It’s another week in which football will definitely be played! This week there’s some Illibuck action, the return of Strong Dislike (we guess), and the last real test for the badgers before the Big Ten Championship Games (feel that Strong Dislike).
If at some point you get bored with this week’s action, given that you can’t turn to the SEC for any entertainment, might we suggest the FCS? The playoff picture is heating up in the Missouri Valley, as the #6 North Dakota State Bison head to face the #25 Illinois State Redbirds (12pm, ESPN3). The Redbirds are fighting for their playoff lives, but the Bison could deliver the final blow in the fields of Normal.
But that’s not remotely close to the game you want to check out—that’s DAKOTADOME, Vermillion, SD, where at 2pm on ESPN3 the resurgent #16 South Dakota Coyotes (7-3, 4-3 MVFC) host their rivals, the #5 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (8-2, 5-2).
Anyhow, after a 4-game collapse at the end of last season, the Coyotes (under 2nd-year coach Bob Nielson) have finally caught some lightning, riding upsets of then-#10 North Dakota, -#13 Western Illinois, and -#3 Youngstown State to 7-1 before losing a heartbreaker at Northern Iowa followed by a 49-14 hamblasting by NDSU. The Jackrabbits have taken the last 8 in the battle for the slightly-more-interesting Dakota, opening up a 53-52-7 lead, but this one would punch a ticket for the ‘Yotes through to the FCS Playoffs. Want to go? Too bad. No tickets. South Dakota’s serious bidness, y’all.
In the list of awesome trophies, by the way, the Jacks handed NDSU their only loss of the year and reclaimed the Dakota Marker (a fucking 75-pound slab of stone!) a couple weeks ago.
Anyway, are awesome Midwestern FCS rivalries not enough? You’ve got four other ranked FCS showdowns:
#1 James Madison Dukes at #15 Elon Phoenix (11am)
#24 Furman Paladins at #13 Samford Bulldogs (2:30pm)
#23 Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at #18 Southern Utah Thunderbirds (3:30pm)
#22 Monmouth Eagles at #21 Kennesaw State Owls (1pm, ESPN3) [TURNOVER PLANK]
Also the Brawl of the Wild between Montana and Montana State.
LUMBERJACKS. THUNDERBIRDS. BRAWL OF THE WILD. TURNOVER PLANKS.
What are we even doing this shit for?
Minnesota Golden Gophers at #23 Northwestern Wildcats (-7)
11am | BTN
SU: Northwestern, 13-5 | ATS: Northwestern, 10-8
Thumpasaurus: Northwestern wins in regulation against a team that can't throw won't throw, covers.
Aaron Yorke: I'm sure last week was fun for the Gophers, but now it's time to go on the road and face a Northwestern team that has done nothing but take care of business since dropping games to Wisconsin and Penn State in early October. Northwestern 24, Minnesota 14.
WhiteSpeedReceiver: As required by law for a Minnesota-Northwestern game, I must immediately assume that my team will easily win.
Thomas Speth: Northwestern is way better than Minnesota. Also I'd like to thank Northwestern for all the sudden looking like they'll be a sneaky good win for Wisconsin resume wise. Northwestern wins and covers.
BigRedTwice: While I guess I could see Minnesota continuing their momentum because football is the worst, I think it's more likely that they crash back down to earth and realize that they're actually a pretty bad team, except when they play Nebraska.
Stewmonkey13: An uncomfortable 4 point win for jNW that leaves everyone cold.
Creighton M: Northwestern wins, Gophers row row row all the way home.
MNW: The last time Northwestern saw a true running back, it was Duke. Have the ‘Cats learned their lessons? Tradition would say yes, but this is the first time Northwestern has won 5 straight Big Ten games since 1996. No way they make it to six, right? Minnesota, 27-21.
#24 Michigan Wolverines at Not-in-the-CFP wisconsin badgers (-7.5)
11am | FOX
SU: wisconsin, 14-4 | ATS: Michigan, 12-6
Thump: Wisconsin wins 17-10.
TS: Wisconsin 17 Alex Hornibrook for Michigan 7 Michigan 3* you mean.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ALEX HORNIBROOK STOP THROWING INTERCEPTIONS. Also Joe Rudolph stop trying to establish a passing game. It doesn't matter. I also would look into using like TJ Edwards at fullback so he can tackle guys when Hornibrook does throw a pick. Makes no sense to have our best linebacker on the field when the best player on offense for the other team is. Badgers win and cover.
