Week 11 Predictions – 2020
Last Week: Ohio State was supposed to dominate Rutgers and they did. Justin Fields had the chance to have another big statistical day and he did. I lot of players were supposed to play and they did. But the Buckeyes should have moved to #2 in the polls and they did not. Of course the polls that matter won’t come out for another two weeks so just hold tight Buckeye fans. With our Buckeye50 staff picks, no one was perfect but five were 4-1 including Josh and Vaughn who predicted the Indiana ‘upset’ over ‘that team up north’. At the end Dr Mark is on top of the standings with a 13-2 mark for the seaon.
This Week’s Games: This was supposed to be the week Ohio State played Maryland. However, COVID-19 has cancelled the game. Let’s hope all are safe but still very disappointing for Buckeye fans that were ready to go 4-0. …. Not cancelled, Penn State will play Nebraska. Before the season started, this looked it might be a great game. In reality, it is a game of two college football bluebloods with no wins between them. What will this game bring us now? …. In contrast, Northwestern and Purdue play each other and it will be a game of unbeatens. Will the winner go on to win the Big Ten West? …. Also in the Big Ten, we continue our Harbaugh Watch. This week Michigan will play Wisconsin this week, and this may be the best opponent they have faced this season. Can Coach Harbaugh find a way to get their second win on the season? …. The most interesting game of the weekend might be Notre Dame vs Boston College. Both of these teams played Clemson well, the Irish beat the Tigers. How will the game go with these too ACC challengers?
Buckeye Greats: As with the past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax back with us as a regular participant for the sixth straight year.
Here we go with our Week 11 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
(3)Ohio State @ Maryland
Andy: This is going to show what adjustments our defensive coaching staff is capable of or not. Maryland has scored 80 points over their last two games, and if anybody was watching OSU vs Rutgers the defense gave up almost 30 points most of which were in the second half. Maryland’s offense is particularly good in terms of passing attack, but also has a capable running back in Jake Funk is averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. I do have some questions about Ohio State’s offensive line which seems to be still in the process of gelling together. They have not been as dominant as they should be this season and as a result our running backs are sometimes having trouble finding holes. I do ultimately think it shouldn’t be a problem against Maryland’s defense, but the coaching staff needs to get this team executing like they were last year if we hope to be a threat in the playoffs. I like Ohio State in this game because of their ability to score. Ohio State 45 – Maryland 24
Coach Rick: I would have picked OSU, but Covid wins this game.
Cory: Canceled because of COVID-19. It is unfortunate. Let us hope that all affected players and staff at Maryland are OK, and hopefully we’ll see them again next year.
Dave: OSU 0 – 0
Dr. Mark: OSU 0 – 0
Gregg: Something does not smell right with all this. I don’t know all the details as to how Maryland is able to just have this game dropped but it is not fair to the Buckeyes. Teams lose players for games due to injuries, this is no different. You can’t allow a team to just get a pass on playing a game just because a handful of players or not available for the the game. But it is what it is. As I have said all year, this season is one week at a time, and just hope if there is a playoff at the end of the year, you will be in a position to be one of the four teams. Ohio State – losers in the process Stupidity – the clear winner
John: Given that Maryland doesn’t meet the B1G protocol for cancelling, this game should be a forfeit win to Ohio State. Part of me wants to think the Maryland is taking the high road, trying to protect the Bucks. A bigger part of me thinks they are just taking the easy way out and avoiding a 63-10 beat down. Either way, next week becomes a must play date, as if both OSU and Indiana go unbeaten the Hoosiers will most likely represent the B1G East in any B1G championship game based on the strength of their crossover schedule. Hopefully, as we get deeper into November and December no other teams try to take this easy way out, as OSU needs 6 games to qualify for the B1G Title game. Should Illinois or MSU have to cancel do you really think a 1-6 scUM with a lame duck coach wouldn’t cancel just to stick it to their rival? Hopefully, it won’t be an issue.
