Week 12 in the Big Ten included surprise scares for the top two teams in the conference as No. 2 Ohio State (11–0) avoided a close encounter in Maryland (6–5) and No. 3 Michigan (11–0). needed a last-minute field goal to survive against Illinois (7-4) at home.
A possible explanation is that both teams were already looking forward to Week 13, when they would go head-to-head in one of the biggest matches of the 2022 regular season. his playoff hopes were dashed by the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
However, ahead of the Eastern Big Ten title showdown, Iowa (7-4) decides its fate in the West on Friday afternoon against Nebraska (3-8). The victory will send the Hawkeyes to their second straight Big Ten Championship game (they lost 42–3 to Michigan in 2021). A loss to Iowa would put Purdue (7-4) in the driver’s seat in the West’s Big Ten, giving the Boilermakers a chance to seal the division with Saturday’s 4-7 victory in Indiana.
No. 2 Ohio State Seeks Redemption in Winner Takes All vs. No. 3 Michigan (OSU -7.5, o/u 56)
Best bets: Ohio State -7.5, over 56
A year ago, the No. 2 Ohio State team traveled to Ann Arbor to take on No. 5 Michigan State in “The Game,” a name attributed to the 125-year rivalry between the two schools. On a snowy afternoon at the Big House, the Wolverines combined strong defense and ground play to win The Game for the first time in 10 years, earning a spot in the Big Ten title game and ultimately their first trip to the college football playoffs. .
If you ask Ohio State, everything the team has done over the past year has been in response to this result.
“We have scars”, head coach Ryan Day said Tuesday. “That motivated us all in the offseason.”
Junior offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. spoke in more detail about his feelings. “Looking at the scoreboard, I felt that not only did we fail our number one goal, but all the past people who kept the tradition of beating [Michigan]… I felt like I let them down,” he said on Tuesday. “I stick with it.”
Buckeyes hard end Cade Stover called it “the greatest rivalry in all sports” during his media appearance on Tuesday, adding how personal it feels to players like him who grew up in Ohio.
The energy in Columbus this week was in stark contrast to that from Ann Arbor. “We are very grateful to be in this place, to play this game,” said the Michigan coach. Jim Harbaugh Monday said. “We have a great group of players who are happy warriors. They have a happy mission.”
Wolverine quarterback Jay Jay McCarthy seemed to live up to that description on Tuesday, noting that “the stars aligned and it’s finally here and we’re super excited.”
Harbaugh likened the game to “two superheroes battling each other”, which isn’t far from what the statistics suggest: Ohio State (ranked #2 in the CFP) is the second-highest passing offense in the nation. Heisman’s favorite CJ Stroud in quarterback. Michigan (3rd in the CFP rankings) ranks as the fifth best passer in the nation and fourth in offense.
This fast game was marked by a running back junior Choir of Blake, who is fourth in FBS with 1,457 yards and second in FBS with 18 touchdowns this year. But Corum’s status is unknown this Saturday after he pulled out of a game in Illinois last week with an undisclosed left knee injury.
Harbaugh stated that Corum’s knee was “structurally good, which is good news” but did not comment on his ability to play against Ohio State. Day says his team is gearing up like Corum is going to play.
Even if Corum plays, he might not be at 100% health, which will likely put more pressure on JJ McCarthy in the game. Harbaugh says McCarthy “has the ability to turn water into wine” and that his message to his quarterback on Saturday will be to “put in the effort.”
While McCarthy’s accuracy leaves a lot to be desired (his completion percentage didn’t exceed 53% in November), he has been a reliable handler this month with no losses since October 15th. There are five of them this season and they are all rebuilt by his teammates and he can’t afford them against the Buckeyes’ defensive front.
Both teams looked like they had work to do in Week 12, with Ohio State losing to Maryland at halftime and the Terrapins being within 3 points of the Buckeyes for most of the fourth quarter while Michigan needed a field goal at last minute to survive in Illinois.
“Some people call it character building, I called it character discovery,” Harbaugh said of the close distance.
