Week 11: We predict all five Big Ten games

Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners.

After 10 weeks, it’s Dienhart and BTN.com fans tied for the top spot, three games ahead of Yarina. See our Week 11 predictions and choose your winners in this post.

[RELATED: Week 11 Power Rankings | Week 11 Player Rankings | Week 11 Bowl Projections]

SEASON RECORDS
Tom: 59-20; .747
BTN.com fans: 59-20; .747
Brent: 56-23; .709

Purdue (3-6, 0-5) at Iowa (4-5, 2-3) - noon ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Iowa, 33-13 – Hide the women and children. Combined, these teams have eight losses in a row. And each is fighting for its bowl life. But the Hawkeyes have more fight than the Boilermakers, who have been the most disappointing team in the Big Ten.
Brent’s pick: Iowa, 23-21 – Both teams need a win to keep their dwindling bowl hopes alive, and in a game with two struggling programs, it only makes sense to go with the home team.

Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) at Indiana (4-5, 2-3) – noon ET, ESPN2
Tom’s pick: Wisconsin, 41-28 – The Hoosiers will keep it close for a half before the big, tough and physical Badgers wear down Indiana with their run game. And a one-dimensional Hoosier offense (pass, pass, pass) won’t beat this underrated Wisconsin defense.
Brent’s pick: Wisconsin, 34-23 – The Indiana defense has played much better the last two weeks, but check out Montee Ball’s numbers in three career games vs. the Hoosiers: 424 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns, 6.7 yards per carry and 66 receiving yards.

Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) at Michigan (6-3, 4-1) – noon ET, ESPN
Tom’s pick: Michigan, 21-17 – The Wolverines will get just enough offense to beat the well-rested Wildcats, who were off last week. More importantly for Michigan, its defense will make life tough for a Northwestern attack that has had consistency issues.
Brent’s pick: Michigan, 27-17 – This is not a good matchup for Northwestern. Not only is Michigan’s pass defense No. 1 in the nation, it boasts an athletic defense that can stuff the run. Keep Kain Colter and Venric Mark under wraps, and the Wildcats struggle to move the ball.

Minnesota (5-4, 1-4) at Illinois (2-7, 0-5) – 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Minnesota, 29-24 – It’s six losses in a row and counting for the Fighting Illini. Make it seven, as the Golden Gophers will be motivated to capture win No. 6 to attain bowl eligibility. Has Illinois hit rock bottom yet?
Brent’s pick: Minnesota, 31-13 – The way Illinois’ defense is playing, don’t be surprised if Minnesota true freshman QB Philip Nelson puts up numbers worthy of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week in this one.

Penn State (6-3, 4-1) at Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2
Tom’s pick: Nebraska, 30-24 – It doesn’t get much better than this, as the Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers are two of the top four teams in the Big Ten. In fact, the Huskers are the hottest squad in the Big Ten not named “Ohio State.” The Nebraska defense matches up perfectly with Penn State’s offense, and the Husker attack is rolling. This team is on a mission, America.
Brent’s pick: Penn State, 28-27 – No Big Ten team has more turnovers than Nebraska (23), and only Big Ten team has more takeaways than Penn State (17). Look for a late turnover to thwart Nebraska’s attempt at a fourth late comeback in Big Ten play.

[RELATED: Dienhart's Q&A with Penn State QB Matt McGloin]

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26 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (26 Comments)
Nick on 11/8/2012 @ 10:42am EDT Said:

Brent, you just don’t seem like much of a Husker guy, or show any love really. 28 points from PSU? Huskers are going to leave them one dimensional, and I would put my money on NU’s secondary over PSU’s passing game. They don’t have a Bell, Ball, or a Toussaint in the backfield. Their LB’s lack a lot of speed, and their secondary has yet to be tested. No need for a comeback in this game. Taylor, one INT at most, this isn’t a MSU/Michigan defense we are facing.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 11/8/2012 @ 12:21pm EDT Said:

    Have you watched Penn State’s offense this year? The Nittany Lions score points. I don’t think 28 is a lot, especially considering Nebraska’s turnovers troubles. Nebraska fans said the same thing last week, when I said the Spartans would score 20 against Huskers. They scored 24. So, I don’t think 28 from Penn State is too much. I really like how McGloin and the offense are playing, that’s all.

