College football picks, odds for Big Ten in Week 12: Ohio State, Wisconsin stay close in marquee games

The Big Ten has been full of surprises over the past month since the conference returned to play. The conference has also been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and last Saturday’s game between Ohio State and Maryland was canceled as a result of an outbreak within Maryland’s football program. 

The big matchup that everyone will have their eye on this week will be No. 3 Ohio State playing host to No. 9 Indiana in arguably the most-anticipated game in the Big Ten so far this season. Indiana has been one of the surprises in the conference as its jumped out to a 4-0 record with wins over Michigan and Penn State. The Hoosiers are coming off of a dominant win over Michigan State. If Indiana truly wants to challenge for a spot in the Big Title title game, this one that they’re going to need to win. 

On the contrary, Ohio State has its eyes on the College Football Playoff and needs to keep the train on the tracks. There aren’t any more ranked teams on Ohio State’s schedule following this week’s contest, so this is a chance for a marquee win for the Buckeyes.

Let’s dive into all the Big Ten action with this week’s Big Ten picks.

Minnesota is the team that I just can’t seem to quit. After being burned by the Golden Gophers multiple times so far this season, I’m still confident in what Minnesota will be able to do from an offensive standpoint this weekend. Purdue has held its opponents to just 3.8 yards per carry in 2020, which is one of the best rates in the Big Ten. However, the Boilermakers haven’t faced a rushing attack like Minnesota. Even in last week’s four-touchdown loss to Iowa, star running back Mohamed Ibrahim still racked up 33 carries. Minnesota won’t ever shy away from the run game and I think the Gophers can easily take this one. Pick: Minnesota (+2.5)

I came away very surprised with Nebraska’s effort against Penn State last week. Luke McCaffrey got the start under center and didn’t have a bad game. His athleticism certainly gives the Cornhuskers some upside at the position, but I still need to see more from McCaffrey on a weekly basis. This is the game where McCaffrey could definitely break out against an Illinois that is giving up almost 35 points a game. While 15.5 points is a lot, Illinois just doesn’t have enough talent at the skill positions to keep up. Pick: Nebraska (-15.5)

Indiana at Ohio State

Indiana has easily been the biggest surprise in the Big Ten this season and Saturday offers its biggest test. If the Hoosiers want to earn a spot in the Big Ten title game, this is a game that they have to win. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and what Indiana has done this season. However, defeating Ohio State is a completely different animal. Justin Fields will have success against this tough

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Sen. Jon Erpenbach: Wisconsin should invest in education, not foreign corporations | Column



School book and apple (copy)



Virtually, in person, or planning and executing hybrid models, students and educators across Wisconsin are showing up and doing the hard work. Families are making sacrifices and hard choices in the face of this pandemic. We should all take a lesson from this dedication and perseverance.

As of this writing, it has now been 190 days of inaction since the current leadership of the Assembly and Senate and their caucuses last answered the calls coming from every corner of the state — six-and-a-half months without a single day of action on the most significant crisis we’ve faced in generations.

During that time away, educators from across the state preparing for the school year have raised the alarm about the lasting impact enrollment changes during a public health crisis might have on schools that are the bedrock of our shared history and future — especially in smaller and rural communities.

Schools, like all of Wisconsin’s economy and way of life, would have been better served by a unified effort in the spring to limit this virus and its impact. I salute the men and women who have dedicated their careers and lives to education and are continuing that work, in person and remotely, to this day. And I stand with the Wisconsin parents who are making sacrifices at home and difficult choices for their children’s future.

Last week we saw a snapshot of the impact the ongoing pandemic is having on our schools. In the districts I represent all or of parts of, we saw enrollment drop by over 2,600 students, nearly 3%.

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University of Wisconsin pauses football activities due to COVID-19

The University of Wisconsin paused its football activities on Wednesday because of an increased number of COVID-19 cases within the program.

Officials announced the program will stop activities for at least seven days, including canceling the Saturday game against Nebraska, which will not be rescheduled.

As of Wednesday morning, 12 people in the program tested positive, including six student athletes and six staff, while additional tests are pending. Head coach Paul Chryst was one of the staff members who tested positive.

The university’s director of athletics, Barry Alvarez, and Chancellor Rebecca Blank decided to pause activities and cancel the game after consulting the Big Ten Conference.

“This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday,” Chryst said. “I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home. I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning.”

“I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week,” he continued. “But the safety of everyone in our program has to be our top priority and I support the decision made to pause our team activities.”

The team’s next scheduled game is a home game against Purdue on Nov. 7. 

The game cancelation comes as Wisconsin is experiencing a major coronavirus outbreak, ranking third in the nation for the most cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin reported on Tuesday its highest single-day counts of deaths, hospitalizations and cases, with health official Ryan Westergaard calling it a “nightmare.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE had praised the return of Big Ten football this year after the conference initially canceled the season. During the first presidential debate, he declared that he “brought back Big Ten football.”

