clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten Picks, Week 2: REVENGE OF THE EMUS

We preview, pick, and predict the Week 2 Big Ten football games.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Nebraska
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

OK, “Revenge of the EMUs” is a little misleading when you’ve got excellent rivalries to watch and also Iowa-Iowa State.

But it’s just so damn fun and troubling to think about rutger potentially losing to MACtion that I can’t help myself, OK? There are just too many good matches out there this week, and one OTE writer even has the conference going 6-8 this week! We’ve got 14 games and you don’t want to “read” my prattling, let’s get to the picks!


Purdue Boilermakers (-4.5) vs Ohio Bobcats

7pm CT || FS1

SU: Purdue, 16-4 || ATS: Purdue, 13-7

Yeah, I forgot to change to the Motion P. You’ll have to deal with Penistrain for a week longer, Purdue fans.

87Townie: I’ll take Purdue to cover in this game; however, Ohio and quarterback Derrius Vick put up 59 points on the Hampton (?) Pirates last week. I don’t know what Hampton is, but it isn’t Louisville. I like what Jeff Brohm is doing at Purdue. They acted hungry and eager for a win. I think they get it against Ohio.

Thump: Ohio wins, reality check time for Purdue.

BRT: I’m going to give the Boilermakers the benefit of the doubt that they’ve turned a new leaf. Ohio can be a tough out, and I don’t think they’ll run away with it, but I think a Purdue team that’s sick of losing will find a way to a W.

GF3: What mad world do we live in where I’m picking Purdue over....anyone (not named Nebraska)? Purdue covers.

Creighton: I’m all on board this Purdue hype train until it derails. I think Purdue wins and covers, and even as I say that the words don’t make any sense to me.

Speth: I mean, I don’t know if in 2 plus seasons i’ve ever felt more confident in a Purdue win/cover. I had a solid week laslt week so I’ll stick with my guy and Purdue makes good work of the MACrifice.

Andrew: I’ll take Purdue to win but not cover; Solich still knows what he is doing. But hey, not being a MACrifice is a step in the right direction.

MNW: I believe I mentioned in WIWNC that it was Bill Connelly who noted that Ohio is the exact type of team to be upper-echelon MAC year-in, year-out, but to be cannon fodder for Power-5 schools. Purdue, against all odds, is still somehow a Power-5 school. Give me the Boilers, 31-24.


Northwestern Wildcats (-3.5) at Duke Blue Devils

11am || ESPNU

SU/ATS: Northwestern, 12-8

Flash poll: Which logo makes you more irrationally angry, Northwestern’s sleek N or Duke’s two-column D?

87Townie: Northwestern wins and covers.

BRT: O/U on “impressive academic reputations/standards” mentions during the broadcast: 95. I’m taking the over.

GF3: [I refuse to type what GF3 typed considering it’s positivity towards Duke. -DJ]

Creighton: I won’t be watching because the broadcast will be insufferable (these guys sure are smart!) and this just feels like one of those games that will end in a 10-6 score, but not because of great defense. Northwestern wins and covers.

Speth: It’s football season and I think Duke sucks. Nothwestern win and cover.

Andrew: Future first round pick Clayton Thorson (you heard it first here, book it) leads NW to the cover.

MNW: I’m very thankful I’m watching this one in person, because the telecast will, as BRT mentions, be more insufferable than a Northwestern grad casually dropping their alma mater into conversation. And I applaud DJ’s editorial decisions. ‘Cats, 23-14.

wisconsin badgers (-32) vs Florida Atlantic Owls

11am || BTN

SU: wisconsin, 19-1 || ATS: wisconsin, 16-4

TWO-TONE OWL SEZ: give a hoot and the cover :(

87Townie: Good ol’ FAU is a bad team (FYI - I got my M.S. from there. We called it “Find Another University”) with a terrible coach. Lane Kiffen doesn’t have enough fire power to even cover this spread.

BRT: Honestly, I can’t keep the minor Floridas straight, so I’ll take Wisky. Google tells me this Minor Florida is coached by Lane Kiffen, and i wouldn’t mind seeing him get his tail kicked, even if it is by Wisconsin.

