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Big Ten Football Week 4 Picks, Previews, and Predictions

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Wisconsin-Notre Dame headlines, but a couple MAC upsets brewing? Indiana on the road? Gather ye intrigue where ye may.

Nothing witty to say on MNW’s front this weekend. RMB, your thoguhts?

About Last Week

Not a lot of drama with the picks against the spread. Four “writers” represented our “best”, tied at 7-4. Your humble author was a horrible 4-7, but at least BoilerUp89 and Thump were there to make me feel better, coming in at 3-8.

Misdreavus is doing work ATS this year. He’s 22-12 year-to-date. Good job, man. It would pain me to give credit to our “editor”. [MNW: How the fuck do I trail him by one loss on the spread?!]

Green Akers called every game straight up last week. GA earns one OTE cookie. Beezer, sadly, still holds a narrow lead there for the season. We’re going to have to work on that.

Saturday, Sept 25

Bowling Green Falcons @ Minnesota Golden Gophers

11am | EPSNU | Minnesota -31 | O/U 52

Straight-Up: All Minnesota
Against the Spread: Bowling Green 13-4

Thumpasaurus: Bowling Green is turbobad but I don’t know that Minnesota keeps up the same level of intensity as last week. That’s a big spread.

misdreavus79: This is a lot of points. But hey, all they have to do is keep Bowling Green from scoring too, right? Right?

Buffkomodo: I’m driving through Bowling Green and Indiana is playing at Bowling Green. Different states, but it’s still fun to say. What’s that? A Maction game for the B1G? Fuck, Bowling Green previously sucked and frequented the Bottom 10 on ESPN. Give me Minnesota to win and cover.

RockyMtnBlue: Which Minnesota team is real? The one that stomped on the neck of Colorado in Boulder last week or the one that struggled against Miami Hydroxide a couple weeks ago? When in doubt I’ll take 31 points.

MNW: It’s a big spread...and I don’t think there’s much to be gained from whether Minnesota covers or not. Unless the Gophers look abjectly bad. Minnesota, 35-7.

WSR: Get ready for a bad football game! It’s a G5 non-conference game, which means all Peej cares about is doing just enough to win. The RBs will touch the ball the most for the Gophers, the punter will touch the ball 2nd-most. Gophs win, BGSU covers.

Poll

Lotta ugly colors here:

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Maroon and Anthracite and five shades of Gold—oh yeah, they cover
    (30 votes)
  • 72%
    Maroon and Anthracite and five other shades of Gold win, don’t cover
    (123 votes)
  • 10%
    Brown and Orange?!?!?!
    (17 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

Ohio Bobcats @ Northwestern Wildcats

11am | FOX | Northwestern -15 | O/U 48

Straight-Up: Northwestern 16-1
Against the Spread: Ohio 10-7

Thumpasaurus: Ohio is EXTREMELY bad. Northwestern covers, but just barely.

misdreavus79: I can’t in good conscience say Northwestern will cover anything until they do. They’ll win by exactly two touchdowns because Vegas knows.

Buffkomodo: Northwestern only getting 15 is kinda sad, but so are most of Ohio Athletics. Go cats.

RockyMtnBlue: Comments above suggest maybe I should have taken the cover. Nah. NW has one serviceable QB and I understand he’s not serviceable this week.

MNW: Like RMB mentioned, the question for Northwestern will be which quarterback gets the spotlight—one of the hitherto underwhelming transfers, Hunter Johnson or Ryan Hilinski, or the almost-savior of the Duke game, Andrew Marty, whose performance prompted one former lineman to reveal this about Marty:

Look, the answer against Ohio is simple enough: contain Kurtis Rourke or Armani Rogers, force the Bobcats to throw, and be...competent...on defense. The three-headed backfield of Anthony Tyus (the new wildcat specialist), Evan Hull, and Andrew Clair should be more than enough.

Should be.

I like Hilinski to get the start and scuffle a bit but get the win. Northwestern, 27-17.

WSR: If jNWU doesn’t win and cover, they should return their ill-gotten gains from the Ryan family that’ll be used for anti-homeless benches on campus and stuff like that.

