Hey, look at you. You made it to Friday. Good work!
There’s nominally Big Ten football on this weekend. I say “nominally” because Maryland-Minnesota isn’t actually a real game that should ever be allowed to happen, and the Penn State slaughter of Illinois and Ohio State massacre of Indiana that are both impending really just make me feel queasy.
But we have to pick the games because RMB says so, so saddle up, do some reading, and let’s get to it.
About Last Week
5 games. 17 writers making picks. Not one of us could get all 5 games. I mean, we expect this against the spread, right? But surely someone could pick five winners straight up. 16 of us couldn’t even go 4-1. 87townie did by virtue of predicting the Purdue upset, but fell victim to the capriciousness of Nebraska football. Thump went 4-1 ATS for what it’s worth.
Kind of... is kind of (heh) running away with the season title against the spread. .622 is pretty damned good. He’s clearly cheating.
Saturday, Oct 23
(all times CDT)
Northwestern Wildcats @ (6) Michigan Wolverines
11am | FOX | Michigan -23.5 | O/U 51
Straight-Up: All Blue (the good kind)
Against the Spread: jNW 10-6
misdreavus79: October is here, and so is the version of Northwestern that knows how to play football. As such, that massive, three and a half touchdown line is preposterous. Sure, Michigan beat Wisconsin by 21, but I don’t envision Northwestern falling apart in the 4th quarter the way the Badgers did.
HWAHSQB: I don’t have actual facts to back this up and I’m too lazy to research it, but it feels like jNU doesn’t lose by 24 points very often, especially against a team that wants to run the ball a lot. Take the points.
WSR: Kudos to Northwestern for beating the stuffing out of Rutgers last week. Sadly, Michigan is slightly better and should be able to pulverize the cats pretty easily.
RockyMtnBlue: The spread in this game should be something more like 9. These two teams play a lot of really stupid games. I like Michigan to win but jNW against the spread seems like a gimme.
MNW: Hassan Haskins. Blake Corum. Hassan Haskins. Blake Corum. Hassan Haskins. Blake Corum. Hassan Haskins. Blake Corum.
Over, and over, and over again, Michigan. You shouldn’t need to do anything else. Some disrespect intended to Cade McNamara, but that’s who Northwestern is likely to—and should—pin this game on. The problem is, I’m not confident in Northwestern’s D-line—who, admittedly, just had their best game of the year against Rutgers, a phrase that says something, guys—getting off their blocks against a positively mammoth Michigan front. And that’s before the TEs and FBs get involved or the offense runs any misdirection.
I don’t see Michigan throwing a ton at the ‘Cats ahead of Michigan State—there’s no need to. The Wolverines should be able to pound the ball, straight ahead, and allow me to turn the game off at halftime. Michigan, 34-7.
This poll is closed
Michigan wins, Northwestern scrapes a spread victory
The first George Jewett Trophy comes to Evanston!
Illinois Fighting Illini @ (7) Penn State Nittany Lions
11am | ABC | PSU -23.5 | O/U 46.5
Straight-Up: All Blue (the other kind)
Against the Spread: PSU 14-2
misdreavus79: Now you see, this 23 and a half line is not preposterous, because it’s my team playing a bad team, and this bad team hasn’t shown signs of life yet!
HWAHSQB: One team is mad. The other team is bad. Bet on the mad team. I wouldn’t take Illinois if the line were +43.5. No need for cheating Nittany Lions to fake injuries this week as Illinois will not have any successful offensive plays.
WSR: This feels like a great game to get an injured QB a few drives to ease back in, then let the backup get some really good reps handing the ball off repeatedly and maybe MAYBE letting a few play action passes fly.
RockyMtnBlue: The #14 team in the big10 travels to the #7 team in the nation. And the #7 team is pissed. And the #7 team is coming off a bye. This one will be very, very ugly.
MNW: Good team does bad things to bad team. Nittany Lions, 45-10.
This poll is closed
Lions win, by slightly less than 23.5
Wisconsin Badgers @ (25) Purdue Boilermakers
2pm | BTN | Wisconsin -3 | O/U 40
Straight-Up: Wisconsin 10-6
Against the Spread: Wisconsin 9-7
misdreavus79: Yeah I’m going to ride the Purdue high here and say they pull this one off too. Wisconsin simply hasn’t been able to figure out what to do on offense, and the Boilers actually have a defense this time around.