Josh: Can the Big Ten revisit its decision about not playing non-conference games and allow Ohio State to schedule Alabama or Georgia? I dont think this will impact Ohio State too much, but now we have to worry about if Indiana goes unbeaten and next weeks game gets postponed as well. It is unfortunate that the Buckeyes are being punished even though they are doing the right thing. You can bet teams or players who have nothing to play for are going to get more careless. Who is to say Michigan might not try to get Ohio State infected? They might not beat them on the field, but they can prevent the season this team is expected to have. This is why each game and each week is precious.
Pia Pete: xxxx
PJSBuck: So this is going to be one of those years when our team performs schizophrenically? Do I base my prediction on the first half or second half’s performance against Rutgers? We certainly looked like two different teams. If we are into finger-pointing, I am going to first be concerned about our defense. YES, I know we lost a lot of key players on defense from last year but it scares me that this is the best crop of linebackers we have in stock?? So I watched Maryland this past Saturday and anyone who thinks this is going to be a walk-in-the-park-game is off their rocker. Maryland played hard the whole game, had very few mistakes, were solid at the key talent positions on offense, played fast and made few mistakes on defense. Their 35-19 score was actually more one-sided than that. It was hard to tell if Maryland was THAT GOOD or if Penn State was just going through the motions? In any case, I believe this game will easily be our toughest test on defense. We better play FAR better this weekend or we might be thinking next year that the 2021 Maryland game will be a “revenge game.” My prediction is 45-38 Ohio State in a serious nail biter!
Steven: Writing this after the announcement came down canceling the game. I’m disappointed just like everyone. I think Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa is a great addition to the Big Ten. He’ll make the Terrapins fun to watch and a tough out for at least a couple of years. Covid 1 – Big Ten 0.
Trout: Unfortunately this game has been cancelled. Mainly due to the Big Ten’s handling of the return to play. It is a mute, point, but I would have picked OSU to win this game comfortably. I think Maryland would have put up a fight, and been able to score on the Buckeyes a few times. It’s clear after 3 weeks, the Buckeye defense is nowhere near where it needs to be. However, Justin Fields is amazing, and would have kept the Buckeyes in the lead. Hopefully thi is just a road bump, and the Buckeyes are back to work next week against Indiana. (No Contest, 0-0)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): OSU names it’s number against Maryland and wins 540-0. Oh wait. They’re not playing.
Final Score: CANCELLED
Penn State @ Nebraska
Andy: I’m conflicted here, because Penn State is surprisingly bad and Nebraska played Ohio State pretty tough. I think since this game is at home Nebraska might have a slight advantage, but I do believe Penn State can still win. I expect this game to be a close one regardless of the winner. Penn State 35 – Nebraska 31
Coach Rick: Wow, I would not have thought this was the battle of winless programs. I have to go with the home team and pick the Huskers to win by 7.
