NCF Nation: Game predictions 111512

SEC predictions: Week 12

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:09
AM ET
Before we get into this week's picks, I think it's only fair that we give Chris a round of applause.

After weeks and weeks of failing to pick up any sort of ground on yours truly, the seasoned vet finally gained a game on me last week by picking Vanderbilt over Ole Miss.

I'll give you time to stand up and clap wherever you are. Don't be shy.

...

OK, now that we're done with that, it's time to realize that while Chris might have picked up a game, he's still pretty much out of this one. When he said last week that it wasn't over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor (did you know some people still don't know what Chris is referencing?!), he said that just to make himself feel better and maybe raise the spirits of those in his fan club.

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but this one's over. Like, "Twilight" franchise over. (Oh, thank goodness!) Like, Tokyo versus Godzilla over. There are two weekends left of regular-season play, and with my five-game lead, Chris will have to hope for a miracle or pray that I let my cat make my picks from here on out.

Heading into the weekend, Chris now sits at 77-15 (.837) after going 5-2 last week, missing on Texas A&M and Missouri. I'm comfortably sitting at 82-10 (.891) after going 4-3, missing the Aggies (goodness, Johnny Football), Missouri (defense, anyone?) and Vanderbilt (second-half Rebels letdown).

With such a down weekend in the SEC, the cupcakes made it really, really easy on us.

Let's get to the picks:

SAMFORD AT KENTUCKY

Edward Aschoff: The Wildcats are coming off a bye and Joker Phillips will say goodbye to Commonwealth Stadium. It's been a rough three years for him, but he'll go out with one more win. ... Kentucky 34, Samford 14

Chris Low: The Wildcats haven’t won since the second week of the season. They’d like to send Joker Phillips out a winner in his final game as coach at Commonwealth Stadium. … Kentucky 28, Samford 13

ALABAMA A&M AT AUBURN

Edward Aschoff: It's been an ugly year on the Plains, but nonconference games have been pretty good to the Tigers this year. Honestly, that's not saying much, but Gene Chizik will at least grab what could be his last home win here. ... Auburn 38, Alabama A&M 14

Chris Low: It’s the final home game for the Auburn seniors in what has been a forgettable season. The question everybody’s asking on the Plains: Is it the final home game for coach Gene Chizik? Either way, the Tigers will get win No. 3 on the season. … Auburn 41, Alabama A&M 10

WOFFORD AT SOUTH CAROLINA

Edward Aschoff: The Gamecocks were really clicking on offense last week against Arkansas, and I expect to see much of the same this week, as they tune up before Clemson. ... South Carolina 45, Wofford 7

Chris Low: South Carolina ends the regular season with the first of two straight matchups against in-state foes. A trip to Clemson is looming in the distance, but the Gamecocks had better not sleep on the Terriers and their option offense. … South Carolina 38, Wofford 14

SAM HOUSTON STATE AT TEXAS A&M

Edward Aschoff: The Aggies might be coming off a historic win over Alabama, but don't expect them to slow down this weekend. They'll roll right over the Bearkats. ... Texas A&M 61, Sam Houston State 10

Chris Low: After playing five of its past six games away from home, Texas A&M returns to what should be a festive Kyle Field in light of the Aggies’ upset win at Alabama last week. Two more wins could land the Aggies in a BCS bowl. … Texas A&M 56, Sam Houston State 20

JACKSONVILLE STATE AT FLORIDA

Edward Aschoff: All of a sudden, you can't say this is a gimme for the Gators after last week's offensive disaster against Louisiana-Lafayette. Jeff Driskel is out, but Jacoby Brissett will do more than enough to ensure Florida gets to 10 wins. ... Florida 31, Jacksonville State 10

Chris Low: The Gamecocks (the Jacksonville State version) gave Arkansas fits in the season opener, and Florida starting quarterback Jeff Driskel is out for this game. Even so, the Gators aren’t going to flirt with disaster for a second week in a row. … Florida 37, Jacksonville State 7

GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT GEORGIA

Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs are headed to Athens and are riding a wave of momentum that started way back in Jacksonville, Fla. The triple option will give the Dawgs fits early, but there's just too much talent on Georgia's side. ... Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 13

Chris Low: The Bulldogs have been practicing all week in full pads to get ready for Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense. It’s never a lot of fun to play against that style of offense, especially this late in the season. The real trick for Georgia will be not getting anybody hurt. … Georgia 42, Georgia Southern 17

