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Ohio State vs. Nebraska Big 10 Football Pick

10/8/11

Nebraska hosts Ohio State in Big 10 action this week as the Huskers look to bounce back from one of their worst defeats since Bo Pelini took over as head coach. Nebraska is a double digit -11 point home favorite this week, up from the opener of -9.5 as it's been all Nebraska at the betting windows thus far, with 80% of the bets being placed coming in on the Huskers.

It's probably safe to say that when you looked ahead at the end of last season to the 2011 football schedule, you didn't expect to see Ohio State listed as an 11 point underdog in this spot. But let's face it, the Buckeyes have big time troubles. Those troubles start at the top and work their way down to the field and Buckeye fans and alumni aren't happy. Have a look at some of the Ohio State fan posting boards and you'll get an idea of just how unhappy folks are. It's good for a laugh if you're a Buckeye hater.

But Nebraska is not without problems of their own, and may be just what the Doctor ordered here for Ohio State. The Cornhuskers we're blown off the field in their "Welcome to the Big 10" game last week in Nebraska, 48-17. They played poorly on both sides of the ball and their problems on offense are not unlike those of the Buckeyes. It's one dimensional.

We'd give Nebraska the QB edge with Taylor Martinez, but not by a wide margin. He gets the edge due to experience and his running ability, but he's still a QB that makes poor decisions and really isn't much of a threat through the air. He threw interceptions on three consecutive drives last week in Wisconsin. The team as a whole, also took some dumb penalties, which combined with the poor play on the field led to the blowout score.

While the Buckeyes are hurting offensively, they make up for it on the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Luke Fickell is a defensive guy, so no surprise that the defensive side of the ball is just fine. What the Buckeyes need is a legitimate offensive coordinator. But, back to the defense. The Buckeyes held Michigan State and Kirk Cousins to just 10 points. The Michigan State offense is a dangerous one with much more to offer than that of Nebraska. The Ohio State defense bent but did not break last week, while forcing 3 turnovers and keeping the Buckeyes in the game, at least on the scoreboard.

Last week against Michigan State there was a huge mismatch comparing the two offenses. That's not the case this week. Martinez will have the Buckeyes chasing him all over the field but he's hardly the threat Cousins was through the air. While the Ohio State offense is struggling, the Nebraska defense has given up 29 to Fresno State, 38 to Washington and 48 last week.

Yards per point numbers favor Ohio State. Offensively, Nebraska comes in 2 points better but Ohio State makes up for that defensively with a 19, very good, to Nebraska's 13.9, not so good. Schedule strength here is close to even. So, using yards per point to make a line, Ohio State would actually be favored. Our score prediction model has Nebraska on top, but by just a field goal, 24-21. Also note turnover differential. Ohio State +4, Nebraska -2.

Both proud programs are looking to bounce back from embarrassing defeats. They'll have to do it with the college football world watching as this game is an 8pm est. start in prime time on ABC. We're going to place faith in the hands of the Ohio State defense here and take the very generous spot. The Buckeye defense kept them in it last week and should do so here. Ohio State +11

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