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Big Ten Week 1 Picks and Predictions

A wild Big Ten West slate, plus some predictable routs. Come pick the B1G games with us!

Stanford v Northwestern

It’s been a long, long road, but Week 1 of Big Ten football is finally here. And, by the Immutable Law of College Football Blogging, we are required to post an article in which we pick the games.

Need help picking the games like we do? Here’s some of the uninformed stuff we’ve said about college football this week:

Your favorite buddy-cop film is back, too: I do all the work, and beez says pithy things about the week. It’s fun! I swear!

beezer07: I don’t have a ton to say about this week. There are only three interesting games in the Big Ten this weekend, and two of them (Wisconsin, Purdue) are only remotely interesting because the Big Ten team is the road team.

That leaves Northwestern-Stanford (also a road game, but interesting regardless of where it’s played) as the only interesting game, and really that’s only interesting on paper. It’ll be worse than watching paint dry at a typical Northwestern game.

The other beez-insight I’ll offer: Penn State is favored by a ton and playing an FCS team (lol), but Idaho only JUST became and FCS team and nearly beat App State last season...a team Penn State fans might remember as having been mega lucky to scrape by at home in 2018. Penn State is going to beat Idaho by a good amount, but covering a 36-point spread? Nah.

—All times CT
—We record these lines on Monday. If there’s a swing of more than a couple points, I’ll do my best to note it.


Minnesota Golden Gophers (-12.5) vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

8pm | FS1 | Minn -12.5 | O/U 56

SU: Minnesota-, 15-0
ATS: Minnesota, 12-3

Dead Read: This is a game I expect Minny to dominate (20+ points), so if they do not, it will send up red flags.

Stewmonkey13: Jackrabbits gonna make it uncomfortable for a while, but MN’s ground game eventually breaks them and the gophers cover easily.

Boilerman31: Minnesota isn’t losing to South Dakota State. Although I am stunned this number is this low. If it were North Dakota State, I could understand. Goldy wins by 4 scores.

Thumpasaurus: The Jacked Rabbits might have been the second best FCS team in the country last year, with only a loss to Northern Iowa blemishing their record in the non-Bison portion of the schedule. They took down #2 Kenesaw State on their way to getting their dreams crushed by the Bison once again in the semifinals. Minnesota’s going to win, but they won’t be happy.

BigRedTwice: I don’t know much about SDSU except that their mascot is kind of fun, but I do know that they can be a trickier team than you expect them to be. Minnesota should win, but this is the kind of game fans don’t always feel great about afterwards.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: This is a dumb game, but I’ll take it. Their defense wasn’t very good last year, lost a chunk in the secondary, and isn’t anywhere near as big as we are at all. And offensively they get a new coordinator and a new QB. I’m not saying I expect this one to get ugly, but I’ve learned who the 2nd string OL is for when we make the wholesale changes at the half.

MNW: Just give me this call, on loop:

It’s not enough, but it’s also a battle of two teams that don’t really have it together at quarterback. Playing ‘500’ proves to be enough for the Gophers, and we’re subject to how people not named Tyler Johnson are the best wide receiver corps in the country or whatever.

It didn’t fool anyone when wisconsin’s receivers did it, it’s not working now. Gophers, 27-14.


Michigan State Spartans vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

6pm | FS1 | MSU -22.5 | O/U 47.5

SU: Michigan State, 15-0
ATS: Tulsa, 11-4

Dead Read: MSU will win this game, but I have no idea how many points their relentlessly predictable game plan will yield.

Stew: Can Sparty score 23 points? I’m not so sure. Tulsa covers.

Boilerman: I forget what Sparty’s cover rate is the first weekend out. What I do remember is it ain’t pretty. I think Sparty wins comfortably but allows Tulsa to hang around and get the cover.

Thump: I would be tempted to take under 22.5 for the total score of MSU vs Tulsa. Late stage Dantonio is deconstructing football.

WSR: Can Michigan State even score 22.5 points in a game?

MNW: I think the question is less whether they can, and more whether they want to open up the playbook remotely enough to try and do it. Rocky Lombardi or whoever the backup is gets plenty of clock, and Sparty just misses the cover. MSU, 28-7.

wisconsin badgers at South Florida Bulls

6pm | ESPN | wisc -13 | O/U 59.5

SU: wisconsin, 13-2
ATS: wisconsin, 8-7

the differing tilt of these logos is driving me up a tree

Dead Read: This game will be interesting. I can see wiscy blowing USF’s doors off, I can also imagine a scenario where the sconnies lose. I will enjoy about two quarters of this.