WESTERN CAROLINA AT ALABAMA

Edward Aschoff: You have to think that the Tide won't be as emotionally charged this week after losing to the Aggies. There's still a ton for Alabama to play for, and Nick Saban will have his team more than prepared. ... Alabama 45, Western Carolina 10

Chris Low: Talk about ugly matchups. Western Carolina has lost nine straight games and given up 38 or more points in eight of those losses. What’s more, think the Crimson Tide may be looking to blow off a little steam after last week? … Alabama 52, Western Carolina 3

SYRACUSE AT MISSOURI

Edward Aschoff: The Tigers are teetering on the bowl-eligibility line right now and are in total must-win mode this weekend. Syracuse might have handily beaten Louisville, but Missouri's defense will hold the Orange in the fourth quarter. ... Missouri 28, Syracuse 24

Chris Low: Missouri is coming off an emotional four-overtime win at Tennessee and gets a Syracuse team playing its best football. The winner of this game qualifies for a bowl game. The Tigers have hung in there despite a glut of injuries this season and will make enough plays on defense to win a close one. … Missouri 28, Syracuse 24

ARKANSAS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Edward Aschoff: This is one of the more interesting matchups of the weekend. Both teams are really struggling, and Arkansas is fighting for a bowl berth. But the Bulldogs' offense will be much healthier this week, and that's not good for the Hogs. ... Mississippi State 37, Arkansas 34

Chris Low: After a 7-0 start, Mississippi State has hit the skids with three straight losses of 20 points or more. But back home against the Hogs, the Bulldogs will find a way to scratch out their eighth win of the season. … Mississippi State 28, Arkansas 23

OLE MISS AT LSU

Edward Aschoff: Weird things happen in this rivalry, and the Rebels are desperately seeking that elusive sixth win. However, LSU's offense is playing at its best and that's very bad news for Ole Miss' exhausted defense ... LSU 31, Ole Miss 17

Chris Low: Ole Miss is running out of chances to get that sixth win and qualify for a bowl game. The assignment only gets more difficult this week at Tiger Stadium against an LSU team that’s suddenly found itself offensively. … LSU 34, Ole Miss 17

TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT

Edward Aschoff: Remember how there was that big locker room scene in Knoxville after this game and some coach said something about always beating Vandy? Yeah, that will change this weekend. ... Vanderbilt 31, Tennessee 27

Chris Low: The last time Vanderbilt beat Tennessee in Nashville, James Franklin was still in elementary school. It’s been 30 years. And while the Vols have dominated this series, these are not your same old Commodores. Franklin & Co. have been pointing toward this one ever since the loss in overtime last season in Knoxville. … Vanderbilt 37, Tennessee 30

Pac-12 predictions: Week 12

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:00
AM ET
Ted went 6-0 last week. Kevin went 5-1. Kevin is 57-20 for the season, while Ted is 56-21.

All games are Saturday.

ARIZONA AT UTAH

Kevin Gemmell: I like Utah at home. But I also like Ka'Deem Carey. Not sure the Utes have enough on offense to keep up. I'd feel better if Matt Scott were playing, but I'm still leaning toward the Wildcats either way. Arizona 31, Utah 21.

Ted Miller: Utah is tough at home, and JC transfer B.J. Denker, the Wildcats QB with Matt Scott out, has never started a road game in a Pac-12 venue: Utah 28, Arizona 24.

WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA STATE

Kevin Gemmell: I think Washington State's second-half surge last week had more to do with UCLA easing up and wanting to get out of the cold than everything finally clicking for the Cougars. ASU should pull this one out and finally get to bowl eligibility. ASU 31, Washington State 17.

Ted Miller: The Sun Devils' biggest problem during their four-game losing streak was the quality of the opposition. That won't be as big an issue this weekend. Arizona State 33, Washington State 24.

USC AT UCLA

Kevin Gemmell: This one should be much closer than some previous meetings. UCLA's offensive youth -- especially with so much on the line and in such a big game -- makes me hesitant to pick the home team. I'm reluctantly taking USC in what should be a fantastic game. USC 38, UCLA 35.

Ted Miller: Kevin makes a good point about UCLA's youth. The most decisive edge in this matchup is Marqise Lee and Robert Woods vs. the Bruins' secondary. UCLA has hidden some issues in the back half by being aggressive with blitzes and stunts. That doesn't typically work well against Matt Barkley. The Bruins might not win this one, but you get the idea this rivalry is about to start looking very different. USC 35, UCLA 31.

