87townie: Only two weeks left of the regular season. I’m sad to say that this will be the first year in more than a decade that I won’t get to Beaver Stadium for a game. The air is getting crisp and there is a chance that snow will fly in PA this weekend. It’s a great time for football. I can’t believe the season is nearly over.
The games this week are critical, winners have to win out to go on. None more so than OSU, who plays at Sparty. Ohio State can’t afford another mistake and will still need help to win the B1G East Division. They are 22.5 point favorites against an MSU team that just embarrassed Rutgers. Don’t take the points. Sparty ain’t in this game.
Iowa football is like those Every Flavor Jelly Beans my kids love. Sometimes you get the really great ones and sometimes you get frog vomit. Last week, Iowa pulled out the best flavor of the year. This week? I think Akrum Wadley gets turned loose on a bad Illinois team and has a career day. Iowa wins by two touchdowns.
Maryland travels to mid-flyover territory to play Nebraska. That’s awful nice of the Terps to go all that way to get their asses kicked. But that’s what’s happening. Nebraska holds faint hope of winning the west, but a Wisconsin stumble could open the door if Nebraska gets the job done. This week it will. The spread isn’t big enough to cover the carnage in Lincoln. Nebraska wins in a rout.
Wisconsin just needs to do work and it wins the west. It’s heading to Purdue, but there isn’t a chance of a harbor this week. The Badgers get another step closer to Indy this weekend. And they cover.
Northwestern and Minnesota play this weekend. Minnesota is one game back in the division. It would take a miracle at this point, for them to win. However, a loss to the Nerds will officially close the door on them. At 5-5, Northwestern is still battling for a non-participation-trophy bowl berth. The spread is one point, so Vegas is throwing its hands up and telling us to pick. So I’m going with Northwestern here. The talent on the offense is undeniable. And last week at Purdue, they really got it rolling. I think it keeps going this week too. Nerds win and cover.
I can’t believe rutger is in the B1G. Really, it boggles the fucking mind. Penn State can’t let up this week in Piscataway. They need to go in and hammer the knights. It’s a big stage for rutger, a televised night game. It’s the kind of situation where a crowd can help swing the game…and it does. For Penn State, whose contingent will turn this into a home game. This game won’t be close. I expect to see Tommy Stephens, PSU’s second string QB run for a score and throw for another in garbage time. Penn State covers.
All games Saturday, all times CT, all takes lukewarm this week.
Ohio State (-22.5) at Michigan State
11am || ESPN
SU: Ohio State, 17-0 || ATS: Ohio State, 11-6
Thumpasaurus: Ohio State 62 Michigan State 3. Might as well keep winning by this margin, eh?
Creighton M: They stumbled last week when they accidentally beat rutger, but Sparty is doing everything they can to lock up the first overall pick in the Big Ten draft next year which, unfortunately for them, isn't a real thing. Meanwhile Ohio State is going to try and bury everyone left on their schedule to impress the committee. This is gonna get ugly.
ZuzuRU: Ohio State gets revenge.
DJ Carver: Ohio State takes its revenge and lets Sparty know that, in fact, they only played Rutgers and nothing should be made from last week's performance.
BigRedTwice: Sparty fans, did you enjoy last week? I hope so, because this week is going to be a lot less fun for you.
GF3: Sparty keeps this waaaayyy closer than the East Lansing Dumpster Fire has any right to, because that’s the way these things go.
MNW: I don’t know about this being a blowout, but I think OSU just throttles down and slowly pulls away from the Spartans when JT Barrett begins running all over the place. Too many weapons for the Buckeyes and not enough defensive soundness from the same Spartans club that let Northwestern hang over half a century on ‘em. Ohio State, 45-20.
Iowa (-10) at Illinois
11am || BTN
SU: Iowa, 16-1 || ATS: Iowa, 11-6
Thump: Iowa drives its fans crazy by following up a huge win by almost losing to Illinois. Almost.
Stewmonkey13: Iowa cruises to a boring, slightly uncomfortable 17 point win.
CM: The Hawkeyes beat Michigan last week, so Kirk Ferentz obviously figured everything out. This team will be firing on all cylinders and steamroll an Illini squad that's been looking ahead to 2017 since about week 3. Wadley might explode for 200+ yards, and CJ will be looking to hit 300 yards passing before Iowa puts in the backups to finish the game. I'm just kidding. Hawkeyes by a field goal, and Jeff George Jr. will probably play like Aaron Rodgers (from when Aaron Rodgers was still good).
Zuzu: Iowa is confident after last week, but not in the underestimating sense and should beat Illinois with some relative ease.
DJ: Iowa wins this game and does so in convincing fashion. It'll give Hawkeye fans a false sense of hope when in reality they just played a talent deficient team.
BRT: Obviously, it would be hilarious on many levels if Illinois won. They won't though, so I'll settle for them making the Hawkeyes sweat. Can you do that, Illini? Probably not.
GF3: Iowa. I guess.
MNW: I had to think about this for a while with Iowa and their ability to turn in a Ferentzian performance against anyone at any time (what did I tell y’all about Kinnick at night last week, by the way?). But Illinois is some kind of awful, which means they don’t try to actually be good until HAT next week. Hawkeyes, 35-14.
Maryland at Nebraska (-15)
11am || ESPNNews
SU: Nebraska, 16-0 || ATS: MY EYES SO MUCH RED
Thump: Maryland rebounds from its drubbing by putting up a fight against Nebraska but ultimately a halftime application of duct tape keeps Tommy Armstrong functional enough to pull out a ninth win.