GF3: FAU will be worried about their entire state being destroyed, so I’m expecting a Fumagalli show again. Still, 32 is a huge line. I’ll take Wisky to cover.

Stew: fuck wisconsin.

Creighton: I was tempted to pick against the spread, but FAU is pretty bad and Wisconson likes to run up the score against inferior competition so I think they’ll cover pretty easily.

Speth: I won’t even make a hurricane joke. Wisconsin wins and covers since Wisconsin only needs two quarters to win and cover.

Jimmy: That’s a lot of points, I am going with FAU to cover.

Andrew: Yeah, Kiffin’s Florida Hoiberg project isn’t ready to even make this close. Badgers roll.

MNW: The fact that Speth needs to say that he won’t make a hurricane joke should demonstrate to all those of you thinking “What’s so bad about wisconsin?” exactly what is, in fact, so bad about wisconsin. badgers, 47-3.

#8 Michigan Wolverines (-34) vs Cincinnati Bearcats

11am || ABC

SU: Michigan, 20-0 || ATS: Cincinnati, 11-9

87Townie: The Bearcats only beat Austin Peay by 12 points. Michigan rolls and covers.

BRT: Ugh, Michigan play someone already.

Creighton: The Bearcats are a bad team, but I see Speight having a bad game in making just enough terrible plays that they won’t cover the spread.

GF3: Cincinnati because Fuck Michigan. Congrats to Harbaugh on finally having a chance to match Brady Hoke's greatest success by beating Luke Fickell.

Speth: Is Cincy really worse than FAU relative to palying Michigan instead of Wisconsin? Seems doubtful. Cincy covers.

Jimmy: Also a lot of points, I am taking Cincy to cover.

Andrew: Speight’s generosity notwithstanding, this is the kind of game where Michigan really might not throw the ball at all and still sleepwalk to a huge win. Cincy ain’t scoring, that’s for damn sure. Michigan covers.

MNW: I was of two minds on this. On the one hand, I think Harbaugh gets off to rolling up a 70-10 MOV on some G5 also-ran then enjoying a big ol’ Ruth’s Chris and whole milk. On the other hand, I think Luke Fickell step half his summer in a deprivation chamber, jumper cables clamped to his nipples, thinking about nothing but stacking the line and out-manballing Michigan while still also running a triple-reverse halfback flea-flicker hook-and-ladder. I’ll hedge. Michigan, 45-15.

Iowa Hawkeyes (-2 lol) at Iowa State Cyclones

11am || ESPN2

SU/ATS: Iowa, 16-4

87Townie: Iowa. There, are you happy? I take Iowa to cover.

BRT: I sinceerely thought this spread was a typo. Look, I hate Iowa as much as the next sane person, but there is no way this should be even close, rivalry (“rivalry”?) or no. That said, if ISU wants to spring the upset, I’m completely on board with that, because the meltdown would be something to see.

GF3: I don’t understand this reference but Iowa State disgusts me. Hawks.

DJ: I second GF3 regarding this reference but nevertheless Iowa wins this one handily.

Stew: How is this only a 2 point line?!? Is Vegas, after 18 years, finally learning about El Assico? Does Vegas think ISU is that good? I’m confused and frightened.

Creighton: Little brother has jumped on the “super ugly all gray uniforms” bandwagon about two years after it stopped being cool (sorry but you know it’s true Gopher fans), and they’ve started referring to Iowa as “toe” (team out east). The two point spread seems absurd, but it makes sense to anyone who has watched El Assico before. Still, Iowa has won the last two meetings by a combined score of 73-20 and Matt Campbell seems like a shitty “rah rah” type of coach who can’t back up his talk with performance or recruiting. I actually think Iowa beats ISU pretty handily.

Speth: lol Hawkeyes. Iowa wins and covers. Schadenfreude reigns supreme if I’m wrong.

Jimmy: Kirk breaks the tie [his 9-9 record against ISU], wins and covers.

