I was initially underwhelmed by this week's slate, but hey, OSU's got to take a break from shattering dreams at some point, right? This week we've got the Old Brass Brouhaha, Nebraska looking to get off the schneid versus [REDACTED], the Emotionally Spent Bowl, and probably the least-hyped game between two of our "kings" that I can remember. To the picks:
Indiana @ Michigan State, 12:00 ET, ESPN2: Staff Picks MSU (10) over Indiana (2)
Ted Glover: MSU. Truly the irresistable force against the immovable object. Indiana took a big step forward for their program last week, but I think MSU is going to get the win here. But when the clock hits 0:00, MSU will know they've been in a dogfight. I really like what Kevin Wilson is doing, but man, MSU's defense is world class. If anyone could score points against them, it would be Indiana, but I expect Sparty to largely contain the Hoosiers, get a couple turnovers, and create a short field for their offense. Indiana's defense took a big step forward last week, but Sparty should be able to put enough points on the board to win a 27-20-type game.
C.E. Bell: Michigan State: I feel bad about this pick, though, because Indiana's offense can score on anyone. Could be an interesting game.
hail2orngeNblue: Michigan St.-Indiana goes bowling but this wont be one of their wins. I think MSU not getting credit they deserve
Candystripes for Breakfast: Indiana: Because I believe in miracles. Also, I still don't trust Sparty's offense, even against whichever IU defense shows up Saturday.
Nebraska @ Purdue, 12:00 ET, BTN: Staff Picks Nebraska (Unanimous) over Purdue
MNWildcat: Tommy Armstrong, Jr. is the future in Lincoln. Danny Etling is probably the future in West Lafayette. Armstrong's only had to attempt 28 passes on the year, and he's gone 20/28 for 304, 3 TDs, and nary a pick. Etling got thrown into the MACtion against NIU and went 19/39 for 241, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. This game could have some shootout-ish features, but Purdue's something like 28% on third down, Nebraska has agreed to just ride Ameer Abdullah into the sunset, and Purdue is still Purdue. Shit, I forgot to tell a joke. Huskers, 41-27.
Jesse Collins: Nebraska: I hate picking Nebraska ATS because, well, they suck ATS. But hey, Purdue is kind of awful. Abdullah is going to see a lot of daylight, Martinez gets to rest two more weeks before the real B1G schedule comes up, and the WR tandem of Bell and Enunwa light up a weak Purdue defense.
Ted Glover: Nebraska. Not really much to say about this one, except it should be over by the coin toss. Give Taylor Martinez an extra week of rest to get his turf toe healed and play Tommy Armstrong, Jr., pull the rest of the starters by halftime, and get out of there with a big win and no major injuries.
Graham Filler: Nebraska. [Ed. note: 'Nuff said, really.]
#19 Northwestern @ Wisconsin, 3:30 ET, ABC, ESPN2: Staff Picks Wisconsin (7*) over Northwestern (4)
GoAUpher: Northwestern: I'm probably going to be wrong here, but purple kool-aid is tasty.
Hilary Lee: Wisconsin... No.. Northwestern... No.... Wisconsin... I DON'T KNOW WHO TO CHOOSE
Jesse Collins: Wisconsin: When Vegas picks a line in a massive way like this, in a way that confuses me to no end, I just walk away and say Wisconsin can win. Northwestern is for real, but this game is in Madison and I actually think Northwestern might be emotionally spent. Talk about a tough two week stretch.
MNWildcat: Ugh. Northwestern will not have Sean McEvilly. The 'Cats employed a 4-DE set on passing downs with some success against the Buckeyes, but sadly, the Badgers are not the Buckeyes. But you know what? Screw it. The 'Cats play ball control with Kain Colter and Venric Mark, then play the Northwestern passing control game with Trevor Siemian and Mike Trumpy ("the BALL-CARR-IE-ER"). Time of possession matters and the D finds a stop in the 4th quarter. I don't need to make angsty posts on Sunday night: 'Cats, 34-28.
#18 Michigan @ Penn State, 5:00 ET, ESPN: Staff Picks Michigan (10) over Penn State (2)
C.E. Bell: Penn State: I think BOB gets his team to bounce back and win a close one at home....plus Michigan really struggles on the road.
Green Akers: Michigan, probably something like 31-20. I still don't buy the Wolverines as a quality team, and Hoke has a tendency to stub his toe on the road, but UM might be getting heart-and-soul LB Jake Ryan back this week. Even if he's not fully up to speed yet, he could provide this defense the emotional leader they seem to lack.
Aaron Yorke: Michigan: I've lost a lot of faith in Christian Hackenberg over the past couple of weeks. His future is still bright, but the present is cloudy. The back end of the Penn State defense could also use some improvement, so I expect the Wolverines to come away with the win.
Hilary Lee: Michigan - Did you watch the game against Indiana? Hahahahah.
So there they are, and with a pretty high degree of staff agreement outside of the Wisconsin-Northwestern game, too. With that in mind, let me be the first to congratulate Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State on their now-pending upsets.
*As her comment implies, Hilary didn't make a pick for this game, but I'll mention that her email thumbnail photo features her with a wedge of cheese on her head. Methinks thy preferences are betrayed, milady.