CALIFORNIA AT OREGON STATE

Kevin Gemmell: The Beavers are probably still lamenting a missed opportunity at Stanford (as am I for picking them). But that shouldn't derail them at home this week -- especially against a Cal team limping into its season finale. Oregon State 28, Cal 21.

Ted Miller: Oregon State has a lot to play for, whoever starts at quarterback. Cal does not, though an inspired effort would show the Bears are fighting for embattled coach Jeff Tedford. Oregon State 24, California 17.

STANFORD AT OREGON

Kevin Gemmell: Stanford has shown nothing that leads me to believe it can beat Oregon. That's not a knock on the Cardinal, but more of a compliment to the Ducks. Stanford's defense is playing great, but as David Shaw said, this Oregon team is special. I tend to agree. Oregon 49, Stanford 21.

Ted Miller: The injuries on the Oregon defense are a concern, but the fact remains that Stanford's redshirt freshman QB Kevin Hogan is making his first career road start, and Autzen is not where you want to do that. Oregon 38, Stanford 24.

WASHINGTON AT COLORADO

Kevin Gemmell: Chances ASJ nabs an interception at the line of scrimmage and rumbles for a pick-six? Love the way Bishop Sankey has poured it on. Hang in there Buffs ... it's almost done. Washington 31, Colorado 10.

Ted Miller: The Huskies surely are enjoying the late schedule more than the early part. Washington 40, Colorado 13.

Notre Dame prediction: Week 12 vs. Wake

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:00
AM ET
Senior Day!

When Wake Forest has the ball: Keep an eye on Michael Campanaro, who averages more than 8 catches and 77 receiving yards per game. The Demon Deacons, like most teams against the Irish, should have trouble establishing any semblance of a ground game. They rank 111th nationally running the ball, as their retooled offensive line has struggled immensely. Notre Dame's front seven should have some fun.

When Notre Dame has the ball: Much of the same from last week. Notre Dame is strong enough up front to push Wake around and give its backs plenty of running lanes. Quarterback Everett Golson has been more and more active each week with his legs; expect that to continue with the offense still growing under the first-year signal-caller.

Intangible: It's senior day. Many of these Irish upperclassmen have helped restore the glory at Notre Dame, and it will be an emotionally charged day. Expect that to work against the Irish early, as slow starts have become the norm at home.

Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Wake Forest 6. The Irish have just too much for the Deacs, who won't be able to hang around much beyond the first half.

Big East predictions: Week 12

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:00
AM ET
I saw the Pitt and Louisville losses coming from a mile away, but I was not woman enough to make the upset picks. So I went 2-2 last week, and so did Tuna.

Any upsets in store this week?

AA season record: 41-15.

No. 22 Rutgers (9-1, 4-0) at Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1), noon, Big East Network/ESPN3. #RUTGvsCINCY. I honestly thought Rutgers was going to be the favorite, considering it is ranked and the only team unbeaten in Big East play. Then I looked at the line and saw that I was wrong. So I guess this is not going to qualify as an upset special. Here is why I like Cincinnati to win: Rutgers has had difficulty scoring this season. That may be putting it mildly. While Cincinnati is not the Steel Curtain on defense, its front is pretty solid. If Jawan Jamison cannot play, Rutgers must make plays in the pass game to win. Will Gary Nova be allowed? Rutgers has a terrific defense, there is no question. Last season, the Scarlet Knights were much more physical and dominated up front. But they will be facing a Cincinnati offense with a clear identity on offense this time around, and the Bearcats will find a way to make a few plays and win. And by the way, Cincinnati has won nine straight at Nippert. Cincinnati 24, Rutgers 20.

Matt's pick: Cincinnati 20, Rutgers 12.

Temple (3-6) at Army (2-8), noon, CBS Sports Network. Temple has to stop this losing streak at some point, right? The Owls have lost four straight, but that should not come as a huge shock considering they have just finished up their toughest stretch of the season, playing the top three teams in the Big East in the past month. Now comes a nonconference game against an Army team that gave Rutgers all it could handle a week ago. The Owls have struggled with consistency because they are so young this season, and they may have a new starting quarterback under center. Montel Harris is banged up as well. Still, this is a game on paper that Temple should win. I'm just not sure if the Owls are playing well enough on defense right now to stop the Army rushing attack. Army 30, Temple 28.

Matt's pick: Temple 28, Army 21.