Andrew: Campbell appears to be doing his best Tim Beckman impression, which in a way I guess is what got him this job, but is that really such a good thing? This line feels like easy money, but you’s been a minute since Ferentz stubbed his toe on this game. Somehow it feels like time. Give me McDonald’s to cover.

[I messed up the graphic and should’ve put an Iowa State logo under Andrew’s. My bad.]

MNW: I will disagree just a little bit with Creighton--I think there’s some actual coach-em-up there for Campbell. We’ll see, though. In the meantime, gimme the The Team Out East by some stupid margin that includes a safety and a 75-yard touchdown run by Iowa State’s third-string quarterback. Hoks, 26-19.

Maryland Terrapins vs Towson Silly-Nannies

11am || BTN

Unanimous, duh. Moving on.

#4 Penn State Nittany Lions (-20.5) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

2:30pm || ABC

SU: Penn State, 18-2 || ATS: Pitt, 13-7

87Townie: Penn State has a chip on its shoulder for this game. Barring a hurricane in my back yard, I’ll be at this game. Take the Lions to cover. [Edit: good luck townie, he cancelled the trip in preparation for Irma]

BRT: I think PSU wins, but they may not be quite as dominant as they expect to be.

GF3: That seems like a very large line over a team they couldn’t beat last year. Pitt only loses by 20.

Creighton: I would love Pitt to win this game more than anything, but I also watched Saquon last week and I don’t think the Nard dog or his transition lenses will have an answer this year.

Speth: I don’t see Penn State winning by 3TDs. I couldn’t care less about this game. PSU wins, doesn’t cover.

Andrew: I’ll take the points. Penn State is the better team and somehow it feels like they’ll get up for tihs one, but Pitt’s guys care, too.

MNW: I want Franklin to do something so stupid-hype in this one. Call a fake punt up 20 in the 4th quarter. Refuse to shake hands with Nard-Dog. Something, anything, please. In the meantime, I think Pitt stays up for the game and keeps the Lions in spitting distance. Penn State in a comfortably-uncomfortable rout, 41-23.

Indiana Hoosiers (-2.5) at Virginia Cavaliers

2:30pm || ACCN

SU/ATS: Indiana, 17-3

87Townie: Indiana is licking its wounds from the Buckeyes. The Cavs don’t stand a chance. Indiana covers.

BRT: I don’t think the Hoosiers are so demoralized that they can’t beat UVA.

DJ: I hope that Indiana beats UVA 87-0. Find a way to make this happen please.

GF3: Hoosiers will probably embarrass us, with lagow throwing for 32 yards against a vaunted ACC lacrosse power. But I’ll go with them anyway, since I’ve been told I’m supposed to swear Indiana is a “great team” now.

Creighton: UVA is a garbage team. Hoosiers beat the Hoos straight up. As a resident of Charlottesville I think I’ll go to this game just to cheer for the B1G (tickets are going for like $15). GO HOOS....IERS!

Speth: Virginia is fucking terrible.

Jimmy: Indiana might have a let down but they still win easily.

MNW: Bronco had better get his shit together in a hurry. I believe in the Hoosiers for the time being, 34-20.

Michigan State Spartans (-8.5) vs Western Michigan Broncos

2:30pm || BTN

SU: Michigan State, 13-7 || ATS: Western Michigan, 16-4

There’s something very aesthetically pleasing for me about teams’ logos facing each other in these graphics. It’s got that old-school ‘90s look to it: WE’VE GOT BRONCOS. WE’VE GOT SPARTANS. WE’VE GOT A BIG TEN-MAC SHOWDOWN
/helmets collide into a graphic of pixelated sparks and stars

87Townie: Sparty looked better than I thought they would last week...but Western Michigan played USC to a standstill for three quarters. They can score in gobs and will vs MSU. I’ll take WMU to win.

Thump: MSU steals a close win against western. Welcome back to the brink of despair; enjoy salvation while it lasts.

BRT: I got some flack last week for picking previously 3-9 MSU not to win their game, so here you go, Sparties. Now you’re 1-0 and All-Galaxy again or something.