Stew: UNL runs, and runs, and runs, and runs all over the turtles.
DJ: Is Tommy Armstrong starting? Is Perry Hills starting? I guess the former doesn't matter as you should just run 60 times vs Maryland. Maryland covers but proves it still can't stop the run vs anyone but Purdue.
BRT: It would be cool if Nebraska won 62-3! They won't though. They'll sweat it out for three quarters, passing needlessly, before remembering they have something of a run game in the fourth quarter to win by 3.
GF3: Eww. Nebraska in a game of awful redness.
MNW: The best way to make sure Tommy Armstrong doesn’t die is by running Newby or Cross or whoever the hell Nebraska has at running back this game. Over. and over. and over. I think that Mike Riley is not stupid enough to force his QB to win this game unless they absolutely have to. Huskers, 48-10.
wisconsin (-28) at Purdue
11am || ABC
Unanimous, wisconsin to cover.
Thump: Purdue puts up yards and several touchdowns but still doesn't cover the spread because Wisconsin gets multiple pick sixes.
Stew: Purdue has given up, no dead cat bounce, this is ugly.
CM: I don't think Purdue cares anymore. Wisconsin's offense will look damn near competent. Bonus predictions:
1) Purdue will score 6 points or less.
2) Wisconsin's defense/special teams will score more points than their offense
3) Speth will blow over .08 before Purdue wheels our their drum.
BRT: Go get some cheese curds and phone this one in, Purdue. Alternatively, spring one glorious Harbor. Wisky will probably win though, by 30+.
GF3: LOL. Wisconsin.
MNW: Harbor didn’t happen last week, and it ain’t happening now. Order some Moon Man from your badger friends, Purdue, and just ask them if you don’t have to play this one. Why oh why does this have to be on ABC? badgers, 38-3.
Northwestern (-1) at Minnesota
2:30pm || BTN
SU/ATS: Northwestern, 11-5
Thump: Minnesota stumbles ass-backwards into a win that nobody, even Minnesota fans, can explain.
Stew: jNW is better. The only way MN wins this is if Good Mitch shows up. Even then, not sure they can stop JJtbc.
GF3: Austin Carr has a day. Tracy Claeys chews his cud in wonder. Tarps.
MNW: I’m not sure what it says that we only got three predictions and five total sentences on the Strong Dislike Game. Maybe it’s that no one cares about Minnesota-Northwestern? (Probably.) Maybe it’s that with a NU (-1) line, no one has a clue what to do? (Never stopped us before).
My stat of the week for this one? Third down conversions. The offenses of Northwestern and Minnesota are…not the most efficient things in the world, and there’ll be plenty of third-and-long situations in this one. While Northwestern’s been passable on defense (43rd in the nation, 37.2% allowed), Minnesota’s been…not great (86th in the nation, 42.2% allowed). Haaaave you met the Austin Carr Out Route Special? One of those comes up big late and a Jack Mitchell field goal bounces off the upright and through. ‘Cats, 24-21.
Indiana at Michigan (-23)
2:30pm || ESPN
SU: Michigan, 17-0 || ATS: Indiana, 10-7
Thump: Michigan returns home looking for blood. Something red shows up. Blood explosion.
CM: Like everything he does, Harbaugh will overcompensate for last week's performance by running up the score and being a huge tool. Jabrill Peppers will have upwards of 30 yards rushing so can we just give him the Heisman already?
Zuzu: What Creighton said. Harbaugh will leave no doubt on that field of Michigan being "worthy."
DJ: Mad Jim Harbaugh will be a site to see. Sorry Indiana bro's, this won't be fun.
BRT: Suuuuuper glad I'm not an Indiana fan this week (and most weeks, for that matter.) This likely gets very bad, but hey, we're all pulling for you, Hoosiers.
GF3: Without Speight, Michigan won’t be the same. But it’s still Indiana. So, Michigan.
MNW: And it’s still Indiana, meaning they will find a stupid way to make a stupid game out of this before Michigan stupidly pulls away late. O’Korn throws an early pick but settles in, and Michigan leaves winners, 34-17.
Penn State (-28) at Rutgers
7pm || BTN
SU: Penn State, 15-2 || ATS: Penn State, 11-6
Thump: Before the start of the season, I called Penn State over Ohio State. I also called Rutgers over Penn State. I'm not backing down. ROLL DAMN 'GERS.
Stew: Buttgers is super bad. PSU has Barkley. This gets ugly.
CM: Oh rutger....at least you'll be able to take revenge a few years from now when you awaken from your "sleeping giant" status.
Zuzu: Please, Rutgers. Give me and the country that upset you are so long overdue for.
DJ: Rutgers covers that 28 point spread but Penn State, unfortunately, wins.
BRT: Rutgers, know how to make everyone ok with your presence in the conference in a single Saturday? Win this game. Probably you'll do the opposite of that though and lose by elenventy billion and the Buttgers memes will continue on unabated.
GF3: Penn State. Just stop this, Rutgers. Stop. For all of us.
MNW: Enjoy Delaware or Joe Biden or whatever it is the winner of this thing gets. Delaware’s gonna look like a dingleberry hanging on Philly’s butt. Nittany Kitties, 40-14.
There it is, kids. Hard-hitting analysis of all your Big Ten games. Let us know your picks and predictions in the comments! Thanks for another week of Big Ten football readership and conversation. Enjoy the threads tomorrow, and come on back for a shootyhoops thread tonight!
-MNW and the OTE Gang