Cory: After a tough pair of games to open the season Penn State was looking to finally get into the win column last week with a layup against Maryland. Somebody forgot to tell that to Maryland. The Terrapins beat Penn State in Happy Valley, dropping the Nittany Lions to 0-3. Quarterback Sean Clifford is getting abused and while he has not played well, the offensive line is a mess and the team can’t run the ball so it’s hard to pin all the blame on him. Nebraska, on the other hand, is 0-2 following an eight-point loss to Northwestern last week. This is a game of stoppable force meets moveable object. To put it bluntly, both teams suck right now. Out of the two, I think Penn State sucks less so they get the nod in what should be an ugly game this week. Penn State 27, Nebraska 14
Dave: Nebraska 32 Penn State 28
Dr. Mark: Nebraska – this is my guess pic of the week- wouldn’t have thought PSU would loose last week. Huskers are improved but still inconsistent and not ready to contend but ill say Huskers 31-27
Gregg: It is because of teams like Penn State and Nebraska that the Big Ten can be recognized as an elite conference in the nation. What is going on with these two teams is just inexcusable. I realize they both own a lose to the hands of the Buckeyes but neither team has looked like the teams the B1G needs them to be. Hopefully at least one of them rights the ship this week. I have to think that Nebraska looks like they have the better chance to start turning that corner now. Nebraska 37 Penn State 27
John: Two teams that are desperately in search of something good to happen. Penn State is still the better team on paper, the question is, do they care enough at this point to show up and show it on the field. Nebraska is due, but you know what they say…when you have a two QB system that means you don’t have a QB. Penn State 24 Nebraska 21
Josh: The game Ohio State had against Penn State all of a sudden looks less impressive, but the Buckeyes can’t control wait their opponents do. Penn State is seeing the effects of losing 2 running backs, and the heart of their defense. Sean Clifford is good when he does not force mistakes, but he does not have a strong offensive line to help him out and extend plays. I think this season for Penn State is more of an albatross and not the norm because they have the talent. Nebraksa is also not having the start they expected, especially after having a game cancelled due to Wisconsin. I think this game will be competitive and close, but I think Penn State will leave Lincoln with a much needed win, it just might not look pretty. Penn State 27 – Nebraksa 24
Pia Pete: xxxx
PJSBuck: The Lord works in mysterious ways. I can’t stand Penn State for I think their fans are absolutely terrible (and can’t stand that puke James Franklin) and I NOW can’t stand Nebraska as I believed they played the most dirty game against us I have seen in a long time, AND their coaches did nothing to alter the performance the whole game. I used to think Nebraska and their fans were one of the class-acts of the Big Ten but not anymore. SO – I am loving these two candy-ass bottom dwellers have to play each other. The bad news is I have to pick one of them as a winner??? OK, Penn State by 10. Enough said. (Maybe this should be the last time I do my picks on a Monday morning?????)
Steven: I’m not sure anyone is good except the top 10. Everyone else just seems to be mailing it in. This leads us straight to Lincoln and Happy Valley. Whoever manages to lose this one will have the ignominious start of 0-4. For Penn State, that could be a mark not seen in over a hundred years, for the Huskers they are only 2 years removed from another 0-4 start. Going with history. Penn State makes Huskers coach Scott Frost the goat, and not in a good way. PSU 36-21.
Trout: I feel like the Nittany Lions will finally get a win this weekend. They clearly have issues, but they are better than Nebraska at this point. It’ll be a close game. Nebraska has the ability to move the ball, but I don’t think they’ll be able to do it consistently enough to be effective. I also think that Sean Clifford is a more consistent passer than Adrian Martinez. Neither are top tier talent, but between the 2, I give Clifford the slight edge. I see this game being a low scoring, sloppy affair. Neither team will look outstanding, but the Nittany Lions do just enough to get their first win. (Penn State, 20-14)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Scott Frost has not shown he is the answer for Nebraska and James Franklin isn’t the answer for Penn State. However, I have Penn State beating Nebraska 35-14.