GF3: Chortle. How are the mighty fallen! 8 point line over directional Michigan? Jesus, the ‘90s are back!

Creighton: I still don’t think Sparty is back to its old self yet. Broncos with the upset.


Jimmy: Da fuq? WMU wins outright.

Andrew: Guhhhhhh this game is stressing me out a bit. We’ll see if MSU’s run defense is actually fixed or if Bowling Green is just bad. Ugh, give me the points but MSU holds on for the win.

MNW: Bowling Green is bad, Western Michigan is still decent, but redemption stories don’t end with losses to MACtion. That comes a couple weeks down the line still. We need a little more pride before that fall. Spartans, 31-20.

rutger Scarlet Knights (-4) vs Eastern Michigan Eagles

2:30pm || BTN

SU: rutger, 12-8 || ATS: EMU, 11-9

How broke is Eastern Michigan athletics? They ran out of paint to fill in their eagle.

87Townie: This will be a good test for rutger. I’ll take them to win and cover.

Thump: EMU wins. Like cassowaries and ostriches, the toe claws of emus are cpaable of eviscerating animals under the right conditions; however, human fatalities are extremely rare.

BRT: Oh what the heck. rutger did alright, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

GF3: rutger. All they’ll need is a cinder block wall.

Creighton: Emus win, but rutger fans wills still find a moral victory somehow.

Speth: EMU is sneaky good. rutger is rutger. Eastern Michigan embarrasses our favorite AAC member. EM wins. Chris Ash actually cries.

Jimmy: EMUs offensive line struggled some last week but I think they get it together and win this one.

Andrew: Eastern has improved a lot recently, but honestly rutger should be able to cover this.

MNW: I actually do believe in the Brogan Roback and Shaq Vann backfield. Chris Crieghton’s building shit, and he’ll be coaching Boston College within two years. EMU, 24-21.

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Oregon Ducks (-14)

3:30pm || FOX

SU: Oregon, 19-1 || ATS: Oregon, 13-7

All I can think of when I see that graphic:

87Townie: Oregon scored 77 points last weekend. yes it was an inferior foe, but damn. They win and cover.

Thump: Oregon covers. I wanted to hire Willie Taggery, and since we didn’t, he’s gonna be great.

BRT: Oh, how I wish this game was not this week. Nebraska’s D, based on what I saw last week, is not going to handle this well. I suppose I can imagine a world in which Nebraska covers, but I can too easily imagine a world where Nebraska loses by 30. If no one can tackle, let’s at least hope it’s a crazy and fun game and a shootout.

Creighton: Nebraska’s defense could let this one get mighty ugly. Should be a fun offensive shootout, but from what I saw last week the bugeaters won’t be very happy on the flight home.

Speth: Is Oregon back? Maybe. Nebraska’s defense is definitely trasch. Oregon win and cover.

MNW: Huh. Well, this is awkward. Is Nebraska’s defense shit? Possibly, but I get the feeling they’ve got more dialed up for Oregon this week. Even though Mike Riley can’t beat Oregon, right? Or something. I forget and I’m not really trying at this point. But I think Tanner Lee actually enters the conversation this week with a big performance. Nebraska, 45-42.

#2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-7.5) vs #7 Oklahoma Sooners

6:30pm || ABC

SU: Ohio State, 18-2 || ATS: Ohio State, 14-6

Pick one: I (1) didn’t want a graphic full of O’s, or (2) I couldn’t find an OU graphic that would embed nicely. Plus the wagon is just cool.

You know, when it’s not rushing illegally onto Native lands and turning a narrative of depopulation and forced removal into BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER O-K-U

87Townie: This will be a good game. JT Barrett needs to stay clean and not turn the ball over. I think they get the running game rolling, control the clock and win by two scores. I’ll take the Buckeyes.

Thump: OSU in a blowout. Prove me wrong, Sooners.

BRT: I’ll take OSU. This is one of those games taht could easily not live up to the hype, but let’s hope it does, because it could be a lot of fun.

