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OTE Staff Picks, Week 11

We've got some good ones this week, even with both division frontrunners chilling on a bye. Legends division contention in a game so interesting 3 staff members initially forgot to pick it, bowl eligibility and positioning, a potential OOC resume-builder, and HATE WEEK between Most Hated Rivals are all on tap, so let's go to the picks:

It's cool, guys. Take a week to walk it off.
It's cool, guys. Take a week to walk it off.
Eric Francis

Penn State @ Minnesota: OTE Staff cannot decide (Minnesota 6, PSU 6), tiebreaker by mascot fight goes to Minnesota

C.E. Bell: Minnesota - I believe in the Gophers. At least a little bit. Maybe.

Green Akers: Minnesota. Time to hop on board the Gopher bandwagon, I suppose. I had my doubts that Minnesota could keep up with Indiana last week, and they proved me wrong. Even though part of me thinks that's more because Indiana would struggle to stop plenty of high school teams from scoring, color me impressed by the road win. Penn State, meanwhile, needed OT to stave off a home loss to Illinois, and Minnesota won't let Bill Belton go berserk. Minnesota 27 PSU 20

MNWildcat: Everyone's jumpin' on the ol' bandwagon in the Twin Cities, from everything I've heard this week on sports talk radio. Good time to be a Gophers fan, I guess. My childhood dictates the moment it's a good time to be a Gophers fan, they lose. Apropos of nothing else (sorry, but Texas Tech just scored again and hahahahahaha oh I'm sorry, Cory, you wanted a football team to believe in?), Nittany Lions, 24-21

Jesse Collins: I love the fight in Minnesota, but each week they have won, it's been a lot closer at the end than they would have liked. Insert some metaphor about playing with fire, etc. I'm going with PSU in the upset (WEIRDEST STATEMENT EVER) due to a little bit of regression and what I see as a pretty fired up Penn State team who is holding on to dear life right now.

Ted Glover: I've either been a rabid fan of or had a soft spot for football in the state of Minnesota pretty much my whole life, and if there's one truth about that sport in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (Vikings, Gophers, it matters not), it's this: just when you think a corner might be turned, just when you think things are looking up, just when you talk yourself into believing that THIS IS IT BY GOD THIS IS SO MUCH get a simultaneous kick in the nuts while an anvil gets dropped on your head. It's brutal, it's scarring, and it leaves you questioning why in the Hell you invest so much into something that brings so much disappointment. So every logical synapse in my brain tells me that the Gophers piss all over themselves this week, and get their ass handed to them in such a way that all the good time rock and roll feelings we've accrued about the Gophers the last three weeks disappear like a fart in the wind. But you wanna know something else? Most years, between the Gophers and the Vikes, if one team is brutally bad, one is decent to pretty good. The Vikings most definitely qualify for the former, so fuck it, I'm going all in. Gophers win, move to 8 wins and in to second place in the Legends. Gophers 23-16.

Mike Jones: It's great to be a Minnesota fan right now. Unexpectedly like...winning games and stuff. Unfortunately I think they're due for a letdown this week. PSU wins, 28-14.

GoAUpher: A Gophers win would be the first time they've won 4 B1G games in a row since 1973. Another record no one wants bites the dust. Gophers win, 27-24.

Iowa @ [REDACTED]: OTE Staff picks, well, c'mon. What do you think?

C.E. Bell: Iowa - Purdue is goddawful. Iowa beats their most hated enemy.

Green Akers: Iowa. The Hawkeyes have had no problem handling inferior teams this season, and, well. This opponent is that. I'd decline to guess what the mindset of the Boilers is right now, but it can't be anything too positive. Beyond the steamrolling on the field, their stadium got thoroughly invaded, a scene that could be repeated this week as tickets are currently going for $2 on StubHub. Iowa's not in the same class as OSU, but I won't be surprised if the results look pretty similar. I have a strange feeling that this might be one of those Inexplicable Kirk Ferentz Faceplant Specials, but I'll discount that possibility because [REDACTED]. Iowa 42 [null] 13

MNWildcat: The Hawks are averaging 180.1 rush ypg, with Mark Weisman himself going for 4.7 ypc, while Purdue's giving up 211.8 per game and 5.2 ypc. Iowa will control the clock, chew up yards, and stuff the ball down Purdue's throat while harassing Danny Etling. But everyone's being so mean to poor Purdue. Let's be nice to someone: Purdue P Cody Webster, who has been a damn hero this year, averaging 44.8 ypp, 18 inside the 20, on 49 punts, of which 13 have been 50+. Suck it, Mike Sadler. Webster will pad his stats on Saturday. Hawkeyes, 35-6. (That MOV is large enough for everyone, right? I'm not being mean to Iowa, I hope. I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.)