USF (3-6) at Miami (5-5), 3 p.m., GamePlan.#USFvsMIA. We have no idea whether Matt Floyd or Bobby Eveld will start at quarterback for USF. Compound that uncertainty with the loss of several other starters on offense, and the Bulls are going to have a MASH unit going to Miami. There is some reason for hope, though. Miami has one of the worst defenses in the country, and USF gets highly motivated for games like this. The Bulls have won in Miami, so they are not going to be intimidated. Here is where I think Miami has the huge advantage: freshman all-purpose player Duke Johnson. USF will have a hard time slowing him down. Miami 30, USF 17.

Matt's pick: Miami 28, USF 10.

Bonus pick! Heather Dinich from the ACC blog stops by: Miami 34, South Florida 20. The Canes become bowl eligible this week and win their final home game of the season. The Bulls’ defense won’t have an answer for Johnson, and Miami will still get its passing game going despite an injury-laden receiving corps. South Florida ranks No. 114 in the country in turnover margin, and that will be the difference in this game.

Syracuse (5-5) at Missouri (5-5), 7 p.m., ESPNU/WatchESPN. #CUSEvsMIZZ. Syracuse has been a radically different team on the road than it has been at home, and not in a good way. After beating West Virginia in 2011, it could not win another game the rest of the season. Two strikes against picking the Orange in this game. But I was in Syracuse last week and sensed a different vibe around this team. The players know they really only have themselves to blame for their record because they made some terrible mistakes to cost them chances at more wins. Missouri is part of the SEC in name only. This team has struggled all year. UPSET! Syracuse 28, Missouri 24.

Matt's pick: Missouri 24, Syracuse 21.

Big 12 game predictions: Week 12

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:00
AM ET
I'll be heading south to Waco this week for another Kansas State game. The new BCS No. 1 travels to Baylor to face the Bears, which are still fighting for bowl eligibility. Should be a good one.

Without further ado, let's get to the picks!

Last week: 4-1 (.800)
Overall: 46-17 (.730)

TCU and Texas are idle.

No. 24 Oklahoma State 44, No. 23 Texas Tech 31: Oklahoma State has quarterback issues, but it's solely regarding personnel, not production. Tech is again leading the Big 12 in total defense, but this is the highest-ranked offense Tech will have faced all season. Joseph Randle gets back with a big game, and Clint Chelf keeps the train rolling. This is my game of the week, so come back later today for a video looking further into the matchup.

No. 12 Oklahoma 47, West Virginia 27: Oklahoma's defense is the Big 12's best against the pass, and the Sooners' secondary gets the job done. Like WVU's past four opponents, Landry Jones takes advantage and earns Big 12 Player of the Week honors with a huge night. He tops 350 yards through the air, and WVU's offense can't keep up with the defense. Oklahoma's BCS hopes truck onward.

Iowa State 27, Kansas 20: So close yet again, but Iowa State needs this win even more than KU. The Cyclones have put themselves on the doorstep of the postseason, not needing a mammoth upset like last season to reach a bowl. ISU takes advantage of the opportunity and gets it done against KU, despite giving up major yardage on the ground.

No. 1 Kansas State 44, Baylor 20: What pressure? Kansas State picks off Baylor's Nick Florence twice, and the Wildcats turn in another great performance to get within a win of the BCS title game. The Kansas State faithful travel in force to Floyd Casey Stadium. Collin Klein bounces back with another Heisman-worthy stat line to add to his lead in the race while Johnny Football beats up on Sam Houston State.

ACC predictions: Week 12

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:00
AM ET
It was a good effort last week, and a respectable showing, but you can’t win 'em all. I went 5-1 last week, the lone bad pick being North Carolina over Georgia Tech. So much for having the bye week to prepare. I spoke with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson on the phone Tuesday and promised I wouldn’t ask him any questions about that, as Duke is also coming off a bye.

The record heading into Week 12 is 65-16 (80.2 percent).

Lesson learned about the Jackets and bye weeks?

Georgia Tech 48, Duke 38: Defense? What defense? Not in Atlanta. Won’t matter. Again. Georgia Tech will control the clock, quarterback Vad Lee will come off the bench and once again direct the offense to score after score against a Duke defense that has allowed 104 points in the past two games.