GBR_ZX_87 on 11/8/2012 @ 12:18pm EDT Said:

I’m with Nick on this. They are coming in to Memorial Stadium against a surging Husker defense and you have them getting 28 points? I know I underestimate our road game curse last week, but we are at home. No disrespect to a good PSU squad, but I just don’t see them breaking 20 points.

Dennis on 11/8/2012 @ 12:18pm EDT Said:

LB’s lack speed? Are you watching PSU games?

Rick MArtis on 11/8/2012 @ 12:46pm EDT Said:

PSU’s defense will be undermanned this week by Hill being down or doubtfull. That will leave a hugh hole in the interior of the line. If our backs are constantly reaching level 2, PSU is in serious trouble. Good Luck PSU and pray that no one gets hurt. Go Big Red !!!

Josh on 11/8/2012 @ 1:10pm EDT Said:

The difference between Michigan State and Penn State is Mich St can run the ball. That is this defenses weakness. Throw that in with it being a home game for Nebraska and the fact that Penn State has only beat 2 teams with winning records this year. Nebraska 31 Penn State 17

Brendan on 11/8/2012 @ 1:30pm EDT Said:

Penn State also didn’t let OSU put up 60+

michelle on 11/8/2012 @ 1:46pm EDT Said:

I HEART BTN!

Erin on 11/8/2012 @ 1:57pm EDT Said:

It comes down to a poor matchup for PSU in my opinion; with no “punisher” at RB, moving the ball will be tough for the Lions. On defense, it won’t matter how fast the PSU ‘backers are – they won’t be stopping the run when they have two slot receivers to deal with. Every week, D-Cords have tried to get the LB’s involved with the run game, and every week Bell and Enunwa take them out of the play. Add that the Lions are short on that side of the ball this week anyway, coupled with Burkhead’s likely return, and the Lion D will tire by the fourth quarter and the offense is going to watch their scoring opportunities dry up from the sideline.

Marc on 11/8/2012 @ 2:48pm EDT Said:

Apparently Nebraska fans havent watched any Penn State games this year. LOL! Slow LB? False. No Top WR? False. No “punisher” at RB? False. Every reason NU fans have given for a win is inaccurate. Looks like it might be a long day for the Huskers.

Jack on 11/8/2012 @ 3:56pm EDT Said:

I’m going upset crazy this week. Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn St. and Minnesota for the W.

Big 10 from Iowa City on 11/8/2012 @ 3:57pm EDT Said:

PSU has beaten Illinois, Iowa, and Purdue. They have both played OSU and NU. Nebraska’s beaten Wisconsin, Mich State, and Michigan. If the Huskers can finally figure out a way not to give the game away, PSU is in real trouble. Huskers have WAY MORE Athletes.

Nick on 11/9/2012 @ 10:35am EDT Said:

PSU has NOT faced a team that can run and pass the ball like Nebraska, THAT is a fact. Expect NU to run east and west, because PSU LB’s are SLOW. A 4.5 40 is not FAST. Kyler Reed, our TIGHT END is faster than your LB’s. Michael Mauti is up there, 4.45 I believe, but he is not fast! PSU is good at stuffing runs going North and South, but when you go towards the edge, your LB’s and DL gets burned. If you think your defense, who lacks depth, can keep up with the speed, and fast temp of Nebraska, your crazy. If PSU wins this game, I have no problem eating my words. You guys lost to OSU because of the lack of depth you have. OSU doesn’t play a hurry up offense. I respect the PSU program, and I feel for the players and fans for all you guys have gone through, but depth is a huge problem on defense and offense at PSU.

K. John on 11/9/2012 @ 1:50pm EDT Said:

If the games is played on an even field (officiating wise) unlike Ohio State, Penn State rolls. Nebraska’s defense is over-rated like a big dog needing several blown calls and undisciplined play to pick up an unearned win in East Lansing. Martinez is a turnover factory while Penn State has the league’s best defense, best offense and more speed than the current Huskers have ever seen.

GBR_ZX_87 on 11/9/2012 @ 2:10pm EDT Said:

K. John,

Your selective memory is… noteworthy.

Was that call questionable? Sure. Was the late hit called against Nebraska that gave MSU an extra 7 points a COMPLETELY BLOWN? Indisputably. We gave MSU every chance in the world to win and they came up short. If MSU cant turn that many turn overs into an easy win, then they have bigger problems than a questionable call to worry about.

