College football's smartest picks contest.
It's about time. After nine straight weeks of self-apparent obsolescence, the fans took one to the house on the hanchos. So begins the eleventh hour.
Week 10 Obligatory Results
AZNSENSATION (a.k.a. Rose Bowl Game -- The Granddaddy of Them All)
|BIGTENTRAVELER (a.k.a. The Fiesta Bowl -- in charge of the at large. And, the preferred point of call for first-timers in the BCS)
|ESTRADA (a.k.a. The Orange Bowl -- would be cool, except for the whole ACC Champion gets an automatic bid thing.)
|FRANZ (a.k.a. Capital One Bowl -- just happy to be playing after New Years)
|HOOKMANIA (a.k.a. Chick-Fil-a Bowl -- it's the highest attended non-BCS bowl game, that's gotta count for something, right?)
|BAMAHAWKEYE (a.k.a. Motor City Bowl -- wasn't it you who said worst case scenario's inevitably lead to Detroit?)
|FILLER (a.k.a. Queso on the couch bowl -- like his beloved Wolverines Graham will be home for the holidays. Thanks again Bama).
Week 10 Franz v. Filler winner FRANZ
With the tenacity of a Wimbeldon Final, Franz strikes again on the baseline. Deuce, 5-5.
OVERALL winner AZNSENSATION
It's true, for just the second time this season a lowly fan has bested the ego-pros. Congratulations, AZN, your prize (chore) is a 500 word piece of real estate on the front page of The Rivalry, Esq. Say anything you want, and e-mail Franz.firstname.lastname@example.org when you're finished with your diatribe.
Crystal Ball Call (pick of the week): NORTHWESTERN by 7 (AZNSENSATION). This perfect prescience earned our overall winner the maximum individual game alottment of points. Not only did he pick the winner (+1), but he nailed the spread (+2) by an exact margin (+2) riding on an upset (+2). What he should have said was "Northwestern for 7." Northwestern 24, Minnesota 17.
Hindsight is 20/20: INDIANA by 11 (FRANZ). Should have known better. CMU 37, IU 34.
It's a new day at midnight. Week 11:
1. No. 11 OHIO STATE at No. 24 NORTHWESTERN 12:00 p.m. EST, ESPN 2
If Bacher is healthy, he will start. But Kafka's mobility became quite obvious against Mini, so his presence on the field won't be balked at either. NW is a physical team, as proven by the Wooten and the Shonn Greene hit, but so are the Bucks. OSU's bend but don't break defense has been solid in the red zone, while the Northwestern offense has been inefficient in the red zone. Tressel gets another NW blowout.
FRANZ predicts OSU by 10
The big question here is how does Ohio State handle their national championship hopes being dashed and a rocky bye-week? I think Graham is onto something when he mentions the brute physicality of the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball. The last time we saw the scarlet they matched the Nittany Lions tit for tat on the line and in the backfield. I like the Ohio State defense and its concussive precision to suffocate the Wildcat attack (sans Tyrell Sutton). After that, it's up to the offense to get by their greatest tormentor: third down.
2. PURDUE at No. 18 MICHIGAN STATE 12:00 p.m. EST, Big 10 Network
FILLER predicts MICHIGAN STATE by 10
Riding the momentum of a great victory over Wisky at home, the Spartans need to get Javon Ringer on track. A soft hitting Purdue linebacking corps may be just what MSU needs.
FRANZ predicts PURDUE by 3
Two words: Justin Siller. In his first career start the dude was 21 for 34 for 266 yards and three touchdowns. The Spartans have struggled against this kind of mobilized spread attack (see California). Did you really think Joe Tiller was going down without a fight?
3. WISCONSIN at INDIANA 12:00 p.m. EST, Big Ten Network
FILLER predicts WISCONSIN by 14
The Hoosiers hope to recreate the hard hitting defensive magic they dialed up against Northwestern, but Wisconsin will bring its deep stable of big backs and a revitalized running game (500 yards rushing in its last two games). It looks as if the Wisconsin coaches finally found what works in the rushing game: mini-sweeps and the traditional off tackle straight handoffs.
FRANZ predicts WISCONSIN by 21
After a four-game dive, the DOA Badgers bounced back against Illinois, only to lose a heartbreaker in East Lansing. Again, they'll brave the road, only this time they'll face a bit of a jellyfish in an IU squad that rates eighth in conference in defending the rush.
4. MICHIGAN at MINNESOTA 12:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
FILLER predicts MICHIGAN by 8
These teams have played a couple ultra-memorable games in the last few years; remember the 32 point Wolverine comeback in the Dome in 2003 or the late touchdown jaunt by Gary Russell (maybe?) to give Mini a victory at the Big House? Mini is the better team by far, featuring a well run offense with Adam Weber and a hard hitting defense. But Michigan is showing that maybe they can run with the Spread; Brandon Minor has picked up 110 rushing yards per game the last three weeks behind a mix of zone blocking schemes.
FRANZ predicts MICHIGAN by 14
Dammit. I really don't want to pick these guys. The Golden Gophers lead the Wolverines in total yards, passing yards, and points scored. But they struggle against the run, and big blue is riding a five game losing streak. Ann Arbor just doesn't do that. Here we go again.
5. ILLINOIS at WESTERN MICHIGAN 12:00 p.m. EST, ESPN 360
This Ford Field showdown features the surprising Bronco's, led by quarterback Tim Hiller and his MAC Leading 317 ypg. The MAC has three victories against the Big 10 this year and Western would love to notch the fourth here. The Illinois' defense looked great against Iowa, sacking Stanzi six times and scoring a defensive TD. But Illinois has lost all three games played against high level QBs, getting beat by Chase Daniel, Daryll Clark, and Eric Decker.
FRANZ predicts ILLINOIS by 7
This game will come down to the turnover margin. Illinois is learning to cover the pass (allowing 6.9 yards per attempt, and boasting 5 interceptions), while Western Michigan isn't dropping the ball (10 interceptions total). I think Juice Williams plays it safe, and carries the Illini out of Motor City.
6. No. 3 PENN STATE at IOWA 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC
FILLER predicts PENN STATE by 16
The Big 10's commissioners office is holding a "Lets Go Penn State" party for this game. The Nittany Lion's are the obvious favorite; logic dictates that if the hard hitting PSU defense can slow Juice Williams, Terrelle Pryor, and Lyle Moevao, than handling Ricky Stanzi won't be too much of an issue. Iowa needs to slow this game to a crawl and never let the passing element of the Spread HD get uncorked.
FRANZ predicts PENN STATE by 21
Remember when No. 1 Ohio State visited Kinnick Stadium in 2006? Everyone thought that would be an upset too. The Lions are rested and ready. Iowa is fourth in conference in passing defense and second in conference against the run. Expect those numbers to change.
7. No. 9 OKLAHOMA STATE at No. 2 TEXAS TECH 8:00 p.m. EST, ABC
FILLER predicts TEXAS TECH by 14
Graham Harrell doesn't get a week to relax and bask in being the #1 Heisman Contender; instead he faces a Ok St Team with an offense ranked in the top 10 and a defense that limited Colt McCoy to 28 points. Even better, Ok St ran a brilliant defensive scheme against Mizzou, forcing Chase Daniel into three picks. Can they get to Harrell the same way?
FRANZ predicts TEXAS TECH by 10
I get it now. Tech picked up mega-blitzes last week like Obama picked up swing states. Oklahoma State is a solid and innovative football team, with a serious rush. The Red Raiders are second in the Big 12 in defending the middle. The Cowboys may be rough riders but they're not the fastest draw.