We're finally starting to show some separation in the standings this week, but let's see how this week's games play out before I make that a definitive statement. We get what looks like three easy games to pick and two games that will certainly be very competitive. The usual rules apply: I take the initial spreads from Monday and that is what we use to draw the line and make picks. Let's get to it:
Iowa at Maryland (-3.5) || 12pm EDT ESPN2
Straight up: Iowa 6-3 || Against The Spread: Iowa 7-2
Aaron Yorke: Count me in as an Iowa believer. Maybe it's the old-school offense. Maybe it's the fact that they saved me from being shutout last week. Either way, it was nice to see they could score points when they needed to vs. Indiana. Iowa wins 27-24
Andrew Kraszewski: I'll take Iowa straight up. Granted, it was against Indiana, but I finally saw the Hawkeye team I expected to see (and brashly chose to win the West) in the preseason.
MNWildcat: Now that we all believe in the Iowa offense, will this be the week it comes crashing back to earth? No. Hawkeyes, 31-20.
DJ Carver: Maryland wins, Iowa covers. This is the homecoming game for Maryland, and I expect them to come out and lay a turd in the first half, as per usual Randy Edsall after a bye. I'm going with last week was an outlier and Iowa returns to typical Ferentz ball, which means that turd the Terps laid in the first half puts them down by 7 at the worst. They come out and take the game in the second half, and let's say Craddock wins it on the last drive with a FG to break the tie.
Graham Filler: Iowa wins, Iowa Covers
Mike Jones: As much as I want to believe that the Iowa team I saw on Saturday was the "real Iowa" I still have plenty of concerns. Specifically, can they put together a complete game? And yes, I know Rudock came out. It wasn't the Iowa offense that concerned me, it was the defense. And I'm pretty sure Maryland can score some points. I'm crying as I do this, but give me Maryland to cover. (Iowa is better on the road by the way so I'll smile when they make me look foolish.)
Jesse Collins: Iowa wins outright vs. Maryland. I'm not sure what O/U is, but I'm guessing something in the 30-17 range sounds about right.
GoForThree: I'm not buying Ferentz stock, pretty much ever, but I think Iowa has the werewithal to beat Maryland. Jake Rudock seems to be finding himself again, though I don't think the Hawkeyes will score on four straight plays from scrimmage again. Call me Nostradamus. Iowa wins. I will likely be sorry I made this pick. [Editors note: Given your standings, I'm OK with you making this pick]
Purdue at Minnesota (-13) || 12:00pm EDT BTN
Straight up: Minnesota 9-0 || Against The Spread Minnesota 5-4
AY: The Gophers have proven again that they are not to be trifled with. The TCU loss was more of the Frogs being awesome than Minnesota being lame. Gophers win 31-14
AK: Minnesota to cover. Purdue has shown a lot more life, but they still don't have a run defense, and unlike a certain Spartan jefe, Jerry Kill won't stop running until you absolutely make him (and sometimes not even then). I'll call David Cobb as OPOTW.
MNW: The Gophers collapse will come. As sure as the sun rises in the east, Jerry Kill looks like a gopher, and I'm still drinking away a childhood of disappointing college football, the Gopher collapse will come. But it won't be this week. Gophers, 28-14.
DJ: Minnesota wins, Purdue covers. I'm really confused by what Purdue is doing this year. I have no idea what to make of them, or even more, how to call a game ATS for them.
KCH: Minnesota wins, Purdue covers
Graham Filler: Minnesota wins, Purdue covers
JC: Minnesota wins and covers. Mostly because, remember that time Purdue almost beat MSU last year, and then they went out and got demolished a bunch of times? Purdue is getting better than awful, but I still think Minny can beat them by more than 13. Let's say 28-10.
MJ: The spread is 13 so I say Minnesota wins by 14.
GF3: Minnesota wins a close one. It comes down to the last possession. Purdue obviously covers. Someone's gonna sail into the harbor...
Michigan State at Indiana (+14) || 3:30pm EDT ESPN
Straight up: Michigan State 9-0 || Against The Spread: MSU 7-1-1
AY: When they're not playing on the road in the SEC, Indiana has been pretty lousy this season. Wait, what? Sparty wins 42-13
AK: MSU to cover. Clearly this Spartan team is vulnerable, and apparently this 4th quarter brain freeze is just a thing we do now, but there's still a considerable talent disparity at work here. I choose blind optimism that this will be the week Dave Warner remembers all three of his backs are better at running the ball than anyone on IU's defense is at stopping it, and uses them accordingly.
MNW: Indiana gets their points and mounts a furious 4th-quarter comeback, but Michigan State continues to pound the ball and grind the clock, and Sudfeld, Coleman, and Co. can only watch as Sparty gets a late first down and dashes any comeback dreams. Spartans, 35-21. [Editors note: MNW, stop calling the tie on the spreads!]
