Free Press sports writers share their predictions for the Big Ten title game Saturday between Michigan football and Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (8 p.m., Fox):
The Wolverines have significantly more talent than Purdue. There isn't any real area the Boilermakers have an advantage and in a dome with no elements to get in the way, that often gives the advantage to the more experienced, talented team. The pick: Michigan 41, Purdue 16.
Let’s be honest. The Boilermakers shouldn’t even be in this game, but they backed into the Big Ten championship with Iowa’s loss to lowly Nebraska. Purdue features a balanced offense and a versatile running back in Devin Mockobee, but it’s far, far from the complete team Michigan proved itself to be last week in Columbus. Consider this the closest thing to a bye and automatic berth into the College Football Playoff for the Wolverines. The pick: Michigan 40, Purdue 17.
MICHIGAN VS. PURDUE:Scouting report, prediction for Big Ten championship game
The Wolverines will miss one of their top guns, Blake Corum, after it was reported he would undergo surgery on his injured left knee. But they still have a bevy of weapons and a formula based on controlling possession. They may even unveil a few tricks that have been concealed against an inferior opponent, Purdue, charged with the monumental task of upsetting a team that has won 24 of its last 26 games. The pick: Michigan 37, Purdue 20.
The Wolverines shouldn’t have to win this game to get into the College Football Playoff. But coach Jim Harbaugh is not one to leave any doubt. The Wolverines will win the Big Ten championship with style, while racking up some style points. The big thing for Michigan? Get the win and get out of this game without any more injuries. The pick: Michigan 37, Purdue 17.
This won't be the romp so many think. Not for a while. And then inevitability will kick in, along with the talent gap along the line of scrimmage. The Wolverines came off the high of beating Ohio State a year ago and handled business in the Big Ten title game against Iowa. So they have practice. Along with an improving J.J. McCarthy and a season-long will to get back to the College Football Playoff. The pick: Michigan 38, Purdue 23.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football vs. Purdue: Big Ten title game predictions