Big Ten College Football Picks, Week 13 Odds: Ohio State, Michigan brace for rivalry showdown

Finally the showdown between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan is here and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Bragging rights, the Big Ten East and a possible college football playoff berth are at stake. Revenge is also a factor for Ohio State as the Buckeyes prepare to host the Wolverines on Saturday following the embarrassing loss to their archrival last season.

But for their similarities to 11-0 Big Ten East teams, there’s one major difference in their resumes. That difference is the non-conference victory over Notre Dame won by Ohio State in Week 1. As Michigan zipped through a ridiculous non-conference list of Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn, the Buckeyes tested themselves against a high-profile opponent who’s been quietly putting together a solid season.

The Fighting Irish are 15th in the College Football Playoff rankings this week and have a chance to climb even further if they beat No. 6 USC on Saturday night. If Ohio State doesn’t beat Michigan, Buckeyes fans should morph into serious Notre Dame fans on Saturday night. If Notre Dame beats USC, it would eliminate the Trojans from the CFP contest and makes Ohio State’s Week 1 win over the Fighting Irish even more impressive.

In this scenario, the Buckeyes would have a real shot at making the CFP as a one-loss team. But if Michigan loses? Bad luck. The Wolverines’ best win — and their only win against a ranked team — would be a home win on Oct. 15 against Penn State.

Michigan has only itself to blame for why the stakes are so high here. The Wolverines were scheduled to play at UCLA this season but called off their streak with the Bruins in 2019 and allegedly paid $1.5 million for it. Instead, they added a game featuring Hawaii.

UCLA is ranked 18th this week, while Hawaii sits at 127th on the CBS Sports 131. Even if Michigan had played UCLA and lost in Week 2, it wouldn’t have hindered the Wolverines’ CFP hopes. A win over Ohio State and a win in next week’s Big Ten Championship Game would definitely have put the Wolverines into the College Football Playoffs as a one-losing squad.

On the other hand, a win over the Bruins in Week 2 would have given Michigan the same cushion Ohio State is enjoying now.

Instead, the Wolverines backed themselves into a corner with a poor schedule, unnecessarily raising the stakes for the biggest game of their season. If Michigan loses to Ohio State, its national title hopes are likely to be over. If the Buckeyes lose, they can at least turn on the USC-Notre Dame game and hold on to hope for a while longer.

Now that the stakes are set, let’s dive into this week’s Big Ten list for our final round of picks this season.

Record 2022: 37-31-2

#3 Michigan in the state #2 Ohio

Featured Game | Ohio State Buckeyes versus Michigan Wolverines

Ohio State is significantly better defensively than last season, when Michigan ended an eight-game losing streak in the series by physically dominating the Buckeyes with a 42-27 win. With the status of the Michigan star running back Blake Corum in question after picking up an injury last week, the Wolverines could find it difficult to reach 30 points this time. The Buckeyes can use their defense, home field advantage, and hunger for revenge to lean on Michigan as this game progresses. The Wolverines are nationally No. 1 in total defense, but what great attacks have they played? The state of Ohio is ranked #2 nationally for felony and elite red zone ratings. The Buckeyes have the firepower to retreat late and cover the spread. Selection: State of Ohio -7.5

Featured Game | Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans

Bowl participation is at stake for the Spartans, although it’s unclear if that’s sufficient motivation for a team that just lost at home to Indiana. Beating the Hoosiers would have been the easy route to six wins. Now, Michigan State faces the unenviable task of taking on a Penn State team that has quietly reached the peak of a 10-win regular season. While it’s easy to imagine the Nittany Lions leading this game by 21 or 24 points, it’s also easy to imagine Sean Clifford throwing an unnecessary interception or two for old times’ sake keeping this game tight during the redshirt- Senior is playing his last home game at Beaver Stadium. Before losing in Indiana, Michigan had won three out of four games in that span, with victories over Wisconsin and Illinois. The Spartans can cover that huge number. Choice: Michigan State +18

Featured Game | Wisconsin Badgers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

With Wisconsin’s coaching search nearing its end and caretaker coach Jim Leonhard still thought to be in a good position to land the full-time job, look to the Badgers to play some inspired football here. A win would make Wisconsin an easy move under Leonhard after the midseason layoff of Paul Chryst and the removal of the interim tag. Though Wisconsin has been looking poorly for the past two weeks, it has won its two home games under Leonhard by double digits against bowl-bound opponents in Maryland and Purdue. Another strong home performance seems likely here against a Minnesota side who are 2-2. Choice: Wisconsin -3.5

Featured Game | Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

It wouldn’t be right to end the regular season without undercutting another game in Iowa. The Hawkeyes have the nation’s No. 5 goal defense and allow just 13.5 points per game. Nebraska ranks No. 103 on the nation’s top scorer list. you get the picture Even with quarterback Casey Thompson returning from injury last week, the Cornhuskers rallied just 171 yards in a 29-points home loss to Wisconsin. Iowa will win the Big Ten West with a win and play in the Big Ten title game next week. That means the Hawkeyes will likely want to conserve energy and health in the second half as they progress with two possessions. This is guaranteed to be a low scoring game. Choice: Below 38.5

Purdue in Indiana

Featured Game | Indiana Hoosiers vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Did you think Indiana would just lay down and quit after falling from 3-0 to 3-7 after a seven-game losing streak? think again The Hoosiers won a 39-31 game in double overtime at Michigan State last week and should be cheered for rivalry a week after that performance. Assuming Iowa beats Nebraska on Friday, the Boilermakers will be out of the Big Ten West title race by the start of this game. All of Purdue’s seven wins against FBS opponents this season have come to 10 points or less, so it seems unlikely that the Boilermakers will suddenly crush a Big Ten opponent down the road. Selection: Indiana +10.5

Maryland played a great game, coming just short of No. 2 Ohio State last week. The Terrapins looked like themselves again offensively while keeping the Buckeyes’ prolific offense in check. Rutgers was absolutely crushed by Penn State as he suffered a seventh loss. Five of them have come in with margins greater than this range. The Scarlet Knights are bad, having been eliminated from the Bowl bid and taking on a Maryland team that should be motivated to go into the Bowl season on a high note after last week’s heartbreaking loss. And yes, Terps quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is expected to play after suffering an injury in the last game of the game last week. Choice: Maryland -14

Featured Game | Northwestern Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Why is this score so high? Illinois is No. 92 in scoring offense and Northwestern is No. 128. It’s true that the Illinois should be able to amass yards on the Wildcats’ running defense, but they’ll also lose time in the process. With the Illini coming off a triple losing streak after their 7-1 start, look for coach Bret Bielema to pull one out here to return to the Victory Column. Illinois’ defense may be struggling with depth and attrition, but Northwestern haven’t hit double digits in their last three games and the Wildcats aren’t going to suddenly find an offensive rhythm in their final game of the season. Choice: Under 38

What college football picks can you hit with confidence in Week 13, and which top 25 teams will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the range – all from a proven computer model that has brought in nearly $3,000 in profits over the last 6+ seasons – and find out.