GF3: I am calling Okie in the upset. Everyone will go “oh you’re just trying to reverse jinx” but beating a program like that twice is hard, and Boomer Sooner has a QB who’s just sick going against a new Buckeye secondary that couldn’t keep track of Simi Cobbs or his friends for 3 quarters.

Creighton: I’ll desperately be cheering for Ohio State in this one because the alternative is hours of BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER.

Speth: OSU piss pounded Oklahoma with Bob Stoops last year and will again this year. That’s easy money.

Jimmy: Big line for a Top 5 matchup. I still take the Bucks to cover.

Andrew: If there’s been a matchup between more accomplished college quarterbacks, I can’t think of it. OSU should cover easily, but this should be a good game.

MNW: Fewer people would say it if you didn’t have a lengthy history of doing it, GF3 ;)

But yeah, I’ll take Oklahoma making this a game on the back of almost nothing but Baker Mayfield and pride in not getting BTFO again. Buckeyes, 35-28.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (-8.5)

7pm || BTN

SU: Western Kentucky, 19-1 || ATS: Western Kentucky, 17-3


87Townie: Illinois is a bad football team. Hilltoppers will win and cover.

Thump: WKU hangs 42+ on Illinois, wins by at least 14. The irony of a guy named Mike White firebombing an inexperienced Illinois secondary is not lost on me.

BRT: I didn’t see any of Illinois’ game, but a little bird told me it wasn’t we’ll go with the only team that has a scarier “Lil’ Red” mascot than Nebraska does.

Creighton: Sorry Thump.

Speth: Illinois is not good. WKU throws for 450 in a win and cover.

Jimmy: LOL. I am going to give the home team a nod and take Illinois.

MNW: I so wanted to take Illinois here, because I really do think that Year Two of the Lovie Experience could surprise some people at weird junctures. But I can’t believe in the Illini after what happened last week. If the Illini can keep the ‘Toppers under 30 this could be a game. Mike Dudek hauls in 175 yards and 3 TDs in a loss. Western, 41-28.

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Oregon State Beavers (-1.5)

9pm || FS1

SU/ATS: Minnesota, 16-4


87Townie: The boat rowers were out of sync for most of the game last week. Regardless of the line, I think Oregon State is a worse team than Buffalo. I’m going to go with Minnesota to win and cover.

Thump: Oregon State wins because Minnesota has nothing good at QB.

BRT: I don’t understand this line at all. I have Fleck Fatigue as badly as anyone, but Oregon State is quite terrible. If Minny loses this, they’ll need to cut back on reality TV programming and practice more or something.

GF3: The PJ Fleck effect has worn off. I’m going with the Goophs here. Oregon State was awful against CSU.

Stew: Row boats and oars are made of wood. Just a bad matchup with the bears. Also, beavers are the superior rodent.

Creighton: I don’t like B1G teams heading West to play games and the Gophers offense was hilariously inept last week, but Oregon State also terrible so Minny will win anyways. ROWROWROWROWROWROWROWROWROW.

Speth: Minnesota. Thank God Gary Anderson couldn’t handle Madison. I <3 Paul Chryst.

Jimmy: I wanted to believe Fleck could turn Minnesota into a contender immediately. Regardless, Gophers cover here.

MNW: I think the only real redeeming quality of this game is how many times I’ll type “tertiary OSU” and laugh at “Beavers.” Anyway, we saw last week just how bad both of these teams are. I wanted to make a joke about how Oregon State, unlike Bemidji State, was a collection of Beavers the Gophers could actually beat, but after consulting 2016-17 it turns out Gopher hockey is currently only the 4th-shittiest program in the state. (Must’ve been 2015-16 when they lost.) Gophers succeed athletically, 14-10.

We’re still a week or two away from having compiled picks and prediction scores, but in the meantime, let us know your picks by commenting and voting in the poll! Thanks as always for making OTE one of your stops for college football coverage.


We would like you to choose how you would bet this football game:

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Ohio State to cover
    (110 votes)
  • 32%
    Ohio State to win, no cover
    (86 votes)
  • 25%
    Oklahoma to win straight-up
    (68 votes)
264 votes total Vote Now