Jesse Collins: Purdue is horrible. As in, worst team in all of major conference football this year horrible. They are on pace to average fewer yards than like eight teams in the past seven years or something absurd like that. Baylor averages a third of what Purdue has put together on the season. What I'm trying to say here is that I am pretty sure picking Purdue in any way shape or form at this point is a bad idea.

Ted Glover: There's only so many creative ways I can come up with 'Purdue is terrible'. Iowa rolls. Hawkeyes 35-6, only because Kirk Ferentz punts four times from the Purdue 12.

Mike Jones: One of the worst teams ever in Purdue? Iowa looking to secure a bowl game? Iowa wins, 35-7.

GoAUpher: Purdue, you haven't been to the red zone in over a month. You are currently on pace to be the worst B1G team since WW2 depending on if you accept MGoBrian's metrics. A win here isn't happening (and if it is I'll heart you until the next time I decide not to heart you). Hawkeyes win, 31-6.

BYU @ #24 Wisconsin: OTE Staff picks Wisconsin (unanimous)

C.E. Bell: Wisconsin - I bumped Wisconsin down in the power rankings, because they can be beaten by a team with a good DL and LBs (Iowa just needed to do SOMETHING on offense, which they didn't). But they'll cruise relatively easily against BYU.

Green Akers: Wisconsin. Bucky could find the Stormin' Mormons to be a bit more of a challenge than people expect. BYU has serious talent at the offensive skill positions, a highly regarded defensive centerpiece in LB Kyle Van Noy, and are fresh off a victory over perennial MWC power Boise State. However, dual threat Taysom Hill won't find as much running room against a good Badger front that welcomes back its own superstar LB in Chris Borland. BYU has seen a team with even better talent than in Texas, but I wouldn't consider that victory to be too informative at this point in the season. Wisconsin 35 BYU 24

MNWildcat: I watched Chris Borland absolutely harass Trevor Siemian, and I think he will be able to help the Badgers contain Taysom Hill below his average of 105 rush ypg. Forcing the Cougars to drop back and throw could pay dividends for the Badgers--Hill is only 12:8, TD:INT, on the season, and can be goaded into making mistakes. Regardless, this'll be a fun game to watch. BYU is only giving up 3.7 ypc on the ground, but they haven't faced a rush attack quite like Wisconsin's, which is averaging an obscene 6.7 ypc, best in the B1G. Wisconsin starts slow, finally catches BYU leaning jet sweep, and busts one of the middle. Then, all hell breaks loose. Wisconsin, 38-17.

Jesse Collins: Although I see this game as potentially tricky considering the team should be in mid-conference work and BYU plays a different offensive scheme than what the Badgers have encountered to this point, I just don't think BYU is good enough athletically to beat this Wisconsin team. Chad pointed out that they have weaknesses, but this BYU squad is not the team to beat them.

Ted Glover: BYU is a good team, and under the previous regime this is a game Broliema would just blow off game planning and preparation for and go to a frat kegger somewhere on campus, stagger home and watch two hours of Brazzers on the Internet, then pass out with his laptop in one hand and the other.. Then come the fourth quarter, he'd have to rely on the opposing kicker to miss a field goal, or the opposing QB to throw an interception in the red zone to get out of Camp Randall with an uncomfortably close win. And GOD DAMN IT GET HIM SOMETHING FOR THIS HANGOVER LIKE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE 90,000 PEOPLE SCREAMING IS NOT HELPING HIS HEADACHE BROSEF. But Gary Andersen is not a disciple of Broliemaball, he is a disciple of meticulous planning, a brutal running game, and he hasn't wandered into electronic Sodom or Gomorrhoa once in his life ever. He also coached at Utah State and played BYU four straight years. He only won one time, but two of his losses were by only three points. He has a lot more talent than he did at Utah State, and although it will be close early, Wisconsin will take over the second half and he'll literally run BYU out of Camp Randall. And this Saturday, somewhere in the long shadows cast by the Bobby Petrino Memorial Highway, Bret Broliema will silently weep to himself while shotgunning a Coors when an anonymous Arkansas fan posts to a Razorback message board that The Broliema has a monthly Brazzers bill of $4,705 that he accesses from his University issued cell phone. And it will be the beginning of a journey that brings Bret back home. Home to Iowa. Badgers 38-10. Auburn 44, Arkansas 13.

Mike Jones: LDS don't travel well. Badgers win, 38-20.

GoAUpher: Forget the game, what is a devout Mormon supposed to eat or drink in Madison? I'm pretty sure they've got rules against everything here except bottled water. Oh, and the game? Badgers win, 42-27.

Illinois @ Indiana: OTE Staff picks Indiana (8) over Illinois (4)

C.E. Bell: Indiana - The inept state of Purdue may be the best thing to happen to Tim Beckman, because it means we're ignoring how bad the Illini are. The B1G losing streak continues for the Illini; the Hoosiers' slim bowl hopes remain alive.