The Big Ten conference also includes football teams in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which along with Wisconsin are swing states in the election that’s less than a week away.

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College football rankings: Wisconsin enters top 10 as Big Ten makes it mark on CBS Sports 127

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CBS Sports graphic

The first weekend of Big Ten action provided several shake ups to the college football rankings near the top, but even more importantly, it brought clarity to the positioning of 14 key schools in the entire FBS landscape. The CBS Sports 127 ranks every team in the FBS, and so the absence of data for those Big Ten schools left plenty of unknowns that impacted the placement not only of those teams but of the others in the rankings.

The league saw big boosts after the weekend for Wisconsin (up six spots to No. 9) and Michigan (up nine spots after beating Minnesota) to give the Big Ten three of the top 12 teams in our rankings. We were uncertain about how quarterback changes at both schools would go, and after impressive opening weekend performances, adjustments have been made. 

But adjustments were also necessary down the line for teams like Indiana and Northwestern, who each moved up more than 30 spots following wins on the first weekend of Big Ten action. While it may seem like a clerical error, Rutgers did indeed move up 58 spots to No. 60 after winning at Michigan State. Expectations are also being adjusted for Penn State and Minnesota after losses, along with the aforementioned Spartans, which fell 10 spots to No. 84 after losing to the Scarlet Knights. 

Ranking the entire country requires data for team comparison, so it’s great to have the Big Ten and the Mountain West back to help brings some clarity even with the small sample size at this point in the year. Soon the same can be said for the Pac-12 and MAC, giving us a full 127-team set to rank without having to take preseason expectations into consideration. Of course, there will be more overreactions and dramatic adjustments to week-by-week results, but when you’re ranking the entire country the volatility is part of the fun. Check out the top 25 and more of the biggest adjustments in our Mover’s Report below.  

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-127 on our rankings page.

Biggest movers 

  • No. 36 Northwestern (+42): The Wildcats ranked No. 126 in FBS last season averaging 16.3 points per game and broke the 30-point barrier just twice, against UNLV and UMass. Saturday’s 43-3 win over Maryland ushers in new optimism for the Northwestern offense, making the staff change and arrival of transfer quarterback Peyton Ramsey look like some of the most impactful offseason moves in the conference. 
  • No. 19 Indiana (+36): Our voters had the Hoosiers ranked at No. 55 coming into the season, which for my money is way too low considering the overall trajectory of the program under Tom Allen. But we are quick to adjust when provided with new information and now have Indiana up in the top 20 after its historic win against Penn State. 
  • No. 35 LSU
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College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 9: Ohio State, Wisconsin open as double-digit road favorites

Halloween weekend is upcoming, and there are some scary lines out there in the college football world. William Hill Sportsbook released the lines for Week 9 of the college football season, which features several big-time matchups including a Big Ten East showdown between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 18 Penn State in Happy Valley. 

It isn’t the only big game of the week, though. LSU will travel to Auburn in a division matchup that always seems to provide at least one trick or treat. Elsewhere, the AAC slate will feature a matchup between Memphis and No. 7 Cincinnati at noon ET that could have massive ramifications across the Group of Five world.

Let’s break down the odds for the biggest games in Week 9 of the college football season. 

No. 3 Ohio State (-11) at No. 18 Penn State: The Nittany Lions are fresh off a dramatic loss at Indiana, but get a chance to get right at home against the top dog in the Big Ten. Will that loss to the Hoosiers have a lingering effect, or will Justin Fields and Co. orchestrate another blowout? This line surprised me quite a bit. Sure, Happy Valley is normally an intimidating place to play … but there won’t be fans there on Saturday. 

LSU (-2) at Auburn: The SEC on CBS Game of the Week features two SEC West teams that are in desperate need of a win in order to have any chance at being relevant down the stretch. LSU just throttled a South Carolina team that beat Auburn two weeks ago, while Auburn escaped the clutches of Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday. Weird things always seem to happen in this rivalry. Buyer beware. 

Boston College at No. 1 Clemson (-31.5): The Tigers struggled to get going against Syracuse at home, and have another massive line this week against an Eagles team that, if nothing else, has been pesky in 2020. It’s hard to bet on dial-a-score games involving Clemson since the outcome might hinge on when coach Dabo Swinney decides to take his foot off of the gas. 

No. 9 Wisconsin (-11) at Nebraska: The Badgers suddenly have a passing game after the world got a taste of redshirt freshman Graham Metz on Saturday night in Madison. Nebraska hung around with Ohio State for a bit on Saturday, and will have another big challenge against a quarterback who loves to air it out. 

