Well good morning, beautiful. Are you ready to pick Rutgers-Northwestern? Curious to see how many injuries Purdue fakes to slow down the mighty, mighty Iowa huddle?
HERE’S WHERE YOU DO THAT!
But first, we at OTE like our readers to be as informed as possible.* Have you considered educating yourself on the week of Big Ten games to come, you drunken slob?
Alright. That’s better. Now get to picking.
*Not remotely true.
About Last Week
RMB: Picks and stuff happened. But then your friendly ‘writer’ didn’t get to this article until it was about to drop (it’s so hard to find good help nowadays), so enjoy this week’s picks!
Saturday, Oct 16
(all times CDT)
(10) Michigan State Spartans @ Indiana Hoosiers
11am | FS1 | MSU -3.5 | O/U 51.1
Straight-Up: MSU 14-3
Against the Spread: No middles (cowards)
misdreavus79: Michigan State has shown they give up yards at an alarming rate, and I think having a week to rest and reevaluate the offense will be just enough to bring the Hoosiers “back” to what they were doing last year. Indiana wins.
BoilerUp89: Is MSU a fraud? Is Indiana better than their record? The answer to both these questions is “probably”. Which is why the spread is only 3.5 points. But I’ll look at the common opponent between these two squads and say that MSU gets the job done. And I’m not middling a 3.5 spread unless I’m truly confident that one team hates their fans.
Buffkomodo: I have faith in the Indiana defense to get healthy and contain the MSU offense. I don’t have faith in the Indiana offense to be productive following a bye. That said, I’m ride or die, and I’ve died a lot this year picking Indiana. Oh well, Hoosiers with the upset.
pkloa: I'll keep picking Sparty, and I guess Sparty will keep winning. Mel Tucker's turnaround at MSU seems every bit as impressive as Tom Allen's at Indiana.
Kind of...: I’m irresponsible and didn’t officially get my picks in on time, but you all “deserve” my analysis anyway. Indiana wins because there has to be some regression on each side at some point.
MNW: Sparty has been giving up yards, but Indiana is 100th or worse in almost every Football Outsiders metric for offense—and, which you don’t need stats to know, the Hoosiers’ quarterback room is no bueno (not aided by an O-line that is mediocre in passing downs).
Unless we see Good Penix or adequate Tuttle AND the Hoosiers can get out on the front foot by forcing the Michigan State offense into bad spots, it’s more of the same. Welcome to 2013 Northwestern, Indiana! Sorry about Ol’ Brassy. Spartans, 24-10.
Who takes Ol’ Brassy?
This poll is closed
Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Minnesota Golden Gophers
11am | EPSN2 | Nebraska -2.5 | O/U 47.5
Straight-Up: Nebraska 13-4
Against the Spread: Also no middles (also cowards)
misdreavus79: It’s on the road, but I think this is another game where Nebraska doesn’t shoot itself in the foot as often, and comes out with a win.
BoilerUp89: If the Cornhuskers lose this game, some members of their coaching staff will not survive the year. They know that. Nebraska is also the better team when they don’t shoot their foot repeatedly. I think Nebraska gets out of their own way for a week.
Buffkomodo: PJ Fleck is better than Scott Frooster, therefore go Minnesota.
Kind of...: Nobody really knows. You don’t play for a trophy this storied if everything goes to plan all of the time. When chaos reigns, the smart play is to go with the less talented team. But they’re expecting us to know that, so don’t. Nebraska and if they don’t, well, blame RMB for forcing up to pick every game.
MNW: I love that it’s not even been a whole season and already RMB’s being blamed for picks. This is excellent.
Has Nebraska turned a corner? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but they’re definitely better than the dregs of the West.
Is Minnesota the “dregs of the West”? Well, boy, this game will go a long way in telling us, but the departure (again!) of G Curtis Dunlap could be an isolated incident, or it could be the canary in the coal mine as the Gophers cave in.
This pick is absolutely a product of my not having watched a second of Nebraska-Michigan, so take that for what it’s worth. But there’s enough dimension to the Huskers—a defense that has shown flashes of stopping the run, a QB who can make plays, speedsters who can get to the edge—that the Gophers just don’t match up well with. It’s a fluky year for Gophers injuries, but not fluky that Fleck & Co. haven’t adjusted where it counts (that’s on the field, Peej, not academicathleticallyspirituallysociallyrowtheboatskiumahgogophers). Huskers, 31-17.
This poll is closed
Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Northwestern Wildcats
11am | BTN | Northwestern -1 | O/U 47
Straight-Up: Rutgers 14-3
Against the Spread: STILL NO MIDDLES (still cowards)
misdreavus79: Rutgers has looked competent this season. Northwestern hasn’t. That’s about all there is to say.
BoilerUp89: Why is Northwestern favored? I don’t understand this spread at all unless you think Rutgers has just given up on life this week.
Buffkomodo: The gers by a lot.
pkloa: The only way Rutger loses is if the players aren't quite Schiano Tough. And dammit, I hope they are.
MNW: I finally figured out what’s bothered me all these years about Greg Schiano:
He looks like actor—I remember him as Harvey the hypochondriac from Scrubs, your mileage may vary—Richard Kind.
That’s been driving me nuts for 2-3 years now.
Anywho. This game. So a lot, in my mind, hinges on whether Bo Melton and/or Aron Cruikshank and healthy for the Knights (to say nothing of QB Noah Vedral, who’s cleared but could be dealing with residual stuff). If they can go, there’s a fair chance that for the eighteenth consecutive game, Northwestern gives up a play of 50+ yards to open the game.
