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RIVALRY WEEK: Previews, Picks, and Predictions

Can Penn State REALLY win the East? Only Michigan State stands in their way...assuming Michigan can hold off Ohio State in The Game.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

87townie: Dammit, it’s the last game of the season. That’s the real reason this is hate week. Why do basketball and baseball have seasons that last nine months of the year and football only lasts two and a half? Crap. I hate basketball. Crap.

Oh well, one more week and it should be fun. Here’s what should happen…Nebraska goes to Iowa minus one and possibly two quarterbacks. Tommy A is fragile, so even if he goes, Iowa feasts. I’m going out on a limb here and predicting that the Hawkeyes win a close one at home. Possibly 3-2. You’ll want to scrub your eyes out with bleach. Out? Just ask the Sparty fans if you can borrow some of theirs.

Illinois at Northwestern…ate too much turkey? Need to purge? Tune into this snooze fest. It won’t be a good game and it’s meaningless anyway. Will the nerds go to a shitty bowl? Or will they be home bossing around their UM grad employees? Who cares…nerds win ugly.

Urk…Purdue is still playing football. This week they take on a fair to middlin’ Indiana team. Purdue is bad. Watching them play football is like the smell of your roommate burning his beard clippings. Indiana wins.

Crap on toast…Rutgers at Maryland. I think I vomited a little in my mouth just writing that. Watching Rutgers play football is like the smell of your roommate burning his pubic hair…with Axe body spray. Maryland better win or I’m going to leave a comment in every one of DJ’s basketball essays for the rest of the year. It’s rutger. Shit Murrland, if you don’t win AND cover you should be drowned in crab bisque.

Michigan travels to Ohio State. Fuck you Michigan for making me root for the stinkeye’s. Buckeyes win and cover.

Sparty comes to State College, where the alumni, the coaches, and the players are making desperate pleas for the students to return early from Thanksgiving for the game. I think it works and the 12th man of Happy Valley disrupts Sparty’s quarterback play. Ha…just kidding. Sparty doesn’t have a quarterback. Penn State wins and covers.

Minnesota is quietly putting together a historic season. And it’s quiet because nobody likes a braggart and they’ll probably lose anyway. But seriously, at 8-3, the Gophers are poised to make history. The last Gophers squad to win at least 9 games was Glen Mason’s 2003 team. That team won ten games, which is in the grasp of this squad. And if they are going to make the leap, it’ll have to be over a good Wisconsin team. I think this game has upset written all over it. I’m going with Minnesota to win…but they’ll probably lose anyway.

BigRedTwice: You have made a number of deeply disturbing analogies in your predictions, and I beg you not to provide the backstory to any of them, because we really, really do not want to know.

Creighton M: ....i mean I'm kind of curious

87townie: I was thinking about that commercial with the raccoons...the tag line is, "when you taste something horrible, you want someone else to try it too, it's what you do."

And It talked about burnt hair...from there it was a short trip down memory lane to a shared apartment. One guy was a he shaved.

Aaron Yorke: mango chutney!

That was definitely a conversation that happened. All times CT, all games Saturday except Iowa-Nebraska because this is a thing that happens now, apparently.

But hey, we’ve got a surprise guest today! Ladies and gentlemen, the Preview Graphic stylings of RUinNYC:


Friday, 2:30pm || Iowa -3

SU: Iowa, 11-5 || ATS: Iowa, 10-6

BigRedTwice: I'm predicting this based on my guess that we are down to our third-string QB, or a severely hampered QB 1 or QB 2. Iowa has been bad this year, but they've improved and could beat a Nebraska team with a first-time starting, 3rd-string QB. I think this will be a low-scoring game, and might hinge on whose D can make a big scoring play. Mostly, I'm trying to jinx Iowa by picking them.

Thomas Speth: It would be the most Iowa thing ever to lose to a 3rd string QB. They might, but I'm not counting on it. Iowa 14 Nebraska 10.

babaoreally: UNL over Iowa and cover so people can whine about how much money the Iowa football coach makes.

aaron Yorke: Iowa seems to have tightened up its defense since allowing Penn State to do whatever it wanted on that wonderful evening in State College. Nebraska will have trouble moving the ball, so the Hawkeyes win their third straight. Iowa 13, Nebraska 6.

CM: I don't feel confident at all about picking the Hawkeyes over the Cornhuskers, but when there's a decent chance that Nebraska will be starting either Ryker Fyfe or someone who is somehow less qualified than Ryker Fyfe, I mean come on.... (Oh god Tommy is going to start and pass for 300 yards, isn't he?)

AlNamiasIV: it would just make sense for Iowa to lose at this point and nobody has any idea who Nebraska is starting at QB, so I'll say Nebby ekes out a win and hope that I'm wrong.

GoForThree: Even if he plays, Armstrong will be hampered by his hamstring. Iowa will grind it out in the trenches the same way Minnesota tried to do, but will actually win.