Florida State 38, Maryland 10: The No. 10 Seminoles haven’t been an impressive road team this year, but they should dominate a young, overmatched and undermanned Maryland team. The Terps managed only 10 points and 180 total yards last week against Clemson, and the Noles have a better defense than the Tigers. Maryland will give its best effort in the final home game of the season, but the Noles will clinch a share of the Atlantic Division title and secure a trip to the ACC championship game.

Virginia Tech 17, Boston College 14: The Eagles gave Notre Dame their best shot last week; there’s no reason to think they’d give the Hokies anything less. This will be the lone defensive struggle in the ACC this week, but Bud Foster’s group will pick up where it left off against FSU and be the difference in this game. Hokies get their first road win of the season.

Clemson 38, NC State 17: This game was on this week’s upset watch, but it was No. 3 because it’s the least likely to happen. Clemson should handle this test with ease. Here’s your KOD, Tigers: Not. Even. Close. NC State will have at least two turnovers, Mike Glennon will struggle, and Clemson’s offense will wear the Wolfpack out. Coach Dabo Swinney said NC State embarrassed his program last year. Don’t think they won’t remember that.

Miami 34, South Florida 20: The Canes become bowl eligible this week and win their final home game of the season. The Bulls’ defense won’t have an answer for Duke Johnson, and Miami will still get its passing game going despite an injury-laden receiving corps. South Florida ranks No. 114 in the country in turnover margin, and that will be the difference in this game.

Andrea's Big East pick -- Miami 30, USF 17: We have no idea whether Matt Floyd or Bobby Eveld will start at quarterback for USF. Compound that uncertainty with the loss of several other starters on offense, and the Bulls are going to have a M*A*S*H unit going to Miami. There is some reason for hope, though. Miami has one of the worst defenses in the country, and USF gets highly motivated for games like this. The Bulls have won in Miami, so they are not going to be intimidated. Here is where I think Miami has the huge advantage: freshman all-purpose player Duke Johnson. USF will have a hard time slowing him down.

Virginia 31, North Carolina 28: The Cavaliers are on a roll. It’s that simple. Quarterback Michael Rocco and the offense are confident and clicking, the defense has been sharp on third downs and North Carolina will miss kicker Casey Barth in a close game. This should be an entertaining Thursday night game that comes down to the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame 28, Wake Forest 14: This will be Note Dame linebacker Manti Te'o’s final game in South Bend, so expect another Heisman-worthy performance from arguably the nation’s top linebacker. The Deacs will be well-coached and well-prepared, but they’ll also be overmatched on the road against a better team. The Irish will remain undefeated and complete another 3-0 sweep against the ACC with wins over Miami, Boston College and Wake Forest.

Big Ten predictions: Week 12

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
9:00
AM ET
It's the home stretch of Big Ten play, and Adam Rittenberg already has the champagne on ice. Rittenberg holds a commanding five-game lead against Brian Bennett, who seems likely to suffer the same fate as his beloved St. Louis Cardinals this fall.

There's still time for Bennett to catch up, but he needs to make a major push beginning this week. Fortunately, the Big Ten has a full slate of games, as every team is in action.

Let's get picky ...

NORTHWESTERN at MICHIGAN STATE

Brian Bennett: Both teams have struggled to finish games in the fourth quarter, so which one will do so this week? Northwestern matches up well with the Spartans in a lot of ways, but I just have a hard time believing Michigan State will go winless at home in Big Ten play. The Spartans' outstanding run defense will slow down Kain Colter and Venric Mark, holding them both under 100 yards. Le'Veon Bell scores two touchdowns in perhaps his home finale, including the game winner in the final 90 seconds. ... Michigan State 21, Northwestern 20

Adam Rittenberg: Someone has to finish, and I think it'll be Northwestern. This is a good matchup for the Wildcats, who have moved the ball on just about everyone, including Michigan's stout defense, and do much better against teams with good run games and shaky pass attacks. Mark records 110 rush yards and two touchdowns and S Ibraheim Campbell records an interception down the stretch as Northwestern wards off another late collapse. Michigan State fights hard on senior day, but it's the same old story. ... Northwestern 20, Michigan State 17

IOWA at No. 21 MICHIGAN

Adam Rittenberg: All signs point to a big Michigan win, and like a good driver, I obey the signs. Iowa is a mess right now, and the Hawkeyes don't match up well against Michigan on either side of the ball. Yes, Iowa has a three-game win streak in the series, but that will fuel Michigan's seniors more in their final home game. QB Devin Gardner fires three touchdown passes and racks up 275 pass yards, and Jordan Kovacs records two sacks of James Vandenberg as the Wolverines march on to "Ohio." ... Michigan 38, Iowa 17