I say that not purely out of spite for Jim O’Neil’s continued existence, but because I finally watched the Rutgers offense last week and saw a lot that I don’t like for how they match up against Northwestern. Sean Gleeson uses a LOT of presnap motion—much of it gadgety, but the kind of motion that Northwestern’s linebackers have struggled to keep up with this season. If Rutgers has the speed to space out the ‘Cats, this could get ugly. It almost felt against Michigan State like the Knights were just trying to do TOO much with that motion, but against a defense like this that has struggled to maintain gap discipline and contain more athletic opponents, it could be a problem.
Offensively...same as it ever was. Will Northwestern be able to establish the run? Probably not! But they’ll sure try.
In slightly more reality, QB Ryan Hilinski—as InsideNU showed with their excellent weekly breakdown of his performance—doesn’t have the worst rapport with receivers like Kansas transfer WR Stephon Robinson Jr., but it’d just be great if he wasn’t playing from 14-21 points down off the get-go.
How will Northwestern respond if this game is tight down the stretch? Those opportunities for growth haven’t existed while they’ve been getting their brakes blown off. Rutgers is a more senior team, but do they know how to scrape in a close one? Probably more than Northwestern does. Rutgers, 21-17.
Kind of...: Wow. Lotta Rutgers love. I get it, but this is Rutgers’ first visit to Ryan Field since joining the B1G. Are they truly prepared for the sort of “crowd” that awaits? Shit. Nevermind.
Still taking NW.
BATTLE OF BUTTCAT
This poll is closed
Purdue Boilermakers @ (2) Iowa Hawkeyes
2:30pm | ABC | Iowa -11.5 | O/U 42.5
Straight-Up: Iowa 16-1
Against the Spread: Purdue 10-7 (that’s better)
misdreavus79: 11 and a half points seems like a lot. Iowa will win, but I think Purdue makes it a game.
BoilerUp89: The last time Purdue played the #2 ranked team in the country, good things happened. That being said it appears O’Connell is the starting QB moving forward for Purdue and he’s never seen a passing window that is too small. Iowa’s secondary is not a good unit to try that approach with.
UPDATE: Brohm is saying that O’Connell may not be the QB for Iowa, which I think...Plummer is better suited for Iowa. Iowa also isn’t dumb enough (that’s right I’m calling Urban Meyer dumb - for further evidence see his actions this past fortnight) to pass the ball 73 times against Purdue. Iowa is content to run, punt, and score defensive points which is a winning method for another week.
Buffkomodo: I picked a split here and I don’t know why. Iowa should murder Purdue on both sides of the ball. David Bell is great but who’s throwing him the ball? Oh yeah. Meh.
pkloa: Oh, they're not booing you, they're shouting Boo-oilermakers! Boo-oilermakers!
Kind of...: Everything about this game—series history, style of play, Iowa’s big game last week—screams a Purdue cover. I am stubborn RE: NW, but I’ll buy the narrative here: backdoor cover for Boilermakers.
MNW: BuffKomodo gets exactly to why I picked a middle here. Purdue should get dominated in the trenches by the Hawkeyes, but there’s just enough in the arms of AOC or Jack the Snack to sneak out a couple scores on Iowa—even though Black and Gold Northwestern, c. 2018, will probably get a couple more interceptions here and maybe a fumble for good measure as Purdue presses it down the field.
Spencer Petras is still a bad quarterback. Iowa, 24-14.
Does the Harbor make house calls?
This poll is closed
You kidding? There’s no "water" in Iowa (that the Farm Bureau hasn’t encouraged rampant pollution of, at least, while rolling up huge profits at the expense of the family farmer it claims to protect). Hoks roll.
A close shave, but the SS Purdue runs aground and MNW forgot they’re trains, not boats. Hoks win, Purdue covers, the Iowa Farm Bureau is still a shady, corrupt piece of shit organization.
MNW has left this as the only option I can choose: PURDUE WINS! HARBORS FOR ALL!
Army Black Knights @ Wisconsin Badgers
2:30pm | ABC | Wisconsin -13 | O/U 41.5
Straight-Up: All Wisconsin
Against the Spread: Army 10-7
misdreavus79: Army seems more mortal than they were a few years ago, and Wisconsin eats mortal teams alive.
BoilerUp89: Wisconsin wins but doesn’t cover. Army scores a couple of times and stacks the box against Wisconsin preventing the Wisconsin offense from completely running wild (they sure aren’t going to be passing wild).
Buffkomodo: Wisconsin to win, Army to cover because Wisconsin is so bad.
pkloa: Prove me wrong, Black Knights.
Kind of...: UW by a lot. Army is not good this year. UW is not great. But they’re still reasonably good at the things that you need to do to slow down Army.
MNW: The battle of advanced stats-defying teams! I hope Bill Connelly or Kenpom is the ceremonial coin toss guy.
The badgers have the best run-stuffing defensive line in the country, so I am INCREDIBLY curious to see how this one goes—gaming it out in my mind, I can absolutely see wisconsin stuffing the Black Knights early, stopping 260-pound bowling ball Jakobi Buchanan early and stretching out the Army offense (the badgers have more than enough speed that the option’s not going to be there unless the dive is established).
Will QB1 Christian Anderson—who missed the Army loss at Balls Tate—be healthy enough to play, or will QB2 Jemel Jones get the start? Army could use Anderson’s running ability, but I’ve talked myself into it all starting with the dive and wisconsin taking that away: badgers, 21-7.
Does wisconsin hate the troops?
This poll is closed
It’s like Sterling Hall all over again
Yes, but only marginally
Yes, but ARMY WINS ANYWAY
Not permitted to play this week because no one likes them:
Illinois Fighting Illini, Maryland Terrapins, Michigan Wolverines,
Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions
Let us know your picks in the comments, and be a lamb and share what you’ll be drinking and eating this weekend. Maybe refamiliarize yourself with the whole college football landscape, too?
Thanks for making OTE your home for Big Ten football talk.