Poll

CAT SCRAP FEVER

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Wild by lots
    (50 votes)
  • 59%
    Wild by little
    (95 votes)
  • 9%
    Bob!
    (16 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now

(18) Wisconsin Badgers @ (12) Notre Dame Fighting Irish

11am | FOX | Wisconsin -5.5 | O/U 46.5

Straight-Up: wisconsin 11-6
Against the Spread: Fuck Notre Dame 9-8

Thumpasaurus: I think Wisconsin wins by a touchdown. This will be the best defense Notre Dame has played by miles. The only question is if Wisconsin can avoid the kind of mistakes that lost them the Penn State game, because they should be able to control the game flow here.

misdreavus79: Notre Dame has been playing with fire, and even the Purdue game was closer than the score. They’re going to get burned, and something tells me Wisconsin won’t forget how to play football when they reach the red zone this time around.

MNW: I don’t like the question, and I won’t respond to it. (badgers, 21-17)

Buffkomodo: I don’t know, I picked Notre Dame because Fox showed some fancy graphic showing how well Notre Dame recruits. Meh. I really don’t care.

RockyMtnBlue: Notre Dame sucks. Bucky rolls. The right-thinking world rejoices.

WSR: Everyone involved in this game is awful. Everyone.

Poll

Be professional, MNW.

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    wisconsin by 6 or more
    (116 votes)
  • 28%
    wisconsin by 5.5 or less
    (69 votes)
  • 22%
    notre dame
    (55 votes)
240 votes total Vote Now

Poll

the literal worst people you know

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    drunks
    (35 votes)
  • 14%
    catholics
    (34 votes)
  • 71%
    wait there’s a difference
    (172 votes)
241 votes total Vote Now

Villanova Wildcats @ (6) Penn State Nittany Lions

11am | BTN | PSU -29.5 | O/U none

Straight-Up: All Nits
Against the Spread: Almost all Nits (16-1)

Have you ever seen an uglier graphic?

Thumpasaurus: Lol ok

misdreavus79: [Insert joke about Jay Wright here]

Buffkomodo: Is Jay Wright going to coach, cause I might take them to cover....*looks up and sees misdreavus’ post*....Penn State to win and cover.

RockyMtnBlue: PSU is 3-0 like my team. Unlike my team PSU has already played two of their hardest games and now they to relax and murderdeathkill a tomato can or two.

MNW: I honestly didn’t even know we found a line for this game. Nova’s 11th in the FCS polls, which could make for some temporary and momentary fun in the first quarter or so if Wildcats QB Daniel Smith gets rolling. Then it gets boringer and shittier. Lions, 45-10.

Poll

Does Penn State cover?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Yes
    (184 votes)
  • 14%
    No
    (32 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now

Illinois Fighting Illini @ Purdue Boilermakers

2:30pm | BTN | Purdue -11 | O/U 55.5

Straight-Up: Purdue 15-2
Against the Spread: Illinois 10-7

BoilerUp89: In order to maintain bowl hopes for 2021 this is a game that Purdue has to have. Injuries are starting to pile up for Purdue early in the season and as I seem to be mentioning every week this is a team with no depth.

I think Purdue has enough options at receiver that Plummer should be able to find the open guy even if Bell doesn’t play. Purdue’s run D has held all 3 opponents under 4 yards a carry. Purdue’s secondary can be beat when they get too aggressive. But the Illini lack a functional QB. I’ll pick the Boilers to win but it might not be pretty.

Thumpasaurus: I had this one 24-10 Purdue earlier, but then I got some important news. The Illini will have Josh McCray, Chase Brown, Doug Kramer and Julian Pearl back. All four of those players are important components of the inside rushing game that Illinois is not particularly good at but is going to use often regardless. Pearl should be able to provide more of a push inside than whichever FCS transfer guard he replaces, Kramer is the starting center and has been the best member of a disappointing offensive line, Brown was our best back last year and McCray is the only back that’s shown the ability to gain more than 2 yards between the tackle.

DL Keith Randolph will also return, but I’ve seen a lot more adjustments out of the defense this year than the offense. Despite the Virginia game, I have a lot more faith in the defensive coaches from a strategy perspective than I do the offensive coaches. Maryland definitely played themselves out of several scoring opportunities, but Illinois still held up against their passing attack better than I expected. Although Purdue’s passing game will largely depend on David Bell’s status, if the Illini defense comes out with a similar gameplan as last week they can limit the explosiveness of the Boiler offense.

