Michigan State Spartans (5-3, 3-2 B1G) at Maryland Terrapins (5-3, 3-2)
11am | ESPN2 | MSU -1.5 | O/U 46.5
Straight-Up/ATS: Michigan State, 17-3
Boilerman31: When I first saw this line, I honestly thought it was a mistake. However, looking closer at this mismatch, it becomes a bit more clear. Both teams have bad early season losses and both were beaten by Michigan by double digits.
A deeper dive into the matchups and both teams have decent defenses that matchup well against their oppositions offense. So the question becomes, who shuts who down. I’m going to go with Sparty and their top rushing defense to shut down Maryland’s rushing attack. This one should be closer than most think.
Thumpasaurus: Uhhhhhhh hey. Michigan State is a solid 8-9 win team, and Maryland is not. They could have scored 222 against Illinois and I still would have seen through the charade. Spartans cover.
87townie: A bad week for Maryland continues. There is little chance that these guys can get the locker room together to field a team. Asking them to get together enough to beat MSU is impossible. Sparty wins and covers.
WhiteSpeedReceiver: I’m really really tempted to take the Turtles now that there’s resolution to the whole disaster. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they pulled this one off in rather decisive fashion, taking out any and all grievances on a OK Sparty team. But for right now I’m just going with MSU squeaking by because...reasons?
Beezer07: MSU/Maryland seems like a crazy-ass line. Do people forget MSU just beat the team that beat Ohio State? Or that Maryland got shut out two weeks ago? I watched Illinois get dismantled by Wisconsin, only to see Wisconsin get dismantled by a team of similar quality (as Wisconsin) the following week. MSU all day.
Creighton M: Why did I pick Maryland to win this one? Is it because a football program in as much turmoil as Maryland’s will have a bunch of angry players taking the field with nothing to lose? Is it because Dantonio is stuck in his dumb ways and always shooting himself in the foot? Nope. I actually just need to catch up in the standings a bit by picking some upsets.
Stewmonkey13: There is absolutely no way I’m taking Maryland in this game. Yeah, I guess they could rally together, but there are enough reports of a divided lockerroom to make that highly unlikely.
BigRedTwice: Both of these teams have been highly unpredictable this year, which means it could be an interesting game. However, Maryland’s had an... interesting week, and I think MSU gets it done.
MNW: Punters are fighting, corrupt boards of regents are resigning...it’s like Kirk Ferentz’s waking nightmare. Michigan State shut down Purdue, there’s no reason they shouldn’t do it against a full-but-disinterested Maryland crowd. Michigan State, 21-10.
Is there ANY way the Terps rally?
This poll is closed
Of course. Maryland shows up for the home fanbase, who have finally showed up.
Nah. Sparty rolls.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-6, 1-4) at  Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1, 4-1)
11am | FOX | OSU -20.5 | O/U 72.5!!!
Straight-Up: Ohio State, 20-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State, 12-8
Boilerman31: Another large freakin’ spread for the Buckeyes. They have been horrible covering in spots like this all season. That said, they’re 4-0 ATS against Nebraska and they should be angry coming off that 49-20 loss to Purdue and having a bye week to stew over it.
Thump: Look back at previous editions of the Urban Meyer Buckeyes and see how they respond to not being called the best in the league anymore. Buckeyes cover. Also, Urban’s assistants need to pick up some of his scandal-dodging skills before trying to strike it out on their own.
87townie: OSU after a bye is never good. OSU after a bye that featured story after story about Michigan in the hunt for the playoff? Oof…Nebraska gets popped big time. OSU wins and covers.
WSR: There are three games this weekend where I don’t really care what the spread is, I just think that the favored team will easily crush the opposition and coast to victory. This is the first.
Beez: Ohio State and Nebraska are going to score a million points, but OSU is going to win. I think Nebby can score quickly enough/OSU can give up points quickly enough for this to be “a game” for a while, with OSU inevitably pulling away but in a way that makes OSU fans mad.
CM: It’s been a fun couple weeks for the Nebraska fans, but time to come back to earth, where you’re about to be 2-7 on the year.
Stew: UNL can score points on anyone, let alone a wholly uninterested OSU defense. I think OSU wins, relatively easily, but I’ll take the points, too.
BRT: Ohhhhhh Lord have mercy. If we come out of this one without major injuries, I’ll be happy. That’s all I’m hoping for.
MNW: I think Adrian Martinez will give us all something to be very, very afraid of for next season. That said, this one’s like Temple-UCF was last night: Everything’s got to go right for the Huskers, just like it almost did for the Owls, but when it doesn’t, things come crumbling down in a hurry. Buckeyes, 45-31.
Can Frosty & Co. pull it off?
This poll is closed
Nah. OSU in a rout.
Nah, but the Huskers cover.
