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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz (right) talks with linebacker Djimon Colbert after a play against Rutgers on Sept. 7 (Matthew Putney)
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz (right) talks with linebacker Djimon Colbert after a play against Rutgers on Sept. 7 (Matthew Putney)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Greg Frank on Big Ten Week 3 - Ohio State vs. Indiana and Iowa vs. Iowa State

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Ohio State (-17) @ Indiana (60.5)

Pick: Under 60.5

Indiana redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr’s status is up in the air for this game with an undisclosed injury. Penix Jr. is a dual-threat who could pose problems for the Buckeyes in this conference opener for both teams. Had he been 100% healthy, the Hoosiers catching over two touchdowns would have been a reasonable play. However, with Penix Jr questionable, and Ohio State’s defense looking every bit the part of a National Championship caliber unit, how do the Hoosiers score enough here? The Buckeyes are off of a 42-0 shutout against Cincinnati and are rolling into Bloomington looking like the team to beat in the Big 10 as conference play gets underway. Maybe this is gamesmanship from the Hoosiers and Penix Jr is going to play, but even if he does he’ll likely be somewhat limited. If Indiana wants any chance at shocking the College Football world on Saturday, it will have to play sound defensively against Justin Fields and company and try and grind out a 24-20 type of victory. If that doesn’t happen and Ohio State gets up big in this one, the tempo will slow down in the second half and this game should stay under the total of 60.5. Considering the Buckeyes have much bigger fish to fry in the Big 10, I don’t see what the motivation would be for Ohio State to run this up in the second half anyway. The safer play is to take the under in this one expecting Ohio State to win comfortably and keep Indiana under 20 points.

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Iowa (-1.5) @ Iowa State (43.5)

Pick: Iowa State +1.5

It feels a little square to back the home dog that gets ESPN’s College Gameday on campus for the first time ever. But this spot feels eerily similar to Washington State’s 34-20 victory over Oregon when Gameday visited Pullman for the first time in 2018. The Cougars got out to a 27-0 lead in the first half and never looked back. Here we have an in-state rival coming to Ames which is probably a spot to take a home underdog in anyway. Iowa State barely survived in Week 1 against Northern Iowa and had a bye last week. You would think a Power 5 team that hung on against an FCS team and then had to sit on a lackluster performance for two weeks would come out motivated to play much better in its next game anyway. When it’s a game of this magnitude for the Cyclones, they’re the only side I can play here and will be doing just that.

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