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PICKS: The OTE Staff Calls Week 3

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Pat Fitzgerald and Bill Cubit lead the Wildcats and Fighting Illini into the Tar Heel State.
Pat Fitzgerald and Bill Cubit lead the Wildcats and Fighting Illini into the Tar Heel State.
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a strong 12-0 Week 2, the Big Ten turns its focus to a Week 3 slate that, depending on your perspective, may or may not see the start of the conference schedule! A reminder of the OTE Pick'em rules:

  • Picks are made both straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS)
  • There are no lines for games against FCS competition, but that doesn't mean "writers" can't pick the upset (ooh, foreshadowing)!

All games Saturday, all times CST!


Illinois at UNC (-10.5) || ESPN2

Straight-Up: PICK'EM! 10-10 TIE.

Against the Spread: Illinois, 18-2

MNWildcat: Illinois will show the firepower that led them to a 2-0 start, but that defense...I'm not a believer yet. North Carolina moves that ball at home and while Illinois keeps it close, a late Wes Lunt pick dooms the Illini. *UNC, 31-27.*

Candystripes for Breakfast: Are either of these teams actually good? Serious question. Tar Heels win, Illini cover.

alnamiasIV: Ill wins and covers. Illinois proving that even in the short term, getting rid of Beckman is for the best.

LincolnParkWildcat: For some completely bizarre reason, I think Illinois will win and take the spread.

Thumpasaurus: Illinois 35, UNC 31: South Carolina showed that an experienced defense can get turnovers from Marquise Williams. Illinois gives up points and yards but gets multiple interceptions. Josh Ferguson has over 50 rush yards and 50 rec yards.

87townie: This will be a good test for Illinois. UNC barely lost to a bad South Carolina team. I think Illinois wins this by two touchdowns.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: I'm going to keep picking against Illinois until they prove me right.  This is really going to be the week.

Aaron Yorke: Illinois 27, UNC 24: I'll tell you when I'm ready to stop believing in Illinois.

Stewmonkey13: IL to cover, but lose.  I think this is a pretty high scoring, sloppy game.  Both teams trying to give the game away at the end.  IL is much more experienced at this.

Andrew Kraszewski: Baja Bold Blast Pick of the Week Brought to You By Carl's Jr: Illinois straight up over the 'Heels, 4th quarter game-winning TD hauled in by Geronimo Allison.

Creighton M: Illinois 35--UNC 23: Illinois continues to prove that they are better off without Tim Beckman. This game works as a nice little calm before the storm of disappointment that conference play will bring the Illini.

GoForThree:  Let's just end the charade before you have an Orgeron mess on your hands, Illini.

Ray Ransom: Fuck this

South Florida at Maryland (-7) || ESPNU

SU: PICK'EM! 10-10 TIE!

ATS: South Florida, 13-7

MNW: I honestly have no idea why Maryland should win this game because South Florida has shown a pulse so far this season. Oh well. *Terps, 34-20.*

CfB: Did you know Maryland's starting QB is no longer a wrestler (as far as I know)? USF wins and covers.

alnamiasIV: Maryland wins, doesn't cover. Might be Maryland's last win of season.

LPW: I believe if you lose to a MAC team, you'll definitely lose to an AAC team [USF].

87: The Terrible Terps are terrible. USF wins.

WSR: How is Maryland favored in this game?

AY: USF 20, Maryland 17: South Florida hung with FSU, Maryland did not hang with Bowling Green.

Stew: USF is just a better football team than MD.

GF3: Is USF better than Bowling Green? Probably. That is bad news for the Terps. Da Bulls da bulls da bulls da bulls.

RR: Fuck that

UNLV at Michigan (-34) || BTN

SU: Michigan, 20-0

ATS: UNLV, 18-2

MNW: UNLV is not very good. This strong take brought to you by Arm & Hammer, which amusingly was a missed nickname opportunity for Jake Rudock and Mark Weisman*Michigan, 38-10.*

CfB: This one shouldn't be close. But it'll be just close enough. Michigan wins, UNLV covers.

alnamiasIV: UM wins, doesn't cover. As an Iowa fan, I am beginning to fully realize the limitations of Jake Rudock.

