Northwestern at Nebraska (-8.5) || ESPN2
SU: Nebraska, 16-1
ATS: Nebraska, 10-7
87townie:) Nebraska is rising, while the Cats are in free-fall. I'm not completely sold on this one. The rational side tells me to go with the team on the rise. Then again, this Nebraska team lost to Illinois and Wisconsin.
Thumpasaurus: Thorson hits a few big passes but otherwise wakes up the echoes of Joe Bauserman's Passing Chart. Nebraska wins, doesn't cover.
Jesse Collins: Can we have a Bye week? Please? That would be nice and let us rest and learn how to defend the pass. Wait, we don't have a Bye until when? Yuck. Okay, let's keep with the good guys in... black? Ugh, this is the Adidas jersey day. Could be worse, though. Nebraska wins by running the damn ball. Game will be close at half and not close at the end of the game. TheRealNU 45 - NW 24.
MNWildcat: I have no faith in the 'Cats to (1) call a good offensive game, (2) actually establish the run, (3) throw and catch the ball like D-I athletes should, (4) stop Nebraska's rush attack, and (5) effectively flip the field on special teams. So...not great, Bob. *Nebraska 31, Northwestern 10.*
LPW: A humbled Northwestern team reeling from 2 weeks of ass kickings faces a Husker team basking in possession of the chair. Nebraska wins, but Northwestern keeps it close.
alnamiasIV: One turned a corner in the good way last week, the other fell apart. Will Northwestern get off the mat? Will Nebby be something more than mediocre? Nebby is ripe for the picking through the air. Northwestern doesn't have the horses to beat Nebby through the air. Nebby wins and covers.
Ray Ransom: Northwestern is a ball of entitled rage waiting to explode. I've got Northwestern in a pretentious blowout.
Aaron Yorke: Northwestern's offense has been a steaming pile of poo for the past two weeks. I think the Wildcats bounce back a little bit here, but it's not enough to take down the resurgent Huskers. Nebraska 20, Northwestern 13
Candystripes: The battle between the "Nobody Should Believe in Us!" teams. I pity anyone who willingly chooses to watch this. Nebraska wins, Northwestern covers.
Creighton M: Nebraska 43--Northwestern 20: I still think Northwestern is a pretty good team, but I don't like this matchup at all. Clayton Thorson hasn't shown that he can be consistent enough as a passer to take advantage of any defense, even one as pourous as Nebraska's. On the other side, people seem to be figuring out the Wildcat defense, and I think the Cornhusker offense is capable of putting more points on the board against this team than Iowa or Michigan. Nebraska straight up.
GoForThree: I have to take Nebraska in this one, because I think we're seeing 2013 all over again. Nebraska's secondary is more theoretical than real, but this Northwestern team has almost zero ability to capitalize on that fact. NW loses another one. Or Nebraska wins another. Choose your narrative. Nebby covers.
StewMonkey13: his is a bad matchup for jNW. UNL absolutely cannot stop the pass. jNW absolutely cannot pass the ball. This is a very similar matchup as last week's UNL/MN game. UNL still makes Thorson look competent, but wins by 2 scores.
WhiteSpeedReceiver: I don't think we softened them up enough for you, Nerds. Sorry.
Wisconsin (-7) at Illinois || BTN
SU: Wisconsin, 13-4
ATS: Illinois, 9-8
87: Wisconsin is better than I expected them to be. They lost two games this year...at Alabama and against Iowa. Those are "good" losses.
Then we have Illinois, also with two losses at UNC (bastards) and at Iowa. This could be a good game, hence the one TD line. But I don't think it'll be that close...
Wisconsin looked good over the last two weeks. Their converted linebacker is a force at running back. The defense is solid. They take Illinois' lunch money this week and win by three scores.
Thump: Since the start of last year, Illinois is 9-2 at home. Wisconsin's defense is great, but if Illinois got healthy this week they should be able to land just enough shots since the defensive line will keep them in the game. Illinois gets the homecoming win.
JC: Terrible upset pick to try and crawl back into this race. Illinois wins outright over the Badgers. 27-17
MNW: It's weird to see Wisconsin at 90th in the nation in rushing offense. Irregardless, against (WARNING: CHERRY-PICKED BUT STILL RELEVANT STAT ALERT) the three best rushing offenses the Illini have faced (Tar Heels, Huskers, Hawkeyes), the Illinois rushing defense has allowed 719 yards on 122 carries, good for 5.9 ypc. Now hi, Illinois, meet Wisconsin, which has struggled with injuries but is still the S&P+ #32-ranked rushing offense. If Corey Clement is back, add 21 to Wisconsin's score. *Wisconsin, 27-10.*
LPW: While Wisconsin is good, they aren't as good as they used to be, and Illinois could be surprising. Wisconsin wins, but Illinois keeps it close.
alnamiasIV: Illinois coming off a bye week. UW not up to recent UW standards. Still enough to beat Illinois by a TD. UW wins and covers.
