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The Obligatory Predictions Competition - Week 11


This is a deceptively tricky week.  Choose wisely.  (Picks are due by 11:00 EST tomorrow).

1. No. 13 IOWA at NORTHWESTERN, 12:00 p.m. ESPN (11/12)


GRAHAM predicts IOWA

Why is Iowa a 10 point favorite on the road? Two reasons: It's not really a road game, plus the Wildcats' toughness has come into question during their losses to MSU and Penn State. I follow the Vegas crowd and predict that Iowa will finally break its losing streak.

JON predicts IOWA

Iowa has been a bit two-faced this season, playing through both 20 point halftime deficits (at Arizona) and 30 point leads (Michigan State).  Still, nothing was more surprising than last week's lackluster outing in Indiana, where the Hawks settled for four field goals in five trips into the red zone in a tepid 18-13 win over the Hoosiers.  The good news? Northwestern is also coming off arguably its worst two quarters of the season, giving up 35 unanswered points to Penn State after taking a 21-0 lead.  Iowa's strengths and knack for the play action matches up nicely with Northwestern's spaghetti secondary.  I think they break Pat Fitzgerald's spell.

Odds are...
Iowa - 10
Big Ten Portal* says "Kirk Ferentz is 1-3 ATS vs Pat Fitzgerald, and all 4 contests have gone UNDER."

2. MICHIGAN at PURDUE, 12:00 p.m. Big Ten Network (11/12)



Apparently this is Road Favorites Week. Oh well, I don't blink for a second picking Michigan. The offense is humming under either quarterback and that should be enough to overcome the defensive deficiencies. Michigan wins because of its spread offense, not because of its FCS Defense.


Purdue has a history of containing running quarterbacks, but Michigan has scored 28 points on everyone this season save for Michigan State.  The key to this game is how Purdue's offense performs.  If they can move the ball consistently in all four quarters, it will become a possession contest.  The problem is I have yet to see the Boilers turn in a 60 minute effort -- especially while fighting injuries and personnel upheaval.  I like Michigan to build on its momentum from last week, although I wouldn't be surprised if this one went the other way.

Odds are...
Straight up.
Big Ten Portal says "Rich Rodriguez is 3-18 and 0-5 this season ATS in Big Ten games. Danny Hope is 0-3 ATS in his last 3 Big Ten games, and Purdue is down to their 4th string QB. Something has to give."

3. No. 14 UTAH at NOTRE DAME, 2:30 p.m. NBC (11 /12)


GRAHAM predicts UTAH

In our minds, and in our minds only, ND is a favorite when playing on the hallowed ground of South Bend. In reality, the crowd is deathly quiet and the Irish haven't played especially well at home this year (3-3). I think Utah beats ND and their backup QB on the road.

JON predicts UTAH

Sure it's tempting to pick the upset.  After all, the Utes' most quality win is over Air Force, and they were positively dismembered last week at home by TCU.  But think about what you're really getting with the Domers: A team that's lost its last 11 games to ranked opponents.  A team that's starting a true freshman quarterback (a guy who threw three interceptions against Tulsa).  A diluted home field advantage.  A soggy defense.  Still like this Irish?  Me neither. 

Odds are...
Utah - 4
Big Ten Portal says "The Utes are 6-1 ATS this year when listed as a favorite, and they're 8-1 ATS since 2008 against teams with losing records. Meanwhile, the Irish are running out of healthy skill players."

4. PENN STATE at No. 9 OHIO STATE, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN (11/12)



Thank God for a home favorite, although Penn State is running the ball with real purpose of late, something that may inspire one of our PSU readers to go for the upset points. I said this on Slow States: I have a vision of this game being close in the third quarter when McGloin rolls out and gets planted while throwing a pick 6. Buckeyes by a touchdown or so.


Joe Paterno says the Buckeyes are one of the Top 3 or 4 teams in the country, and I believe him...when they're healthy.  The bad news for Jim Tressel is this team hasn't been one-hundred percent since Week 2.  The good news is -- coming off a bye week -- they're as patched up and rested as they'll be for the rest of the regular season.  The return of linebacker Ross Homan will help to solidify the front seven, setting the stage for a big day for Cameron Heyward.  Routes that were open against Michigan and Northwestern won't be there for Matt McGloin.  Meanwhile, Terrelle Pryor's knee is fresh enough to allow him to improvise a few key times on third down.  It won't be a blowout, but it will be decisive.

Odds are...
Ohio State - 17
Big Ten Portal says "Jim Tressel has won and covered 3 of the last 4 versus Joe Paterno, with 3 of 4 going UNDER."

5. No. 23 SOUTH CAROLINA at No. 22 FLORIDA, 7:15 p.m. ESPN (11/12)



The Gators are favored by a touchdown, but for once in this matchup's history, I have a feeling that the talent level on the field is similar. The defining factor? South Carolina is nicked up and Florida is picking up momentum. Gators roll in the Swamp.

JON predicts FLORIDA

OBrienSchofieldismyHero begged us not to pick any more games with USC East in them.  I really apologize.  This one is just too good to pass up.  South Carolina hasn't been the same since its Week 5 victory over Alabama.  Meanwhile, Florida's 3 quarterback system appears to be coming into its own.  I'm taking the Gators at home against my better judgment.

Odds are...
Florida - 7
Big Ten Portal says "Both teams are surprisingly strong on the OVER this year (SC 6-2, Florida 6-3). The Gators are 17-1 straight-up against the Gamecocks in their past 18 meetings, but just 9-9 ATS. South Carolina has managed just 114 rushing yards combined in their past two meetings versus Florida."

Big Ten Portal is a website devoted to the culture and trends associated with following and betting Big Ten football. Each week their team provides recent and historic analysis so you have all the data you need to make your picks.