Want to know what Week 14 games are worthwhile? Here’s the scoop from sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli Jr., who posted a perfect record last week, going 7-0 on his picks.
No. 19 Iowa at Nebraska, 1:30 p.m., BTN
On-air talent: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play)and Matt Millen (analysis)
Pick: Iowa, 24-21. Tempting as it may be to pick the Cornhuskers, who face a must-win situation to reach bowl eligibility, the Hawkeyes are playing their best football at the right time of the season.
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 10 Michigan, 11 a.m., FOX
On-air talent: Gus Johnson (play-by-play)and Joel Klatt (analysis)
Pick: Ohio State, 42-31. Michigan has averaged 41.5 points during its current four-game winning streak, and it will take that kind of production to beat the hated Buckeyes. Don’t see that happening.
Northwestern at Illinois, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1
On-air talent: Chris Vosters (play-by-play)and Ben Leber (analysis)
Pick: Illinois, 21-14. The Illini should feast a few days after Thanksgiving against a Northwestern team that has been turnover prone all year long. Illinois scores at least one defensive TD and clinches the program’s first winning season since 2011.
Indiana at Purdue, 11 a.m., ESPN2
On-air talent: Anish Shroff (play-by-play)and John Congemi (analysis)
Pick: Indiana, 28-23. The Hoosiers will regain some positive vibes, ending a two-game losing streak with a rivalry win.
Rutgers at No. 12 Penn State, 2:30 p.m., BTN
On-air talent: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play)and Name Name (analysis)
Pick: Penn State, 49-21. Backup quarterback Will Levis — who played most of the second half against Ohio State — could see more snaps this Saturday with Sean Clifford listed as a game-time decision.
No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 9 Minnesota, 2:30 p.m., ABC
On-air talent: Chris Fowler (play-by-play)and Kirk Herbstreit (analysis)
Pick: Wisconsin, 27-24. Jonathan Taylor — coming off three straight 200-yard rushing games — will see to it that Paul Bunyan’s Axe returns to Madison, a year after the Gophers snapped the Badgers’ 14-game winning streak in the series.
Maryland at Michigan State, 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1
On-air talent: John Strong (play-by-play)and Evan Moore (analysis)
Pick: Michigan State, 34-20. The late-season schedule has worked out favorably for the Spartans, who will use wins over Rutgers and Maryland to go bowling.
How sports copy editor Joe Vozzelli Jr. views the races for 2019’s top honors:
BIG TEN MVP
PLAYER, TEAM POS.
1. Chase Young, Ohio State DE
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State QB
3. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State RB
4. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB
5. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota QB
Joe’s take: Chase Young had his Heisman moment last Saturday against Penn State. While the standout defensive end still has work to do to catch LSU’s Joe Burrow, Young’s three sacks, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles during a 28-17 home win over the Nittany Lions — after a two-game suspension, no less — showed why he is the Big Ten’s best overall player.
1. Dele Harding LB
2. Brandon Peters QB
3. Josh Imatorbhebhe WR
4. Reggie Corbin RB
5. Dre Brown RB
Joe’s take: Dele Harding had 82 total tackles during his first three seasons in Champaign. Through 11 games in 2019, the senior linebacker out of Elkton, Md., has surpassed that number with 133 stops, including eight games in which he has posted 10 or more tackles. He’ll get two more chances to add to that total with Northwestern this weekend in Champaign before a bowl game (possibly in New York City) in late December.
BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR
1. P.J. Fleck Minnesota
2. Ryan Day Ohio State
3. James Franklin Penn State
4. Tom Allen Indiana
5. Paul Chryst Wisconsin
Joe’s take: P.J. Fleck got his wish — just a few weeks later than he wanted — with ESPN’s popular College GameDay show in Minneapolis for Minnesota’s rivalry game against Wisconsin. Love him or hate him, the kind of enthusiasm Fleck has created around the Gophers’ program hasn’t been seen by fans of “The U” in a long time.
BIG TEN BOWL OUTLOOK
Playoff Ohio State
Citrus Penn State
Armed Forces Indiana
Music City Illinois
Pinstripe Michigan State
Quick Lane —
Joe’s take: The Big Ten has pinned all of its College Football Playoff hopes on Ohio State. That’s why those in the league office in Rosemont should be rooting for the Buckeyes to beat Michigan this week and either Minnesota or Wisconsin in the conference championship game the following weekend in Indianapolis. The Big Ten, after all, has been shut out of the CFP after each of the past two seasons.