DJ: This seems a bit much given that Coleman can seemingly keep Indiana in the game at any time, but Sudfeld is out so I'm going with MSU winning and they cover. Indiana was not good with their backup in.
KCH: Michigan State
GF: MSU Wins. MSU Covers.
JC: I'm thinking Indiana covers because Michigan State is insistent on not playing fourth quarters. MSU will be up 18 going into the 4th and will win by 2. 38-36.
MJ: MSU with the beatdown. I saw what Indiana looked like with Nate Sudfeld. Sorry, correction, I saw what the University of Tevin Coleman looked like and it's impressive but not enough to win a Big Ten game by itself. Sparty covers.
GF3: Sparty makes a statement after scraping by at Purdue. No Sudfeld means Indiana feels ever so much like Indiana. Get well soon, young man.
Rutgers at OSU (-19) || 3:30pm EDT ABC/ESPN2
Straight up: OSU 9-1 || Against The Spread: OSU 6-4
AY: With Penn State and Michigan stinking up the joint, Rutgers still has a lot to prove. Ohio State wins 31-20
AK: OSU to win, Rutgers covers. This defense appears to be somewhat better than Maryland's, albeit against the two worst offenses in the conference. The question is whether this line can slow down OSU's pass rush (hint: they can't). I expect a fairly low-scoring game and will call Joey Bosa as DPOTW.
MNW: Welcome to the Big Ten, Rutgers. You think losing to a not-so-good Penn State hurts? This won't feel any better. Buckeyes, 42-20.
DJ: OSU wins and covers. I expect the same thing happens here as the Maryland game a few weeks ago. OSU gives the other new guy a rude welcome to the B1G.
KCH: Ohio State
GF: OSU wins, OSU covers. It's blowout weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.
JC: So, off the BYE week in which the Buckeyes didn't seem to lose anything that remarkable - minus their sanity depending on how you perceive the Gurley situation response - I think the Urbz and company win big. Let's say something along the lines of 45-20. Yeah, that sounds good.
MJ: #Buttgers, 17, Ohio Stater 35
GF3: Welcome to the land of fresh air, GMO corn crops, and teams that are gonna run herd on you for generations, Rutgers. J.T. Barrett looks sharp, the running game has a few miscues, and the Buckeyes pile up points. Gary TurNova arm punts at least one to the OSU defense. Buckeyes win by three TDs.
Ray Ransom: I'm rage quitting predictions because I suck at them.
Okay one more, RU 33-OSU 30 in OT.
Nebraska at Northwestern (+7) || 7:00pm EDT BTN
Straight up: Nebraska 8-1 || Against The Spread: Nebraska 5-4
AY: Seven points on the road seems like a little much for a Nebraska team that hasn't beaten anyone big yet. Huskers win 23-21
AK: I'll take the real NU straight up. I make this pick on the assumption that Purple Messiah will be present; if he isn't, I recant and the Huskers roll over Northwestern's galaxy-class run defense. [Editors note: Chad didn't respond, so we're assuming he's going to the home game and the purple messiah is going to be there]
MNW: Le sigh. Another Homecoming, another jersey combination, another silent count. Just counting the ways in which this can end poorly makes me wish I had some whiskey in my coffee this morning. I executed about as well as Northwestern on third down against Minnesota. Huskers 27-17.
DJ: Nebraska wins and covers. Minnesota finally ended the streak, so we can see if Northwestern can bounce back. Nebraska becomes Chicago's B1G team of the week.
GF: Neb wins, Neb covers
JC: Nebraska wins, Northwestern covers, and Nebraska fans start chanting silent count which leads to a very meta moment in which Northwestern has to go to silent count at home again. Abdullah gets back on track a little bit and the Huskers win by batting down a Hail Mary and the Wildcat fans have a sad. 32-28
MJ: Nebraska. Chicago's Big Ten Team. Herbie wins but Northwestern covers. Say 24-21.
GF3: Nebraska wins by 20. Sorry Purple Messiah. I hope this game is on BTN [DJ: it is] so I get to see that commercial where Pat Fitzgerald tries to act like a sentient being.
Now for the standings! As I said above, there is finally some separation occurring so that we aren't bunched up with 5 second place people, so here it is:
|Head to Head Standings||Against The Spread Standings|
|6||DJ Carver||72.09%||8||DJ Carver||44.19%|
|8||Ray Ransom||60.00%||10||C.E. Bell||36.36%|
Chad and babaoreally were the late participants with 1-2 weeks worth of picks, and Ray Ransom has thrown in the hat. Andrew is trying to win outright, but there is still a ton of time to catch him and not let MSU reign supreme in something else.
Oh, and a little Friday amusement for all non-Northwestern fans!