HWAHSQB: Purdue beats iowa. Purdue loses to Wisconsin. As it ever was, so it shall be. Wiscy will flow and win by more than 3.
BoilerUp89: Wisconsin will run for 1200 yards in this game and beat Purdue by 68 points because they hate fun. No bueno. This has been my contribution to the picks article this week.
WSR: This game will be UGLY. Whether or not I watch it will be determined by the results. Thank goodness I will be otherwise occupied and not tempted to view it at all. I’m fully expecting wisconsin to turn this into the game that Iowa wanted to make Purdue suffer through last week.
RockyMtnBlue: Purdue looked terrific last week. Seems like I should pick them to lose by 100. But I like this game to be close. I have no logical support for this argument. Wiscy 17-16.
MNW: Purdue’s defense has gotten marginally better against the run—we’re talking mediocre, rather than tire fire. Against wisconsin...does that matter?
The only place the badgers’ D-line has struggled is in getting to the QB on passing downs (91st by FO’s defensive line stats, just 2 sacks/gm) and generating turnovers—if AOC can take care of the ball and the Boilers’ offense can stay on schedule, we could have us a little stew cookin’.
Unfortunately, just like I will not take Minnesota to beat Iowa or wisconsin or Illinois to beat Northwestern until repeatedly proven otherwise, I will not take Purdue to beat wisconsin. And that’s a sad thing: badgers, 19-14.
I guess RMB middled it, so you can too...
This poll is closed
badgers win, cover
badgers win by 1 or 2, but by picking this option you are entering into a contract with off tackle empire dot blogspot dot com backslash creedthoughts dot gov backslash culvers to go into the comments and explain exactly how and why this happens
Maryland Terrapins @ Minnesota Golden Gophers
2:30pm | ESPN2 | Minnesota -5 | O/U 54.5
Straight-Up: Minnesota 12-4
Against the Spread: Minnesota 11-5
misdreavus79: There was a point where both of these teams were thought of as better and worse than originally anticipated, but I’m giving Maryland the edge here because they’re coming off a bye.
HWAHSQB: These teams are both pretty capable of being random number generators. misdreavus mentions the Maryland bye. That means they’ve had extra coaching from Locks and seals the deal for me. I’m taking the Gophers.
WSR: For some reason, Maryland terrifies me more than Purdue did. That team is beat to hell and that should be enough for a Gophers squad with momentum (and health at every position except RB) to get through this, but I’ll still be biting my fingernails to the 2nd knuckle until we get a 3-score lead (if we can get a 3-score lead).
RockyMtnBlue: Maryland lives and dies with their offensive skill guys, and they’ve been dropping like flies. Minny wins the war of attrition.
MNW: Does the Maryland that hits random bombs to random players show up? I don’t know! I think the Gophers could push them back at the point of attack, but Minnesota can also devolve into nothing but RUTM and two-hopped Tanner Morgan passes at the drop of a hat. Maryland’s already turned into a pumpkin...but it’s not Minnesota’s week. Yet. Gophers, 31-21.
Sure, pick this game.
This poll is closed
The M that WSR sat on
The M that WSR sat on, by slightly less
The M that, if you sat on it, would probably have you go the way of Edward II
(5) Ohio State Buckeyes @ Indiana Hoosiers
6:30pm | ABC | OSU -20 | O/U 60
Straight-Up: All nuts
Against the Spread: OSU 14-2
misdreavus79: Hey Indiana, if you have any of that 2020 magic left in you, now would be the time to use it.
pkloa: Do any of you not feel bad for Indiana by this point?
HWAHSQB: I’m an Illinois fan. I never feel worse for anyone else than I do for myself. OSU rolls to prove a point that last year didn’t count.
WSR: No, I don’t. Everybody has to play tOSU eventually, and it’s Indiana’s turn to suffer through this shit.
RockyMtnBlue: Indiana’s strength is their defense, but OSU scores on anyone. OSU 37-3.
MNW: When you look back on Indiana’s 2021 season, Hoosier fans, what moment do you think will be your 2013 Ohio State-Northwestern game? Will it have been Cincinnati?
I’m sorry that Jack Tuttle’s not the answer, either. At least you all love each other. Buckeyes, 45-21.
This poll is closed
Buckeyes by a lot
Indiana, as per their wont, keep it interesting for a little while, then fade
Too cowardly to play this week:
Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan State Spartans, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
More Reading in the Meantime:
Let us know your picks in the comments! Thanks for reading Off Tackle Empire.