LPW: Michigan will win but UNLV will keep it close.

87: Half the Wolverines stay out too late. Michigan still wins but can't cover that ridiculous line.

WSR: As much as I want the state of Utah to go 3-0 against the #7 Michigan Wolverines (That's where they're ranked in the poll, isn't it? That's why they're getting slobbered so much in the media), I just don't see it happening.

AY: Michigan 35, UNLV 10: Good recovery by Harbaugh last week, but UNLV sneaks away with the cover.

Stew: MI wins, doesn't cover because that's a lot of points, and I don't think MI's offense is capable of putting up those types of numbers.

AK: UNLV is bad...but so is Oregon State, and there were a few hiccups there last week. Nonetheless, give me the skunkbears to cover.

CM: Michigan 28--UNLV 13: Michigan has far too much talent for this game to be close, but I'm not confident Jake Rudock can lead an offense potent enough to cover the spread.

GF3: UNLV is still a school? I thought they were just a 90s thing like flannel and the Seven Up dots. (fuck) Michigan wins and (fuck) Michigan covers.

RR: Fuck this shit

Air Force at #4 MSU (-26.5) || ABC

SU: Michigan State, 20-0

ATS: Michigan State, 11-9

MNW: Michigan State can stop the run but not the pass. Air Force can run, can't pass. Michigan State wins because they are a better team. *Sparty, 41-7.*

CfB: Coming off a huge win against Oregon, this could very easily be a trap game. But only if Sparty can't stop the option. MSU wins and covers.

alnamiasIV: MSU wins, doesn't cover. Option throws enough of a wrench into MSU defensive works to make for a close game (MSU wins by a TD).

LPW: Good luck Zoomies! LOL. MSU wins and covers (@goforthree, did I get the air force insults right?)

87: The Spartans have their way with the flyboys. Dantonio takes his foot off the gas and they don't cover.

WSR: This is going to be another game where Sparty just squeaks by a spectacularly overmatched opponent, isn't it?

AY: MSU 31, Air Force 3: The Spartan defense is back.

Stew: Sparty puts this away early, but it's a lot of points, and both teams play a style that'll run a lot of clock.  So, I don't think Sparty has a chance to cover.

AK: That's a large spread, and I assume MSU will pull the defensive starters as early as possible to keep them away from Air Force's deliberately injurious cut blocking. Shouldn't be much of a game, but I'll say the Flyboys keep it close enough to cover.

CM: MSU 21--AF 10: Sparty is by far the better team, but Troy Calhoun's offense is going to dominate the clock and the final score is going to be much closer than the game itself looks.

GF3: Please score 53, MSU, because Air Force is a clown college. Sparty all the way.

RR: Fuck this thing in particular

Kent St at Minnesota (-23.5) || BTN

SU: Minnesota, 20-0

ATS: Minnesota, 14-6

MNW: Kent State scored their first points on a Big Ten team in their last, what, 5-6 tries when they scored on Illinois? Minnesota has a much better defense. *Gophers, 27-0.*

CfB: Kent State is not a good team. Minnesota might be a good team. Gophers win and cover.

alnamiasIV: Minny wins, doesn't cover. Won't be close though as Kent State won't get into Minny red zone.

LPW: KSU will regret the payday after the Vile Gopher Menace beats them like a redheaded stepchild.

Thump: Kent State is god-awful. I'll be watching that one with interest. 52-3 is the score to beat.

87: Minnesota plays just well enough. Gopher fans lose their shit (a la OSU this weekend) because they only win by 17.

WSR: Just win and avoid any more injuries, especially to the OL.  Please.

AY: Minnesota 49, Kent State 6: If Illinois can blow out Kent State...

Stew: MN wins, but I have no confidence in their offense to cover that spread.

AK: Leidner manages an astounding 40% completion rate, Gophers roll and cover.

GF3: Ski-U-Meh. Minnie wins/covers.