Stew: Fuck wisconsin! Go Bulls!

Boilerman: Wisconsin won last year by battering opponents into submission and then throwing on the chokehold and putting them to sleep. Unfortunately for bettors, that meant not covering the spread. Badgers win by putting the Bulls to sleep but once again prove they’re a bet against team.

Thump: Listen to the podcast.

South Florida may have an awful gameday coach, but they still have some offensive talent in Blake Barnett and Jordan Cronkrite. The Bulls could potentially run with the Sconce here, since I don’t trust that defense. Charlie Strong covers but blows several chances to win.

WSR: I’m not saying USF will win this game. I’m just saying that I plan on howling with laughter as the announcers try to make excuses for why wisconsin looks like shit. Wait...I am saying that USF will win this game, but it’s mostly just wishful thinking to go along with laughing my ass off at the badgers.

MNW: This is like a less-fun version of going to Arizona State, because there are also gators and humidity. I’ll say badgers, 27-21.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Massachusetts Minutemen

6:15pm | BTN | RU -15.5 | O/U 55.5

SU: Rutgers, 15-0!
ATS: Rutgers, 8-7


Dead Read: Please win, Rutgers.

Stew: rutger is terrible. UMass covers.

Boilerman: Ugh. I’m only going to throw this out there. rugtres was 5-2 ATS at home last season. If you watch this game, have your sanity checked.

Thump: Les Reutjers have their easiest game of the season. If this isn’t a win, Ash should be fired immediately. UMass’ lone playmaker from last year, Andy Isabella is gone. No excuse to lose this game.

BRT: I really do feel for Rutgers fans. This should absolutely be an easy win, and yet, because of who they are right now, it’s anything but certain, and that has to suck. Still, Rutgers ought to get it done.

WSR: Do not fuck this up, Rutgers. Please. For all of our sakes.

MNW: I’m sorry—who the fuck are you people? What the hell is this?

“Please win, Rutgers”? “Go Rutgers”? “Don’t fuck this up, Rutgers?”

BULLSHIT! FUCK THIS UP, RUTGERS! LET’S HAVE AN UPSET ALERT TO UMASS! Don’t you people go soft on me now. This is the Big Ten, this is Off Tackle Empire, and this is a stupid, loveable independent in UMass who it’d be fun to watch put one season all together. Why shouldn’t that come against Rutgers?

Walt Bell opens the bag of tricks, the Scarlet Knights are on the ropes, and then a quarterbacking change and superior athletes like Raheem Blackshear prompt a “comeback”. ALL HAIL RUM ASS. Rutgers, 35-31.

Purdue Boilermakers at Nevada Wolf Pack

8:30pm | CBSSN | Purdue -10 | O/U 58.5

SU: Purdue, 13-1
ATS: Nevada, 8-6

Dead Read: I think Purdue will win this, but I think a road opener was a poor scheduling choice.

Stew: It’s AT Nevada? So that explains the line. Nothing good happens when B1G teams go to the west coast. But sure, Purdue covers.

Boilerman: Ahh, Purdue repays itself for the Hope and Hazell Eras by going to Reno. That just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t doubt Purdue wins this. However, a double digit win seems a bit much. Boilers by 8.

Thump: Nevada’s in a weird spot, but I still don’t think Purdue should have a problem. Hal Mumme’s son is the OC at Nevada under the elder Norvell (Norvellder?), but I don’t think they have the horses to run with the medium-sized dogs (Purdue) yet.

WSR: I’m really nervous about my pick on this one. There are plenty of reasons to not have faith in Purdue, and losing Tario Fuller just adds to the list. You can just smell the trap coming from a mile away here.

MNW: Nevada will run and Ty Gangi is no damn joke, but the Boilers have the horses (or steam, I guess? I’m mixing my nineteenth-century transportation metaphors) to hold off the Wolf Pack. Let’s say it’s on a late reversal of fortune from last year’s last-game debacles. Boilermakers, 42-38.


Maryland Terrapins vs. Howard Bison

11am | BTN | MD -30 | O/U 65.5

SU: Maryland, 15-0
ATS: Maryland, 12-3

Dead Read: Maryland will win, I just hope nobody gets hurt, for either team.

