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Big Ten Picks, Predictions: Week 1

The Off Tackle Empire staff picks every Big Ten game for week 1, including who is going to win against the spread.

Ohio State v Indiana
Can the Buckeyes keep Indiana at...
arm’s length?
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Disclaimer: If you are betting, don’t use these for your picks. Or do, but that’s on you and this isn’t meant as actual advice on it and you’ll probably lose a lot of money, dumbass.

Lines were taken from ESPN on...I think Sunday? I don’t remember. So Washington dropped from a 30.5-point favorite to 27 points. Just deal with it. All times CT.


Minnesota Golden Gophers (-26) vs. Buffalo Bulls

6pm || BTN

SU: Minnesota, 18-0 || ATS: Buffalo, 10-8

C4B: This seems like one of those games where you can’t set the spread high enough, so watch the Gophers somehow fail to cover (probably by only winning 24-0).

87Townie: Shakedown cruise for PJ & Co. Goofs win, but Buffalo covers.

Aaron: Buffalo played one game against a major-conference team last year. It was a 35-3 loss to Boston College. Gophers and lay the points!

Stew: Uncomfortable win to start off the boat rowing era.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: I think we'll cover, but there will be times where it won't be pretty.

Creighton M: Are the Gophers already so ELITE that they can blow out middling competition without the aid of a future first round quarterback? I think they'll have some trouble rowing 26 points away from the Bulls and fail to cover.

Thomas Speth: Former UW-Oshkosh nemesis Lance Leipold covers, doesn't win.

James Snyder: Minny kills it, 42-7.

GoForThree: A whiff of hype. A dash of cliché. A smattering of ineptitude. A bevy of QBs. A long slug off a grain belt tallboy. It's morning in America, and the Goophs welcome the by rowing the boat across the amber waves of grain. Not fast enough to cover that spread though.

MNWildcat: The steam is that running game. Does Minnesota have a quarterback? No, and the non-conference slate is so abysmal that we shouldn’t have to care about it for 3 more weeks. Gophers roll but don’t have the offense to cover, 31-10.

#2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-21) at Indiana Hoosiers

7pm || ESPN

SU: || ATS:

BRT: A lot of OSU fans seem to be pretending to have apprehensions about this game, which probably means they’ll win by 40. Then again, OSU has been scoreless for the same amount of time as luminaries like rutgers, so who knows.

C4B: 30 years of failing to do the thing means probably still failing to do the thing. Also, this is totally not a reverse jinx (as far as you know).

87Townie: OSU goes up big early but Indiana makes a late surge in the second half to cover.

Aaron: I believe in Indiana’s defense and I don’t believe in Ohio State’s passing game. Buckeyes win, but I’m taking the points!

Stew: Indiana's defense gets a few stops early, but the damn eventually breaks and OSU rolls.

Dead Read: OSU by a comfortable 24 points.

WSR: Only 21? Seriously?

CM: I think the Hoosiers will find a way to deadlock the game in the first half as both teams struggle on offense, but Ohio State will pull away early in the 3rd quarter and never look back.

TS: Indiana plays well, loses anyway. Kevin Wilson attempts to score 100.

JS: OSU squeaks out a 55 to 25 victory that looks somewhat in doubt at the half.

GF3: I keep hearing that OSU is going to be a mess on offense because new coordinator, yadda yadda yadda. Maybe so, maybe no. But it's quite likely that Indiana posts multiple negative series on offense, and Tegray Scales is 1/11th of a defense. OSU wins going away.

MNW: I don’t doubt the Ohio State offense OR the Indiana defense. Is that weird? I mean, the Buckeyes offense is obviously better, I just wanted to throw the Hoosiers a bone because Tom Allen will be out in 3-4 years after Indiana doesn’t develop a real offense and it turns out they can’t Hazell themselves to 21-14 wins. Bucks roll but Hoosiers backdoor it, 41-21.


#8 Washington Huskies (-30.5) at rutger Scarlet Knights

7pm || FS1

SU: Washington, 18-0 || ATS: Washington, 17-1

C4B: I’ll admit, I originally had SUNJ covering this one. And then I saw that #8 next to the Huskies, and was like Nahhhhh.

BRT: Unless Chris Ash got a fairy godmother during the off-season, this is going to be bibbity bobbity bad.

87Townie: lol. Nope. Washington wins by 40+.

Aaron: Maybe if this game was scheduled for noon you could convince me to take the points. Too bad. Washington and lay the points!