LOL GOOOO BIIIIIG REDDDDDD
Rutgers (1-7, 0-5, 0-1 murder attempts) at wisconsin badgers (5-3, 3-2)
11am | BTN | wisc -29 | O/U 50.5
Straight-Up: wisconsin, 19-insanity
Against the Spread: wisconsin, 13-7
Boilerman31: This is a game that will be played. I fully expect the Badgers to continue their trend of failing to cover large spreads they should easily be beating.
Thump: Wisconsin sucks, so I don’t know anymore. rotgut will try to throw the ball for some reason.
87townie: Lol rutger. They go all the way to Wisconsin to lose big. But they will cover that spread.
WSR: This is the second. wisconsin coasts.
Beez: If ever there were a year for Rutgers to beat Wisconsin, it’s this year. Wisconsin is playing like 34 backups in the starting lineup and has totally lost the offensive identity it had the past few seasons. But it’s still against Rutgers, so Wisconsin wins but Butt covers.
CM: It says a lot about the gap between the quality Rutgers’ football program and the rest of the conference when I can look at a 29 point spread against a wisconsin team having a down year and a bad quarterback situation and not even think twice about the Badgers covering.
Stew: This is a dumb game. wisconsin rushes for 50 times and covers easily.
BRT: Wisconsin may have shown that they’re not all that this year, but Rutgers... remains Rutgers. It will not go well for the Scarlet Knights in Madison.
MNW: I will tell you how to be a fan—if you pick Rutgers to beat wisconsin, you should get yourself just a whole fucking battery of tests. badgers by 30.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4, 1-4) at Illinois Fighting Illini (3-5, 1-4)
2:30pm | BTN | MN -9 | O/U 64
Straight-Up: Minnesota, 19-1
Against the Spread: Minnesota, 18-2
Boilerman31: Ugh, why is this game happening? Minnesota gets the win. But does anyone really win this game?
Thump: Hahahahahahahahaha ONLY NINE POINTS?! None of y’all better look at me funny, you know my name now GIMME MY MONEY.
87townie: This is the toughest game to pick on the slate. Illinois at home against a beaten up Gopher squad favored by nine. I don’t think Illinois wins this game, but I think they cover the spread.
WSR: This is the third. Minnesota coasts.
Beez: Minnesota-Illinois is a game that will be played. Iowa’s D is good and its O is better than MSU’s.
CM: Illinois seems to be getting worse every week. I don’t see any way the Gophers don’t win by double digits and come one game closer to bowl eligibility in Year Zero Part Two.
Stew: Man, it sure seems like Illinois has quit on the season, from the top on down. But anyone is capable of scoring on Minnesota’s defense. I think it’s close for a while, but Minnesota ends up covering in the end, and Tanner Morgan looks good enough to keep Annexstad on the bench.
BRT: I often take Thump’s dreary prognostications about Illinois with a grain of salt, but they really do appear to be lost right now.
MNW: I will give it to the Gophers—they are a shit football team, but they appear to have found ways to score and look vaguely exciting doing it. Tanner Morgan is tossing it well, though I’m vaguely concerned about the Minnesota rushing attack without Shannon Brooks.
But this is not the week that will matter. Gophers, 41-21.
A spread under 10 contractually necessitates me to ask: Can they do it?
This poll is closed
Gophers by a million
Illini cover, somehow
Come on, surely no one’s insane enough to pick Illinois to win
 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) at Purdue Boilermakers (4-4, 3-2)
2:30pm | ESPN2 | Purdue -3 | O/U 51
Straight-Up/ATS: Iowa, 12-8
Boilerman31: Well, the plus is that I get to be at the game and they are expecting a sellout in West Lafayette. This game is going to be a real challenge for Purdue. Iowa’s defense is quite stout. The question to me is how much do the Hawkeyes have in the tank after that loss in Happy Valley. Yes, I’m going homer on this one and picking the Boilers. Here’s hoping the drive home is a happy one.
Thump: Iowa’s the best defense Purdue has faced. I think Iowa wins by a couple scores.
87townie: I’m looking forward to this game. If Purdue can keep the quarterback clean, this could be a blow out. But if Iowa’s rush can make Blough scramble, I’d give the nod to the Hawkeyes. However, at home and rolling…choo choo. Boilers win and cover.
WSR: Yeah, it’s home Purdue, but
Beez: Iowa wins and I don’t think it’s close.
CM: Iowa lost to Purdue last year after blowing out Ohio State. Hawkeyes return the favor.
Stew: I sure hope good Stanley shows up, because he’s going to be needed. Iowa has a stellar defense, but Purdue is going to score points, and Iowa’s going to need to keep up a bit.
I just don’t think Stanley can play as bad as he did last week. Iowa pulls this out.
BRT: I think this could be the most interesting game of the week, although I guess some people like PSU and Michigan. Maybe Kirk will threaten to fight a fan in the parking lot after this one’s over just to spice things up a bit.
MNW: Iowa is, to me, West Division Michigan State. And we saw what happened when Jeff Brohm brought his offense somewhere that a grizzled old Big Ten coach just has no fucking time for his shit.
