Week 13 Predictions – 2021

Last Week:  OSU secured a signature win over then #7 Michigan State, turning ‘THE’ Game into the game this season.  CJ Stroud also put himself into the Heisman race which is very winnable for him if he has two more great performances to finish the year.  As for our Buckeye 50 seasonal standings, Joe-S-U has put himself on top of the leaderboard, and he will win our coveted Predictions Champ crown, if he finishes solid as well. 

This Week’s Games:  The Ohio State-Michigan game will actually mean more than just the rivalry this year.  Can the Wolverines end their ten year skid and pull off an upset?  ….  Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State can still make the playoffs so their game also means something this season. They may have to play each other twice to prove it but in the end who wins the first round in Stillwater?  ….  Wisconsin started the season 1-3 but can clinch the West with a win over Minnesota.  Can the Gophers pull off an upset and keep an outside hope alive to win the West themselves?  ….  The 2021 season will come to a merciful end for Nebraska this week against Iowa. Can they pull off an upset and spoil things for the Hawkeyes?

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 seventh straight year.

Here we go with our Week 13 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg

(2)Ohio State  @  (5)xichigan

Andy:  THE GAME. This year has massive implications behind the game. Winner takes the east division of the Big Ten and advances to the Big Ten championship game. Loser has no chance at the playoffs and is likely going to a new years six bowl game as a consolation prize. In the off season Jim Harbaugh made massive changes to his coaching staff, firing all of his coaches aside from two.. he had to make a culture change and he had to bring in coaches who could also recruit at a higher level. On offense, coordinator Josh Gattis remained, but has changed the offensive style the Wolverines are running, it is a run heavy offense asking the quarterbacks to throw on obvious passing downs. While it is predictable, it has also worked very well as Michigan has gone 10-1 and has one of the best rushing offenses in the country averaging nearly 220 rushing yards a game and amassing 29 rushing touchdowns this season. It isn’t just one person either, Michigan will rely on three of it’s talented tailbacks Hassan Haskins, Bake Corum and Donovan Edwards to each contribute. Wolverine quarterback Cade McNamara has been asked to be a game manager and not turn the ball over, his stats are kind of bland considering Michigan is such a run heavy offense, but what stands out is his 14 passing to just 2 interceptions. McNamara will need to produce more this week against Ohio State who has the 11th best rushing defense in the country allowing an average of only 102 rush yards per game and only surrendering 9 rushing touchdowns all season. The weak spot for this Buckeye defense all season long as been the pass defense which has given up 18 passing touchdowns to opponents and allowing teams to throw for an average of 252 yards per game. The big question in this game is how well will Cade McNamara be able to play against the Buckeye secondary, because I don’t see Michigan getting a ton of yards on the ground and I think McNamara will be asked to win this game for Michigan and I don’t see it happening.   Ohio State 38  Michigan 28

Coach Rick:  Ohio State 

Cory:  It is fitting that after not playing The Game last year, the matchup between Ohio State and Michigan this year determines the winner of the Big Ten East and a spot in the conference championship game. Ohio State has really found its footing in the last few weeks, including smashing No. 7 Michigan State 56-7 last week. It was particularly impressive to see the Buckeyes shut down Kenneth Walker III, especially as they will face another team this week that runs the ball well. Michigan’s offense relies on Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum, and both of them have 10 or more rushing touchdowns. Corum has not played in a few weeks due to a foot injury, but should be on the field this week. Expect Michigan to do better on the ground than Michigan State did, which means the real question then becomes: Do the Wolverines possess enough of a pass offense to keep up with Ohio State. Cade McNamara has been pretty good, but he’s rarely asked to do that much – he’s only attempted more than 30 passes in a game twice this season. Michigan will keep it close, there is no doubt about that, but expect Ohio State’s offense to give them the edge this week.   Ohio State 42, Michigan 35

Dave:  Ohio State 42  Michigan 28    

GreggThis is truly why we love sports.  Everything on the line, nothing can be taken for granted.  Both teams want this, both teams need this.  The fan bases will be in a frenzy and for the first time in a while, the Wolverine fans truly have something to cheer for.  Player for player, Ohio State has the better team, and the better team should win.  CJ Stroud should have no problem finding an open reciever, mix in some Henderson and Williams and it should be the perfect recipe for a big victory.  The Michigan passing game does not go down field so it will be up to the defense to stop the Woverine running attack. Mystery solved but easier said then done. Should be a fun game to watch, will be more fun if Ohio State puts up 100.  Ohio State 98  Michigan 20 

