We head into the second half of the conference season with yet another 4 game conference schedule. I hate these four weeks schedules. It's like being in school again and only getting a four day weekend over Christmas instead of a two week break. It sucks, and I'll be glad when we have these two bye week schedules in the rear view mirror.
Anyways, enough griping. Let's get on to the predictions:
Penn State at Ohio State:
Green Akers: OSU. Cue Imperial March. Penn State's shallowest position group is its secondary, and that's a bad, bad place to be shallow against Devin Smith. Like all their other games in the conference to this point, OSU will look beatable, possibly even trail, through 2, maybe even 3 quarters, but the problem is as I understand it we play 4 quarters 'round these parts and Carlos Hyde is turning into the best closer in college football. Urbz blasts BO'B with Force lightning after the game. OSU 38, PSU 27
Cory: It's at home for the Buckeyes. Indiana gave us the primer on how to beat PSU. Carlos Hyde will beat PSU senseless. I don't see a way in which PSU can hold out in the long run. They'll keep it close into half, then OSU pulls away in the second half. Buckeyes, 35-20
Chad: Don't ask me why, but I can see Christian Hackenberg making this a game, and Ohio State is due for a loss. PSU 24 - OSU 17.
Ted: OSU. Penn State got shredded by Indiana, they're on the road, and OSU is in the hunt for a national title. Christian Hackenberg and Allen Robinson might keep it close for a half, but Penn State can easily be made one dimensional, and OSU just has too much firepower. Miller will have a big game, Carlos Hyde will morph into a battering ram again, and I'd like to think OSU's defense finally clamps down a passing attack. I'm not optimisitic, but I am hopeful. OSU 31-13
Jesse: Ohio State: They haven't looked pretty, but that coaching staff adjusts in-game with the best of them and that's a huge advantage. I think PSU makes an early game, but Ohio State pulls away in the second half comfortably.
GoAUpher: Ohio State - They may not be better than Florida State or Oregon, but they're better than PSU.
Aaron Yorke: PSU may slow down the Bucks' rushing game, but the secondary is too soft to keep them close. Christian Hackenberg will make some plays with Allen Robinson, but also a couple of turnovers. OSU 31-20
Mike Jones: Ohio State - Penn State forfeits the game after Bradley Roby decapitates someone.
Northwestern at Iowa:
Green Akers: Iowa. I don't know if Sean McEvilly is expected to be back, but even with him I wouldn't expect much success in slowing a run game that looked pretty impressive in the Horseshoe last week, not to mention Iowa really might be on to something with the 3-TE look they broke out against the Buckeyes. Northwestern's best chance to win this one is if Trevor Siemian turns in a good game against an Iowa secondary that loves to be out of position, but for whatever reason, Fitz doesn't seem willing to go back to the gameplan that made Northwestern what it is. You have lots of good receivers, Wizgerald, plus without Mark your run game is garbage. Get back to what you do best until Venric and Kain can run free together. Iowa 31, NW/jNW/jTW/whatever derogatory term we're using now 23
Cory: Kain Colter is listed as starting on the two-deep, but I don't buy it. We'll see more of Trevor Siemian and more avoiding the offense which has given Iowa fits for the last decade. So screw normal analysis: Iowa beat Minnesota by 16. Minnesota beat Northwestern by 3. That means Iowa is 19 points better than Northwestern, right? Well, 19 points is an awkward margin for a football game. Hawkeyes, 31-14.
Chad: I don't want to talk about it, unless I know Kain Colter at minimum is back. Iowa 27-NU 10.
Ted: I thought Northwestern was just average without Venric Mark and Kain Colter, but they're just plain bad. Trevor Siemian got exposed by the Gophers, and when Mike Trumpy is your best offensive weapon left on the field, you're in trouble, Jack. Iowa smoked OSU on the line of scrimmage for two and a half quarters last week, and Mark Weisman had a good game. He's going to go all Carlos Hyde on Northwestern's porous rush defense. Iowa 27-10
Jesse: Iowa: Since we're all picking Iowa, this is totally the game Fitz does crazy Wizardly things to win the game... or I think that's how this goes.