Texas at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3): We know now that Texas isn’t “back.” But it could be back to playing the spoiler role against a Cowboys squad that has quietly gone undefeated through the first month-plus of the season. Oddsmakers clearly think that Mike Gundy’s squad is more sizzle than steak even though quarterback Spencer Sanders returned to action and played well last week in a win over Iowa State.

Memphis at No. 7 Cincinnati (-6.5): The Bearcats made a big statement in a Week 8 victory over SMU, while one-loss Memphis needs

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College football bowl projections: Michigan, Wisconsin crash New Year’s Day 6 after Week 8

The Big Ten returned to action over the weekend, and that led to some changes in our bowl projections after the Week 8 slate of games.

Michigan replaced Penn State in our New Year’s Day 6 after an impressive victory against Minnesota. Our College Football Playoff picks remain the same, with Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama and Oregon holding their spots. The Ducks begin play in two weeks.

Two more bowls — the Fenway Bowl and Holiday Bowl — announced that they will not be played in 2020. We tweaked our projections to account for the changes.

MORE: AP, Coaches polls after Week 8

This season’s semifinals are Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl Game and Sugar Bowl. The Playoff championship game will be Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

With that in mind, here are Sporting News’ picks for the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Day Six heading into Week 9:

Bowl projections after Week 8

Bowl Matchup
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl TCU vs. Tennessee
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Texas vs. Arkansas
Gasparilla Bowl BYU vs. Liberty
Guaranteed Rate Bowl West Virginia vs. Minnesota
Cheez-It Bowl Kansas State vs. Louisville
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl UCF vs. FAU
Duke’s Mayo Bowl Nebraska vs. Georgia Tech
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Buffalo vs. San Diego State
FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl Charlotte vs. Miami (Ohio)
Los Angeles Bowl USC vs. Boise State
Camellia Bowl Central Michigan vs. South Alabama
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl SMU vs. Marshall
Military Bowl Navy vs. N.C. State
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl Utah vs. Missouri
Mobile Alabama Lending Tree Bowl UAB vs. Louisiana
Myrtle Beach Bowl Memphis vs. Appalachian State
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Purdue vs. Virginia Tech
New Mexico Bowl Hawaii vs. Houston
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Ohio vs. Air Force
Outback Bowl Kentucky vs. Northwestern
Quick Lane Bowl Toledo vs. Iowa
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Louisiana Tech vs. Coastal Carolina
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl Army vs. Stanford
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl Iowa State vs. Washington*
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Auburn vs. North Carolina
Ticket Smarter Birmingham Bowl Tulsa vs. South Carolina
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl Cal vs. Boston College
TransPerfect Music City Bowl LSU vs. Indiana
Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl UTSA vs. Nevada
Valero Alamo Bowl Oklahoma vs. Arizona State
VRBO Citrus Bowl Texas A&M vs. Penn State

* indicates non-bowl-tie-in

New Year’s Day 6 projections after Week 8

Date Bowl Matchup
Dec. 30 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Michigan
Jan. 1 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Georgia vs. Miami
Jan. 2 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Cincinnati vs. Wisconsin
Jan. 2 Capital One Orange Bowl Florida vs. Notre Dame

College Football Playoff projections after Week 8

Date Bowl Matchup
Jan. 1 Rose Bowl Game (semifinal) Alabama vs. Ohio State
Jan. 1 Allstate Sugar Bowl (semifinal) Clemson vs. Oregon
Jan. 11 CFP Championship Game Ohio State vs. Clemson

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Coaches Poll top 25: Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana make big jumps in college football rankings

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USATSI

Ever since their return to the college football rankings, teams from the Big Ten have been stationary objects in the pecking order. Voters from the Coaches Poll have moved teams up, down and around the league’s handful of ranked representatives, waiting for some results to justify the preseason expectations. 

The Big Ten returned in Week 8 with its first of nine straight weekends of action with no byes or breaks, and the league delivered in a big way. There was a top-10 upset with Indiana taking down Penn State, a moment of validation for Michigan with its new starting quarterback Joe Milton and a near-perfect performance from Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who immediately reminded the country why he deserves a spot in the center of the Heisman Trophy conversation. 

The Coaches Poll voters had some reactions to the Big Ten action, moving Penn State down 10 spots to No. 17 and elevating Indiana from being unranked to No. 19. Michigan moved up three spots to inside the top 15 at No. 14 and Wisconsin also saw a three-spot improvement to No. 11 after its dominant win against Illinois on Friday night. Ohio State only moved up two spots after beating Nebraska, but in doing so jumped both Georgia and Notre Dame to take its place in the top three with Clemson and Alabama. 