Day reminded reporters that their number one goal is to “win and move on” in his comments after Saturday’s game. “There were times this year where we had style points… And there will be games where we don’t jump out as fast as we would like.”
With all the talk of gratitude in Michigan and last year’s motivation in Ohio, both sides know the stakes in this game. The winner makes it into the Big Ten East and should be the clear favorite to win the conference title with an easy path to the playoffs. Both teams have an opportunity to make the playoffs if this weekend’s game is close, but it’s narrow.
“There’s nothing better than The Game,” Day told reporters. “That’s our number one goal every season.”
“Winner takes all,” Harbaugh said.
Forecast: It’s hard to accept Michigan in this, on the road with their best player beaten at best, at worst. The Wolverines’ defense should be able to slow down the Bakei’s offense and Michigan’s ground game should be able to wear down the Bakei’s defense, but eventually Stroud and the OSU receivers cracked it enough to win by 10 and put in an Over. in Game.
Iowa claims a second consecutive Big Ten West title in a home game against Nebraska (Iowa -10.5, o/a 38.5)
Best Bets: Iowa -10.5, Under 38.5
The Iowa Hawkeyes currently top the Big Ten West standings with a tiebreaker win over Purdue. A win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend will send the Hawkeyes to Indianapolis to play for the Big Ten title against winner Ohio Michigan State.
The game of rivalry between Iowa and Nebraska has been played on Black Friday since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2012. The game is known as the Game of Heroes and there is a Trophy of Heroes each season. Fans of each school are invited to nominate ordinary citizens of Iowa and Nebraska who have performed outstanding acts of heroism; one candidate from each state is invited to the game to be recognized on the field, and their names are inscribed on the game’s trophy.
This is the final hurdle, and should be the lowest Iowa will clear in November. They are on a four-game winning streak, including a 13-10 road win over Minnesota last weekend.
“We didn’t have a lot of easy games and Saturday was an example of that,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferenc said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Nebraska moves to Iowa City on a five-loss streak and hasn’t scored more than two touchdowns in a game since October 15.
Iowa’s attack is even more unproductive – Nebraska is in 11th place.th in the offensive scoring conference while Iowa is 13thth. The difference will be on the other side of the ball, where Iowa is fourth in the conference in defensive scoring and Nebraska is 12.th.
The Cornhuskers suffered a particularly painful loss to Wisconsin, who scored a touchdown with 35 seconds left in the game.
“It hurts,” Nebraska’s acting head coach. Mickey Joseph said right after that loss.
Win or no win, recent history says this game should be close. Iowa have won the last seven Heroes Trophies, but have had a touchdown or less lead in the last four editions of the game.
According to Ferenc, this is one of the reasons he urged his players to focus this week and not get hung up on what’s at stake. “The worst thing we can do is start thinking about things from the outside.”
Joseph says only pride in Nebraska is at stake, and his team is just as focused. “We have one mission left,” he said on Tuesday, possibly his last week in office. “I expect and know that our guys will give it their all and give their best in this last game.”
Forecast: Iowa’s offense is far from standing out nationally (or even in the conference), but it has shown improvement over the past month, especially against teams with weak defenses like Nebraska. Iowa covers at home and Underland is in the game, as is almost always the case when Iowa is involved.
More forecasts for the 13th week
Team in NBC Sports Edge took a deep dive into this week’s Big Ten list and presented their favorite plays for the week. Here’s a preview:
Michigan State @ Pennsylvania State: Game distribution Michigan State +18 (-110)
Vaughn Dalzell (@VmoneySports)
I hate this bet, but Michigan State wouldn’t want to lose Cup eligibility and this is the last chance after losing in double overtime to Indiana last week (39-31).
Penn State 9-2, and bowl eligibility secured. MSU has covered six of the last nine meetings with Penn State, including last year’s 30-27 win in East Lansing. The Spartans have only won outright once in their last three trips to Happy Valley, 21-17 in 2018. However, we just need the state of Michigan to cover.
MSU has been eligible for the cup for the past four seasons (excluding the Covid season). They want to continue this tradition or Mel Tucker could start to hear footsteps even though he signed this massive extension at the end of last…