RR: Is this the game we see Wisconsin recapture some offensive ridiculousness. I think it is. Wisky by a mile.
AY: "It sure is boring around here." That's everyone at every Wisconsin game. The team is consistently good. It might not be good enough to win the West, but it's plenty to beat Illinois. Wisconsin 31, Illinois 17
CfB: This is where we find out who Wisconsin really is this year. If they lose, they're in for a season some other writers might deem a "failure". If they win, they are who we thought they were. Sconnie rolls.
CM: Wisconsin 14--Illinois 9: Another B1G defensive slugfest; this might be the most boring game of the week (for those of you that don't appreciate defensive football, anyway). I still think Illinois is better than advertised, but way too many of you have written off Wisconsin as having a bad year. Blah blah blah Stave blah blah ... they have a terrifying defense and a steady running game. That's usually enough to take you places in the Big Ten. Badgers win, Illinois covers.
GFT: Is this the week Clement arrives? Wisco wins and covers.
Stew: Wisconsin is trash, but the defense is still really good. IL is far more competent than people are giving credit. WI wins, but IL keeps it close.
WSR: Prior to the season I took this game as wisconsin's inexplicable loss, and I'm going to stick by my assessment of this being Illinois Harbor.
PSU (-6.5) at Maryland || ESPN
SU: Penn State, 15-2
ATS: Penn State, 13-4
87: Hey look kids, it's the team that plays dress-up and won't shake our hands. I've had this one circled since last year. We will likely beat your asses up and down the field this year. Expect a hostile, Penn State heavy crowd at Ravens stadium in Baltimore. Saquon Barkley is the truth and he gets three scores on the ground. PSU calls off the dogs in the fourth, up by a ton.
Thump: Maryland is a mess. Penn State covers.
JC: I want to believe that a new coach matters, but this team is in complete disarray and LOL Mike Locksley. Penn State continues to be unimpressive, but wins by 8. Lions 14-6
MNW: Maryland got a defense or anything yet? No? #100 rushing defense in the country? Here comes Saquon. *Penn State, 24-3.*
LPW: Penn State wins. Maryland's a technicolor tire fire.
alnamiasIV: PSU is another one--we thought they were gone, have turned into at least a threat to cause some noise. MD just sucks. PSU wins and covers, MD deigns to shake PSU's hands this time.
RR: Penn State should win this game running away, but crazy things happen when the #trivalry is in play. I think MD puts a scare into the Nitty Kitties, but PSU secures Teh Delaware and all of the Joe Biden smiles with a close win.
AY: The Terps looked like a real doormat before putting up a fight in Columbus two weeks ago. However, Penn State's rush defense is much stronger than Ohio State's, and Maryland can't pass on anybody. Penn State 20, Maryland 6
CfB: If Traffic Cone and his fellows can keep Hack upright, they've got a very good chance. If they can't, then there's a Likely reason they lose. I think a well-rested Maryland springs the upset.
CM: Penn State 35--Maryland 17: Penn State is another team the world kind of forgot about this year. They aren't back quite yet, but they are better than this spread. Penn State all the way.
GFT: After the folks at BSD assured us that the OSU game was totally winnable for PSU and the talent gap is as small as it's been in a decade, I don't see how PSU could lose to Murrland. Nits win and cover. Unless it rains, which is apparently PSU's kryptonite. But do they shake hands?
Stew: Penn St. is just a much, much better team.
WSR: I...I have no idea what I'm doing here.
Indiana at #7 Michigan State (-16.5) || ABC/ESPN2
SU: Michigan State, 17-0
ATS: Indiana, 13-4
87: Look out Indiana, Michigan State plays defense, better than that PSU team that held you to just one score. MSU covers easily.
Thump: MSU will retreat back into their shell and win a one-possession game. Turtle turtle!
