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Nebraska vs. Michigan Big 10 Football Pick with Analysis

11/19/11

Nebraska (8-2) will look to keep its Big Ten Legends division hopes alive on Saturday when they do battle with the Michigan Wolverines (8-2) at Michigan Stadium. They need some help from Indiana or Northwestern, the two remaining opponents for Legends leader Michigan State, but a loss here would completely eliminate them from contention. In fact both squads are 4-2 in conference play but Nebraska owns a win over division leader Michigan State while Michigan lost to the Spartans. Plenty to play for both teams even if the Big 10 title looks out of reach as the more games you win, the better the bowl game you end up in.

Michigan is favored by -3.5 points with a posted total of 51 at Betonline.

Michigan is back on track after taking down the slumping Illinois Illini. Before that they lost to Iowa. Now they get to return home for what figures to be the biggest game yet for HC Brady Hoke. The Wolverines are undefeated at home with a win over Notre Dame.

Super star QB Denard Robinson left the game early last week, but he is expected to be 100% for this game. The flashy runner is slumping a bit, but he is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. It will be interesting to see what kind of schemes Nebraska uses to stop him.

Minus a crushing loss to Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers have looked strong all year. Their only other loss was against Northwestern. They own victories over Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State and Washington. The multi talented Taylor Martinez plays QB for Nebraska. HC Bo Pelini has done a great job of taking advantages of all that he brings to the table. He was a bit shaky last week completing  13 of 26 for 143 yards and rushing for 56 yards on 19 attempts. On the year Martinez has gained 768 yards and 9 TDs with his legs.

RB Rex Burkhead has come to life for the Huskers. The junior has scored in every game this season. In total he has rushed for 1,072 yards and 14 TDs. He's going to be a pivotal part of this show down.

No question the Wolverines had the benefit of an early schedule that was soft. Their toughest game was a 35-31 home win over Notre Dame. Their schedule got more difficult over the last 4 games.  In those games they are 2-2, losing to Michigan State and Iowa, both on the road and beating and Purdue.

For Nebraska, losing to Northwestern and getting blown out buy a weak Ohio State offense in the first half of their game shows their vulnerabilities defensively which Michigan should be able to exploit as well. Both of these teams can move the ball but it's the Michigan defense that figures to be the difference here. Playing at home and catching Nebraska on the road for the 2nd consecutive week doesn't hurt either, especially after being involved in last weeks emotional Penn State game. The last time Nebraska played their 2nd straight on the road they were blown out by Wisconsin.

Our model has Michigan by a score of 28-18. We think it will likely be closer than that and likely will not get involved in a serious way unless this number is under a field goal. So, for now, an opinion only. Michigan -3.5
 

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