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2020 College Football Picks: Week Twelve


Ty Fryfogle, Indiana

Current Picks Record: 29-11 (3-3 Upset)

(#9) Indiana Hoosiers @ (#3) Ohio State Buckeyes

Line: Ohio State -20.5

Over/Under: 66.5

Indiana has been one of the great stories of the 2020 college football season, off to a 4-0 start and ranked Top 10 nationally. They have a legitimate shot at a Big Ten East Title, but the team standing in their way is one they haven't beat since 1988. However, this Hoosiers team won't back away from a challenge, and they have a roster that can compete. QB Michael Penix Jr. leads an efficient and balanced offense that should test an Ohio State secondary still figuring things out. The Buckeyes need to find a way to stop the 1-2 combo of Whop Philyor and Ty Fryfogle, which has been an absolute headache for opposing defenses this fall. Fryfogle is coming off a 200-yard showing in Indiana's 24-0 dismantling of Michigan State. Ohio State's front seven has talent and experience, so we will see how Penix handles it. This is a guy that has looked so composed and poised all year, but faces his ultimate test in Ohio State. 

Indiana's defense has also been terrific, helping lead the Hoosiers to a +8 in the turnover margin, tied for second nationally. The thing is, they aren't going to get much opportunities for turnovers against Justin Fields, who simply doesn't throw interceptions. How will this Indiana defense handle an offense like this if they can't turn the ball over? Ohio State can also hit them with their backfield duo of Trey Sermon and Master Teague. Neither is at the level of J.K. Dobbins, but they add a little bit more versatility to this offense, giving OSU even more looks they can give. The Hoosiers have to deal with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson outside, which should challenge an Indiana secondary that is short on star power. Can Indiana also hold up along the trenches? Tom Allen has done a good job building up the defensive front, but they face a Buckeye offensive line full of future NFL guys.

Vegas seems to believe Ohio State will keep on rolling against the Hoosiers, picking the Buckeyes by three touchdowns. I'd be surprised if Indiana isn't able to cover that spread, even if I think the odds are stacked against them trying to get a victory here. They might not come close to OSU in terms of talent, but Allen's kids play hard, and they do some interesting things offensively. The perfect season will likely come to a close here, but I think Indiana puts up a stronger fight than most may believe.

The Pick: Ohio State, 34 Indiana, 20

(#10) Wisconsin Badgers @ (#19) Northwestern Wildcats

Line: Wisconsin -7.5

Over/Under: 44

While Indiana-Ohio State essentially operates as a de-facto Big Ten East Championship Game, the West Division could also be decided this Saturday. Wisconsin returned to the field this past weekend for the first time in two weeks and blew out Michigan 49-11. They remain the heavy favorite in the West, even with Northwestern improving to 4-0 last week. The Badgers offense has been a little bit more explosive than usual in the first two weeks, but Northwestern is the type of team that can bog down an offense. It's probably going to be an exceptionally brutal game in the trenches, where Wisconsin still appears to hold a slight edge. I am curious to see what Badger tailback emerges from the crowded backfield. So far they've used a committee approach, but is true freshman Jalen Berger becoming the go-to guy? Either way, Graham Mertz must still have a productive afternoon. Perhaps that doesn't mean throwing for 300 yards, but instead not turning the ball over and putting Wisconsin in good position. The Northwestern secondary appears solid, but not dominant by any stretch.

The Wildcats opened up their season by pummeling Maryland 43-3, but since then they've had three tight wins. The offense in each bout has been okay, but far from an elite group. QB Peyton Ramsey, a former Indiana transfer, is a rock-solid Big Ten but how much will he test this Badger defense? Ramsey does have some dual threat abilities that could make things interesting, but his supporting cast has been underwhelming. Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson operate as a "lightning and thunder" group out of the backfield, but it's reasonable to think they'll have a tough time against a UW rush defense that once again looks like they are one of the best in the nation. The better option might be through the air, although Ramsey has to make smart decisions. The Badgers confused Michigan's Joe Milton early and forced quick turnovers, allowing them to build a quick lead. In a ball control game, if Northwestern allows Wisconsin to gain an early lead and choke the clock, they're going to be in a bad spot.

Fans of defensive football who have been frustrated with the lack of defense in college football to begin 2020 may take solace in this one. Expect your prototypical Big Ten slugfest, a game of physical defense and ball control. The over/under for this game stands at 44, and yet I still think there is a good chance these teams won't hit that mark. Northwestern does know how to close out tight games and they are at home, but the smart money is still on Wisconsin here. Although their first two opponents haven't exactly been the conference's elite, they've looked very impressive. They simply have more weapons on both sides of the ball, enough to close out this game.

The Pick: Wisconsin, 24 Northwestern, 14

(#14) Oklahoma State Cowboys @ (#18) Oklahoma Sooners

Line: Oklahoma -7

Over/Under: 59

Once again, the "Bedlam" rivalry between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State has major Big 12 implications. The Cowboys are locked in currently at second in the conference, but they face an Oklahoma team that appears to be trending up at the right time. After a potentially disastrous start to 2020 the Sooners have righted the ship, winning their last four games. The primary reason has been the offense finding their rhythm, dropping 62 points in each of their last two bouts. Quarterback Spencer Rattler hasn't been perfect but he's making smarter decisions and letting the game come to him. It also certainly helps when his supporting cast keeps getting better. Tailback Rhamondre Stevenson has returned from suspension and provided a spark, while wide receivers Marvin Mims and Charleston Rambo have stepped up on the perimeter. Oklahoma might need their full offensive strength for this game; Oklahoma State's defense is the best they've had a long time. A pair of linebackers, Amen Ogbongbemiga and Malcolm Rodriguez, have proven that they can impact the game every time they step up on the field. Oklahoma's tempo should still be able to create opportunities, but don't be surprised if the Cowboys do better against this offense than you'd assume.

The Oklahoma State offense has never quit hit its stride so far this 2020, but they still have an abundance of weapons. Back Chuba Hubbard and wide out Tylan Wallace remain two of the best at their position, even if Hubbard has been held in check this year compared to 2019. The Oklahoma State aerial attack is going to be really fascinating to watch. Quarterback Spencer Sanders is back and fully healthy as the starter, but he continues to be very streaky. Tylan Wallace should get his chances on the outside against a very bad Oklahoma secondary, but is there someone else that will be able to step up as well? Despite having Wallace, the lack of a No. 2 option has limited the Cowboy pass offense to a 76th overall ranking. Dillon Stoner may be able to open things up, but Oklahoma State may still need more. The Sooners are still not a good tackling team, especially in space. OSU doesn't have to do anything too creative but simply get their weapons in space. 

Bedlam has long been a wacky, fun rivalry. Oklahoma State has closed the gap on Oklahoma program-wise, but the rivalry remains lopsided. The Sooners have won the last five meetings, with the last Cowboy win coming in an overtime thriller in 2014. This is one of the better Oklahoma State teams in recent memory, but the Sooners remain my pick. It may be a little bit boring to once again side with the favorite, but the Sooners are starting to really hit their stride, and the Cowboys may be worse than their 5-1 record indicates. 

The Pick: Oklahoma, 38 Oklahoma State, 34

Other Picks

(#21) Liberty @ NC State: Liberty, 31 NC State, 23

(#4) Clemson @ Florida State: Clemson, 52 Florida State, 14

(#7) Cincinnati @ UCF: Cincinnati, 37 UCF, 27

Upset: Utah, 27 USC, 21

Double Upset: Appalachian State, 35 Coastal Carolina, 24

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