RR: Whatever


#23 Northwestern at Duke (-3.5) || ACCN/ESPN3

SU: Northwestern, 13-7

ATS: Northwestern, 14-6

MNW: HOMERSOTA DON'T CARE ALL HAIL CLAYTON THORSON. In more seriousness, the strength of Northwestern's rushing offense looks to be more usage, less efficiency (the 'Cats are only picking up 4.63 YPC). Duke's rebuilt defensive line already wasn't very stout in 2014, and the 4-2-5, while designed to prevent big plays, ain't TCU. Justin Jackson grinds, I ignore any and all potential deficiencies in the 'Cats 2-0 start, and the Purple and White come home winners. *Northwestern, 24-17.*

CfB: The YOLO predictions game of the week: Northwestern 28, Duke 7. Cats win and cover.

alnamiasIV: NU wins and covers. Brainiac Trophy of the year.

LPW: How the fuck is Northwestern the underdog (I think I understand this right). Northwestern wins.  NORTHWESTERN IS KING OF THE NERDS. And undefeated.

87: NERDS! The thugs from The State University of New Jersey at Durham aren't so tough when the ball ain't round. Cats win and cover.

WSR: I predicted that Northewstern would lose Nerd Bowl I, and I'm predicting that they'll lose Nerd Bowl II. You're welcome cat people.

AY: Northwestern 17, Duke 13: When will people start respecting the 'Cats?

Stew: Does jNW really win if there's no one around to watch?

AK: Never go full Northwestern. Just when you think they're going to break through, they WILL faceplant on you. Pains me to say it but give me Dookie.

CM: Northwestern 27--Duke 9: In Nerd Bowl part II we'll see Northwestern notch another noteworthy, if boring to watch, victory on the backs of their nasty defense.

GF3: Fitzgerald gonna Fitz. Duke wins, Cats cover.

RR: Yeah ok


Nebraska at Miami(FL) (-3.5) || ABC/ESPN2

SU: Nebraska, 13-7

ATS: Nebraska, 14-6

MNW: I flipped a coin, and it said *Nebraska, 31-28.* Don't ask me where I got the coin.

CfB: The 90s called, they want this game back. Huskers win and cover.

alnamiasIV: Miami (FL) wins. Huskers' fans begin to question new coach.

LPW: Bikinis & Boobjobs:  Wasn't this game on in high school in the mid-late 90s? Huskers win and cover.

87: Miami put up an average of 44.5 points in two games this year...against nobodies. Nebraska's still sore about the Hail Mormon. They take it out on the ‘Canes. Big Red wins and covers.

WSR: NEBRASKANS IN MIAMI!  Everything about this day will end poorly for our Midwestern friends.  (Pssst.  Get the rental car insurance.)

AY: Nebraska 27, Miami 21: Watched Miami play FAU with my Miami friend... did not come away impressed.

Stew: UNL, Anyone make a 90's joke yet?

AK: Needs moar Orange Bowl. I happen to think this is the year Miami realizes it isn't going to happen with Golden, so give me the Huskers.

GF3: Man, remember when this game mattered? Miami x 2.

RR: Why do people celebrate Miami being convicts but vilify Rutgers for doing a tenth of the shit...THAT WE KNOW ABOUT

N. Illinois at #1 Ohio St (-34.5) || ABC/ESPN2

SU: Ohio State, 20-0

ATS: Northern Illinois, 12-8

MNW: Since GoForThree was so accurate last week in saying that Ohio State were gracious Midwesterners, I don't see a reason they won't be again. *OSU, 45-14.*

CfB: Can NIU be better than Hawaii? I think NIU can be better than Hawaii. OSU wins, NIU covers.

LPW: I'm sorry your mascot died NIU. I hate the fact that you beat NU last year, and I'll be angry if OSU doesnt whip your butt by 40 points. 

87: Northern Illinois looks better than Hawaii. The Buckeyes win, but don't cover. Go for Three has a public meltdown in the comments.

WSR: So will Urban have money against the spread two weeks in a row?

AY: Ohio State 56, NIU 17: It's fun to root for Braxton Miller touchdowns.

