2010 Big 10 Fearless Picks - Nov 13 PSU-OSU
Ohio State RB Dan Herron
Ohio State RB Dan Herron
Posted Nov 11, 2010

Alright, Ohio State, it's time to show why you were ranked No. 1. The final three games (Penn State, Iowa, Michigan) will put the spotlight back on at just the right time, starting with this week's showdown against the Nittany Lions. Check out the Fearless Predictions for every Big 10 game.

2010 Big Ten Fearless Predictions

Week 11 ... Nov. 13 Games

Big Ten
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota
Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 

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CFN Big Ten Predictions: SU:54-9  ATS: 28-30-1

- Nov. 13, Part 2 (Purdue-Michigan)


Penn State (6-3) at Ohio State (8-1) Nov. 13, 3:30, ABC

Here's The Deal … It's time for Ohio State to show why it was the No. 1 team in the nation. The Buckeyes held the top spot for a heartbeat, lost to Wisconsin, and fell totally off the map as the BCS computers have no interest in the schedule and the résumé. With double-digit wins over everyone but the Badgers, OSU has flexed its muscles throughout the year and dumped the mediocre league teams beating Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota by a combined score of 139 to 20, but it's time to go to work. Penn State is fine, coming back to beat Northwestern to give Joe Paterno his 400th win last week, and it's bowl eligible, but this is a mediocre team by comparison to the title contenders of the last few years and it needs to come up with its best game of the year to avoid being whumped. If the Nittany Lions can somehow pull this off before closing out with wins over Indiana and Michigan State, they'll end the year in the Big Ten's top three and will be off to another January bowl. That's a big if, though, while Ohio State is still pushing for the Rose Bowl. Style points count as the three-way Big Ten tie-breaker is BCS ranking, and it's time to turn things up several notches to impress the voters again.
Why Penn State Might Win: The offense has suddenly found itself. It took a little while against Northwestern, and blowing up the Michigan and Minnesota defenses is hardly anything to chirp about, but Penn State has finally started to score again with 109 points in the last three games after scoring 109 in the previous six. The defense has been decent all season long, and while it hasn't been a brick wall, it has kept every game but the Illinois loss in range. The offensive line has been fantastic all season long in pass protection, and it's now lathered up for the running game and needs to control the clock and the action from the start. The OSU offense can't stay on the field for long periods of time.
Why Ohio State Might Win: Penn State might have won both games, but it didn't do a thing to stop the running of Denard Robinson and Dan Persa over the last two games. Northwestern's Persa owned the first half of last week's game and finished with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Robinson tore off 191 yards and three scores, and Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase ran for 61 yards. Penn State has a hard time with running quarterbacks, and while Terrelle Pryor isn't carrying the ground game, with Dan Herron doing more and more, he's still the team's second leading rusher. He ran for 50 yards and a sore in last year's win over the Nittany Lions, and he should be able to rumble as much as he wants to this week past the average Penn State linebackers.
What To Watch Out For: Some of the draft types had Penn State's Evan Royster ranked among the top running back prospects a few years ago, but he never seemed to develop into a special back and never got much help from his offensive line. While he's having a mediocre year with 734 yards and four touchdowns, he became the school's all-time leading rusher and currently has 3,652 yards with 27 scores, helped by a hot few weeks. After running for 100 yards in just one of his first seven games, he tore off 150 yards and two scores against Michigan (but who hasn't?) and he followed it up with 134 yards against Northwestern. It's all about carries. Over the course of his career, Royster has been fed 20 or more times in seven games, and he has rushed for 100 yards or more in six games, and he gained 90 yards in the other (the classic 2008 loss to Iowa). Penn State is 14-0 when Royster hits 100 yards.
What Will Happen: Royster won't hit 100 yards. Ohio State is going to be the frothing at the mouth version with the defense swarming around quarterback Matt McGloin, who'll see a whole new world from the last two weeks, while the Buckeye attack will be balanced and ruthlessly efficient. This will be the performance that'll set the stage for the showdown in Iowa City next week.
CFN Prediction: Ohio State 38 … Penn State 10 … Line: Ohio State -17.5
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 3.5
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Iowa (7-2) at Northwestern (6-3) Nov. 13, 12:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Will the real Iowa please stand up? Considered a legitimate national title contender before the season began, in some ways, Iowa has been even better than last year, when it finished up with an Orange Bowl win. The defense is the eighth best in America, the offense boasts an ultra-efficient passing game, and the 37-6 blowout over Michigan State showed just how good the Hawkeyes could get when everything clicks. And then came last week, when they reverted back to 2009 form, throwing luck into the equation when Indiana let a win slip through its fingers. Still in the hunt for the Big Ten title, Iowa has to get through this week first so it can finally focus on the big game against Ohio State next week. Northwestern was able to beat Indiana, too, but it's on a slide losing three of its last four games including a gaffe against Purdue and a collapse last week against Penn State. The Cats are already bowl eligible, but they could use a win this week in the last home game of the year. Next week's game against Illinois is in Wrigley Field before the season finale at Wisconsin.
Why Iowa Might Win: There's little offensive firepower. Northwestern has QB Dan Persa and QB Dan Persa, with little pop to the ground game and not enough scoring punch to match all the yards. Northwestern is able to move the ball, but it struggles to close failing to score 30 points in any of the last five games. The big problem is a defensive front that was fine early in the year when it didn't have to face anyone who could run the ball effectively, but now is struggling against the better O lines that can pound away when needed like Michigan State's and Penn State's. Iowa doesn't necessarily want to win on the ground, preferring to spread the ball around with the passing game, but it'll be able to balance things out it with the rushing attack to take the pressure off Ricky Stanzi if, and it's a big if, banged up running back Adam Robinson is able to go full bore.