Stew: There’s an actual line here? Anyway, the Locksley era gets off to a deceptively decent start.

Boilerman: Terps win big. Next.

Thump: Howard sure has taken a weird turn, huh? Did you ever think you’d see him as a depth piece behind Anthony Davis with Lebron James?

WSR: Mike Locksley is not a good football coach. He seems like a bit of a shitbag, too. But for the sake of Joker Phillips I really hope that the Terps don’t have any problems.

MNW: Stop playing this game, Maryland. Terps, 56-8.

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Atlantic Owls

11am | FOX | OSU -27.5 | O/U 63.5

SU: Ohio State, 15-0
ATS: Ohio State, 14-1

Dead Read: The Fightin’ Kiffins just don’t have the horses to run with the big dogs. Bucks cover.

Stew: I wish I had some witty Lane Kiffin quip, but it’s just gonna be a boring blowout.

Boilerman: This one is a sneaky game to handicap. On paper, the Buckeyes should cover easily. However, never underestimate what Mr. Kiffin has up his sleeve. Bucks with the garbage time cover as Ryan Day looks to make a statement.Thump: Ohio State is going to win by an enormous margin.

WSR: This will not bode well for the rehabilitation of Lane Kiffin.

MNW: But it’s sure going to be fun to watch—Kiffykins emptying his bag of tricks in the second quarter when the Owls are still only down 10 or so. Day’s got the incentive to run up the score and show that the Buckeyes are picking up right where they left off. Sorry, Owlbros. Buckeyes, 63-24.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Akron Zips

11am | BTN | Illinois -17 | O/U 61

SU: Illinois, 15-0
ATS: Illinois, 9-6

Dead Read: See and apply the Rutgers comment above.

Stew: 1 person legit has $80k on Illinois to cover. Folks, don’t gamble. Zips cover.

Boilerman: Illinois has a bad habit of not covering the spread in MACtion games. Don’t get me wrong, Akron’s bad. I’m still not laying money on Illinois. Zips make it interesting.

Thump: Illinois is going to need a late comeback to win this game, but it’ll feel like they lost.

WSR: Let’s be honest here. Lovie hasn’t had a very good time during his sentence in Chambana. And the fans haven’t really had a whole lot to enjoy during his time there (ONCE AGAIN, YOU ARE WELCOME AND THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID!). But this is going to be one of those rare occasions where we may even get to see Lovie smile because this one will go well for all 17 of the Illini faithful.

MNW: When Big Ten teams play Akron, we all lose. Illinois, 27-14.

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. South Alabama Jaguars

11am | ESPN | UNL -36 | O/U 66

SU: Nebraska, 15-0
ATS: South Alabama, 10-5

Dead Read: Nebraska will win, but I am having trouble convincing myself they will cover.

Stew: Wish I could take USA, here, but UNL hates America.

Boilerman: It’s gonna be a little frosty for South Alabama to travel North. I’m too wary of this spread to give Nebby the cover. I doubt we see much out of the Huskers against the Jaguars.

Thump: Nebraska can probably name their score, but that’s a huge spread for an FBS game.

BRT: Apparently we’re #24 in the country now for some dumbass reason, but I’ve been burned too much in recent years to buy the hype. I think the Huskers will win, but that’s a mighty big spread for a team coming off back-to-back 4-8 seasons. I’ll believe them capable of beating that when I see it.

WSR: Oh God. So much blood. Blood everywhere. I didn’t think there was that much blood in an entire shadow of Jaguars, let alone just one. Just try not to lose any key defensive players while mauling them, Nebraska.

MNW: It’s not that Nebraska’s not going to try to maul the Jaguars for the full 60 minutes, but it’s that the Huskers still might not actually have the defense to do so. Hags with a late backdoor cover. Nebraska, 56-21.

Indiana Hoosiers vs. Balls Tate Cardinals

11am | CBSSN | IU -17 | O/U 60 | in Indianapolis

SU: Indiana, 15-0
ATS: Indiana, 12-3

Dead Read: The Hoosiers should...SHOULD...trample the men from Muncie.

