Last night I had the opportunity to join friend and erstwhile Boston resident PUREWildcat on his rec league softball team at Boston Commons. I went 4-4 (fucking right I did) with a couple doubles and a pair of singles, scored a few runs, and even made a nice pick at first. I say this only kind of to brag (THOSE LOSER HUMAN RESOURCES DRONES ON THE OTHER TEAM CAN SUCK IT) but really to note that stretching and proper care of your body is apparently important. Would’ve enjoyed a warning the last 27 years, guys. Thanks for nothing.
#17 Michigan Wolverines (-7) at Indiana Hoosiers
11am || ABC
SU: Michigan, 18-1 || ATS: Michigan, 17-2
BRT: I’d like to believe that this is a good chance for Indiana to strike while the iron is hot, and pick off a demoralized Wolverine squad. I’d like to believe that. But somehow, I think that Michigan finds a way to win this.
Andrew: Not enough of a spread to account for how much of a jerk Jeem can be when he’s pouty. Wolvies cover.
Thump: IU gets close but no cigar. New mascot: Hoosier the Anthropomorphic Thing That’s Close To Being A Cigar But Isn’t Quite.
Aaron: Michigan’s offense isn’t great, but it’s also not as bas as it looked against Michigan State. The Wolverines will bounce back with a solid road win. Michigan 27, Indiana 17.
Stew: Seems like an awfully low line. Would think that MI should be at least double digit favorites. Especially for a team that’s actually a bit of a public team. This all tells me I should be picking IN, but I just’ cant.
Creighton: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HOOSIERS KEEP THIS WOLVERINE MISERY TRAIN ROLLING (michigan wins, covers).
MNW: I...I’m honestly surprised I’m the only one still taking the bait. So I’m sorry in advance, IU.
I tried to find something positive to say about the Hoosiers’ offense matching up with some aspect of the Wolverines’ #1-in-total-defense unit, but...this is an elite fucking defense. At an 18.3% 3rd down conversion rate, allowing 13 ypg less than anyone else in the country...and we’ve got just a pedestrian, #nice-ranked Indiana offense only moving at 5.11 ypp. Shit. And I already made the graphic.
But I believe, Indiana. Eventually Lucy stops pulling the football. No one beats
Vitas Gerulaitis Indiana football 22 times in a row! (Except Ohio State.) Hoosiers, 24-21.
rutger Scarlet Knights at Illinois Fighting Illini (-2.5)
11am || BTN
SU: Illinois, 13-5 || ATS: Illinois, 12-6
*Goddamnit, swap LPW’s R and I. WHO THE FUCK TAKES THE POINTS ON A 2.5-POINT COLLEGE SPREAD ANY-FUCKING-WAYS. WE’RE AT WAR.
BRT: Illinois put together just over a half of football last week, while rutgers’ current long streak was one half in the first week of the season. Illini get the nod.
Andrew: I don’t want to. Eh, give me Illinois to cover.
Thump: rutger wins. Prove me wrong god dammit.
Aaron: I’ll take the home team by a field goal. Only because it’s beaten a MAC team this year. Illinois 16, Rutgers 13.
Thump (again): YOU FUCK FACES. STOP PICKING ILLINOIS.
Stew: Illinois is capable of football like substance. They win by default.
Creighton: Normally I’d pick Illinois, but Janarion Grant has been cleared to play and I don’t think the Illini will have an answer to him.
Zuzu: I think we’re gonna do the think, guys. The Big Ten win thing that we almost did with Nebraska, but then Rutgers’d away.
MNW: Huh. It appears I’ve taken Illinois to win. I guess I’m sticking with that. Illinois, x+3, rutger, x.
Purdue Boilermakers at #7 wisconsin badgers (-16)
2:30pm || BTN
SU: wisconsin, 17-2 || ATS: wisconsin, 9-8
BRT: Oh Boilermakers. I am pulling for you, because this would be funnnnnnny. Coming off one terrific quarter of play last week, Badger fans are now convinced they are ready for the Super Bowl. It would be hilarious to show them otherwise.
Andrew: They probably won’t make it to that number until late, as has been their wont, but Wisco covers.
Thump: Wisconsin sits on Purdue until they say uncle. I can see this being like 31-13, but I can’t see Purdue having a chance at the end.
Aaron: The Makers are 4-1 against the spread this season, so how about a nice backdoor cover in Madison? Wisconsin 30, Purdue 20.
Stew: Fuck wisconsin
Creighton: Please prove me wrong, Boilers.
MNW: The badgers are finally going to play a complete game against a Big Ten opponent, and it’s going to remind Purdue that there’s still work to be done. This one in particular feels like Alex Hornibrook tosses for a few scores and also kills at least two seagulls with his rainmakers. wisconsin, 38-13.
Northwestern Wildcats (-3 lol) at Maryland Terrapins
2:30pm || ESPN2
SU: Maryland, 10-7 || ATS: Maryland, 11-6
Andrew: I’d sure have to be numb to watch any of this. I’ll take the points, but the NW win.
