I cannot tell you how great it is to see Big Ten games back on the slate this weekend. Not just because I grew up in Big Ten country and I love Big Ten football, but because it adds at least seven games to choose from every single weekend from here on out. Add in the fact we’ve got Mountain West games back — late night chasers are back on the board! — and the Pac-12 will soon follow, and it’s beginning to look a lot like a college football season.
And, of course, the more games there are available to play, the more comfortable we can feel about finding games to exploit. So I was not surprised to find myself as excited poring over the board this week as I was, and there are quite a few games I had an interest in. I was able to whittle that list down to these six plays, however. But, seriously, this could have been The Twelve Pack this week.
Games of the Week
No. 21 Minnesota (+3) vs. No. 18 Michigan: OK, so here’s the thing, Michigan is favored in this game because it’s Michigan and Minnesota isn’t. That’s it. The game is being played in Minneapolis, and this is a Minnesota team coming off an 11-win season in 2020. It wasn’t a fluky 11-win season either — it’s hard to have a fluky 11-win season — as the Gophers picked up wins against Penn State and Auburn along the way. The Gophers also return one of the most talented offenses in the Big Ten this season with players like Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell. The Gophers also have one of the most underappreciated quarterbacks in the country in Tanner Morgan and a solid offensive line.
Then there’s this Michigan team, which could be in a bit of a reset mode in 2020. The Wolverines have lost a lot from last year’s squad, particularly on offense. While I expect the Wolverines defense to be as strong as it usually is, there are a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball. Joe Milton, whom I like, is taking over at quarterback. Ronnie Bell is the only receiver of note returning. There’s a lot of young talent in the pipeline, but it’s unproven, and I’m not ready to rely on this offense in the first game of the season after the weirdest offseason of all time. Not on the road against a team as good as these Gophers are. Minnesota 27, Michigan 23
No. 17 Iowa State (+3.5) at No. 6 Oklahoma State: Will Spencer Sanders be back at quarterback for the Cowboys this weekend? Signs point to that being the case, but it has no impact on how I feel about this game. Oklahoma State is 3-0 on the season, and its defense has been terrific through those three games. But those three games have come against Tulsa, West Virginia and Kansas. That skews the numbers