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FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2018, file photo, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald directs his team from the sidelines during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Ohio State in Indianapolis. It seems no one is talking about Northwestern even though it won the Big Ten West last year. The chatter surely will start if the Wildcats beat the Cardinal on the road Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2018, file photo, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald directs his team from the sidelines during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Ohio State in Indianapolis. It seems no one is talking about Northwestern even though it won the Big Ten West last year. The chatter surely will start if the Wildcats beat the Cardinal on the road Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Big Ten college football: Frank picks UMASS at Rutgers Friday night, Ball State at Indiana and Northwestern at Stanford Saturday afternoon

First game is Friday at 7:15 pm EDT

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

UMass (+16.5) @ Rutgers (55.5)

Friday, August 30 at 7:15 PM ET

Pick: Pass

You know it’s week one of College Football season when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are laying over two touchdowns. Rutgers actually won big in its opener last year over Texas State 35-7, but followed that up with 11 straight losses to end the season. We might see the Scarlet Knights use multiple quarterbacks in this one and you know how the old saying goes. If you play multiple quarterbacks, it’s because you don’t have any. Therefore, I can’t feel good about laying the lumber with the Scarlet Knights. However, if I was going to play the game, I’d go over 55.5 considering the UMass defense allowed 43 points per game last year. So, if you’re dying for a pick, that’s the one I’d make, but the quarterback uncertainty for Rutgers has me staying away altogether here.

Ball State (+18) vs Indiana (60)

Saturday, August 31 at 12:00 PM ET

Pick: Indiana -18

An in-state rivalry game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is the second game we’ll highlight here. I have to think Indiana is going to be fully motivated in this one which is always the concern when laying double digits. The Hoosiers are coming off back-to-back seasons without a bowl game appearance and in year three under Tom Allen should at least be striving to play a 13th game this season. Ball State has gone five straight seasons without a bowl appearance so the last thing the Hoosiers want to do is get embarrassed by the group of five little brother in Indiana. The Hoosiers should get out early in this one and probably will want to pour it on in the second half. The line opened with Indiana laying 16.5 and has been bet up to 18 and I’ll follow the move.

Northwestern (+6.5) @ 25 Stanford (47.5)

Saturday, August 31 at 3:30 PM ET

Picks: Northwestern +6.5 and Under 47.5

This feels like two programs going in opposite directions. This is not to suggest that Stanford is about to fall off the map. The Cardinal did still squeak into the preseason Top 25. However, David Shaw’s teams were regularly atop the Pac 12 and playing in New Year’s Six bowl games. Now, they’ve failed to win 10 games in back-to-back seasons. On the other hand, Northwestern opened some eyes winning the wide open Big 10 West last season and is definitely a buy here as the underdog. The Wildcats equaled Stanford’s nine wins last year and won 10 games in 2017. In their last 17 games under coach Pat Fitzgerald as an underdog, Northwestern is 13-3-1 ATS and has 10 outright wins. I can only look one way in this one and it’s the Wildcats catching close to a touchdown and I also think a Northwestern cover means it slows the game down and plays this one like it’s a grind-it-out affair late in the season in the Big 10. Therefore, I like the game under 47.5 points as well.

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