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Thursday, November 18, 2010
Big Ten predictions: Week 12

By Adam Rittenberg

Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

See what I get for complaining about going 4-1 every week? The football gods gave me 3-2 and made me like it.

I've pretty much given up hope of recording a perfect week of picks before season's end. After going 11-0 in Week 1, it has been all downhill.

We've got an interesting slate of games to predict this week. Will Iowa bounce back and effectively end Ohio State's streak of Big Ten titles? Can Wisconsin overcome its historic struggles at Michigan Stadium? Big Ten teams are also playing games at both Wrigley Field and FedEx Field.

Should be an interesting Saturday, to say the least.

Here's how I see things shaking out.

Wisconsin 37, Michigan 28: The Badgers' offense isn't quite as dominant as it was last week, while Denard Robinson and the Michigan attack play a cleaner game against a Wisconsin defense that will allow some points. This is a close game for three quarters before Wisconsin pulls away in the fourth behind its offensive line and running backs Montee Ball and James White.

Michigan State 28, Purdue 10: It's Senior Day in East Lansing, and linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon will make it a memorable one. Both players put up big numbers as the Spartans smother Purdue's offense and record their 10th win. The Michigan State offense shows some signs of rust and has some trouble keeping Ryan Kerrigan out of the backfield, but Kirk Cousins has a strong second half with two touchdown passes.

Penn State 31, Indiana 20: Check back for a video post later today that breaks down my selection in further detail.

Ohio State 24, Iowa 21: This was one of the toughest games to predict all season. Ohio State has been erratic on the road and against quality opponents, while Iowa has responded well after its previous two losses. Both teams are loaded with experience, which will show up Saturday. The Hawkeyes jump ahead early, but Ohio State makes more plays on defense and in the kicking game to escape Kinnick Stadium with a victory.

Northwestern 21, Illinois 20: The season-ending loss of Dan Persa could swing this the other way, and Illinois could put it all together after a lackluster performance last week. But I don't like the vibe I'm getting from the Fighting Illini right now, and Northwestern could have more of a home-field edge at Wrigley Field than it does at Ryan Field. Wildcats quarterback Evan Watkins overcomes some early turnovers to lead the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

Bye: Minnesota

Last week: 3-2

Season record: 64-13 (.831)