Here’s how the new Coaches Poll looks after Week 8 action: 

  1. Clemson (52 first-place votes)
  2. Alabama (8)
  3. Ohio State (2)
  4. Notre Dame 
  5. Georgia 
  6. Oklahoma State 
  7. Cincinnati 
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Florida 
  10. BYU 
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Miami 
  13. North Carolina 
  14. Michigan 
  15. Oregon
  16. Kansas State
  17. Penn State
  18. Marshall
  19. Indiana 
  20. USC 
  21. Coastal Carolina 
  22. Iowa State 
  23. SMU
  24. Oklahoma 
  25. Army 

Schools dropped out: No. 20 Virginia Tech; No. 21 Minnesota; No. 22 NC State

Others receiving votes: Auburn 118; Liberty 112; Memphis 88; Boise State 79; Minnesota 67; UL Lafayette 62; Utah 45; Louisiana State 37; Boston College 28; Purdue 26; Missouri 25; Northwestern 24; Virginia Tech 22; NC State 20; Tulsa 18; Texas 18; Arkansas 17; Appalachian State 16; Central Florida 13; Arizona State 10; California 8; West Virginia 6; Tennessee 6; Iowa 6; Wake Forest 5; Stanford 3; Houston 2.

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College football bowl projections: Wisconsin in, Florida out of New Year’s Six as Big Ten starts season

It is late October, but we finally got to see some Big Ten football as the league got its regular season underway. Nebraska was not happy when the conference canceled its season back in August, and you know the Cornhuskers were not happy when they saw their schedule after the season was reinstated.

The opener at Ohio State went every bit as expected. The Buckeyes cruised to a 52-17 victory and remain the projected No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff projection. Next up for Nebraska is Wisconsin, which looked every bit the favorite in the Big Ten West in a 45-7 win over Illinois on Friday. In fact, just judging from the first week of results, which is always dangerous, Wisconsin does not figure to get challenged in the division.

The Badgers move into the New Year’s Six projections, replacing Florida, which was idle for the second week in a row. But why did the Gators fall out?

All six of the at-large teams in my New Year’s Six projections have one thing in common: They all have or will have at least one of their expected losses come at the hands of a projected playoff team. Florida has already lost at Texas A&M and is projected to fall to Georgia. Neither of those teams is expected to make the playoff.

Penn State remains in the New Year’s Six projections despite a controversial loss at Indiana on Saturday. The Nittany Lions fell 36-35 in overtime when Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was able to dive for the pylon to complete a two-point conversion. The play spent forever in replay review, which was deemed inconclusive. The replays and still photos are out there. Draw your own confusion.

The Nittany Lions host Ohio State next week in what is not necessarily a must-win game for New Year’s Six contention, though a loss means that — like Florida — they would have to win out to have a realistic chance for inclusion.

Clemson and Alabama were dominant again this week and hold on to their spots in the College Football Playoff projection.  The Crimson Tide, however, lost wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for the season when he injured his ankle on the opening kickoff of their game against Tennessee. My other projected playoff team is Oregon, which does not begin play until Nov. 7.

College Football Playoff

Jan. 11

National Championship
Miami

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.

Semifinal

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Alabama

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans

Semifinal

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Oregon

New Year’s Six bowl games

There was some good and bad news on the bowl front this week. The bad news is that the Holiday Bowl announced on Thursday that it was canceling its game this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The game was to feature teams from the ACC and Pac-12. This is the fourth bowl to be canceled this season, and more may follow. You can expect those

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Inside College Football: Illinois at #14 Wisconsin Recap

Inside College Football: Illinois at #14 Wisconsin Recap – CBSSports.com

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section: | slug: inside-college-football-illinois-at-14-wisconsin-recap | sport: collegefootball | route: video_single |
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Wisconsin vs. Illinois score: Live game updates, college football scores, NCAA highlights, full coverage

There will be an element of revenge in play when the Big Ten football season begins Friday night with No. 14 Wisconsin hosting Illinois in the first of seven games on the league’s opening weekend slate. The Fighting Illini upset the Badgers 24-23 last season after entering the matchup as 31-point underdogs, meaning Wisconsin shouldn’t be putting too much stock on its status as a 19.5-point favorite this time around.

Last year’s win started a four-game winning streak for Illinois that propelled the program to its first bowl appearance since 2014. For Wisconsin, the loss derailed a 6-0 start and College Football Playoff aspirations.

Now, as they prepare to meet again, the Badgers will be starting a freshman quarterback in their season opener for the first time since 1978 as redshirt freshman Graham Mertz takes over for the injured Jack Coan. The Badgers do have several key players back from a defense that was among the best in the country last season, but Illinois counters with an offense led by senior quarterback Brandon Peters and a veteran offensive line as fifth-year coach Lovie Smith looks to build on last year’s progress.

CBS Sports will be with you the entire way as this story updates with the latest notes and highlights from the game. Keep it locked here for live updates, highlights and more on Friday night.

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