Helmet stickers to Oklahoma and Wyoming for providing vowels and much-needed out-of-region wins.
On to Week 13. With five picks, because after another 2-3 week, I still need the reps.
Here are the calls: Nebraska-Iowa and Toledo-Western Michigan on Friday, and Michigan-Ohio State, Notre Dame-USC and Minnesota-Wisconsin on Saturday.
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The Game: Nebraska plus-1.5 at Iowa (2;30 p.m. CT, Friday, ABC)
The Pick: Iowa, 24-20
The Comment: The Hawkeyes, who didn’t mess around with Michigan at home, aren’t messing around with the Cornhuskers at home, either.
The Game: Toledo plus-8.5 at Western Michigan (4 p.m. CT, Friday, ESPN2)
The Pick: Western Michigan, 38-24
The Comment: Check out the Toledo band, if they get airtime. They’re huge and good. I’m thinking they want to show Ohio State it made a mistake by not recruiting them. But go with the Broncos, who may be playing their last home game under hot coach P.J. Fleck
The Game: Michigan plus-6.5 at Ohio State (11 a.m. CT, ABC)
The Pick: Ohio State, 28-24
The Comment: Buckeyes will need to buck up their run defense. And if this was a neutral-site game with a healthy Wilton Speight, it’d be a pick-‘em. But it isn’t.
The Game: Notre Dame plus-17.5 at USC (2:30 p.m. CT, ABC)
The Pick: USC, 45-24
The Comment: A team that has lost seven games by 32 points is getting 17-1/2 points? The problem is, I have concerns about ND’s emotional state at this 4-7 point, with the NCAA penalties also hitting hard at a proud school. And DeShone Kizer is coming off a blow to the head last week. I’d like to believe the Irish will rally up and keep it close in their finale. But I suspect they’ve had enough.
The Game: Minnesota plus-15 at Wisconsin (2:30 p.m. CT, BTN)
The Pick: Wisconsin, 31-14
The Comment: Hail to the Gophers (8-3), who are coming off an impressive win vs. Northwestern. But this is for Paul Bunyan’s Axe—and a trip to the Big Ten title game. It also would be appreciated by the Packers, who aren’t looking good in their Vikings rivalry.
Lines from Pregame.com.
Last week: 2-3
Season : 27-29[/membership]