Nick on 11/9/2012 @ 2:16pm EDT Said:

K John, and Penn States defense isn’t over rated on rush defense… GET EDUCATED…

Penn State Rushing Defense: #25 allowing 122.44
Their Opponents Rushing
————————————-
Virginia- #85 141.44/game…. PSU gave up 263 yards rushing
Navy- #7 267.2/game…. PSU game up 255 yards Rushing
Temple- #51 173.4/game… PSU gave up 113 yards rushing
Illinois- #99 126/game… PSU gave up 74 yards rushing
Northwestern- #13 236.4/game… PSU gave up 112 yards
Iowa- #98 129.6/game… PSU gave up 20 yards rushing
Ohio State- #9 256.1/game… PSU gave up 234 yards rushing
Purdue- #74 153/game… PSU gave up 87
NEBRASKA- #6 269.6/game

I would LOVE to know how they will stop our run game. Everyone with a good running game, has completely burned PSU on the ground. They have faced TWO good teams with a good rushing attack.

Nick on 11/9/2012 @ 2:17pm EDT Said:

Its easy to look good when you don’t play anyone who can run the ball.

Nick on 11/9/2012 @ 2:25pm EDT Said:

Best offense in the league?

Penn State:
#55 Total yards/game
#37 Passing yards/game
-213/350 @ 60%, with 7 yards per attempt
#87 Rushing yards/game
#63 Points/game

Nebraska:
#17 Total yards/game
#80 Passing yards/game
-157/250 @ 62.8%, with 7.8 yards per attempt
#6 Rushing yards/game
#20 Points.game

Numbers don’t lie.

Isaac A. on 11/9/2012 @ 2:32pm EDT Said:

PSU lost to Ohio for Christ’s sake and they have yet to beat a respectable Big Ten school. Iowa looks terrible this year and lost two non conference games to unranked teams. Purdue and Illinois have yet to win a conference game. Nebraska on the other hand plays the toughest Big Ten schedule this year and has only lost to the best team in the conference. Anything could happen but K. John should look at the teams as a whole and not blame lack of effort or talent on refferees.

K. John on 11/9/2012 @ 2:48pm EDT Said:

Considering Ohio State didn’t score a legit touchdown when they played in Happy Valley, you argument is worthless.

GBR_ZX_87 on 11/9/2012 @ 4:23pm EDT Said:

K. John, are you really arguing that all five of Ohio State’s touchdown were illegitimate? You sir, are bold! Also, is that the only comeback you have?

El Duderino on 11/9/2012 @ 4:30pm EDT Said:

Full disclosure: Nebraska fan.

Having said that, I think Nebraska vs. Penn State is going to be a tough one for the Huskers, for at least the first half. I think Nebraska will pull away from Penn State by mid-3rd early 4th quarter, and that isn’t meant to be a put-down to PSU; they’ve been doing a phenomenal job this year under the circumstances they’ve faced. Overall, though, they’re up against several key disadvantages:
1.) They haven’t faced a running game like Nebraska’s yet, or an offense that goes as quickly or has as many ways to hurt you as Nebraska’s does.
2.) The Blackshirts are definitely a disappointment this year, but stopping quarterbacks like McGloin is something Bo Pelini’s squads tend to be pretty good at.
3.) Home field advantage in Lincoln is significant.
4.) Lack of depth.

PSU is tough, and talented, but they don’t have the depth this year to pull of a win in Lincoln, barring Nebraska beating themselves and handing the game over to them. Knock on wood.

Nick on 11/9/2012 @ 4:31pm EDT Said:

Didn’t score a legit touchdown? Lol, blame the refs when you lose! Typical. I expected better out of Penn State fans.

50cal on 11/9/2012 @ 9:12pm EDT Said:

As a nebraska fan that has been following this penn state team I can say IF nebraska has cleaned up the fundamentals OR (not and) place disciplined without any flags the game is a wrap easy. Penn is good, but the main fact remains like last year before our teams met. Penn has not played a good team all year long…. Fact…..

Ashly Ochsner on 11/9/2012 @ 11:26pm EDT Said:

NU 45. PSU 17. NU zero turnovers & 3 takeaways. Hats off to OBrien and the Lions on a respectable season, but just look at the schedules and the numbers and a ridiculous home field advntage = blowout. GBR.

bill on 11/10/2012 @ 8:58am EDT Said:

should be a good game Penn States depth will hurt them..Martinez runs crazy…oh and Burkhead is back..just sayin’

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