Jason:  The Wolverines have a shot and that’s something they haven’t had in a long time.  They have a shot at Indianapolis for the first time and a shot at the playoff for the first time.  As always, it goes through Ohio State.  Michigan plays defense very well, but they haven’t seen an offense with this much speed, skill and talent…not even close. For Michigan to keep this game close, they will need to run the football and keep the chains moving and play keep away. They can’t get one dimensional and lean on their run game but the pass game is coming along and when the running game has slowed, they have been able to pick up the slack with an improved passing attack. This is a rivalry game and both teams will come out and smack each other in the mouth so expect it to be close early, but Ohio State is really good and may very well be the best team in college football right now.  They will show out in the Big House and although Michigan will put up a fight in the early going, C.J. Stroud and that passing game will find some seams in the secondary and with that trio of WR’s, the Wolverines will find themselves looking up at a significant deficit by halftime. Then, as Michigan State witnessed, becoming one dimensional on offense, is not a recipe for success against a much improved Ohio State D.  The streak continues as Ohio State goes to Ann Arbor and puts the finishing touches on an undefeated Big Ten season and heads to Indianapolis with the playoffs on the line.   Ohio State 52 Michigan 21

Joe-S-U:  Ohio State

John:  For the first time in a long time, Michigan is going into a home matchup with Ohio State thinking they have a legit chance to win.  Having watched UM several times this year, I see a team with a lot of flaws, but not as many as the Michigan State team the bucks trucked last week.   This game really comes down to 2 things:  1)  OSU’s offensive lines ability to slow down Ums defensive ends and 2)  OSU’s D’s ability to stop Michigan’s run game, making them one dimensional on offense.  I think the Bucks get both done and take care of business.   Ohio State 35  Michigan 17

Josh: Michigan does not want to get into a shootout with the Buckeyes, and I expect them to try and control the game with their rushing attack between Haskins and Corum to try to keep the Buckeyes offense off the field. Michigan State started to try and do the same things but quickly found itself down 28-0 and couldn’t keep up. If the Buckeyes defense can do the same thing against Michigan that they did against the Spartans, this will be a long day in Ann Arbor, and we can see the Buckeyes take down their second top 7 team in 2 weeks. Ohio State 63 – Michigan 17

Steven:  Ohio State 44-30

TroutIt would be easy to say that after last week, Ohio State should win this game by 100. They looked unstoppable, against a good, albeit, maybe a tad overrated Sparty team.  But it’s the Michigan game, so anything can happen. I feel like the game will be close. Although I don’t think they are anything special, the Wolverines are solid on both sides of the ball. They play disciplined football. THisgame could easily be a four quarter game. However, I do think that eventually the Buckeyes pull away. Ohio State is just more talented. Stroud has become a frontrunner for the Heisman, Henderson has played lights out all year, and the 3 receivers, Olave, Wilson, and Sith-Njigba are hands down the best wide receivers core in the country. This offense should be able to put up points, and get a few scores ahead of the Wolverines.  Michigan will put up a good fight, but it won’t be enough. Ohio State wins and moves on to the Big Ten Championship game.   (Ohio State  42-28)  

Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83):  Ohio State 45  Michigan 20

Final Score:  Michigan 42  Ohio State 27 

(11)Oklahoma (8)Oklahoma State

Andy:  BEDLAM BRAWL. The big game of the big twelve conference between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. In most rivalry games you can toss out the records or how well certain teams are performing and you have to try to look at matchups and see how favorable they are for certain units on each team. At this point in the season teams are what they are. Oklahoma has been very balanced on offense, running the ball 361 times to throwing the ball 337 times with 26 passing touchdowns and 26 rushing touchdowns. The big change came during their rivalry game with Texas when halfway through the game Lincoln Riley benched starting quarterback Spencer Rattler in favor of true freshman Caleb Williams. The big difference between the two quarterbacks is Williams is a very good dual threat running quarterback averaging 7 yards per carry and rushing for 6 touchdowns. The big caveat here is that Oklahoma State has the fourth best rush defense in the country right now, allowing an average of only 85 yards per game to their opponent on the ground and just 9 rushing touchdowns all season. Oklahoma will have to throw the ball if they want to get into the red zone and they’ll have to do it well, because I don’t know how much their run game will impact the game. Oklahoma State is a team that is built to control the game in the trenches, as an offensive unit they’ve run the ball 500 times compared to throwing it just 319 times.  I really think Oklahoma State has a good chance to win this game due to their ability to stone wall opponents rushing games. I think with this being a rivalry game this will be a close game regardless of matchups.   Oklahoma State 31  Oklahoma 28