Brian Bennett: The Hawkeyes have beaten Michigan three straight times, but they couldn't do much of anything right in the past few weeks. I don't like the way Iowa is trending, and it is going to have a hard time scoring on Michigan's defense. I like Gardner to have a big game here and Denard Robinson to line up at least once at a different position. Big blowout in the season finale at the Big House. ... Michigan 38, Iowa 10

INDIANA at PENN STATE

Brian Bennett: Both teams are dealing with different types of hangovers. One thinks it has been worked over by the refs, while the other knows it was worked over by Wisconsin. I see Indiana bouncing back a bit with a better offensive performance. The Nittany Lions get out to a two-touchdown lead, but Cameron Coffman brings the Hoosiers back in the third quarter with a couple of scoring drives. Ultimately, the Lions win it on a Zach Zwinak touchdown run and a key interception from Adrian Amos. ... Penn State 31, Indiana 23

Adam Rittenberg: It's been a long season and I need some ZZs, as in Zach Zwinak touchdowns. Zwinak goes for 130 rush yards and three scores as Penn State capitalizes on the woeful Hoosiers rushing defense. I also see the Hoosiers hanging in there for a while and getting touchdown receptions from Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes. But Michael Mauti and the Penn State defense buckle down in the second half and the Lions prevail. ... Penn State 34, Indiana 23

MINNESOTA at No. 14 NEBRASKA

Adam Rittenberg: Nebraska has had letdown games at home under Bo Pelini, and this would qualify following a grueling stretch against Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State. But the Huskers can taste a Big Ten title, and they'll respond well against a Gophers team that should play loose after getting bowl-eligible. Minnesota jumps ahead behind a Donnell Kirkwood touchdown run, but the Huskers are once again too much in the second half as RB Ameer Abdullah and QB Taylor Martinez combine for 225 rush yards and four touchdowns. ... Nebraska 33, Minnesota 20

Brian Bennett: Here's the biggest upset pick of the week -- Nebraska won't need a second-half comeback. The Legends Division title is too close now for the Huskers to mess up, and they will overwhelm the Gophers on senior day. Martinez and Abdullah both eclipse 100 yards on the ground, and Rex Burkhead gets a ceremonial carry in his final game at Memorial Stadium. ... Nebraska 37, Minnesota 16

OHIO STATE at WISCONSIN

Brian Bennett: The Badgers looked ridiculously good last week in rushing for 564 yards at Indiana, but the Buckeyes are not the Hoosiers. They will bring safeties down into the box and make Curt Phillips beat them over the top. He'll find Jared Abbrederis a couple of times for big plays but will also get picked off by Travis Howard and Bradley Roby. Meanwhile, Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde have fresh legs after the bye week and combine for four touchdowns. ... Ohio State 28, Wisconsin 25

Adam Rittenberg: I seriously considered picking Wisconsin, perhaps putting some faith in the Vegas oddsmakers, who favored the Badgers. But the Buckeyes twice have burned me when I've lost faith in them. This time, it won't happen. Both Miller and Wisconsin RB Montee Ball turn in big performances, and Ball sets the NCAA career touchdowns record with his second score in the third quarter. But it'll be too much Miller in the fourth quarter, and for the second consecutive year he finds Devin Smith for the game-winning touchdown to beat the Badgers. ... Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 28

PURDUE at ILLINOIS

Adam Rittenberg: I don't know if I've correctly picked a Purdue game in Big Ten play, but the bad luck can't last forever. Illinois will show some life offensively in the first quarter, scoring on a Donovonn Young run. But Purdue settles down behind QB Robert Marve, who fires two more touchdown passes and avoids a turnover. The Boilers take their first lead midway through the second quarter and never look back, scoring a special-teams touchdown in the second half. Illinois' misery continues. ... Purdue 27, Illinois 14

Brian Bennett: Believing Purdue can win two straight games is a dangerous activity. But I'd rather have an inconsistent team capable of playing well than a reliably bad one like Illinois. The Illini have shown some faint signs of competitiveness the past two weeks but still have major problems on the offensive line, which Kawann Short will exploit for three sacks. The Purdue defense scores a touchdown, and Akeem Shavers runs for two more. ... Purdue 24, Illinois 14

Season records

Adam Rittenberg: 65-19 (.773)

Brian Bennett: 60-24 (.714)

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