AY: The stakes are high in this one. Michigan wants a signature win, and Wisconsin is looking to impress when undefeated might not be enough. A lot will be riding on Brandon Peters, who hasn't been asked to do much since taking over as the starting quarterback. Wisconsin 17, Michigan 13.
WSR: Go Blue!
BRT: As I feel like I've said many times this season, it's 2017 and everything is terrible, so Wisconsin will win and their fans will only increase in insufferability. However, the bright side is that with a loss here, the shine would be firmly off Harbaugh, and that would be interesting to watch.
Stew: Hornibrook challenges Tanner Lee, throwing a few more picks, and MI gets just enough offense to steal this, exposing wisconsin as the clownfraud trash that they are.
CM: I can't decide what would be more delicious: Wisconsin getting 50 pointed in the B1G Championship game, or Wisconsin getting 50 pointed by Alabama in the playoffs. Too bad we can't have both. Anyway, Wisco wins but Hornibrook will do his best to keep them from covering.
MNW: Life’s just not that kind. wisconsin, 24-17.
rutger Scarlet Knights at Indiana Hoosiers (-11)
11am | BTN
SU: Indiana, 15-3 | ATS: rutger, 15-3
Thump: Oh man, that's a mighty big line. I kind of like the 'Gers to spring the upset here. Indiana's offense continues to sputter, and since Rutgers knows they can't throw, they won't throw a bunch of interceptions in their own territory.
AY: The Hoosiers haven't been as feisty as we thought they would be, but it's important to remember that they've played a brutal schedule so far. They need this game to keep bowl hopes alive. Indiana 23, Rutgers 16.
WSR: Why is Indiana playing an AAC team this late in the season? Did the B1G decide to have it's own SOCON week matchup just for the Hoosiers?
TS: This is a kinda gross game. Like Indiana- save the reputation of the lower tier Big Ten programs. Don't lose to Rutgers. Just don't. Indiana wins, Rutgers covers.
BRT: I guess Candystripes' despair finally got to me, because I picked Rutgers. Say it with me now, folks: It's 2017 and everything is terrible.
Stew: I'm tempted to take the points here, but Indiana should be able to put away an easy win in a late season non-con on cupcake weekend.
CM: Aww look it's the Big Ten's most adorable new rivalry! Hoosiers win, Crimson Quarry gets drunk and invades On the Banks. Much hilarity will ensue.
MNW: This 2017 season has denied us any of the reaaaally derptastic shootouts that the Big Ten produces about once or twice a year, unless you count Northwestern-Michigan State (applies to overtime only) or Indiana-Maryland, the latter of which I guess counts. But I want a shootout in the 50s. This is that shootout. Indiana, 51-48.
Illinois Fighting Illini at #9 Ohio State Buckeyes (JESUS IT'S -40.5)
2:30pm | ABC
SU: Ohio State, 18-0 | ATS: Ohio State, 15-3
Thump: A team that entered the year thin, really young and without a decent QB has 20 players out with injuries. If Jeff Jr plays this whole game, let's give him an honorable mention for player of the week. I couldn't find that South Park clip on YouTube where Dan Snyder plays the Dallas Cowboys by himself.
Basically, my hope for this game is that it doesn't set the program record for most lopsided defeat of all time, so if we keep the margin to 63 that's enough for me. Buckeyes cover.
AY: The Buckeyes have already covered 40 points four times this year. Ohio State 63, Illinois 3.
WSR: Jesus. Sorry Illinois, but try not to struggle so it ends fast.
TS: Hey this is a trophy game. Illinois is going to get for this game... And only lose by 50.
MNW: Sounds about right. Ohio State, 55-10.
BRT: Oof. Poor, poor Illinois. That is a lot of points, but if they want them, I don't know how Illinois is going to stop them.
Stew: I don't see any way IL gets to 10 or any way OSU keeps it under 50.
CM: You and some friends are walking to a bar to watch some football. A creepy guy pokes his head out of an alley as you walk by: "Hey. You guys wanna see some shit?"
You follow him because you have a perverse sense of adventure. He looks around to make sure the coast is clear, then rolls a dumpster aside to reveal a television. It's playing the Illibuck game.
