Who’s ready to THROW OUT THE RECORDS? Who’s ready to witness GOOD, CLEAN HATE?
It’s rivalry week in the Big Ten, and that means it’s time to get butt-naked and wrestle. Do you have 6 remaining offensive linemen and a quarterback who can’t actually throw more than two good passes in a game? No one gives a shit, Minnesota, you lose the Axe and the series lead, you’re not gonna hear the end of it. Do you have a lame-duck coach and swear you don’t actually care about this rival? No one cares, Nebraska, because if you lose to Iowa again you’re really gonna have to assess where you are as a program. Are you Illinois? Fuck you, we have a HAT and you don’t.
Watching Ole Miss and Mississippi State brawl on the field an hour before Egg Bowl, Nick Fitzgerald shout profanities and give the middle finger to pump up his backup after his ankle was pulled from its socket, and seeing banners welcoming “Cheaters” to Starkville reminded me that, while “it just means more” in the SEC, I fucking love college football rivalries. I don’t care if it’s the Egg Bowl, the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, or the Tommie-Johnnie Rivalry (go Tommies, fight me, you hippie fucks). Good, pure HATE is what makes college athletics tick, and if you disagree, you’re wrong and probably also an Illinois fan.
Iowa Hawkeyes (-3.5) at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Friday, 3pm | FS1
SU: Nebraska, 5-4 | ATS: Nebraska, 6-3
BigRedTwice: You know what? Iowa is probably the smart money. But I'm going to pick Nebraska, and hope I'm right, even though if they've taught me anything this season, it's to not hope at all where they're concerned. I just really want Riley to end on a happy note. In spite of my disappointment with the team's results, I still really like him. I'm sure he's even more disappointed than I am in how things have played out. So go get 'em, Mike. Send Kirk to his winter lake house chased by the shouts of angry Iowegians.
Thumpasaurus: The final step to being fired at Nebraska is defeating Iowa, therefore Mike Riley will do his duty and get that win. They'll evaluate where Iowa is as a program. Iowa over Ohio State is the most bizarre football game outcome I can remember.
Dead Read: Nebby over Iowa: It should be warm, but with a 20-30 mph crosswind. Tanner Lee is the quarterback playing out the string. What could possibly go wrong? I am picking Nebraska by double digits. Why? I say that Iowa is still in karmic debt after the Iowtf win over OSU. Nebby has a karmic (and pick six) credit. This is the last opportunity to balance this year's ledger.
Creighton M: Yeah I have zero faith that team Ferentz learned anything of value since the Ohio State game. They'll keep pounding the ball inside for 2 yards and digging themselves into consistent 3rd and long situations, and just generally refuse to attack Nebraska's weaknesses. Kirk is a stubborn old mule who thinks his guys can simply out execute anyone, regardless of scheme or situation or personnel on the field. Also the receivers are going to drop a lot of passes. Huskers win, 17-10. Iowa will have zero offensive touchdowns. Good luck to you, Mike Riley.
MNW: Given that three of our nine (!) pickers this week are Husker fans [yeah, make your Northwestern writer jokes, assholes. Look at that. Three of these people], I guess there needs to be a little reason and sanity here. I like Creighton’s scenario, but the issue with it is that a game against Nebraska is the one time running the same stretch play 25 times will actually spring Akrum Wadley for a couple TDs. Joshua Jackson picks off Tanner Lee and that’s definitely not high-fructose corn syrup covering couches across Iowa. Iowa, 21-17.
Ohio State Buckeyes (-12) at Michigan Wolverines
11am | FOX
SU: Ohio State, 9-0 | ATS: Ohio State, 8-1
BRT: Sorry Wolverines. I know weird things happen in rivalry games, but there is zero reason to favor you in this one.
Thump: No team has quarterback woes quite like Michigan's, nor does any team have quite as young a roster. But Harbaugh's only in year three, and when you look at the roster situation he inherited where there were some positions that weren't 2-deep with NFL talent, it's really impressive that he's even managed to win this many games. Ohio State's gonna clear out the Big House in short order.
DR: OSU to cover. They are just better. The QB situation assures that the Buckeyes are at least two touchdowns better.
CM: Here's a fun fact: When I talk about Jim Harbaugh, I pronounce his name "Har-bob". I know that's not how you say it and I honestly don't remember why I started saying it that way to begin with, but it's fun to watch people's faces as they debate whether or not they should correct you. Anyway I thought I'd lighten the mood before I point out that after Saturday, Michigan's record against Ohio State this century will be 3-14.
MNW: I honestly don’t care. This game does nothing for me. Ohio State, 30-13.
Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers (-3)
11am | ESPN2
SU: Purdue, 7-2
BRT: The only really tough call of the weekend, IMO. I'm taking Purdue, simply because I like their storyline better. But there is literally no way this game could end that would be surprising given how erratic these two teams have been this season.
Thump: I'm really excited for the Bucket game. Both teams had unexpectedly great performances and both have first year head coaches looking to get to a bowl game. I could easily talk myself into either team winning by any score. Gun to my head, I like Purdue in this one, but this is surely the game of the week.
DR: Purdue to cover. It is amazing that either of these teams can go bowling with a win. Purdue has overachieved this year, while Indiana has continued to torture its fans. This will be the best game to watch, methinks.
CM: When was the last time this game meant anything? The winner goes to a bowl game and the loser stays home after yet another forgotten season. Purdue will cover the spread easily at home. Welcome to basketball season, Hoosiers.
MNW: I agree that the Purdue story would be a fantastic one. Elijah Sindelar can chuck the ball around a little bit, and I’m genuinely terrified of accidentally getting run over by Anthony Mahougou. That said, I still believe in Indiana, Richard Lagow could have a Thorson-esque game against the Boilers, and I have an OTE role to play. Griffin Oakes redeems his whole career and wins it with a buzzer-beater. Indiana, 41-38.
2:30pm | ABC
SU: wisconsin, 8-1 | ATS: wisconsin, 7-2
BRT: While a win by the Gophers would have the twin benefits of lifting my esteemed colleague WSR out of the existential despair in which he's been mired since last Saturday and sending my less-esteemed colleague Speth into paroxysms of anguish, Wisconsin is going to win this one. Probably by quite a bit.
Thump: Wisconsin may win this going away, but the joke's on them. Minnesota is too busy being champions of life to bother with petty concerns such as football games.
DR: Wisconsin to cover. Which Minny team will show up? Will it be the team that trounced Nebby? Or the team that got trampled by the 'Cats? It doesn't matter. They are playing Wisconsin, which has a half dozen snowplows on scholarship to clear the way.
CM: How are the Gophers going to row their boats if they don't have an axe to chop wood so they can make paddles?
MNW: Minnesota pulls out every stop, keeps this one just close enough, loses by 16.
Penn State Nittany Lions (-21.5) at Maryland Terrapins
2:30pm | BTN
SU: Penn State, 9-0 | ATS: Penn State, 7-2
BRT: Just remember, Maryland, no matter what the final score is, you must pay tribute to James Franklin for taking his foot off the gas early so that the defenders of his honor may be appeased. :wink:
Thump: Yuck. Penn State covers. One more chance to pad those stats for Barkley.
DR: Penn State to cover. The only issue is whether they maintain interest long enough to cover. Franklin will be merciless in this intrastate matchup after ceding loads of points in garbage time to the Huskers.
CM: Statistically speaking, Saquon Barkley is only average. Thankfully, average will be plenty to get past what's left of the Terrapins.
MNW: DJ Durkin shows he’s going to make something good out of this rivalry. Unfortunately, he’s got some work to do and has next to nothing on offense. Penn State, 51-17.
Michigan State Spartans (-14) at rutger Scarlet Knights
3pm | FOX
Unanimous: Michigan State wins by a lot.
BRT: Cool-looking Sparty knocks off cheap-looking knock-off Sparty.
Thump: Michigan State ought to roll even if the weather's nice. Running the ball on MSU tends to be a losing proposition, and that's all Rutgers can kind of do.
DR: Michigan State to cover. Sure. I cannot think of a reason why Rutgers should come close.
CM: Rutgers' dream season finally comes to a close.
MNW: I don’t care.
3pm | FS1
SU: Northwestern, 9-0 | ATS: Northwestern, 6-3
BRT: The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, Illinois; and happily, you have but few miles to go before you sleep.
Thump: Fuck this. I just hope we score. It sure won't be the offense though. Ol' Horse Teeth O'Callahan likes to embarrass us when he has the far superior team. Hopefully these freshmen will remember this one for a long time. This might actually be worse than Ohio State.
DR: Northwestern to win, but not cover. I just feel that this one could get weird. NW is CLEARLY the better team. Chambana is a house of horrors, particularly for Illini fans. Maybe it is contagious.
CM: Hats are out of fashion anyway, Illinois fans. You're better off without it.
MNW: I dunno. I want Northwestern to go full 2012 on Illinois. That means this’ll be some stupid too-close game. Maybe Charlie Kuhbander saves us. Northwestern, 31-28.
Do polls. Tell us picks in the comments. Pick games. Awesome.
Who wins Council Bluffs?
This poll is closed
They’re so self-important they call this "The Game" or something stupid
This poll is closed
I know, and Ohio State wins.
WHO’S GOING BOWLING?
This poll is closed
WEIRD BUFFALO MEN