Stew: I don't think OSU really cares about this game.  NIU gets a few fluke big plays, OSU sleep walks to a big win, but doesn't cover.  Teeth gnashing starts in Columbus.

AK: NIU's defense is rough, man. I know it's hard to keep a juggernaut focused, but Urbz finds a way after a quasi-letdown against Hawaii (reminder that OSU won that game 38-0).

GF3: Buckeyes sleep walk again. OSU wins, NIU covers with a garbage time score.

RR: Sure

VaTech (-6) at Purdue || ESPNU

SU: Virginia Tech, 20-0

ATS: Virginia Tech, 19-1

MNW: Purdue hangs tough and shows that they're going to surprise someone (please don't be Northwestern) in Big Ten play. But the Boilers put their hands squarely around their throats in the fourth quarter and the Hokies leave winners. *VaTech, 37-34.

CfB: Might be closer than I expect, but I just don't think this is Purdue's year. At least, not yet. Hokies win and cover.

LPW: VT takes out their frustrations at the next B1G team they can find.

87: The Hokies get some payback on the Boilers and cover.

WSR: Why did Purdue schedule this game? Or did VT go out and find a non-conference cupcake? If that's the case, shouldn't the game be in Blacksburg?

AY: VT 31, Purdue 20: This line seems a little low since the Boilers haven't proven much yet.

Stew: Purdue is still bad at football.

AK: Purdue has shown some halting signs of progress, but they aren't ready to win this kind of game yet. VaTech covers.

GF3: I want to believe, Purdue. God help me, I want to. But do to circumstances... VT x 2.

RR: Fuckin whatever

Troy at #24 (lawl) Wisconsin (-34.5) || BTN

SU: Wisconsin, 20-0

ATS: Wisconsin, 17-3

MNW: hey everyone joel stave is a great quarterback because look what he does to the little sisters of the poor *wisconsin 51 troy 3*

CfB: See Hydroxide, Miami. Badgers win and cover.

alnamiasIV: Badgers win and cover. Do their usual damage to inferior opponents.

LPW: -34.5 is nowhere near enough of a margin of ass kicking the Badgers will deliver to Troy.

Thump: Troy doesn't find the end zone without Abed [Wisconsin].

87: Troy? Troy? For the love of cupcakes. Wisky in a walk but they can't cover that ridiculous spread.

WSR: lawl

AY: Wisconsin 61, Troy 3: The Badgers still know how to destroy a tomato can.

Stew: WI wins, Troy covers because this is where Stave decides to get weird.

AK: Lower-level opponent, in Camp Randall. Fetch the blood buckets. Bucky covers, students do not arrive in time to see any starters play

GF3: I've been to a game at Troy. We drove up from flight school to see some football and meet girls. I learned a lot that day...particularly that I didn't want to mix genes with anyone from Troy, AL. Wisco wins one for the good guys...the people with teeth and no rebel flags.

RR: If you say so


W. Kentucky at Indiana (-2.5) || ESPNNews

SU: Indiana, 11-9

ATS: PICK'EM! 10-10 TIE!

MNW: I can't pick against Big Red because he's holding two of my loved ones hostage please send help. 'Toppers drive and kick a late field goal to stun the home crowd. *WKU, 38-35.*

CfB: Well, Pat Forde thinks we're going to lose. Which probably means this will be our best game of the season so far. Also, I'll be in attendance, which will have zero impact on the game. IU wins and covers handily.

alnamiasIV: IU wins and covers. Score is about 70-64 (if that's mathematically possible).

LPW: Maybe, somehow, Indiana finds a defense. Indiana wins and takes the points.

Thump: WKU over Indiana. Never tell Red Grimace the odds.

87: The Hilltoppers are undefeated in 2015. The streak ends Saturday and Indiana struggles through a tough game. Hoosiers win and cover.

WSR: I don't see this ending well for the Hoosiers.  The Hilltoppers already went into Vanderbilt and won.

AY: Indiana 41, WKU 38: Can Hoosier defense save the day again? This one should be highly competitive.