If McCray truly is what we saw in the Maryland game (before our biggest linemen landed on him, taking him out), this could be a pretty interesting game. Purdue still has the better coaches though.

I’ll be watching that weather forecast for West Lafayette.

misdreavus79: Purdue wins, Illinois covers. Both teams are actually better than I thought coming into the season, but Purdue is a little better.

/insert sound of glass breaking

Bah Gawd, that’s BoilerBettor’s Music!

BoilerBettor: NEVER TRUST JEFF BROHM AS A DOUBLE DIGIT FAVORITE AFTER A BIG GAME. AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE, CAUSE BOILERBETTOR SAID SO.

/Kicks bookie in the knee

/Tears ACL

Buffkomodo: David Bell got murdered last week and definitely should sit this one out. He’s one of the best receivers in the league, if not nation, so just sit out. Purdue wins this going away.

But....if they lose, I will be sooooooooooooooo happy.

RockyMtnBlue: I have no analysis for this one. They’re western teams so who really cares? Gut says this is a stupid, ugly game, so I guess I’ll take the home team in a close one.

MNW: I always believe everything BoilerBettor tells me. Purdue, 41-31.

WSR: WHY? Why is this game a thing? The only game that could be worse is... **looks at next week schedule** WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!

Poll

CANNON ON THE LINE, THROW OUT THE RECORD BOOKS (no, really, please...it helps us forget)

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Purdue covers
    (44 votes)
  • 48%
    Purdue wins, does not cover
    (90 votes)
  • 27%
    NOW BERT HAS A CANNON, HO HO HO
    (50 votes)
184 votes total Vote Now

Kent State Golden Flashes @ Maryland Terrapins

2:30pm | BTN | Maryland -14.5 | O/U 67.5

Straight-Up: Maryland 15-2
Against the Spread: Maryland 11-6

It’s not every day we have multiple writers picking a two TD upset

Thumpasaurus: If Maryland plays as sloppy and undisciplined as they did against Illinois, they’re not going to get away with it against Kent State because the Golden Flashes have a quarterback. Dustin Crum is a big-time threat and the Terps have yet to face a quarterback of his like this season. None of the QB’s they’ve faced has Crum’s rushing ability, and that’s an X-factor that might allow Kent State to hang around and keep moving the chains.

On the other hand, it’s not a very good MAC defense, so the Terps passing game should go absolutely nuts unless they want to Establish The Run. I have Kent State covering.

misdreavus79: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Kent State were the “inexplicable non-conference loss to a worse team” that seems to complement Maryland’s “inexplicable non-conference win against a superior team” bit? Alas, I think Maryland wins.

Buffkomodo: Maryland because it’s Kent State.

RockyMtnBlue: I don’t have a bead on Maryland. It kinda seems like they’re less than the sum of their parts, but that might just be the stench of last week’s game talking. They right the ship this week.

MNW: This is not your slightly older brother’s Kent State, BuffKomodo. Who am I to doubt the coaching of a man who I last saw covered in a bukkake of over-sugared Texas smoothie?

Let me try that again.

Sean Lewis is a good coach. I would put the Flashes to hang with Maryland on the virtue of that FLASH FAST bit and a little undisciplined play out of the Terp defense. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kent State took the lead into halftime. Can Taulia and Rakim lead a furious second-half comeback in this fiction I’ve invented?

[Google Chrome wants to auto-correct bukkake to Kankakee. Illinoisians, please advise.]

Terrapins, 41-36.

WSR: Let’s get dumb. Maryland SHOULD win, but something feels fun about this one.

Poll

This is a game!

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Terps cover 14.5
    (96 votes)
  • 43%
    Terps win, do not cover
    (90 votes)
  • 10%
    FLASH FAST, BABY
    (22 votes)
208 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ (19) Michigan Wolverines

2:30pm | ABC | Michigan -19 | O/U 51.5

Straight-Up: Michigan 15-2
Against the Spread: Rutgers 10-7

Oh. I guess the whole “two TD upset” thing isn’t all that rare after all.

pkloa: Many years from now, football fans from around the globe will remember this afternoon, and the legend of how Rutger finally earned their "s".