Coach Rick:  Oklahoma 

Cory:  I never thought I would say this but, Oklahoma has a problem on offense. Initially, it looked like quarterback Spencer Rattler was the problem. After he was benched Caleb Williams started to put up amazing numbers. But in last week’s win over Iowa State, Williams completed just 8 of 18 passes for 87 yards. Yikes. Oklahoma State on the other hand is three points away from being unbeaten, and the Cowboys have been doing it with defense. They shut out Texas Tech last week, have given up 23 total points in their last four games, and have yet to allow more than 23 points in a single game this season. Considering the conference in which they play, that is quite the accomplishment. Still, I am picking Oklahoma to win. The Sooners own this series as they’ve won 16 of the last 18 games, including six straight.   Oklahoma 31, Oklahoma State 24

Dave:  Oklahoma State 24    Oklahoma 21 

GreggThis one is pretty simple for me.  Oklahoma has looked avarage at best in most games, the Cowboys have been pretty consistent.  I am not even sure who will be playing quarterback for the Sooners.  Their preseason Heisman candidate or their mid-season candidate. Oklahoma State KNOWS they are in the playoff’s if they win out, they will be focuses and will secure the home win.  Oklahoma State 42  Oklahoma 27

Jason:  It’s Bedlam in Oklahoma City as the Sooners head to Oklahoma State with plenty at stake for both teams. Oklahoma State is in the Big 12 Championship no matter what, and Oklahoma is in with a win. With a Sooner win, they suit it up again next week and with a Cowboy win, the Sooners go home wondering what could have been. Both still have playoff dreams and it will take two wins to likely get that done. The Oklahoma defense has show signs of life of late, slowing down Breece Hall and Iowa State in last week’s win and it did enough against Texas Tech the week prior. Offensively, they have rushed for over 200 yards in four of it’s last six and has explosion in the passing game that Oklahoma State’s defense has not seen. The Cowboys have been by far the best defense in the Pac 12, but their offense is getting things going. The story though has been the ‘Pokes defense, leading the nation in third downs, sacks, TFL’s and boasts the overall number 3 defense nationally. Oklahoma will throw their punches, but the balance of the Cowboy offense will wear on the Sooners and the defense will take control. It will be a typical four quarter type game, but a couple big plays on offense and a late stop or two and Oklahoma State wins Bedlam and moves onto the Big 12 championship with a shot at the college football playoff.   Oklahoma State 31 Oklahoma 21

Joe-S-U:  Oklahoma State

John:  The path to the CFP for the Big XII is a small one.  Both these teams need to win out , then get a lot of help.  2021 has been a wacky year, but the may be too many things that need to happen for the winner of this one to make the playoff.   Oklahoma State 42  Oklahoma 38

JoshOklahoma State might have the best defense in the Big 12 outside of Baylor, and the Sooners are lucky to have beaten Iowa State last week. I can see this one being close, but the running attack of the Cowboys will keep the Sooners off the fields, and force Williams or Rattler to try and make plays, but open up chances for mistakes too. Oklahoma State 35 – Oklahoma 24.

Steven: Okie State 38-28

Trout I think the Cowboys pull off the victory. I don’t think the Oklahoma Sooners are that good. They have struggled all year with a team they should have wiped the floor with. Like with Texas and Kansas. Both times they needed last minute heroics to pull off the win in that game. Also, looking at the Baylor game. They were completely lost out there.They just don’t look like an Oklahoma team should look. Granted, they are better with Caleb Williams, but that’s not really saying much. I do see the game being relatively close. Oklahoma State is the better team, but they don’t seem to have a steller offense. Besides a few games against bad  teams, they haven’t been able to score above 30 points. I see the game going back and forth and eventually the Cowboys pulling ahead. I think Williams will do a lot to keep the Sooners in the game, but it won’t be enough. Sooners lose to the Cowboys and destroy the last lingering chances they had at a playoff spot.   (Oklahoma State, 34-28)

Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83)Oklahoma 35  Oklahoma State 31

