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The Obligatory Predictions Competition - Week 5

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Did you score less points than a Big Ten offense in Week 4?  Are you ready to put up Nintendo numbers?  Here's your chance.

1. No. 22 MICHIGAN at MICHIGAN STATE, 12:00 p.m. EST (10/3), Big Ten Network

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GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts MICHIGAN by 10

4-0 versus 1-3 never looked this evenly linked, with Vegas putting this as a pick 'em line. Everyone's confidence was shaken last week as Michigan's golden boy, Tate Forcier, sustained a shoulder injury and the Michigan defense continued to give up points and yards at will. So the question remains - Will this be the week that a Wolverine opponent hangs 50 on the injury prone and harried Michigan D?

I see two keys to this game. Key One. Michigan QB's need to learn to release the ball before they get hurried and take big hits. The instant Robinson and Forcier learn this, the team improves. Key Two. Michigan would do well to take a page from Wisconsin's defensive playbook of last week. The Badgers stacked the line and dropped into a zone coverage that stopped eight yard dump offs and forced Cousins and Nichols to throw into traffic. While the Spartans made some big plays, the QB's also threw three picks.

The magic continues for the Maize and Blue.

LAW BUCKEYE predicts MICHIGAN STATE by 7

Michigan somehow managed to make it through the entire month of September without leaving Ann Arbor.  That will change quickly as famous Freshman quarterback Tate Forcier leaves the friendly bubble of the Big House and enters hostile Spartan Stadium.  The good news for the Wolverines?  Forcier is battle tested and good as advertised.  The young leader has already thrown 2 late fourth quarter touchdowns to carry Michigan past Notre Dame and Indiana.  The health of Forcier's shoulder, and its impact on the passing game, will determine whether Michigan can prey on a Spartan secondary that ranks 10th in conference.  The bad news for the Wolverines?  Their defense showed its vulnerability against Indiana last week, giving up 33 points to the Hoosiers at home -- and that's not counting IU's missed opportunities.  I think the shaky Spartans steal their second in a row from Big Brother, if they can take care of the football and avoid the interception bug that plagued them against Wisconsin.


2. WISCONSIN at MINNESOTA, 12:00 p.m. EST (10/3), ESPN 360

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GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts WISCONSIN by 10

A close enough line to be a pick 'em, I continue my streak of picking against Minnesota. I don't really think they turned a corner against Northwestern in the run game, I think EVERYONE turns the corner against that Wildcat defense. Wisky has a consistent offensive scheme that hasn't been slowed by anyone and a quarterback who all of a sudden has weapons, yes folks, fully developed weapons in the Badger passing game! 

LAW BUCKEYE predicts WISCONSIN by 10

It's tough to pick against Minnesota.  They've faced a more difficult schedule than the Badgers.  They've won convincingly in conference on the road.  They're also playing in their newly christened stadium, a place where they're undeniably resilient.  It goes against my better judgment, but the truth is I like what I'm seeing in Madison, specifically what I'm seeing in Scott Tolzien.  He's played three games without throwing an interception.  He sliced and diced the Spartan secondary last week for 243 yards.  Sure, Michigan State is 10th in conference in passing defense and Minnesota is 5th.  But the Golden Gophers are 9th against the run, and it just so happens Wisky can run the ball (2nd in the Big Ten).


3. NORTHWESTERN at PURDUE, 12:00 p.m. EST (10/3), Big Ten Network


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GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts NORTHWESTERN by 3

Vegas made Purdue a touchdown favorite early, obviously citing the horrendous Northwestern defense as a reason. No pressure on the QB, no tackling, and weak secondary play has made the Wildcat D the most disappointing unit in the Big Ten. Can they improve against a healthy Purdue offense that has been better than everyone thought?

I see another Kafka-esque game from the Big Ten leader in passing yards. 27-35, 330 yards, two touchdowns, and probably one inopportune pick. It'll be enoough against a Purdue defense has been picked apart by NIU, Akron, Oregon (late in the game), and a Wildcat option of Notre Dame's when Clausen went down.

LAW BUCKEYE predicts PURDUE by 7

In every category but one Purdue has grossly exceeded expectations.  They came within 1:01 of besting Oregon at Autzen Stadium, losing by just 2 points.  You might remember a Top 10 team that just was disemboweled there last  weekend.  They came within 24.8 seconds of handing Notre Dame its second loss.  You might have heard, that's a BCS bowl favorite.  The bottom line is Purdue is 12 points away from being 4-0.  It's high time they pull one out.  Northwestern's defense has left something to be desired.  This week, Hope prevails in West Lafayette.  Boiler up!


3. No. 8 OKLAHOMA at No. 17 MIAMI, 8:00 p.m. EST (10/3), ABC

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GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts MIAMI by 7

Sam Bradford is my difference maker here. If he stays out, the Sooners stand a better chance of winning. Yup, that's right. Mr. Heisman needs to take a slow recovery, allow Landry Jones's Mustache to run the show for a couple more weeks, and then spring into action during Big 12 play. We all saw what a good defense and a bad quarterback could do against Miami. Does Bob Stoops really want to push a fragile Bradford out there with the green O-Line that caused the injury in the first place with it's missed block? Vegas likes Ohhhhklahoma by a touchdown here, but everyone is betting under that spread because it's a road game and the Hurricanes have some playmakers on a much improved offense. I'm taking the Canes at home and praying those vicious crossing routes and screens they ran so effectively against FSU and GT go all night against Oklahoma.

By the way, I was commenting earlier on the names of these Southern quarterbacks. Case? Colt? Landry? What in the world? I guess this is how you name kids down in Texas and them parts - Take a look at whatever you're drinkin' or whatever is in your backyard...And name your kid after it. "Bill, we're knocking down some Colt 45's tonight HEY THERE'S A NAME FOR LIL PRECIOUS!" 

LAW BUCKEYE predicts OKLAHOMA by 14

Sure, it's possible that Miami just didn't show up last week in Blacksburg.  More likely, they're a young team that's still a year ahead of schedule.  I didn't see anything in the Hurricane pash rush last week that makes me think they can punish a dangerously inexperienced Sooner offensive line.  Bradford will play and Shannon will pay.


4. No. 7 USC at No. 24 CALIFORNIA, 8:00 p.m. EST (10/3), ABC

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GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts CALIFORNIA by 7

Vegas loves USC by a touch early, but the rash of injuries put this game in doubt. I hate picking USC to win because I dislike jumping on the bandwagons of bad offenses. Stefon Johnson, Ronald Johnson, the 13 people who left for the NFL Draft last year...This isn't 2002-2008 USC. I know the Oregon evisceration threw a monkey wrench into people's perceptions, but Cal has a functioning offense on which I will stake my fortune for this night only. Please God Hating USC, continue your work! 

LAW BUCKEYE predicts USC by 10

I'll admit.  It's not often that Los Angeles boos its Trojans.  And Pete Carroll hasn't exactly proven that his offense deserves respect.  But the upsetting loss of Stephon Johnson will fuel the fire in these young warriors.  Could Cal bounce back?  Sure, they have talent in spades.  But since the 2004 season I haven't seen Tedford prove he can muster a four quarter effort against premiere competition.  And let's face it, no one is afraid of playing in a place named after a fruit.  Strawberry Canyon shows it has more faults than the Michigan State Spartans.  Fight On!