Thumpasaurus: Damn, that’s a lower spread than I expected given how good Michigan has looked. I’d take Rutgers to cover, like, -25, but I think Michigan wins by at least three touchdowns unless Rutgers sells out to stop the run and Michigan refuses to pass. Rutgers looks like a solid lower-end P5 team, but that’s the kind of team this Michigan squad will crush regularly.

misdreavus79: That right there is what we in the business call a “Michigan Line™.” Can they beat Rutgers by three touchdowns? Sure, will they? No.

Buffkomodo: Who had undefeated Rutgers plays undefeated Michigan in week 4 on their BINGO card? Because man, good job. Michigan wins, but Rutgers definitely covers because Schiano can actually coach.

RockyMtnBlue: Rutgers is spunky and they’ll sell out to stop the run. Michigan will be either unwilling (annoying) or unable (terrifying) to throw over safeties lining even with the linebackers. This will have an ugly score like 25-13 and the fan negativity will reach world record levels for a 4-0 team.

MNW: Zuzu, would you pay attention and fill out some goddamn picks? We really need a Rutgers hype gal in here. Rutgers’ defense is better than Northern Illinois’s. Their offense is not: Michigan, 35-10. THIS IS YOUR FAULT, ZU! YOU MADE ME DO THIS!

WSR: There are so many R’s on that grid. I am stunned and amazed. You’re not going to win, Rutgers, but make us “proud” or something like that.

Poll

RUTMICH

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Harbaughs, big
    (80 votes)
  • 39%
    Harbaughs, little
    (104 votes)
  • 29%
    SCHIANOS (SCHIANOES?)
    (77 votes)
261 votes total Vote Now

Colorado State Rams @ (5) Iowa Hawkeyes

2:30pm | FS1 | Iowa -23 | O/U 44.5

Straight-Up: All Iowa
Against the Spread: Iowa 11-6

Thumpasaurus: The only reason for Iowa not to cover is if Kirk Ferentz respects Steve Addazio’s commitment to getting football games over with quickly and handing off a lot that he calls off the dogs after the first field goal.

misdreavus79: Colorado State is pretty bad. Even if Iowa hadn’t shown that they can move the ball if absolutely forced to last week, I’d still think this game would be over by midway in the second quarter.

Buffkomodo: Iowa because Colorado State sucks, but don’t be shocked if they show off and only win with defensive scores.

RockyMtnBlue: Iowa by many. God help us.

MNW: Steve Addazio has been an absolute disaster in Fort Collins. I eagerly await his firing and the hiring of Todd Graham to replace him. OOH! Or Tom Herman! Maybe Clay Helton? Lotta good choices here.

You cannot force me to care about this game. Iowa, 35-3.

WSR: CSU is awful, and Addazio is terrible. Score an offensive TD, Iowa.

Nebraska Cornhuskers @ (20) Michigan State Spartans

6pm | FS1 | MSU -5 | O/U 51.5

Straight-Up: Sparty 15-2
Against the Spread: Sparty 15-2

Thumpasaurus: More and more I’m thinking Scott Frost accurately described how they lost the Illinois game and it really WAS as stupid as I thought at the time. The other side of this is that Nebraska is nowhere near as bad as they were in Week Zero. MSU contained a more talented team’s dual threat quarterback, but Miami always has to fall out of the rankings by the first day of fall, so you have to account for that factor. The Husker defense was able to limit big plays and force mistakes from a much more talented offense than MSU, but now it’s time for the offense to show up. I actually think Nebraska can win this game, and they pretty much have to.

misdreavus79: I’m quite intrigued about this game! Was Nebraska great last week because Oklahoma is secretly trash? Has Michigan State really turned a corner? Going chalk here, but I won’t be surprised if Nebraska wins.

Buffkomodo: Michigan State is ranked. This is not the season I wanted to have. I really, really think this is going to be close....but then again Scott Frost is the coach of the Huskers and I can deal with losing the Brass Spittoon if it means we can laugh at Nebraska.