Final Score: Nebraska 30 Penn State 23
(23)Northwestern @ Purdue
Andy: Purdue has come off two consecutive wins while Northwestern has won all three of their games and climbed into the top 25. I think one matchup that is key in this game is which cornerback and safety are going to cover Purdue’s Rondale Moore assuming he players in this game. If does not play I would favor Northwestern in this one as Pat Fitzgerald does an excellent job getting his team prepared for tough road games. Northwestern 28 – Purdue 24
Coach Rick: I think Northwestern is looking real good at this time. I will go with them to win by 10
Cory: With so many games nationally canceled and postponed this week, the game between Northwestern and Purdue could be worth watching. Northwestern enters 3-0 with close wins over Nebraska and Iowa, and a blowout win over Maryland. Purdue is 2-0 and coming off a long layoff following their game with Wisconsin being canceled. Purdue is the home team and has an extra week of rest so naturally they get a big boost because of those factors. However, Northwestern is a team with some sneaky talent. The Wildcats picked up a quarterback in Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey, and while his stats so far have been just OK he is completing 66.7 percent of his passes, which is in stark contrast to the 50.0 percent completion percentage Wildcats quarterbacks combined for in 2019. Aside from Ramsey, Northwestern features Drake Anderson at running back and if that name sounds familiar it’s because you may remember his father, Damien, who starred for the Wildcats in the early 2000s as a first-team All-American. It will be a good test for Northwestern, but I see the Wildcats passing it. Northwestern 31, Purdue 24
Dave: Northwestern 42 Purdue 32
Dr. Mark: NW 38-3
Gregg: Not expecting much scoring in this one. I think the NW defense will be the difference in this game and they get a hard fought win this week. Northwestern 20 Purdue 17
John: I haven’t seen Purdue play this year. Honestly, I’ll die a happy man if that continues for the whole season.. Northwestern 31 Purdue 20
Josh: Rondale Moore for the Boilermakers has still not played yet this season, and it starts to question whether him coming back was even the right choice. Purdue has found some good offense even without him though, but are going against a Northwestern team who seems to have found something to work, and is also undefeated going into this game. Could this be the Big Ten West play in game? We shall see, but I think Northwestern has the defense to slow down Purdue, and an offense capable of scoring points. It will probably be closer, but the Wildcats remain undefeated. Northwestern 24 – Purdue 17.
Pia Pete: xxxx
PJSBuck: This will be a fun game to watch so if you are looking to tape an alternative game this weekend, I recommend this one. I like the way Northwestern has been winning and quite frankly have always admired Pat Fiztgerald. I am going with the people in purple by 6. Good game to watch!
Steven: Has anyone actually seen either of these two teams play? It seems their games have been relegated to BTN 8, the other Ocho. Whoever comes out of this one becomes really the odds on favorite to make it out of the West. Going with my gut, which has a certain affinity for Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. Wildcats 28-24
Trout: Looking at the stat sheet for this game, the teams are pretty evenly matched. If I have to pick a winner, I’ll have to go with the Northwestern Wildcats. They have a slight advantage in points per game, and their defense allows less points per games than the Boilermakers. I see this game coming down to the wire with the game being decided by a field goal. Although I don’t think either team is great, they have both played better than what was expected, so we should be in for a good battle. In the end, the Wildcats are able to escape with a win, after a hard fought match. (Northwestern, 24-21)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Northwestern and Purdue have their mojo going this year. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Wildcats can score with Boilermakers. Purdue beats Northwestern 42-24.
Final Score: Northwestern 27 Purdue 20
(13)Wisconsin @ Michigan
Andy: Wisconsin in their only game this season looked to be one of the best teams in the country. Sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz was spectacular in his first start as a Badger, completing 20 of his 21 passes and throwing for just under 250 yards and 5 touchdowns to 0 interceptions. If Wisconsin can return to this game with the same pace they had against Illinois I expect Wisconsin to win. On the other side of the field Michigan’s once vaunted defense has not looked at all like the past two seasons under coordinator Don Brown. To make matters worse last week against Indiana, Michigan couldn’t get their offense going mostly because their offensive line was losing the battle both in terms of pass protection and run blocking. Michigan only ran for 13 total yards against the Hoosiers which is a dangerous formula considering quarterback Joe Milton is a first year starter. Michigan is going to have to find a way to run the football against a usually tough Badger run defense if they hope to win this week. I don’t think they’ll be able to do it. Wisconsin 34 – Michigan 24
Coach Rick: This should be a battle with Wisconsin still using a 3rd string QB, but I think the Badgers come out with a 17 point victory.
