Predicting every Big Ten football game in Week 12

It’s do or die time in the Big Ten for the conference’s best teams, with one giant game on the docket.

While Michigan travels to Maryland, Iowa hosts Illinois, and Wisconsin finally plays Nebraska, all eyes will be on the noon game between No. 4 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan State in Columbus. Those aren’t the only games with postseason implications, as a few teams are working to get bowl eligible, including the Terps, Rutgers, and the Illini. Minnesota and Purdue are both looking to bounce back after some tough losses this past week.

So, how will it all play out? The WolverinesWire staff has predictions on each and every game.


The latest College Football Playoff rankings after Week 11

No. 7 Michigan State (9-1) at No. 4 Ohio State (9-1)

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Trent Knoop: I was wrong last week when I said I thought Purdue would easily cover the spread against the Buckeyes, but I’m going to say the same thing here — MSU will cover the 19 point spread. Ohio State still allows teams to move the ball on it, and Kenneth Walker III is going to be difficult to stop. The other side, the Spartans still have one of the worst passing defenses in the nation, so there is no way that MSU can stop CJ Stroud. I’ll take the Buckeyes. Ohio State 41, Michigan State 28

Isaiah Hole: Ohio State has the nation’s No. 6 passing offense. Michigan State has the nation’s worst pass defense, 130th overall. This is not a good matchup for the Spartans on the road. However, Ohio State isn’t much better, 108th overall — but MSU’s passing offense is 48th, and Kenneth Walker III will have a hard time against the No. 14 rushing defense — the toughest the Spartans will have faced all year. To me, it’ll take a miracle for MSU to overcome this particular matchup given that disparity — but it’s not impossible. If OSU is at all looking ahead to Michigan and doesn’t get proper form when tackling Walker, it could be just enough. Ohio State also hasn’t looked as good against better teams, save for Purdue. If the Buckeyes stall out in the red zone and settle for field goals, it could be just enough. I just don’t see that happening. Ohio State 48, Michigan State 31

Purdue (6-4) at Northwestern (3-7)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Trent Knoop: Northwestern has yet to score more than 14 points in each of the last five games — not going to win many games that way. The Boilermakers are coming off a loss against OSU last weekend, but they still managed to put up 31 points. As long as Purdue can score 20 or more, which it will, then the Boilermakers will win this one. Purdue 31, Northwestern 10

Isaiah Hole: Just when Northwestern seemed like it was getting something from Andrew Marty, it had to go up against Wisconsin. The good news for the Wildcats is that they did an admirable job moving the ball on the ground against the top-ranked rushing defense. Purdue will be easier, but the Boilermakers will be looking to avenge last week’s loss to Ohio State. The good news for Northwestern is that it could slow down Purdue’s passing offense just enough — but it won’t be enough. Purdue 24, Northwestern 10

Rutgers (5-5) at Penn State (6-4)

Trent Knoop: Rutgers had the game of its life last weekend, offensively, by putting up 38 points against Indiana. Sadly, that will be one-and-done now that the Scarlet Knights have to face the tough Nittany Lions defense. Sean Clifford seems to be getting healthier, and Jahan Dotson remains a stud, so give me PSU. Penn State 27, Rutgers 7

Isaiah Hole: Penn State is better than its record and only has one inexplicable loss on its record — the nine OT thriller against Illinois. Had Sean Clifford been at full-strength, it would have likely won that game and the game vs. Iowa. I still think that the Nittany Lions are more the team that beat a good Auburn and Wisconsin team, and Rutgers, while improved, is not that. The Scarlet Knights will have to wait one more week to find out if they’re going bowling. Penn State 31, Rutgers 12

Illinois (4-6) at No. 17 Iowa (8-2)

Photo: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Trent Knoop: While the Illinois defense has been getting better and better, Alex Padilla looked great last week for Iowa against Minnesota in a spot start. After throwing for over 200 yards and two scores, I would think we will get the start again this week for the Hawkeyes. The Fighting Illini may be getting better on defense, but the offense still struggles scoring points — it’ll be hard to score points against Iowa. Iowa 24, Illinois 10

Isaiah Hole: At this point, who knows which of either of these teams will show up. Illinois has wins over Nebraska and Penn State, somewhat inexplicably, and has a tough defense. That will likely make things hard on the not-great Iowa offense. However, especially if Spencer Petras comes back and is close to fully healthy (which reports indicate will be the case), I have more faith that Iowa will have more than enough to handle the Illini. Plus, Illinois, most of the time, appears allergic to offense. Iowa 24, Illinois 9

Nebraska (3-7) at No. 15 Wisconsin

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: The Badgers are doing everything correct at the right time. Graham Mertz is steadily getting better, the run game is great, and the defense remains amazing. I do think the Nebraska offense will give Wisconsin some issues, especially if Adrian Martinez can take care of the football, but the Badgers will be too much in the end. Give me Wisconsin in a much closer game than expected. Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 21

Isaiah Hole: Nebraska picked a bad time to take a trip to Madison. While the Huskers have been on the verge of wins every single week, Ohio State included, this will be the toughest defense Nebraska has faced, and Wisconsin seems to have figured out how to play offense, led by running back Braelon Allen. Expect another close game, but the Badger defense will be too much for the Husker offense — and vice versa. Late mistakes doom Nebraska, once again. Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 21

Minnesota (6-4) at Indiana (2-8)

Photo: HawkCentral

Trent Knoop: Minnesota is back to looking like a bad team once again, but lucky for them, it has to face arguably the worst team in the Big Ten this week in Indiana. The Hoosiers had a chance to get out of the bottom cellar last week while facing Rutgers, but they only managed to put up three points in a killer loss. No possible way Indiana can beat Minnesota this week. Minnesota 34, Indiana 14

Isaiah Hole: Minnesota gave Iowa all it could handle, but it just couldn’t get the job done late. Indiana is currently the worst team in the Big Ten. Even with Jack Tuttle returning last week, in stretches, it wasn’t nearly enough in a blowout loss to Rutgers. Expect a Gopher bounceback. Minnesota 30, Indiana 7

No. 6 Michigan (9-1) at Maryland (5-5)

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Trent Knoop: Taulia Tagovailoa is the most explosive passer in the Big Ten, he has the ninth most yards thrown in the entire nation, but he is turnover prone. The Terrapins signal-caller has thrown 10 interceptions this year, and he appears to get very antsy when pressure comes his way. This is where Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo come into play. They are No. 1 and No. 2 in the Big Ten in sacks, and they both should have another eventful day getting to the quarterback on Saturday against the Maryland offensive line. As long as Michigan doesn’t do anything crazy on offense, like turn the ball over multiple times, then it should come away with a win. I look for Hassan Haskins to have another big-time game. Michigan 38, Maryland 17

Isaiah Hole: This will be the game where we find out how well — or not — Michigan will be able to handle Ohio State’s passing offense. Maryland is No. 13 in the country in passing, the best the Wolverines will have seen all year. However, and this is a big however, the Terps have been beyond awful defensively, ranked No. 91 in the country — the third-worst in the Big Ten. They are 77th against the run and 105th against the pass. This should be a big day for the Michigan offense, and Maryland hasn’t seen a pass rush like what the maize and blue present. It has faced one defense better — Minnesota — and only managed 16 points. Expect to see the Wolverines get tested to some degree, but it should be easy sledding after the Penn State game if Michigan isn’t looking ahead to Ohio State. Michigan 33, Maryland 17