RockyMtnBlue: If you drop the Illinois game (which was a month ago), Nebraska 2-1 with beatdowns against scrubs and a close loss on the road at the #4 team in the nation. That suggests this is a good upset pick. But God knows how much I’d like that to happen and he doesn’t like me. Sparty rolls.

MNW: Nobody middled a 5-point line. I am so damn proud of us. As the week’s gone on I’ve liked this pick less and less, because something tells me the Huskers can drag the discourse down here and turn it into a little batshit insanity if Adriaaaaaan gets going early.

But coaching matters. Sparty, 28-21.

WSR: Oh, what a beautiful disaster. Happy Scott Frost Day, everyone!

Poll

Pick’em:

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Herbie
    (49 votes)
  • 76%
    Sparty
    (157 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now

Akron Zips @ (10) Ohio State Buckeyes

6:30pm | BTN | OSU - 49 | O/U 67.5

Straight-Up: Duh
Against the Spread: Akron 13-4

Thumpasaurus: Is Akron bad enough to not cover this spread? Maybe! But then again, maybe not! It’s hard to know what to do here, because Ohio State should probably treat this like the scrimmage that it is and try to make their passing game work and figure out what’s going on in the secondary. At the same time, they could just do nothing but hand off to Trey’veon Henderson every single snap and probably cover. I think Akron covers, but not because they earn it.

misdreavus79: Auburn beat Akron by 50. Is Ohio State better than Auburn? We shall find out!

Buffkomodo: Jesus, even how bad Ohio State’s offense has been, that’s a spread. Like. Man. How nice it would be to have a spread like that.

RockyMtnBlue: OSU has been awful (for their general talent level). The process of becoming a death star begins this week against a glorified HS team.

MNW: Gotta start making up those style points, Ohio State, because you’ve got an awful lot of ground to cover if you’re gonna fight your way into the College Football Playoff.

And because this is where I scream into the void—not accuse any OTE reader of parroting out this bullshit talking point—if I hear one mention of “overcoming adversity” without CJ Stroud, I’m going to figure out how to do this to whatever announcer or commentator suggests it:

There is no adversity to overcome when you have 12378532 five-stars on your roster. Buckeyes, 63-10.

WSR: This one feels like it’s a get right game. Akron is the speedbump here.

Poll

does osu cover

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    y
    (65 votes)
  • 61%
    n
    (103 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

7pm | CBSSN | Indiana -9 | O/U 62

Straight-Up: Indiana 14-3
Against the Spread: Indiana 12-5

Only two straddling a 9pt spread

Thumpasaurus: Indiana’s two losses have come against two fairly good teams. One of these was a totally one-dimensional defense-and-stall-tactics team and one of them was a very good team with a balanced offense. Western Kentucky slings the ball around a lot and that’s all I know about them. I don’t think it’s going to be that close because I think the Hoosier offense should be able to use a lot more of the playbook against WKU. Hoosiers cover.

misdreavus79: Western Kentucky is a decided step down in competition, so I think Indiana should be able to flex its muscles in this one and cover.

Buffkomodo: This isn’t the game I wanted. A reeling Indiana team. I say reeling, but honestly I feel they’ve improved week to week honestly. It’s not near enough for where they want to be, but they aren’t worse now than they were in week 1. Indiana to win and cover, and Tom Allen to drive a Corvette home so he doesn’t have to sit next to Sheridan on the way back.

RockyMtnBlue: The sky in Bloomington is, in fact, not falling. Indiana covers.

MNW: Wait! This doesn’t feel like the pick I wanted to make! I think Bailey Zappe could actually be a halfway decent QB for the ‘Toppers, and if Indiana’s pass rush struggles early, the WKU faithful could get into it and make this interesting!

But rules are rules, so I guess Indiana doesn’t make it interesting. Their QB is not good, though. Maybe some Tuttling occurs? Hoosiers, 30-20.

Poll

what you got

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    indiana big
    (70 votes)
  • 31%
    indiana wins, does not cover
    (48 votes)
  • 22%
    BIG RED, BABY
    (35 votes)
153 votes total Vote Now

Leave us your picks in the comments. We’ve got Mailbag, DWT;WT, and a whole bunch more elsewhere throughout the website. You know where to find it.