Cory: What a mess this game could be. Wisconsin looks poised to finally get back on the field after a couple of their games were canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the program. The Badgers haven’t played since their opening win against Illinois on Oct. 23. Michigan enters the game 1-2 having dropped its last two games to Michigan State two weeks ago and getting throttled by Indiana last week. This is a Wolverine team that is struggling. The defense that used to be so stout under head coach Jim Harbaugh can no longer stop anybody, and the offense has trouble staying on the field. Aside from that, Michigan can’t stop shooting itself in the foot. The Wolverines have committed 18 penalties in their two losses. The one thing that might go their way is that Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz is still in COVID-19 protocols and has not been cleared to play yet. If he can’t play I say Michigan takes a close one, but I expect that by the end of the week Mertz will be cleared. Wisconsin 35, Michigan 21
Dave: Wisconsin 38 Michigan 28
Dr. Mark: Wisc 35-28 – if I was betting I would take Mich and the points. Wisc could be rusty and Mich has to be angry and frustrated- I wonder what Mich AD is really thinking.
Gregg: Our Buckeye50 Harbaugh watch continues. The Wolverines are a surprising 1-2 and they may be about to play the best team so for on their 2020 schedule. I am 0-2 in my predictions in games involving the Wolverines so I am going to say Michigan will win and hope that I am 0-3. The Don Brown defense of old is not there this year, maybe they figure a few things out this week and shut down the Badgers just enough to get out of the East cellar. Michigan 27 Wisconsin 17
John: Well, if Jimmy’s seat wasn’t feeling toasty last week, it is now. Hard to tell how Wisconsin will fare after a two week Covid induced holiday, but Michigan is just B-A-D. That said, the way my picks have been breaking the Corn and Blue probably squeak this one out, but I’m going with the Badgers in this one. Wisconsin 30 Michigan 28
Josh: Mertz’s status is still in air for this game, but the formula for beating Michigan this season is simple, attack the secondary. Don Brown has refused to change his system, and from what we saw from the first week with Wisconsin is that they are a stronger passing team this year. I expect the Badgers to win this game, and the seat gets a little hotter for Harbaugh. Wisconsin 35 – Michigan 21
Pia Pete: xxxx
PJSBuck: My cousin Mark told me he heard Dan Dierdorf (Michigan alum, former player for, and NFL great who is currently close to the UM program) say on radio that Harbaugh has the coaching job for life. Now that I think of it, UM is playing like their jobs and positions are NOT ON THE LINE. Assuming they play, since Wiscy is so unpredictable, I am going with UM only because they have less rust than the Badgers. (Wouldn’t it be great though for Wiscy to win???)
Steven: I’ve been wrong all year on Michigan, so I’m fully expecting to be wrong again. They really should win due to their experience over the season since Wisky has only.played one game. The Badgers are the better team talent-wise, but can they shake off the rust, especially in the road? With the schizophrenic way the Wolverines have played this year, I like Wisconsin’s chances. Wisky 29-27. Of course, this means Michigan will win.
Trout: Any normal year, I’d pick Wisconsin in this game. But, unfortunately for the Badgers, they have not played in 3 weeks and there is a chance they will be playing with their 4th string quarterback. As bad as Michigan has looked, I still think they are good enough to beat a program that has been in such disarray. I am picking the Wolverines to win, but it’ll be closer than it should be. Jim Harbaugh’s ineptitude as the head coach will ensure that the depleted Badgers will be in this game longer than they should. It’ll be a messy, low scoring game, but Michigan squeaks out a victory. (Michigan, 17-10)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Michigan is in bad shape and really need to reevaluate what they are doing both offensively and defensively. Wisconsin is Wisconsin. However, Wisconsin is not just ground and pound anymore with their backup QB Graham Mertz at the helm. I think Wisconsin comes out and does what other teams have does against Don Brown’s offense this year, exploit it. Wisconsin throttles Michigan 31-17.