Purdue fans can post Anthony Mahoungou gifs all they want—we’re gonna be saddled for a couple more weeks with Iowa fans going over all the possible Big Ten West tiebreakers that allow them to get to the championship game. Hawkeyes, 27-23.
Of Rivals Most Hated, who wins?
This poll is closed
You see, if the wind is from the south at 10-15 mph, and WE beat Purdue, but NORTHWESTERN loses to Minnesota, and Saturn is in the third house...
 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2) at  Michigan Wolverines (7-1, 5-0)
2:45pm | ESPN | Mich -10 | O/U 53
Straight-Up: Michigan, 17-3
Against the Spread: Penn State, 11-9
Boilerman31: This one has an opportunity to be a really good game. Statistically speaking, both teams have really good defenses and very good offenses. I’m going to give the edge to Michigan here. They’ve been a different kind of beast inside the Big House.
However, I expect a tight game and I’ll take Penn State and the points.
Thump: Michigan’s gonna do everything they can to lose this game without actually doing it.
87townie: Michigan and coach crybaby can get fucked. Penn State wins.
WSR: I don’t really think Penn State is that great, and I’m getting more and more sold on Michigan being the best team in the B1G. Damning with faint praise aside, Harb’z Ladz are looking good and shouldn’t have much trouble at home.
Beez: Michigan is going to win the B1G, and its D will hold PSU and Trace McSorley to even worse offensive performances than they’ve been turning in since the OSU game. UM covers.
CM: Both coaches try to out-over coach each other. Franklin “wins” this contest, and Penn State loses.
Stew: Michigan just suffocates PSU. It’s a brutal, boring game that Michigan ends up winning by about 17 points.
BRT: I took Michigan, but the great thing is, no matter who loses, their coach is going to give me material for Fall’s Tarts by being a weird crybaby.
MNW: Not much to say that hasn’t been said, especially regarding the coaches. I think Penn State empties the bag of tricks for this one, having nothing to lose and a cakewalk remaining in the Big Ten schedule.
Which smug asshole will be smugger?
This poll is closed
 fuck Notre Dame (8-0, 3-0 ACC) at Northwestern Wildcats (5-3, 5-1 B1G)
6:15pm | ESPN | fND -9.5 | O/U 53.5
Straight-Up: fuck Notre Dame
ATS: fuck Notre Dame
Boilerman31: Fuck Notre Dame. I don’t care what you have to do Northwestern, just Win. This. Damn. Game.
Thump: Here it is, the one circumstance in which I’m willing to root for the Northwestern Football Wildcats. You know what this means, right? Brian Kelly and the Football Program That Proves The Devil Is Real win by a lot.
But I’ll still pick Northwestern to win straight up because I ain’t having a Notre Dame pick on my conscience.
87townie: Another tough call. Northwestern has been improbably bad at times. Yet they sit atop the B1G West.
Here’s your chance, champ. Dump the hated domers and win our respect. Get beat, you are back to being jNW – Nerd U.
I’m rooting for the B1G in this one. Northwestern wins.
WSR: I hate Brian Kelly. Hate him. He’s a terrible human being. But his football team is much better than the Cats, and they’ll have home field advantage by playing near Chicago.
Beez: Notre Dame wins by a bunch. They’re just better than NW. That’ll be $5 from each of you who read this #analysis
CM: The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Pat Fitzgerald are going to need a lot more than dumb luck to avoid losing big to a Notre Dame team that....might...actually be good?
Stew: Fuck Notre Dame. However, I think they’re better than jNW. Yes, even November jNW.
BRT: My gut says that Northwestern turns back into a pumpkin, specifically, the sagging post-Halloween Jack-o-Lantern kind.
MNW: I don’t trust the ‘Cats to get into a shootout with the Irish, and I’m hoping that there’s enough rain and slop and long grass to lead Notre Dame fans to commiserate with Nebraska fans...but there’s no way the ‘Cats open up their longest winning streak on the Irish since...well, probably Ara Parseghian was coach? I don’t know.
Ian Book hasn’t seen a defense this good in a full game, but the Northwestern offense of Clayton Thorson and...I guess Isaiah Bowser now?...won’t have a ton of room to operate against the Irish playmakers up front. Notre Dame has the talent advantage in a big way, and in front of what I’m unfortunately willing to bet is a pro-Notre Dame crowd, that’ll do it.
Look, just let me get drunk and be mad about this game. Give me this one. ‘Cats lose, 37-21.
Who wins the shillelagh?
This poll is closed
fuck Notre Dame
Stew has cooled off and is coming back toward the pack now, but it doesn’t seem as if anyone will be able to catch him, barring a Northwestern-esque finish to November.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the straight-up race, it’s a crowded field at the top!
Vote in the polls, let us know your picks in the comments. Thanks as always for reading Off Tackle Empire!
Fuck Notre Dame.