WSR: Keeping it within 42 should be considered a moral victory for Rutgers. One they won't achieve.

CM: The Huskies are going to win by 40. Rutgers will score a touchdown in garbage time against the backups and the fans will try to use that to explain how the team has "heart" or some nonsense and convince themselves that a bowl game isn't out of the realm of possibility this year (it is).

TS: Dear God... Washington by many, many points. Other UW covers.

JS: Washington isn't nearly as good as last season, and wins 55-3.

GF3: Don't waste my time. Dub x 2.

MNW: I almost--almost—want to believe in you, rutger. But not even garbage time action saves you. I almost--almost--want to be wrong about this one, but Washington, 48-10.

#9 wisconsin badgers (-28) vs. Utah State Aggies

8pm || ESPN

SU: wisconsin, 18-0 || ATS: Utah State, 10-8

C4B: Well, this isn’t Arizona State, and it’s in Madison, so this is probably an easy Sconnie victory. Then again....

87Townie: Wisconsin goes up by four TDs and then kills clock. Utah State covers.

Aaron: Utah State only won two FBS games last year, but they sure did hang in there against tough road opponents Boise State and BYU. Badgers win, but I’ll take the points!

WSR: Fuck wisconsin.

CM: Fuck wisconsin? Fuck wisconsin. Aggies cover.

TS: This game could be closer than Washington-Rutgers and Wisconsin could still cover. Which the Badgers will.

JS: No idea who USU is, but I am guessing Wisconsin comes out flat, and wins 35-7.

GF3: Mormons are tricky, but the Store Brand Utes aren't a threat. Dub x 2 again.

MNW: The badgers really should cover, but I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction. wisconsin, therefore, rolls 35-10.


#6 Penn State Nittany Lions (-30.5) vs. Akron Zips

11am || ABC

SU: Penn State, 18-0 || ATS: Penn State, 15-3

C4B: See Minnesota, but replacing ‘Gophers’ with ‘Nittany Lions’ and ‘24-0’ with ‘28-0’.

87Townie: PSU 42, Akron 0

Aaron: Akron should be able to score a little bit against the Penn State defense, but the fight on the other side of the ball seems very unfair. Penn State wins and lay the points!

Stew: Barkley bowls in this boring blowout.

DR: Calling for a Zips upset, straight up. [ed. note: he gave no reason why]

WSR: Stupidly, this is the spread I feel the most confident in this week. Go make fun highlights, Nits.


TS: Coach Moneybags wins and covers.

JS: PSU wins but it's closer than expected, 35-21.

GF3: Must suck to wait all summer for this steamer. Nitty Kitties win a great showdown by a million.

MNW: And thus began the Saquon Barkley hype train, with three scores and 200+ yards. Toot Toot! Lions, 55-3.

Maryland Terrapins at #23 Texas Longhorns (-17.5)

11am || FS1

SU: Texas, 17-1 || ATS: Texas, 10-8

BRT: C’mon Terps. This would be a delightful way to start the season. Beating Texas feels amazing (I assume, it didn’t happen enough for me to really get a good feel for it as a Husker fan).

C4B: If everything goes right for Maryland, they’ll only lose this game by 3. Not because Texas is actually good, but because the game is in Texas.

87Townie: Close game but Texas squeaks out the W and the Turtle covers.

Aaron: Big, beefy bovines against cute, cuddly turtles? I can’t bear to watch! Texas wins and lay the points!

Stew: Herman makes a statement in his first game as coach, Texas is Back*!
*May not actually be true. Maryland is just bad.

WSR: Texas is overrated. Maryland's still not that good.

CM: Call it a feeling, but I think Maryland pulls this one off. Now I'd like everyone to sit for a minute and think about how Texas lost to Kansas last year #NeverForget

TS: Texas wins and covers. Goes 5-7 this year anyway. Texas isn't back.

GF3: Maryland isn't gonna get stomped, but they ain't gonna look too good either. And I haven't even mentioned the uniforms. Still, I think the Terps cover.

MNW: Something something Tom Herman, I guess? I can really see Tyrrell Pigrome keeping the Terps in this with some plays with his legs, but I’m not betting against the Horns’ offense just yet. There’s plenty of time to overrate Texas this season. Horns, 41-20.

Illinois Fighting Illini (-7) vs. Ball State Cardinals

11am || BTN

SU: PUSH, 9-9 || ATS: Balls Tate, 14-4

I saved this graphic as “Ill balls.” That is the only good thing to come out of this shit.