Final Score:  Oklahoma State 37   Oklahoma 31

(14)Wisconsin  @  Minnesota

Andy:  Talk about a team that started out looking like they would be lucky to win four or five games this entire season and it was Wisconsin losing 3 of it’s first 4 games. Since then they have gone undefeated while establishing their identity both on offense and on defense which seemed to be missing early in the season. Wisconsin’s defense this season is down right nasty, rated #1 overall against the run and #6 in passing defense and #5 in scoring defense allowing an average of only 15.82 points per game. On offense the Badgers are all about the run with two running backs who have combined for nearly 2,000 yards themselves and 17 rushing touchdowns. Backs Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi have been on fire, unfortunately for Wisconsin Chez Mellusi sustained an injury and is out for the remainder of the season. But Braelon Allen has been a beast averaging over 7 yards per carry and at 6’2″ 240 lbs. he is an unstoppable force at times. Minnesota is built similar on offense to Wisconsin, they get a majority of the production from rushing the football, but instead of two backs they use three. Trey Potts, Ky Thomas and Mar’Kiese Irving have all run for over 500 yards each this season combining for 14 rushing touchdowns. Minnesota is built very similar to Wisconsin on defense as well as coming in as the #13 ranked scoring defense and having the 12th best rushing defense in the country. What does this mean? It means this will be a throwback to classic big ten style football with a lot of running the football, a lot of punting and one of these teams’ quarterbacks will need to step up and have a few big plays in this game. If that is the case I will go with the quarterback with more experience which is Tanner Morgan.   Minnesota 17  Wisconsin 13

Coach Rick:  Minnesota 

Cory:  Since losing three of its first four games Wisconsin has reeled off seven consecutive victories. Quarterback Graham Mertz has been very inconsistent this season but seems to have finally righted the ship as he’s completed 71.9 percent of his passes in the last three games. Braelon Allen took over at running back for the injured Chez Mellusi, and has gone on a tear including rushing for 228 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska last week. Minnesota, meanwhile, has not found that same consistency this season. The Golden Gophers followed up a pair of losses to Illinois and Iowa with a win over struggling Indiana last week, but the issues remain. They struggle in all areas on offense. There is little doubt that head coach P.J. Fleck will get the team up for this game so I do expect it to be close, but that the Badgers will be taking home the axe.   Wisconsin 28, Minnesota 20

Dave:  Wisconsin 28  Minnesota 21  

GreggMost people, including myself, had written off Wisonsin after they started the season 1-3 and 0-2 in the BIg Ten.  But the losses were in two of their cross-over games (Michigan, Penn State) and they have so far run the table against the B1G West teams.  If they can finish off the Gophers, they will earn the right back to Indy for a shot at the title. Minnesota may have Mohamed Ibrahim back which could be a bonus for their running game but know way to know if he would be 100%.  The Gophers will give them a good game but I believe the Badgers get the win.  Will be pulling for the boat-rowers though.   Wisconsin 17  Minnesota 13

Jason:  The battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe, and possibly a trip to Indianapolis to play the Ohio State-Michigan winner for the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. If Nebraska can beat Iowa, the winner of this game gets the spot.  Wisconsin is in regardless with a win, but the Gophers need help. The Gophers have been playing very good run defense, only allowing 200 plus to Ohio State, and Wisconsin, although running it better is thin at that position.  The Gophers need to slow the game down and play a methodical style, move the chains and make it a four quarter game.  The Badgers have been rolling defensively but is it more of a product of schedule? Very possible. The only team that could line up and smash them in the mouth was Michigan but that was very early and the Badgers have improved significantly since then. Wisconsin has found a bit of a passing game behind QB Graham Mertz to balance their attack but it will be your typical ground and pound late November Big Ten game in the cold. It will be an ugly game, featuring a lot of field goals, but the Badgers will find a way and come away with the win and a trip to Indianapolis.   Wisconsin 24 Minnesota 17

Joe-S-U:  Wisky

John:  Does anyone really want to win the Big Ten West?  Frontrunners present themselves, only to get upset by lesser teams.  Wisconsin has been playing decent football of late, but don’t be shocked if the Gophers get the win.  Wisconsin 24  Minnesota 17

JoshWisconsin has found their running back, and has played like a different team since their losses to Michigan and Notre Dame. They have one of the best defenses in the country in total defense, and with Minnesota being short handed due to injuries, this one should be an easy win for the Badgers as they clinch their 7th appearance for the Big Ten Championship game. Wisconsin 28 – Minnesota 6. 

Steven:  Wisky 28-24

TroutI’d like to pick the Gophers, but I just don’t think they can win this game. The loss of Ibraham in the first game against the Buckeyes clearly affected their offense. They are not the team that people thought they would be. They have managed to have a good year, but they were supposed to have a great one. With Wisconsin, they have managed to salvage their season. The season was practically over after their 1-3 start but they have been able to get 7 straight wins and now find themselves atop the Big Ten West. I see them getting up by a few scores and hanging on. It won’t be a complete domination by the Badgers, but they should be able to control the flow of the game. Wisconsin wins and punches their ticket to the Big Ten Championship game.   (Wisconsin, 35-21)

Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83):  Wisconsin 27  Minnesota 24