Final Score: Wisconsin 49 Michigan 11
(2)Notre Dame @ Boston College
Andy: This could be a trap game for Notre Dame. Coming off one of the biggest upsets this year after beating Clemson at home 48-40 it would be easy to look past a usually weak opponent Boston College. However this year Boston College seems to playing much tougher football under first year coach Jeff Hafley. I do expect Notre Dame to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out a little bit sleepy on the road vs a underrated BC squad. Expect Notre Dame to close out the game in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame 38 – Boston College 27
Coach Rick: This should not be much of a game with Notre Dame winning by 3 touchdowns.
Cory: It was nice to see Notre Dame upset Clemson last week but the Fighting Irish needed two overtimes to do it, and that was without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence on the field. Notre Dame is a good football team but I am still not convinced they belong among the nation’s elite. It will be important for them to avoid a hangover this week against a motivated Boston College team. The Eagles are playing tough this year under former OSU assistant Jeff Hafley. They came close to upsetting Clemson a few weeks ago and no doubt will be motivated to try to do the same to the Irish this week having come so close. That said, as long as Notre Dame doesn’t lose focus this week the Irish are too talented of a team to lose a game like this. Notre Dame 38, Boston College 28
Dave: Notre Dame 38 Boston College 21
Dr. Mark: ND 42-20 BC plays well as big game underdog but ND on a roll
Gregg: I respect Notre Dame as a Blue Blood of college football but have never been a fan. I will however, give them kudos for their victory over Clemson last week. They have accomplished something no regular season foe has been able to do for a long time. And when they had a minute to go 91 yards for a touchdown, they did it, and that was the one thing the Buckeyes failed to do in the Orange bowl last year.This week they will have to beat a solid opponent AND avoid the letdown. Ian Book became a quality quarterback and put the team on his back for the victory over the Tigers. He stays on a roll for one more week and gets the win. Notre Dame 30 Boston College 24
John: The last time Notre Dame beat a number 1 team, they lost the next week. I don’t see that happening this year, but stranger things have happened in 2020. Notre Dame 25 Boston College 10
Josh: This is tough. I think Notre Dame showed it can compete with the top teams, but we need to remember Clemson was without 4 of its starters on defense, and Trevor Lawrence adds a challenge to the Clemson offense, and as good as DJ is, he is no Lawrence. My biggest concern is the students storming the field and the chance the Irish got in contact with students who may have COVID. Boston College started hot against Clemson, but just couldn’t score in the second half. I think Jeff Hafley has done a tremendous job at BC, and gets the most out of his players. I am going to roll with this game as my upset of the week, as Boston College wi be wearing their special bandana jerseys. Boston College 31 – Notre Dame 24
Pia Pete: xxxx
PJSBuck: This could actually be a closer game than one might expect only because it is very possible the Irish left everything on the field last weekend against Clemson? Great victory guys!!! But, I think the Irish pull this out in the end. Notre Dame by 10.
Steven: Despite Notre Dame upsetting a depleted Clemson, I’m less than convinced they are a top 5 team. In the era of Covid, though, it is the healthy that will win. Boston College has been up and down this season. BC Coach Jeff Hafley has his team playing hard, but it is clear the talent is not yet there to compete at the highest level of the ACC. They do seem to lose a little steam in the second half which would point to a lack of depth. I’d expect this game to follow much the same template. BC plays the Domers tough through the first half but the game slips away in the second. Notre Dame 38-27
Trout: Although the Eagles put up a fight against Clemson, I don’t think they have the talent to seal the deal against the Irish. Last week, should that Notre Dame might be able to compete with the big boys of college football. At least offensively, they looked pretty good. Granted, they beat a Clemson team, without Trevor Lawrence, but still, Clemson’s back up is a good player as well. I think the Irish will win this game somewhat comfortably. Boston College will score some points, but not consistently enough to hang with Notre Dame. I feel like they will make too many mistakes to stay in the game. The Irish win this game, and remain undefeated. (Notre Dame, 38-24)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): I would love to see Boston College bring the ACC back down to earth with an upset against the Irish. I just don’t see it. Notre Dame stays on pace for the playoffs and beats Boston College 35-10.