You let yourself stare at the horror on the screen for what seems like hours. You've only watched 4 plays, and somehow 5 Illinois players were carted off the field. Do you call the police? Will you be in trouble for being an accessory to whatever just happened?
Illinois punts from inside their own 20 and the ball is shanked out of bounds. A net punt of only 15 yards. You and your friends, frightened at the horrible scene in front of you, scatter and run home.
You never talk about this day again.
Purdue Boilermakers at Iowa Hawkeyes (-8.5)
2:30pm | BTN
SU: Iowa, 16-2 | ATS: Iowa, 13-5
Thump: Hawks go up, hawks go down that's what the Hawkeyes dooooo!
But when they won't go up or down,
They'll win by three versus Purdue!
AY: Now that the Hawkeyes are done being smothered by Wisconsin, will we see some more of that aggressive offense? That would be fun. Iowa 31, Purdue 20.
WSR: When you've got a rivalry game, like this one between Iowa and it's most hated rival Purdue, you need to throw the record books out the window. Purdue looked less awful last week, so I'll take them for some stupid reason.
TS: I'm going to chalk last week up as "yes Wisconsin's defense is that good"/Iowa had a letdown. Also Iowa is a different team at home. They win and cover.
BRT: Purdue. Come on, Boilermakers. Do it.
Stew: Iowa finds some semblance of a running game and strangles the life out of this game.
CM: This just seems like yet another 17-10 Iowa game. Get ready for some ugly football.
MNW: Nathan Stanley puts up a 21/25 for 240 and 3 TDs line, we’re subjected to more talk about how he’s the next Ricky Stanzi or whatever Iowans need to masturbate to. Iowa, 30-10.
Maryland Terrapins at #17 Michigan State Spartans (-16.5)
3pm | FOX
SU: Michigan State, 18-0 | ATS: Michigan State, 12-6
Thump: Iowa hamblasted Ohio State, who turned around and hamblasted Michigan State, who is probably not happy about the circle of hamblasting but will perpetuate it. MSU covers.
AY: State should want to prove that it's not a fraud after last weekend's embarrassment. The Spartan run defense will make it tough for Maryland to do much. Michigan State 34, Maryland 10.
WSR: Sparty. No. Stop. Put away the mallet.
TS: That's quite the spread for a team that wasn't killing people even before getting BTFO by OSU. Oh yeah that's right Maryland is playing their 13th string QB. MSU wins and covers.
BRT: Spartans usually rebound well, and shouldn't have much trouble against the 12th string QB.
Stew: Way too many points here. MSU just isn't capable of taking advantage of Maryland's poor run defense to cover that big of a spread.
CM: Sparty wins easy. Bonus prediction: Terps somehow only burn through a single quarterback ACL. You take your moral victories where you can get them.
MNW: Do these two play for a shitty, irrelevant trophy? It feels like this game should be for a shitty, irrelevant trophy. I’ll take suggestions in the comments. Michigan State, 30-17.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at #10 Penn State Nittany Lions (-26)
3pm | FS1
SU: Penn State, 18-0 | ATS: Penn State, 10-8
Thump: An explosive Penn State offense with a dynamic RB and a run threat QB against a defense that totally gave up last week. Because college football makes no sense, Huskers cover.
AY: I'll believe that Penn State has a running game when I see it. Penn State 35, Nebraska 14.
WSR: Only 26? Seriously? Minnesota beat Nebraska by 33.
TS: Nebraska has completely given up. Penn State wins and covers. Just fire Riley already Nebraska.
BRT: I am going to pretend this game isn't happening, because it's in all likelihood going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for my Huskers. If this game happened earlier in the year, Saquon might still have a Heisman campaign.
Stew: A small part of me kinda thinks that Rillllllley pulls the HUGE upset here. But then I remember that that team has absolutely quit, there's a significant number of California kids on the team, and they'll be playing in State College in November. Barkley has himself a Heisman day.
CM: You're a bunch of cold hearted bastards, Nebraska. Just put Riley out of his misery already.
MNW: Nebraska can’t call as shitty a defensive game against Penn State as they called against Minnesota...can they? I mean, Joshua Kalu has to fuck up a couple times and accidentally wind up in better position than he was against the Gophers.
Shit. They probably can. That said, Penn State’s line probably won’t play as well as Minnesota line, allowing Nebraska to save their dignity and a cover. Penn State, 38-17.
As always, vote in the polls and tell us where we went wrong. Thanks for reading OTE!
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