C4B: This one might get ugly, but if the Illini don’t make stupid mistakes, they’ll squeak this one out.

87Townie: Ball State in a rout. Lovie don’t love it.

Aaron: Illinois sure looked good in its opener last year. Maybe that will happen again. Illinois wins and lay the points!

Stew: Thump gets pissed in a sloppy game that IL pulls out in the end.

WSR: Illinois will be fighting Rutgers for the bottom spot in the OTE Power Poll all year long, and this will be a great way to race ahead to last place.

CM: As Candystripes said "if the Illini don't make stupid mistakes, they'll squeak this one out", so give me Ball State by double digits. Welcome back, Illini.

GF3: Woof. Illini, though.

MNW: Jesus. I’m in the minority? I’m gonna feel even stupider when Chayce Crouch doesn’t throw for 325 and 3 scores against a MAC secondary and Jeff George ends up as the Illinois coach next spring. Illini, 42-34.

Iowa Hawkeyes (-12.5) vs. Wyoming Cowboys

11am || BTN

SU: Iowa, 14-4 || ATS: Wyoming, 15-3

Best logo and fight song in college sports. Not you, Iowa.

BRT: Hawkeyes gonna sweat. I hope. Sobbing would be a bonus.

C4B: Because every decade needs a 6-4 game, right?

87Townie: Iowa is down by 2, kills clock. Late field goal wins it for the Hawks. Wyoming covers.

Aaron: Akrum Wadley versus Wyoming’s run defense is like fast animals versus slow children. Iowa wins and lay the points!

Stew: Iowa runs the ball 40 times for 300+ yards. Iowa's front 7 feasts and gets to Josh Allen over and over.

DR: Iowa by ten, in a thoroughly lackluster game.

WSR: No way not having a depleted secondary comes back to bite Iowa in the ass, right?

CM: Part of me thinks Iowa is going to run away with this game early just to rub in our faces how horrible Greg Davis was, but also it's Iowa so you know you can't expect them to cover that spread.

TS: Wyoming straight up because Iowa can get fucked and they're terrible week 1.

JS: No way either team scores more than 12. 12-9 Iowa. No touchdowns.

GF3: Oh good, the Sunscreen Bowl. Iowa wins. Wyotech covers.

MNW: I can’t choose against the best fucking fight song in college football. Or period. Go Cowboys, play the Beer Song when you win just to rub it in. Wyoming, 21-17.

Michigan State Spartans (-17.5) vs. Bowling Green Falcons

11am || ESPNU

SU: Michigan State, 13-5 || ATS: Bowling Green, 14-4

BRT: I have no idea what to expect from MSU. But they ended last year looking awful, so I’m going to assume that’s still the case until they prove otherwise.

C4B: This spread seems horribly off, by about 14 points.

87Townie: Sparty goes up early, then gives up 21 unanswered to lose. BGSU for the win.

Aaron: I expect Michigan State to bounce back this year, and Bowling Green was not feisty at all against Ohio State a year ago. Sparty wins and lay the points!

Stew: Ugly game, figuratively.

WSR: Don't Sparty No this one, Sparty. Please.

CM: Please don't embarrass us here Sparty. Not to BGSU.

JS: BGSU pulls the upset. Book it.

GF3: MSU-CKS, but BG can't pull off the win. Welcome to obscurity, Sparty. Good to see you back.

MNW: I mean...D’Antoni and Company have to have just enough pride that they won’t let the death blow be against Bowling Green. They’ll save that for Notre Dame. Spartans, 38-17.

#11 Michigan Wolverines (-3.5) vs. #17 Florida Gators

2:30pm || ABC || JerryWorld

SU: Michigan 17-1 || ATS: Michigan, 15-3

C4B: This spread also seems horribly off, but by 14 points in the other direction. Are we sure Vegas didn’t swap the Michigans?

87Townie: Michigan wins the eyesore bowl.

Aaron: Everyone on Florida is suspended. Michigan wins and lay the points!

Stew: Ugly game, literally.

WSR: Why are the uniforms in this game a thing?

CM: What stupid, stupid, stupid, ugly, stupid uniforms.

TS: Michigan wins and covers. Does Florida have 11 players that aren't suspended?

JS: MIchigan wins big, 45-14.

GF3: 60 minutes of dreaming about the past. UM wins and covers against whichever Gators aren't suspended by then.

