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Northwestern running back Drake Anderson, center, celebrates with Northwestern offensive lineman Gunnar Vogel (73) and wide receiver Bennett Skowronek (88) after Anderson scored a touchdown against UNLV during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Evanston, Ill.
Northwestern running back Drake Anderson, center, celebrates with Northwestern offensive lineman Gunnar Vogel (73) and wide receiver Bennett Skowronek (88) after Anderson scored a touchdown against UNLV during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Evanston, Ill.|Matt Marton | Associated Press
NCAAF

NCAA Football: Greg Frank picks Big 10 games — Connecticut vs Indiana, Boston College vs Rutgers, and Michigan State vs Northwestern

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Connecticut (+27.5) @ Indiana (57)

Pick: Indiana -27.5

Indiana’s redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr’s status remains up in the air for the Hoosiers heading into Saturday afternoon’s non-conference tilt with the Huskies. Penix was held out of last Saturday’s 51-10 blowout loss against Ohio State which in hindsight looks like the right call by Tom Allen and his staff. Whether Penix returns or not, we’ll lay the lumber with the Hoosiers. Indiana got embarrassed on its home field last week and while Ohio State can do that a lot of teams, we’re banking on a pissed off Hoosiers team to unleash the dogs against a Connecticut team that struggled to beat FCS opponent Wagner 24-21 in its season opener and lost at home to Illinois, the worst team in the Big 10, in Week 2. Indiana needs to at least get bowl eligible in Allen’s third year after back-to-back five-win seasons in Bloomington. If that’s going to happen, the Hoosiers certainly have to take care of business in this one. Obviously, there’s a big difference between a cover and a straight-up win with this big number. However, given the expected motivation we expect the Hoosiers to come out after last week’s loss, we think there’s enough reason to expect Indiana to keep its foot on the gas and cover this number.

Boston College (-8.5) @ Rutgers (57.5)

Pick: Over 57.5

Speaking of embarrassments in college football, there were quite a few in the ACC last week. Georgia Tech lost at home to The Citadel. Pittsburgh kicked a field goal down seven points at Penn State on the one-yard line with less than five minutes remaining. Though, Boston College losing 48-24 against Kansas at home on a Friday night might take the cake. It probably sounds easy to assume the Eagles come out pissed off as well and maybe you are getting them at a discount here given this number is almost certainly 10 or higher if BC had done to Kansas what it should have last week. However, when you lose that badly to a program like Kansas, I’m more inclined to think you’re just not that good. If Kansas can hang 48 on BC on the road, then I certainly have to think Rutgers will move the ball here. Iowa scored 30 against Rutgers in the Scarlet Knights’ Big 10 opener two weeks ago and 27 of those points came in the first three quarters as the Hawkeyes had the game in the bag in the fourth and only got a field goal in the final period. I’d expect Boston College to get up and down the field with ease in the first three quarters, but I don’t think this game will be in the bag after three the way it was for Iowa. Therefore, both teams should still be playing hard in the fourth quarter, and considering I don’t like either defense, I’ll go over the total in this one.

Michigan State (-9.5) @ Northwestern (37.5)

Pick: Northwestern +9.5

How can you lay close to 10 points with a total this low? Michigan State looked like the 2018 offensively-challenged Spartans in a 10-7 loss last week at home against Arizona State. Here are the scores of Michigan State’s last five games against power five opponents:

September 14, 2019: Arizona State 10 Michigan State 7

December 31, 2018: Oregon 7 Michigan State 6

November 24, 2018: Michigan State 14 Rutgers 10

November 17, 2018: Nebraska 9 Michigan State 6

November 10, 2018: Ohio State 26 Michigan State 6

And can we really even call Rutgers a power five team? Whether you believe trends like this will carry over from one season or not, I would sure hope you can see the rationale between taking the points in a game that Vegas is telling you will not have many points in the first place. Throw in Pat Fitzgerald’s success as an underdog against the spread as Northwestern coach, as he is 13-4-1 ATS in his last 18 games as a dog, and the Wildcats are clearly the side to take in this one.

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