Final Score:  Minnesota 23  Wisconsin 13

(16)Iowa  @  Nebraska

Andy:  This matchup is the hardest to predict of the week despite the others all presenting their own challenges in terms of predicting wins and losses. I could sit here and list a bunch of stats for both teams, but here is the key to know. Nebraska has lost a bunch of games this season by less than a touchdowns, most of those teams were top 25 teams including Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Wisconsin. With such slim margins of victory, its safe to say Nebraska is a much better team than their record indicates. Iowa under Kirk Ferentz has a classic Big Ten blueprint every single season. Play tough defense in particular scoring defense, and have a really tough offensive line with a consistent but not amazing rush defense. I have been very underwhelmed with Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras who has thrown just 9 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. After watching Nebraska’s defense against several top 25 teams I think Iowa’s offense is in trouble this game. I like the Huskers in this game to give Scott Frost some momentum going into the off season.   Nebraska 24  Iowa 20

Coach Rick:  Nebraska

Cory:  You have to feel for Nebraska just a bit. The Cornhuskers lost again last week – their fifth straight – in a close one to Wisconsin. Seven of Nebraska’s eight losses this year have been by one score with the only exception being Ohio State’s nine-point win a few weeks ago. The Cornhuskers have another tough challenge this week when they host Iowa. After losing consecutive games to Purdue and Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes have won three consecutive games. Iowa managed those wins despite playing without quarterback Spencer Petras, who has been out with a shoulder injury. Even though it looks like Petras will be on the sideline again this week, expect Iowa to come out on top. Their defense is terrific and Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez is always good for a turnover in the most inopportune time.   Iowa 20, Nebraska 14

Dave:  Iowa 32  Nebraska 28  

GreggScott Frost had a huge weight on his shoulder going into this season and an even bigger target on his back. What kind of performance was going to save his job? After all, he was 12-20 as a Husker head coach and that is not the standard in Lincoln.  And to make matters worse, in his three crossover games, he would have to face Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan, the top three teams in the east.  And if that was not enough, he would have to play Oklahoma and Wisconsin on the road. The Huskers have played close but have basically lost all those games plus an embaressing loss to Illinios to start the season. Yet somehow the Nebraska brass decided to keep him around a few more years. All they have left is to perhaps get to play spoiler and beat Iowa, eliminating their only chance to get to Indy. I figure the Huskers will have one more tough game in them, but once again come up just short, making it 7 straight losses to Iowa.  Then Iowa will hope that the Gophers can pull off an upset.   Iowa 31  Nebraska 24

Jason:  The Huskers have lost five in a row all by a touchdown or less and all 8 losses were by eight points or fewer. Iowa has a very opportunistic defense, sitting at #2 in the country in turnover margin. Iowa doesn’t do anything special offensively, but they are doing just enough and leaning on the defense to win games.  Nebraska has shown the ability to be explosive on offense, torching Wisconsin for 351 through the air behind QB Adrian Martinez, but he is out for this game so can they maintain that type of explosion without him. Look for the Huskers to try to just keep the chains moving enough to give them a chance late.  The Nebraska offense will likely use a rotation of quarterbacks, but more than anything else this is going to come down to the defense in a low-scoring game. Iowa still has a shot at the Big Ten championship with a win and a Minnesota win on Saturday. Nebraska won’t be as good without Martinez, but they will be good enough to make it a game, but in typical Husker fashion, a late Iowa score will allow the Hawkeyes to escape Lincoln with a close win and send Nebraska down to another close defeat and Iowa will become big Minnesota fans on Saturday.   Iowa 20 Nebraska 17

Joe-S-U:  Iowa

John:  Iowa  24  Nebraska 14

Josh: Nebraska will be without Adrian Martinez, which gives Iowa the advantage. Both teams play good defense, and could be what keeps this game close, but without Martinez, it will be hard for the Cornhuskers to move the ball. Iowa 14 – Nebraska 9.

Steven:  Iowa 35-17

Trout The Hawkeyes will win this game, but it will be very close. I do think the Cornhuskers are better than what their record indicates, but it seems every time Nebraska plays a good team, they always end up falling short. Their defense is legitimately great, however, their offense is lackluster. They make so many mistakes and can never get a consistent rhythm going. Iowa may not be a great team, but they do have a good defense and a serviceable offense. I see this game being a very low scoring affair, with both teams struggling to get the ball in the endzone. However, the Cornhuskers will make mistakes and the Hawkeyes will pounce on them. They’ll get a small lead and maintain it until the end of the game. Iowa wins a slow, methodical, slugfest of a game.   (Iowa, 17-13)

Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83):  Iowa 28  Nebraska 21

Final Score:  Iowa 28   Nebraska 21

Leave a Reply