Why Northwestern Might Win: Iowa has been tremendous all year long at not turning the ball over and has relied on always winning the turnover margin. Northwestern is almost as good with Dan Persa throwing just three picks on the year and offense stingy when it comes to screwing up; Iowa isn't going to get any freebies. Last week, Indiana almost won by holding firm and rarely breaking, forcing the Hawkeyes to kick field goals instead of getting up with touchdowns early on. Northwestern's D will give up yards, but it doesn't allow a ton of points and managed so come up with plenty of key stops behind the line. The secondary will get dinked and dunked on, but it doesn't allow many big plays.
What To Watch Out For: Can Northwestern finally avoid a collapse? The Purdue game was in hand, but a late Boilermaker touchdown and special teams mistakes cost the Cats a win. Michigan State was in deep, deep trouble in Evanston, but 21 fourth quarter points saved the day. Indiana made it interesting with a late touchdown, and Penn State came back from 21 down to score 35 unanswered points last week. Few teams are stronger late than Iowa, and Northwestern, if it can get up, has to find a way to close and has to find a way to hang on to the ball. It's been tough to do without a running back good enough to grind out yards.
What Will Happen: Last week was Iowa's wake up call. If there wasn't the nail-biter against Indiana, this week might be braincramp time … forget it. Stanzi will throw for 250 and won't get touched, while the Hawkeye defensive front will destroy the mediocre Wildcat offensive line pressuring Persa throughout.
CFN Prediction: Iowa 35 … Northwestern 20 … Line: Iowa -10
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 3
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Indiana (4-5) at Wisconsin (8-1) Nov. 13, 12:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal … Can Wisconsin keep its focus? After beating Ohio State and Iowa, and after a week off, the Badgers were late to the fun at Purdue last week and got behind going into the locker room at halftime. The Boilermakers are so banged up and so outmanned that it didn't matter and the Badgers won easily, but there might not be that luxury this weekend against an Indiana team that pushed Northwestern to the final buzzer and had Iowa beaten except Damarlo Belcher dropped the game-winning touchdown pass in the waning moments. The Hoosiers have lost three straight and are 0-5 in the Big Ten, but they're not your typical cellar-dweller. There have been some ugly moments, like the blowout losses to Ohio State and Illinois, but luck should've been on their side at least once against Michigan, Iowa, or Northwestern. With Penn State and Purdue to close, and away from Bloomington, IU will need to win its final two games to go to a bowl if it can't come up with a win this week. The Badgers are deep in the hunt for the Rose Bowl, and are in by winning out against IU, Michigan, and Northwestern and if Michigan State loses once, and they could be off to Pasadena in a three-way tie for the title if they finish the regular season as the top Big Ten team in the BCS rankings.
Why Indiana Might Win: When tested by good passing teams this year, the Badgers have had problems. Iowa's Ricky Stanzi was nearly flawless (until the very end) throwing for 258 yards and three scores against the shaky UW secondary. Michigan State's Kirk Cousins threw two picks, but seemingly made every key third down throw and threw for three scores in the critical win. Arizona State's Steven Threet had a solid 211-yard day, and even San Jose State's Jordan La Secla was productive. Indiana's Ben Chappell is great at pressing the ball down the field, and even though he only has two touchdown passes and five interceptions in the last three games, he's good enough, and the IU receiving corps is strong enough, to make Camp Randall uneasy for a full sixty minutes. Last year, Chappell gave the Badgers everything they could handle with 323 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-28 loss.
Why Wisconsin Might Win: Chappell might have a good game, but Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien should have a great one. Of course the Badgers are going to come out of the tunnel getting physical with the running game, and the IU run defense isn't good enough to hold up under the pressure, but they can also wing it around the yard when needed with the nation's 15th most efficient passing attack. The Hoosiers don't have a pass rush and they're not going to breathe on Tolzien enough to disrupt him on key third down throws. Averaging 216 rushing yards and 194 passing yards per game, the UW offense is more balanced than it might appear, and it should be able to pick and choose how it wants to roll up yards.
What To Watch Out For: John Clay suffered a mild knee injury against Purdue, but it was enough to keep the big bruiser on the sidelines this week to heal him up for Michigan. Freshman sensation James White got knocked out of the Purdue game as well with a knee injury, but he's healthy enough to come back and take on a big role this week as the No. 1 back in the attack. However, the spotlight could once again be on sophomore Montee Ball, who ripped through IU for his only 100-yard game of his young career, at that point, with 115 yards and a score on 27 carries. Pressed into action last week, he came up with his second 100-yard game running for 127 yards and a score. Along with more work placed on Tolzien's shoulders, the offense should be fine without Clay as long as White and Ball can zip through the Hoosier defensive front.
What Will Happen: Wisconsin is about to flex its muscle. Last week was the stumble, at least for the first half, but this week the offense will overcome a 300-yard day from Chappell with 500 yards of total offense including a fantastic day from Tolzien. The normal UW formula will hold. Run, hit every third down throw, keep running, and the dam will break in the second half. IU's defense isn't good enough to hold up.
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 40 … Indiana 17 … Line: Wisconsin -22
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 2.5
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- Nov. 13, Part 2 (Purdue-Michigan)