MNW: Yeah, this pick has looked better and better with time, and there’s no reason to doubt it now. Wilton Speight doesn’t cloak himself in glory against a depleted Florida secondary, though, and we see why Michigan will only win 9 games. Wolverines, 20-16.

Northwestern Wildcats (-28) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack

2:30pm || BTN

SU: Northwestern, 18-0 || ATS: Nevada, 11-7

C4B: Should be an easy snoozefest [for Northwestern].

87Townie: Northwestern goes up by four and kills the clock. Nevada covers.

Aaron: Northwestern didn’t win any games by more than 28 points last year. I guess I’ll take the points even though the ‘Cats should win easily.

Stew: Nevada is bad. Really bad. I'll still take them to cover.

DR: NW raises expectations, which will later be crushed. NW by 15.

WSR: Northwestern shoudn't have any problems here (which means they will).

CM: The Wolf Pack's new head coach is Jay Norvell, who played linebacker at Iowa under Hayden Fry. I present this fun fact to you just so I can say "I hope Nevada doesn't hurt your boys too bad". Wolf Pack covers.

TS: Northwestern wins, doesn't cover. Colin Kaepernick's alma mater. That gets us 5k accidental hits.

JS: 5 hits BECAUSE we put CK in the title. (I mean why wouldn't you?)
Who cares who wins, probably NW.

GF3: Rare is the day I pick the real NU to cover a spread, but the Wolfpack is long removed from the days of Kaepernick. Coming off a 3-5 season in the mountain west makes me like Fitzy's boys. Plus Norvell is an Iowa Hawkeye at heart, and we know Iowa and games against smart kids end poorly. NU wins and covers.

MNW: I will repeat, since no one listened on Monday: Pat Fitzgerald has gone 14-5 against G5 opponents, winning by just 6.6 points. Justin Jackson can run for 250 yards on Saturday; it will not change the fact that somehow that will be balanced by our secondary forgetting how to cover the 5-yard out or Clayton Thorson deciding it’s a fun day to throw three picks and fumble. ‘Cats ease by uncomfortably, 31-17.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Louisville Cardinals (-25)

6:30pm || FOX || Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

SU: Louisville, 17-1 || ATS: Louisville, 13-5

What the fuck, Townie.

C4B: On the other hand, this spread feels just about right. Which I think says more about how mediocre I feel Louisville might be.

87Townie: Purdue in a huge upset, sets the tone for the Brohm era (No, I’m not kidding. OK, maybe I am drinking...)

Aaron: Lamar Jackson still plays for Louisville! Yay! Also, why is this on network television and in an NFL stadium? Louisville wins and lay the points!

Stew: There appears to be a copious amount of blood everywhere.

WSR: Why is this game a thing?

CM: I think Purdue will cover because Louisville isn't really all that good this year. Make no mistake Boiler fans: There is _nothing_ good to be said about only losing by by 24 points. Don't lie to yourselves. Don't be like Rutgers.

GF3: Please Hammer, don't let 'em hurt you. LOLuisville covers.

MNW: I don’t know why I believe. Is it the scotch-taped shoulder of David Blough? It’s probably the scotch-taped shoulder of David Blough. God help us. Louisville, 50-27.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (-16) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves

7pm || BTN

SU: Nebraska, 18-0 || ATS: Nebraska, 13-5

BRT: What? Nebraska will win by fewer than 16 points? What can I say, I’m a nervous fan.

C4B: Shouldn’t be a huge concern, right up until it is a huge concern. #JustNebraskaThings

87Townie: Nebraska never takes its foot off the gas. Wins and covers.

Aaron: Nebraska should probably be favored by more than 20 the way Northwestern and Wisconsin are. Huskers win and lay the points!

Stew: The Red Wolves were pretty decent last year, and gives UNL a bit of a scare.

WSR: Future First Round Draft Pick Tanner Lee will be the difference.

CM: I'm tired of making picks so I'm phoning this one in. Something something, Tanner Lee arm punt, something something defense, something something more like De’Mornay Pierson-SMELL!

TS: Nebby wins and covers. They'll find four losses elsewhere.

JS: Huskers win, but it's close 31-21.

GF3: Huskers win and cover. Mike Riley remains a "very good coach."

MNW: Huh. I believe in Nebraska? It’s probably because of Tanner Lee. Definitely not Devine Ozigbo, who is a scarily large man who will run over people weighing less than 220 pounds and bail Nebraska out of a number of jams. Huskers, 38-21.

Our own Nate Peterson will be tracking picks as the season goes on. Vote in the poll and let us know your picks in the comments!



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