Lots of double digit lines this weekend...but that doesn't mean things are guaranteed, right? Right? This week we've got a traditionally competitive slapfight, a lopsided morning game, a lopsided afternoon game, a lopsided night game, and...wait what? Michigan-Indiana ISN'T one of those lopsided afternoon games? Goodness, this is a lot to take in all at once. To the picks:
Minnesota @ Northwestern, 11am CST, ESPN2
Staff Picks: Northwestern, 10-1
Ted: Northwestern. The Jerry Kill coached teams year three breakout is dead. Long live the Jerry Kill coached teams year three breakout.
GoAUpher: I can see the path to a Gopher victory, but it requires Kain and Venric to remain hurt and either A) the Wildcats to come out and play with the level of passion they showed against Wisconsin or B) the Gophers to execute at a level they haven't hit for 4 quarters yet.
C.E. Bell: Northwestern - judge slowly. Northwestern is not as bad as their last game (when their offense was horrible and did nothing all day; the offense's inability to stay on the field then directly impacted the defense, which actually played well for awhile before getting worn down). I think NU is still gonna make some Legends Division-contention noise, and hosting the Gophers is a good chance to get back on track. (NOTE: Please God let Kain Colter and Venric Mark be healthy....)
MNW: The 'Cats rediscover their offensive identity by the second quarter and play a methodical, grinding game against the Gophers, employing Treyvon Green between the tackles and finding Dan Vitale for a long score. Cold, windy, potentially sloppy conditions keep it close in a traditional Gophers-Wildcats game. NU, 27-17
Green Akers: Northwestern- if Fitz can't get some joie de vivre in his team for this game, he's going to have to start rolling the ball up the hill all over again as far as national respect goes. NW, 38-20.
Purdue @ Michigan State, 11am, BTN
Staff Picks: Michigan State, 11-0
CfB: Michigan State, because [REDACTED] is still [REDACTED]. #NBE, same as the #OBE.
GA: MSU- It's getting to the point where it's fair to ask if Purdue this year is up there with Illinois last year or Indiana the year before. Why do we as a conference keep putting one truly awful team out there? MSU, 31-10.
C.E. Bell: Michigan State: Great defense, I'll grant you. But every game MSU has played has been against weak/fundamentally flawed teams, and Purdue is no exception. We're not going to have any idea about MSU until November (Michigan, at Nebraska, at Northwestern).
Jesse: MSU: Nebraska held Purdue to a last minute TD last week. MSU is like, infinity times better at the defense thing than Nebraska. As BRT said, Etling might be murdered on the field this week.
Ted: Michigan State. Purdue should just quit this football thing.
Indiana @ Michigan, 2:30pm, BTN
Staff Picks: Michigan, 7-4
hail2orangeandblue: Indiana over Michigan. Wolverines don't seem interested this year, probably Indiana's best team.
CfB: Indiana, because no one thought we could beat Penn State either.
Hilary: Indiana (I wanted to pick an upset)
GoAUpher: Michigan. Indiana is better. They are not win in the Big House better.
Ted: Michigan. But this isn't your LOL HAHAHA HOOSIERS anymore.
GA: Though I was awwwwfully tempted to go with the upset here, Hoke still doesn't lose in the Big House. This IS still Meatchicken, fewgawdsakes. If UM can't run on Indiana, their ultimate goal for the season should be no higher than the Gator Bowl. UM, 45-42 OT.
Iowa @ #4 Ohio State, 2:30pm, ABC/ESPN2
Staff Picks: OSU, 11-0
Jesse: Ohio State: At home and with more talent, the Buckeyes win. Not sure if it will be a blowout, but OSU is the better team.
MNW: Will Iowa try to sell out to stop Carlos Hyde? Will Braxton Miller be able to beat them if they do? I can see Iowa's LBs keeping Miller contained for the most part, but that doesn't mean Devin Smith won't beat them down the side. Mark Weisman has trouble getting running, Rudock can't keep up with Miller, and OSU wins comfortably. Buckeyes, 38-21.
GoAUpher: Ohio State. Iowa will punt from inside Ohio States 40 at least once because watching Brady Hoke last week created a spontaneous pants party in the Ferentz household.
(Ted note: 'Spontaneous pants party in the Ferentz household' needs to be the title of this piece.) (MNW note: Your wish is my command.)
Ted: Ohio State. Iowa's offensive identity is like Wisconsin's. Except without the strong running game. And Joel Stave. And Jared Abbrederis. Bucks win big, or should.
#25 Wisconsin @ Illinois, 7pm, BTN
Staff Picks: Wisconsin, 11-0
C.E. Bell: Wisconsin: The Badgers are only 13 or 14 point favorites against an Illini squad that gave up 273 rushing yards to Washington and 335 rushing yards to Nebraska? That's a "bet your life savings" opportunity right there. Badgers roll up 50+ points, hold Illini to single digits.
Jesse: Wisconsin: Because did you see what Nebraska's rushing attack did to the Illini?
MNW: What Chad and Jesse said. Bucky, 48-10.
GA: Wisconsin- If Nebraska trampled the Illini without their starting QB, I shudder to think about the beatin' of all beatins' Gordon's going to uncork on them. UW, 52-17.
CfB: #25 Wisconsin, because Illinois can't have nice things, and upsetting Bucky would be a very nice thing.
hail2orangeandblue: Wisconsin over Illinois. Illini stay close, but Badgers will run all over them and pull away.
Pick 'em in the comments, folks! We talking chalk this week, or will there be an upset?