JC: Hey Indiana, we need to talk. I thought that Nebraska had the worst defense in the conference, but then I watched your game on Saturday. I love the offense, and I would like you to go to a bowl. Three weeks ago, you probably had dreams of maybe, you know, pushing this game to the wire. I'm not feeling it. MSU 51-Indiana 21
MNW: #FREESPITTOON! Probably not this year, though. Hoosiers put up some offense, as is their wont, but State puts up more. *Michigan State, 34-20.*
LPW: Indiana will be out for blood this week, but they're still Indiana, and Michigan State's defense can shut them down. MSU wins.
alnamiasIV: Kevin Wilson will eventually learn this isn't the Big 12--he has to play D. MSU, off emotional high, wins, doesn't cover. People start talking again, but MSU still undefeated. Final Score: MSU 31, IU 28
RR: Michigan State is kinda like Rutgers (strong pro-style offense, ridiculous injury luck, decent front 7), except they have a functional secondary. I think this one is going to be closer than folks think, but MSU will run the ball to victory in the 4th quarter.
AY: Indiana might have to score 60 to win this one. I'm glad Nate Sudfeld is back. MSU 52, IU 42
CfB: Much as I want to go against the majority and claim IU will bring Brassy back from East Lansing, I'm still in full pessimist mode. Still, this is Michigan State, so the Hoosiers cover (somehow).
CM: MSU 40--Indiana 35: Initially I had MSU dominating this game, as they would be coming back fired up from last week's "What the hell?!" game of the month vs Michigan. Sparty wins, but I think the Hoosiers have a nasty offense that will find a way to keep it close.
GFT: MSU wins, but Indy sneaks enough scores in to cover.
Stew: MSU comes down a little after the big win, their secondary struggles with Sudfeld. MSU pulls out another game that is far too close for comfort.
WSR: I just don't think Sparty can cover against inferior competition. Look at how long it took for them to stop toying with their kill last Saturday and put it away.
#1 Ohio State (-21) at Rutgers || ABC
SU: Ohio State, 16-1
ATS: Ohio State, 14-5
87: This will be a boat race. Rutgers has no defense, but their offense is en fuego after last week. Carroo will get his scores, but so will Elliott, Barrett, and co. OSU just has too many playmakers on both sides of the ball. OSU wins, but doesn't cover.
Thump: Carroo is a fun thing. Laviano will throw at least 4 TDs, but not all of them will be to Rutgers. Ohio State covers.
JC: Rutgers looked good last week, and props to them for the comeback. Ohio State will win and cover still, but hey, good job on the win Rutgers. OSU 42-Rutgers 17
MNW: Rutgers covering counts as a moral victory, right? As much as I'd love some Pandemonium in Piscataway, Pt. II, it still doesn't happen this weekend. Carroo gets a couple scores and Urban has mild indigestion; Buckeyes still roll. *Ohio State, 41-21.*
LPW: Lol. Rutgers's best hope of winning is chloroforming OSU's team before the game.
alnamiasIV: OSU, unlike IU, plays defense. Buckeyes win and cover. JT starts and finishes. O plays better than it has all season.
RR: I can't in good conscience pick against the Knights. I have to believe. I know the odds are long and this game could get out of hand, but maybe, just maybe, we unseat Pandemonium '06 as the biggest win in RU history. The Knights channel shades of South Florida '07, Alabama '80 and Tennessee '79 and upset the reigning champions with another heart-stopping, last-second field goal.
AY: With 69 percent completions and 8.4 yards per attempt, Chris Laviano is one of the country's most underrated quarterbacks. Ohio State knows how to make him uncomfortable, though. Ohio State 45, Rutgers 20
CM: Ohio State 45--Rutgers 28: Carroo will continue his tour of awesome, but a lone wide receiver won't win you any football games against #1 teams. I think this game stays relatively close, unless J.T. turns out to be the one Buckeye playing with as much urgency as he was last year, in which case this could get ugly. I'll take Rutgers to cover the spread, but not much else.
GFT: Buckeyes win, but probably don't cover because Rutgers puts a late window-dressing score up for a 20-point loss.
Stew: Barrett gets almost all the snaps, OSU rolls, but Rutgers sneaks in a backdoor cover on the back of Carroo.
WSR: Ohio State is starting to round into shape. I think we're going to start seeing the power of the fully armed and operational battle station
SPECIAL BONUS PICK: UMPD vs. Minnesota: I just don't think there's going to be much action in this matchup, which for once is a good thing for the Gophers. There's no way to overcome this opponent except to avoid them completely. Don't do anything stupid and escape with a moral victory.
Sorry, babaoreally and I couldn't hear y'all over our 6-0 pick slate from last weekend. In the meantime, here's what we got, going by percentage again but with straight numbers this week:
Stew maintains his lead, though both Andrew and I are hot on his tail (/rimshot) in total numbers. Creighton M remains within striking distance as well.
Against the Spread
babaoreally's got a slim lead in percentage on 87townie, who remains head and shoulders above the group in raw picks. Each has room to separate themselves this week, too.
Answer the poll, and let us know your picks in the comments!