Boilerman: I have zero interest in this game. A few years ago, this game would’ve been a legitimate tossup. Although, here’s a juicy little nugget I picked up: Teams that return at least 17 starters and are double-digit dogs in their season openers are 6-0 ATS over the last two years (Hawaii already cashed this trend against Arizona).

Thump: I can’t tell if Mike Neu’s Ball State is ever going to go anywhere. The Mighty Penix Laser prevails.

WSR: Indiana wins and covers, but nobody who watches this game will feel anything but shame in the morning. Especially if they attended it.

MNW: Well, well, well. Michael Penix Jr. Finally. Hoosiers, 31-28.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Idaho Vandals

2:30pm | BTN | PSU -36.5 (now -40) | O/U 58.5

SU: Penn State, 15-0
ATS: Penn State, 13-2

Dead Read: Penn State covers, nobody but Lions fans watch.

Boilerman: Penn State will probably tear through Idaho like me tearing through an order of French Fries. Actually, the potato probably gets off easier than Idaho.

Thump: Penn State plays a Petrino and I’m curious as to where Bobby ended up.

WSR: What do we even say about this game? There’s really nothing even fun about it, but we will get to learn about Penn State’s reserves later in the broadcast I guess.

MNW: You want to watch a team that will run up the score just to show they can and has the defense to do it? Meet Penn State. Nittany Lions, 66-3.

Northwestern Wildcats at Stanford Cardinal

3pm | FOX | Stanford -6.5 | O/U 47.5

SU: Stanford, 13-2
ATS: Stanford, 8-7

Dead Read: Hmmm....a game where every player knows who Shakespeare is....this could be fun. I’ll pick Stanford - I have no idea what type of offense Northwestern has.

Boilerman: Northwestern has arguably their most talented QB ever. Stanford has lost a ton on both sides of the ball. That said, I’m never a fan of Midwest teams going to the coast. The Fightin’ Fitzes come up just a bit short but cover. Tree by 3.

Thump: If Stanford were in the top 15, Northwestern would for sure win this game. August Northwestern is unpredictable, and since this game starts at a reasonable hour, it’s not going to bleed into September Northwestern. Stanford wins 10-7 or something.

BRT: I don’t know much about the state of Stanford football right now, but Northwestern is usually pretty gross to start the season, and this feels like the kind of game they traditionally muck up. I’m picking them to continue in that vein, but am really looking forward to hearing all about the academic standards of these two schools.

WSR: Stanford light vs. Stanford. Winner gets the loser’s trust fund interest for the year, right? Well, I hope that none of the purple cats had intended to buy anything with their great great grandparents hard-earned money’s interest.

MNW: I plan to have a lovely time in Palo Alto, and the next day I hope my bike hits a crack and I tumble to my death down Lombard Street. I don’t want my wife to see me chug vodka when TJ Green starts over Hunter Johnson—do the right thing, Fitz. Tree, 20-14.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

6:30pm | BTN | Mich -33.5 | O/U 54

SU: Michigan, 15-0
ATS: Michigan, 9-6

Dead Read: The Wolverines will be standing on Blue Raider necks halfway through the second quarter.

Boilerman: If Harbaugh wants to get into the CFP this year, he can ill afford to let a potentially pesky MTSU hang around. I’m just too wary of this spread to bet on Michigan. MTSU gets the backdoor cover.

Thump: Michigan can’t win by enough to satisfy their fans.

WSR: I’m trying to come up with something pithy to make this game a bit more interesting, and there’s really nothing other than the fact that Murfreesboro, TN is under 350 miles from Boone, NC.

MNW: Rick Stockstill doesn’t deserve this. Wolverines, 52-6.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Miami Hydroxide Redhawks

6:30pm | FS1 | Iowa -21.5 | O/U 47

SU: Iowa, 15-0
ATS: Iowa, 13-2

Dead Read: Iowa wins, does not cover.

Boilerman: Iowa went 3-0 last season ATS out of conference. That’s about as interesting as I can make Iowa. Hawkeyes cover.

Thump: eh i guess iowa covers? i don’t know. this is a lot of games. [ed. note: You’re telling me, buddy]

WSR: With the news that Oliver Martin is immediately eligible, I think that Iowa will be able to score more than 21 points, and I never really had any faith that Miami would be able to score more than 5.

MNW: Zzzzzzzzz. Iowa, 28-3.

No polls this week, because these were exhausting enough to make. Just tell us your picks in the comments!