Green Akers: Indiana. Whatever the line is on this game, take the over. No, really. Take. The over. I'd feel better about this pick if I knew Indiana could settle on a QB, but honestly, either Tre Roberson or Nate Sudfeld should have no problem with Illinois' "defense." Likewise, I'd expect a big game out of Nathan Scheelhaase- just not big enough to end Illinois' loooooooooong B1G losing streak. IU's got a few more weapons, but the desperation both teams should play with in needing this game for bowl eligibility to maybe still be a thing should be compelling. Indiana 52 Illinois 38

MNWildcat: Does IU begin the free-fall now that the season is all but over? Nah, but Illinois makes this a close game, something to the point that the last team to score just might win. Could be an opportunity for the Illini rush attack to get back on track, as they've gained just 187 on 74 carries for 2.5 ypc, albeit against Wisconsin and MSU (they improved to 3.8 last week against PSU). The Illini have also picked off one quarterback this year, something that doesn't bode well for stopping Indiana's pass attack. It'll be a shootout like Minnesota was, but Hoosiers, 44-31.

Jesse Collins: I have not had a chance to go watch the PSU-Illinois tilt, but I heard that it was the first time in conference that the Illini have showed a second half pulse. All snarky comments withheld, that's a good sign. Indiana is ripe for the picking after getting their hearts torn out by Minnesota, and so I could be totally off base with this pick. However, I think that until Illinois breaks what is a ridiculously long winless conference streak, I just can't give them the nod.

Ted Glover: Indiana will score 45 points. Illinois will score 46. Kevin Wilson, in an attempt to prevent a lateral fumble again this week, will attempt a drop kick to win the game. Unfortunately, Indiana won't realize they aimed towards their own goal post until it's too late. Illini 49-45.

Mike Jones: LOL. Indiana 45, Illinois 40.

GoAUpher: ALL HAIL THE FORWARD PASS! I'm going to say Illinois decides to win a B1G game for once. No I have nothing to suggest it will actually happen. So here is a made up set up numbers representing a lot of offense. Illini win, 197-176

Nebraska @ Michigan: OTE Staff picks Michigan (10) over Nebraska (2)

C.E. Bell: Michigan - Michigan got physically destroyed by one of the best defenses I've ever seen. Nebraska does not have that good of a defense, not even remotely. And Nebraska's offense (without Taylor Martinez and Kenny Bell?) isn't all that great either. Throw in the fact that Hoke doesn't lose in the Big House, and this is a pretty easy call.

Green Akers: Michigan. I know Wolverine fans are feeling pretty down right now, but Brady Hoke still has the Michigan Stadium mojo working until proven otherwise. I'll add here that Michigan's chances, in my mind, are dependent on whether the conference suspends OT Taylor Lewan for his extracurricular activities last week (as a side note, Hoke has already said he won't suspend Lewan, and MSU fans should be careful about character accusations- William Gholston was suspended in 2011 by the conference, not Mark Dantonio. Just saying, guys). If Lewan's out of the lineup, an already-bad offensive line would be an utter disaster, even against Nebraska's unsteady defense. Nebraska, for its part, suffered a season's worth of injuries in last week's dramatic last-second win over the Sorrowcats, and Michigan's defense is still a pretty good group. I'd like to hedge until I know whether Lewan is suspended, but since I think that's unlikely I'll pick under the assumption he's playing. Michigan 20, Nebraska 13

MNWildcat: Nebraska is not a very good team. #ThingsILearnedLastWeekend. I don't know, though. I give up. Flip another damn coin with Nebraska. That worked for me last week. Coin says: Wolverines, 24-20.

Jesse Collins: I hate when Nebraska is on the road because it seems like it ends poorly. The last time they were in the Big House, it was ugly. Between turnovers, poor defense, and really a ridiculous amount of terrible gamecalling, the Cornhuskers just couldn't do anything. Lucky for me, Nebraska is a completely different team and so is Michigan. Less lucky for me, that's not necessarily a good thing. Until Nebraska proves they can stop anyone with a pulse - and sorry Northwestern, I'm not convinced you looked like you had a pulse in the second half - they get to be chosen against.

Ted Glover: I'm pretty sure at this point all Nebraska has to do to get Devin Gardner spooked is yell 'BOO' before the ball is snapped, and Gardner will roll up into the fetal position and suck his thumb. Seriously, he took a beating last week, and I suspect he'll be hearing footsteps, real or imagined, a lot faster now. But Nebraska has no one left to play as everyone is injured, so unfortunately, their defensive line will be a four man blocking sled. That will still hold Fitz Toussaint to under 20 yards rushing, but because Brady Hoke never loses at home, and Nebraska has to dress out 11 band members to fill out the travelling team, Michigan will win this one. Wolverines, 24-17.

Mike Jones: Oh, did I leave out Michigan? K, Michigan.

GoAUpher: Hmmmm. Think I did too. Add "Michigan, because why not try to lose every B1G game Northwestern? Wolverines win, 24-14."