Thumpasaurus: Iowa covers because Nebraska has to get to four losses somehow.

MNWildcat: Picking against Tommy Armstrong just doesn’t seem wise at this point in the season. I get that he’s hurt, and ultimately this game is contingent upon if Iowa can stop Terrell Newby, but this feels like one of those years where I’m not picking against Nebraska. Huskers, 17-13.


11am || Northwestern -15.5

SU: Northwestern, 14-2 || ATS: Illinois, 9-7

BRT: There's no way NW loses this one. Illinois is that bad. I don't care if it's a rivalry for some kind of chapeau or whatever.

TS: Illinois is bad, Northwestern is mediocre. No one outside the fans of the teams cares. Northwestern 24 Illinois 7.

babaoreally: NU gets the hat but does not cover.

AY: Even after last week's disappointing result, I still have enough faith in Northwestern to win at home with a bowl bid on the line. Illinois's defense will do enough to cover the spread, though. Northwestern 24, Illinois 13.

CM: Since Day 1 Lovie Smith has been talking about taking Northwestern seriously as their main rival and trying to make a big thing out of this game. Seems like a solid strategy to engage the fans and fire up your team, right? Wouldn't this be the one game for Illinois to impress in? I love Thumpasaurus, but Illinois has made a habit of disappointing him every time he gets his hopes up about something. Sorry Illini. Maybe 2018 is your year.

Al: I almost thought Northwestern was competitive there then last week happened. Competitive or not, Illinois is terrible. Should be an easy win and bowl eligibility clincher for the Nerds.

GF3: Northwestern is better than Illinois. But not 16 points better.

Thump: Fuck it. Illinois 21 Northwestern 17.

MNW: I have absolutely no confidence in Northwestern to win this game. Can Northwestern come out and establish the run against the Illinois? I don’t know, probably. But if the Illini get their offense rolling at all, I have no faith in Northwestern to keep Clayton Thorson safe long enough to catch up. They’ll eke this out and I’ll disappointedly look at how expensive flights to New York are and miss my first bowl game since I became a Northwestern student. ‘Cats, 21-16.


11am || Indiana -20.5

SU: Indiana, 16-0 || ATS: Indiana, 9-7

BRT: As per the trend in the last half of the season, Purdue will keep things interesting for about a half before completely imploding. Indiana is also prone to implosion, but they've yet to raise (lower?) their implosion game to the same level as Purdue.

TS: Purdue's corpse will twitch enough that Indiana isn't covering a 20 point spread, but this isn't going to be a close game. Indiana 31 Purdue 14.

babaoreally: Indiana wins and covers because Purdue is terrible.

AY: The Hoosiers have been on the losing end of too many close games this season, so hopefully they blow off some steam in this one to earn another Big Ten bowl berth. Indiana 38, Purdue 14.

CM: Indiana is fighting for bowl eligibility, and Purdue checked out after their coach put his house full of hats with weird brims up for sale. Easy decision. Roll Hoosiers, or whatever.

Al: speaking of bad, Purdue is awful but IU has an unimpressive offense so IU wins but the Boilers make it a game.

GF3: Poor, poor Purdue.

Thump: Purdue covers because Indiana fans must be brought to the brink for some reason.

MNW: Indiana has only beaten Florida International by 20 or more this season. Purdue sends Gerad Parker out on about as high a note as they possibly can. Trick plays abound in this one, because who the fuck cares anymore? Indiana, 34-22.


11am || Maryland -13.5

SU: Maryland, 15-1 || ATS: SPLIT, 8-8

BRT: This game makes me sad. I think Maryland will win, but happily for Rutgers fans, the Scarlet Knights will actually score a few times this week.

TS: Not a Big Ten game. Maryland points Rutgers 0.

babaoreally: Rutger wins just because it would be weird.

AY: The Knights should at least be able to generate some offense with the running game, but Maryland comes out ahead. Maryland 28, Rutgers 24.

CM: Iowa State and Kansas both have conference wins, which officially makes rutger the worst P5 team in the country. I, for one, will be tuning in to see if rutger can score 7 points or less for the seventh time this season.

Al: This game wouldn't have been interesting in the ACC or the old Big East. In the B1G, whatever. Maryland wins easily.

GF3: Poorer, Poorer Rutgers.

Thump: Maryland covers. Rugters is much worse than the Purdue team they blasted.

MNW: In an offensive explosion, Rutgers scores. Terps, 34-24.


11am || Ohio State -6.5

SU: Ohio State, 14-2 || ATS: Ohio State, 10-6

Yes, I know, flip the M and OSU in the split decisions.

BRT: Oh, this old thing? Meh. In seriousness, it should be a pretty entertaining game, and not really having a horse in the race, I hope it comes down to some kind of insane last-second bizzare-o play. I'll take OSU. I have slightly more faith in Meyer's ability to rise to the occasion of a big game. I'm not interested enough to do any research to see if this is well-founded or not.

