Penn State will roll Michigan: National College Football and Big Ten picks

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Penn State gets its toughest test of the season so far on Saturday night, and we’ll all find out just how good, or not so good, Michigan football is this season.

Ohio State’s off week coincides with this showdown between its two main rivals, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Michigan offense can get enough done to win this one. A big play here and there from Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley should be too much for the Wolverines to keep up with, so expect the Nittany Lions to roll into Columbus next week undefeated and still ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Though the Buckeyes aren’t playing, we’re still picking.

Last week’s results

Bill Landis: 8-4

Doug Lesmerises: 7-5

Reader Sam Faulkner: 6-6 

Tim Bielik: 6-6

Year to date results

Tim: 50-41 (4-3 best bets)

Readers: 50-41 (3-4 best bets)

Doug: 47-44 (3-4 best bets)

Bill: 44-47 (5-2 best bets)

Thanks to Sam Faulkner of Lexington, Ky., who picked with us last week. Welcome Jon Burnell (@MrB135) of Columbiana, Ohio, as our guest picker this week.


Maryland at Wisconsin (-24.5), Noon, Fox

Maryland: Jon, Bill

Wisconsin: Doug, Tim

Iowa at Northwestern (+1.5), Noon, ESPN2

Northwestern: Everyone

Purdue at Rutgers (+9.5), Noon, BTN

Purdue: Doug, Tim

Rutgers: Jon, Bill

Indiana at Michigan State (-7), 3:30, ABC

Indiana: Bill, Tim

Michigan State: Doug, Jon

Illinois at Minnesota (-13.5), 3:30, BTN

Illinois: Doug, Bill

Minnesota: Jon, Tim

Michigan at Penn State (-9.5), 7:30, ABC

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Michigan: Bill

Penn State: Doug, Jon, Tim


Louisville at Florida State (-6.5), Noon, ESPN

Louisville: Doug, Jon

Florida State: Bill, Tim

Oklahoma State at Texas (+7), Noon, ABC

Oklahoma State: Doug, Jon, Tim

Texas: Bill

Tennessee at Alabama (-36), 3:30, CBS

Tennessee: Doug

Alabama: Jon, Bill, Tim

Syracuse at Miami (-17), 3:30, ESPN

Syracuse: Jon, Bill, Tim

Miami: Doug

Central Florida at Navy (+7), 3:30, CBSSN

Central Florida: Everyone

Oklahoma at Kansas State (+14.5), 4, FOX

Oklahoma: Doug, Tim

Kansas State: Jon, Bill

USC at Notre Dame (-3.5), 7:30, NBC 

USC: Tim

Notre Dame: Doug, Jon, Bill


Tim: Penn State (-9.5) vs. Michigan

This bet is largely about Michigan’s offense not being up to par in the past two weeks, particularly with John O’Korn at quarterback. He threw for 58 yards at Indiana last week. You can’t get away with being one-dimensional on the road in the Whiteout at Penn State. Michigan’s defense will be the best Penn State has seen all season. But that won’t make up for a team that has trouble scoring. Penn State will find enough offense with all of its weapons to win by double digits at home.

Jon: Maryland (+24.5) at Wisconsin

Wisconsin plays every game close and Maryland is not as bad as Ohio State made them look. The spread is way too much.

Bill: Maryland (+24.5) at Wisconsin

I just don’t think Big Ten West teams ever cover these massive spreads against conference opponents. Wisconsin’s average margin of victory in conference play is 12.7. The Badgers are the class of the West, and they’ll win, but not by three-plus touchdowns.  

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Doug: Purdue (-9.5) at Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights won at Illinois so now they’re fixed? Not quite. In the last three weeks, Purdue scored 10 against Michigan and 9 against Wisconsin. This is a chance to remind people what that Purdue offense looked like earlier in the year and could be a huge blowout in New Jersey.