Thump: Maryland continues to win in ways that are not foreseeable as they rebuild from the devestating natural disaster that is Ohio State surprisingly quickly.
Aaron: The nerd numbers love the turtles in this game, even on a neutral field. Maryland 27, Northwestern 21.
Stew: Maryland appears to be a random alternatively surprisingly competent and god awful. I think they manage to get by jNW.
Creighton: Give me Maryland? I don’t know. It seems like the Terps will either win by 30 or lose by 30.
MNW: Northwestern is down its best defensive player (Godwin Igwebuike) and regular MIKE linebacker (Paddy Fisher) for the first half, meaning they’re going to have to weather the passing ability of Caleb Henderson for at least one half. They’ll have to, because if this game turns into playing catch-up, they’re fucked.
I’d like to use this opportunity to predict we see a return to the 2012 Northwestern offense: Matt Alviti will see multiple meaningful series in this game. Not because Clayton Thorson is hurt or playing badly, but rather because Mick McCall is coaching for his life (again) and it’s time to dance with the gal that brought you five long years ago. Northwestern, 31-24.
#9 Ohio State Buckeyes (-24) at Nebraska Cornhuskers
6:30pm || FS1
SU: Ohio State, 19-0 || ATS: Ohio State, 13-6
BRT: OSU should beat this spread. It only takes about a quarter to do so, and who knows how many Pick Sixes we’ll contribute to the attempt. There is a chance of rain Saturday night though, so perhaps that will limit the carnage a bit.
Andrew: The rolling ball of knives meets no resistance in the flatlands. OSU covers.
Thump: Ohio State is absolutely ruining the shit out of any team with a big talent deficit to them. I don’t see why this should be any different.
Aaron: It’s hard to fine a two-digit number that the Buckeyes can’t cover these days. Ohio State 42, Nebraska 10.
Stew: Oh hey, it’s a really good defense against Tanner Lee. I’m sure nothing terrible will happen.
Creighton: Is Tanner Lee really starting again? He’ll be benched by halftime, but I bet he scores at least a couple pick-sixes before then.
MNW: I’m already shit against the spread this year, might as well just keep diggin’ that hole. Maybe the Husker faithful have one last get-up game in them for the Mike Riley Death March. Ohio State, 41-20.
#21 Michigan State Spartans (-4) at Minnesota Golden Gophers
7pm || BTN
SU: Michigan State, 19-0 || ATS: Michigan State, 14-2
BRT: I’m surprised this line isn’t higher. I have not seen much from the oarsmen to make me love their chances, imperfect as MSU is.
Andrew: Lot of dudes on that injury report for PJ’s Mad Trireme. I’ll take MSU to cover.
Thump: Michigan State is gonna cover big time. Don’t know why everyone thought this wasn’t a rebuild for Minnesota.
Aaron: Back-to-back big wins mean that Michigan State is back...to being a bowl team. Next stop, Big Ten title contention! Michigan State 23, Minnesota 10.
Stew: Seems like this line is also pretty low. But MSU does have a good defense and I’m just not sure WSR can block that DL for four quarters. He ain’t what he used to be.
Creighton: Sparty wins big. PJ Fleck starts to realize that his fake goose gimmick didn’t work, so he’ll upgrade to actual loons. If you can’t find leadership by unleashing live waterfowl for no apparent reason, you aren’t trying hard enough.
MNW: Listening to PJ Fleck’s interview on KFAN yesterday was just painful. About 5 minutes of excuses, followed by “but I’m not making excuses.” AND DID YOU KNOW HE WENT 1-11 HIS FIRST YEAR IN KALAMAZOO?
That was also preceded with what I’m sure will become a new mantra and hashtag, “3 minutes from 5-0.” (Do we remember when Pat Fitzgerald did that after 2012 and everyone laughed at him? Let’s make sure we do that now.)
Part of me feels bad, because my newly-retired dad is so excited to travel once or twice every fall to watch the Gophers in addition to holding onto his season tickets. I get pictures of him at tailgates holding the oars they bought just for that purpose (they also double as the #RTB version of shot-skis). And I remember how angry he was at Gopher football when I left for Northwestern in 2009, and I just feel sad.
Anyway, this line is the perfect line for Peejer to look back next week and say they were 3:05 from 6-0, if only Michigan State wouldn’t have driven the field and kicked the winning field goal. But those mistakes are on him as a coach. MSU, 20-17.
Anywho, vote in the polls and leave your picks in the comments. Thanks as always for making OTE one of your homes for Big Ten football chatter, and stay tuned for Mailbag at noon GTZ.
-MNW, DJ, and the OTE Staff
YES, IT IS TIME, YOU MUST PICK RUTGER-ILLINOIS
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THE SHITTIEST TEAM FROM THE EAST
THE SHITTIEST TEAM FROM THE WEST
Whose dreams of not being completely terrible last through the weekend?
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CHOOSE THE VICTORIOUS NAVAL COMMANDER
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