Stew: A 2.5 point middle?  Yup.  I know it's a sucker's bet, but we're talking about Chaos Team here.

AK: As with Northwestern, Indiana's most disappointing moments can be directly correlated as following their moments of greatest hope. Hilltoppers win.

GF3: Are there hills to top in Indiana? WKU wins, covers.

RR: This shouldn't be this close


Rutgers at Penn State (-10) || BTN

SU: Penn State, 14-4

ATS: Rutgers, 11-7

Meteor: 1

No One: 1

MNW: You want CHAOS TEAM? I'll give you CHAOS TEAM: A Rutgers team that has seemingly hit rock bottom begins the climb up, stunning the Penn State faithful. 3-23, bitches! *RU RAH RAH, 21-20.*

CfB: The Big Ten Conference proudly presents its Tirefire Game of the Week. Penn State takes down their rivals, but the Jersey Boys cover.

alnamiasIV: This game will rival the MOON game of last year. PSU: 10 RU: 7

LPW: PSU wins, but Rutgers covers despite half the fact half the team was arrested.

87: Hell, I feel bad for Rutgers. I don't think even Nick Saban could overcome so much adversity and pump these kids up. That it is at TTFP will help, but the lack of firepower on the field will kill them. Kemoko Turay has a big game, but in a losing effort. PSU rolls em and covers.

WSR: I refuse to make a prediction on this game as it will be an abhorrent crime against football.

AY: Penn State 24, Rutgers 10: If Penn State can't beat Rutgers now, will Penn State ever beat Rutgers again?

Stew: PSU wins, doesn't cover:  A team that can't throw vs. a team with no secondary!  This game shouldn't be televised for everyone's sake.

AK: So...Rutgers has a decent pass rush, but no secondary, and Penn State has no pass protection, but good receivers. It's like the Gift of the Sucki. Let's say Penn State covers and their fans pile back on the bandwagon like it's the last chopper out of Saigon.

CM: Penn State: HAHAHA--Rutgers: LOL. There will be no winners in this game, and it needs to be put down like the wounded raccoon on the road to Indianapolis that it is.  Hackenberg can't stay upright. Rutgers is blowing through all their new B1G money by wasting it on bail. Whatever happens, we all lose.

GF3: Is this just some contest where they realized they'll never get to the top so they're racing to the bottom? If so, bravo Rutgers. PSU wins, covers.

RR: Please can we have one nice thing

Pitt at Iowa (-5.5) || BTN

SU: Iowa, 18-2

ATS: Iowa, 15-5

MNW: Pitt is without its best rusher against an Iowa defense that likes to stop the run. This won't end well, but something something Narduzzi something something Ferentz means this game is closer than it should be. *Iowa, 24-10.*

CfB: LOL@Pitt. Hawkeyes win and cover.

alnamiasIV: Hawkeyes win and cover against my alma mater (I take this prediction back if Drew Ott and LeShun Daniels are both out).

LPW: Sorry Jon Ross, Pitt is not it! Iowa wins and covers.

87: I hate Pitt. I'm rooting for the Hawks to kill the panthers. Iowa covers.

WSR: Pitt with Conner had a chance.

AY: Iowa 28, Pitt 17: The Panthers allowed a lot of points to Youngstown State two weeks ago.

Stew: IOWA to cover because GO IOWA AWESOME!  EAT SHIT, PITT!

AK: Let's take a little air out of this burgeoning Hawkeye hype zeppelin; you still have no offensive skill players I would want on my team. In the rare Baja Blast Double Blast Blastoff, PITT IS IT.

CM: Iowa 35--Pitt 24: The Hawkeye offense continues to improve despite being run by Greg Davis, and the defense picks up where they left off against Iowa State. I think Captain Kirk is finally getting the hint that people care about the NonCon games, and they should put on a pretty good show under the lights at Kinnick.

GF3: Narduzzi returns to try something new: losing in Iowa City. Iowa wins, covers.

RR: Eat shit Pitt


Standings coming soon! Share your picks in the comments!