GoAUpher: Northwestern - The Evil Wizgerald turns to a different type of tuberous root plant (my guess is a yam) and turns it into an instrument of destruction bred for a single purpose...to make Iowa fans melt down after a loss to jTW.
Aaron Yorke: I'm still not a huge Iowa believer. Northwestern reclaims some of the magic that made an upset versus Ohio State seem plausible. NU 21-20.
Mike Jones: The Wildcats are reeling, have injuries all over the board and Iowa has been playing better as of late. All indications point to Iowa winning. That's why I'm going to pick Northwestern.
Nebraska at Minnesota:
Green Akers: Nebraska. I'm pretty sure last week's win, nice as it was, was more a function of Northwestern having a bad game than Minnesota being good. I guess, if you squint hard enough, you could see Minnesota's D-line having a big enough day against a Nebraska offense trying to replace Spencer Long that this stays competitive. And mayyybe Nebraska's defense will turn in another ugly day to help keep it interesting. Still, that's a couple of maybes and I expect Nebraska to keep rolling. Nebraska 41, Minnesota 20
Cory: Nebraska is better than Northwestern. Minnesota is still not that great (not me being bitter, I swear). I don't think Nebraska will struggle with the Gophers' D-line quite the way that the 'Cats did, even without Spencer Long. Huskers, 38-17.
Chad: Huskers will run it effectively enough to win this easily, even though Minny is improving. Huskers 35 - Minny 17.
Ted: Minnesota can keep this close for awhile, but they don't have the horses to win. Nebraska's defense has gotten better, and the Gophers are too unsettled between Mitch Leidner and Philip Nelson. Minnesota's win in Evanston was more about Northwestern going south than Minnesota heading north, and the Gophers still have a ways to go to get to the level of a Nebraska. Nebraska 38-21
Jesse: Nebraska: Another bye week gave some injuries time to heal. I think this game could be sloppy for the Huskers as they break in continuity on the OL. Still, they should win.
GoAUpher: YAY FOR BEATING NORTHWESTERN! Thanks to that game, I am now able to see a path to a Gopher victory. However, much like last week I think it's a path that includes too many what ifs to be something I expect. Gopher fans come into this game in a better mood, the home team gives Nebraska a fight early, but the Huskers end up winning by 10-14.
Aaron Yorke: Nebraska faces its toughest test of the conference season so far but still pulls away. Nebraska 41-20.
Mike Jones: Nebraska. I forgot Nebraska was even in the Big Ten. Did they take a 5 week bye or something?
Michigan State at Illinois:
Green Akers: Michigan State. This will definitely be the win that locks up that BCS bid for MSU, you guys. Oh...no, huh? Illinois is the last opponent for about a month that MSU should beat regardless of whether good Connor Cook or evil Connor Cook shows up. #Cubit4Heisman notwithstanding, I don't see much on this offense that makes me concerned for the Spartan defense. I'd also like to think a less-than-inspired performance against [REDACTED] will have gotten MSU's attention enough to prevent any looking ahead at the next game, which may or may not be kind of a big deal. MSU 24, Illinois 6
Cory: Illinois tries and tries and tries to establish some running. They fail. MSU tries and tries and tries to establish an offense. They succeed, but only a couple times. Spartans, 20-7.
Chad: MSU's defense takes away nice things like all semblance of an offense from Illinois. Sparty 27 - Illinois 3.
Ted: Illinois has now gotten blown out in back to back losses, they've lost three of their last four, and the early good time rock and roll vibe coming from Chambana is starting to recede. MSU has one of the best defenses in the country, and as improved as the Bill Cubit offense has been this year, they're going to hit a buzzsaw Saturday. I guess if there's an upset in the making, I'd pick Illinois, because I still don't trust the MSU offense, but I just don't see it. MSU produces just enough offense while the Sparty defense coils itself around the Illini like an Anaconda, slowly squeezing the life out of them. MSU 23-3.
Jesse: MSU: Illinois' offense is better under Cubit, but MSU's defense is the best they will have seen and that will end poorly for the Illini.
GoAUpher: MSU wins. Who knows which Conner Cook shows up though.
Aaron Yorke: The Spartans failed to cover the spread versus Purdue, but this week Vegas is being a little more generous. MSU 24-10.
Mike Jones: MSU - Sparty on.