TS: I'd like Michigan if it wasn't in Columbus and they weren't going to be starting a broken QB/John O'Korn. I'll see you in Indy OSU. OSU 30 Michigan 21.

AY: Michigan is starting a backup quarterback, but it's not like J.T. Barrett hasn't had issues against tough defenses this year. Michigan has a very tough defense. Michigan 17, Ohio State 14.

CM: HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH PEPPERS FOR HEISMAN HARBAUGH HARBAUGH John O'Korn is garbage and I think we all know how Michigan plays in road games against teams with a pulse, so Buckeyes win big HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH.

Al: I'm saying the Fightin' Harbaughs win not because I believe they will, but it is wishful thinking because I don't want Penn State to win the division.

GF3: UM has an excellent defensive line. Everyone with a pulse and gross motor skills has put OSU RT Isaiah Prince on rollerskates this season. Tim Beck won’t leave a back in to help block, because he couldn’t gameplan a dump if you fed him Skyline and locked him in a bathroom. UM pressures Barrett all day, and a Buckeye offense that couldn’t throw against MSU or PSU sure isn’t cracking that UM secondary.

Thump: Ohio State covers. Michigan has looked much worse on the road, and Ohio State is better than MSU or Iowa.

MNW: I’m actually completely with BRT on this one. The Game has never done it for me, and I don’t know if I’ll really ever care about it unless Northwestern has something to gain or lose. Give me Purdue-Indiana instead. I love a good derpfest.

Actually looking at this game, I see GF3 is doing his usual disinterested praise of Michigan so he can go all reverse jinx or whatever it is. Someone needs to undo that. Ohio State in a field goal-fest, 16-13.


2:30pm || Penn State -12

SU: Penn State, 11-5 || ATS: Michigan State, 12-4

BRT: Well, we all know what we want to have happen here. C'mon Sparty, we're pulling for you. And why not? It's almost the holiday season--give us all the gift of some really primo schadenfreude.

TS: Karma bites the Penn State cult firmly in the posterior as the team that lost by 39 to Michigan shows up. MSU 28 PSU 24.

babaoreally: Michigan State wins for no reason at all.

AY: If you take out that ugly Illinois loss, you can see a lot of growth over the past month for Michigan State. This will be a tight one, but we'll go with the Lions because they're undefeated at home. Penn State 20, Michigan State 17.

CM: Penn State is finally starting to get some traction under Coach Hype, so I think they're about due for a hilarious loss to dash their absurd playoff hopes.

Al: Over the past two games, MSU has shown they're not as bad as they've looked for the other nine games but it doesn't matter because they're not good.

GF3: MSU almost pulls the upset. Almost. Because why not give them the chance to let me down one last time?

Thump: Michigan State covers, because why not give them the chance to let G43 down one last time?

MNW: Chalk this one up to a Dantonio Special. It nearly worked last week, and it’ll nearly work again. It feels like a late-game situation should come down to coaching, and I’d take Michigan State’s chances there over HYPE any day, but this is just not a good Michigan State football team. Nittany Lions, 26-23.


2:30pm || wisconsin -14

SU: wisconsin, 14-2 || ATS: SPLIT, 8-8

BRT: Well Minny, as a Husker fan with an outside shot at the CCG, I'm pulling for you. But I'm not predicting you. Wisky is probably going to roll.

TS: Get fucked Goldy. Wisconsin evens the series in 2016 just like we planned in 2004. Leidner looks like garbage. Wisconsin rolls to Indy. Wisconsin 35 Minnesota 10.

babaoreally: Wisconsin wins and covers because they always have the axe.

AY: All three of Minnesota's losses are by a touchdown or less. Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 20.

CM: Minnesota will control the game before ultimately puking it away because of questionable coaching decisions from Tracy Claeys. Badger fans will use the win as evidence of their supreme dominance over college football (lol), and while we all sit back and laugh at them for this they'll probably pull off a win in Indy just to fuck with us. Go to hell, Barry.

Al: be great if Minnesota could make this a rivalry. The Gophers cover but it's never close.

GF3: Sconnie wins a grinder and Minnesota gets the backdoor cover.

Thump: Wisconsin pisses all over Minnesota and covers that spread. Mitch Leidner does not go until the 7th round at best.

MNW: God I hate those noose-wearing chucklefucks. Build a fucking wall already, Mark Dayton. Please.

Special thanks again to RUinNYC for the graphics...just top-notch stuff, man.

No standings this week; we’ll have ‘em up before the Big Ten Championship! Leave your picks in the comments and vote in the poll. Hope you all make a nice big HARBAUGH today from your Thanksgiving exploits—I’m sure it will be in no way related to the terribleness that is to be Iowa-Nebraska.

Thanks as always for reading OTE, and have a great weekend.