Wellllllllll so much for thinking you knew anything about Big Ten football, huh?
Only two of you—Townie and LincolnParkWildcat—completely aced the test last week, correctly tabbing Northwestern to upset Nebraska and Illinois to handle Wyoming so thoroughly.
Thankfully for the rest of you—and to the chagrin of your humble Obligatory Predictions Competition managers—there are something like a dozen games this week. Or whatever. All we know is, it takes a hell of a lot longer to put together all these graphics.
(all times CT)
Thursday, Sept 1
7:00pm | FOX | PSU -3.5 | O/U 54
Straight-Up: Nits 10-6
Against the Spread: Nits 9-7
BoilerUp89: Try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to pick Purdue to win this one. Penn State 30 - Purdue 27
:: After last year’s PSU team almost lost in the season opener (right?) to last year’s Wisconsin team, I’m a little gunshy about early seasons Franklin/PSU, but come one. It’s Purdue without David Bell or Rondale Moore, and it’s not like they’re playing Ohio State! Penn State 13 - Purdue 9
Buffkomodo: If James Franklin wants a different job, he needs to pick up games like this. Wait....what’s that...you can get different jobs by losing too? Weird. Anywho, I think Penn State will win this for no other reason than they’re playing an early season Purdue team. If Purdue wins, I won’t be shocked though. Mostly...just don’t care about this game.
Kind of...: Totally ready for the Purdue/AOC hype train to leave the station, but I think the story Friday morning will be PSU’s shiny new RB. And by that, I think I mean Nick Singleton. But I might mean Kaytron Allen. Either way, get ready for the “yeah, Purdue misses George Karlaftis” takes. 28-17 PSU
MaximumSam: I kind of like both these teams this year. Feels like Purdue might finally be arriving with a complete team. One can dream, at least. But Penn State should also be turned around. When in doubt, pick the home team. Purdue 31, Penn State 30
Thumpasaurus: I’ve been looking forward to this game for a while now, which means it’s probably going to be incredibly disappointing with Penn State covering. In all seriousness, Aidan O’Connell basically has all new receivers and that might mean Penn State’s Purdue offense is more consistent. Why James Franklin took blue chip talent and made Purdue out of it I’ll never understand, but that’s what he did.
RockyMtnBlue: Wrong time of year to get Penn State, Boilers. Clifford isn’t broken yet. Penn State 38, Purdue 28
MNW: Was tempted to roll here in a fashion similar to the last time Purdue hosted a Week 1 Big Ten game, the tale of two halves when Rondale Moore balled out for a half against Northwestern. But I just don’t know that I saw enough progress out of Purdue in 2021 to believe that this is really going to keep going in 2022. Happy to be wrong, though. Penn State, 31-24.
pick your pee
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train (ed. note: pee train?)
8:00pm | BTN | Minnesota -37.5 | O/U 55.5
Straight-Up: All Rowboats
Against the Spread: Mostly Rowboats (11-5)
BoilerUp89: Jerry Kill returns to Minnesota and tries to order a dilly bar at the game. It melts before getting to him. The ice cream is but a metaphor for how the Aggies perform against the Gophers.
Beez: J Kill on his B1G revenge tour is going to get really tired to hear about, especially as his teams lose by a combined 500 points. Is Ibrahim back for this game? If so, hopefully he has a healthy first half before resting when his team is up 40.
Buffkomodo: Row the boat and hammer the over.
Kind of...: With due respect to my colleagues, we should all just leave this blank for WSR to hold forth. I think he has a few things to say. All the same, though I’m sure Peej would love to win 80-(-20), both coaches want to run the ball, and I think Fleck is smart enough to ignore then cover but go home with an injury free 41-7 win. But if he goes 4th quarter play-action to make it 48-7, yeah, I guess I’ll understand.
Thumpasaurus: The SHUT JERRY KILL UP narrative seems like a very persuasive one, and since we’re all expecting blood...I’m expecting a routine, somewhat frustrating three score win.
MaximumSam: Minnesota usually sucks early in the season. So it has come, so it will pass. My hope is Tracy Claeys decends from the rafters, Sting style, during the fourth quarter and rides Jerry Kill to the end zone. Minnesota 24, New Mexico State 10
HWAHSQB: I’m with Sam here. Minnesota can’t possibly have early season suck to lose, but it won’t be comfortable.
WSR: If NMSU gets more than a FG, I’m going to be very disappointed. This should be as straight-forward as possible: get Mo Ibrahim, Trey Potts, Bryce Williams, Preston Jelen, and Zach Evans a TD each, and make sure to run some play action over the top to pile it on a bit. The Aggie defense spent a good chunk of the night letting Nevada’s RBs run through the first tackle, which doesn’t bode well against the Gophers run game. Defensively, there’s not much to worry about here here: the starting QB Diego Povia led the team in rushing with a whopping 36 yards against Nevada while also losing a fumble and throwing 3 INT. Backup QB true freshman Gavin Frankes (a ginger) came into the game and thew a TD to go along with his interception.
Hopefully Fleck is fired up and ready to go and tells Jerry to wish Rebecca well in their postgame handshake.
RockyMtnBlue: New Mexico State is next-level bad. This game is going to be ugly. But 37.5 is a big spread. Minnesota 38, New Mexico State 3
MNW: What you see we’re going to get, now, is PJ Fleck calling off the dogs midway through the third quarter and coasting to an easy with, with all the suddenly high-on-their-horse Gophers patting themselves and their coach on the back for “taking the high road” or passive-aggressively “running it down” in a 30-6 win. Which is totally what they wanted all along, mind you.
I dunno, something like “taking the win and leaving the timeouts.” Or whatever.
Bitey, bitey gophers...
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"Take the high road" and "run it down"
...lose to a ginger and Jerry Kill
Friday, Sept 2
6:00pm | ESPN | MSU -21.5 | O/U 54.5
Straight-Up: All Sparty
Against the Spread: Even split
BoilerUp89: Sparty names their score.
Beez: MSU by as many as they feel like. This team feels like a September Heisman/September CFP candidate.
Buffkomodo: Is Michigan State legit a top 15 team, or did they do an Indiana and just have a good year? Time will tell, but I’ll split this. Sparty wins, but Western comes to play and covers.
Kind of...: Western Michigan could be frisky in a few weeks, but they’re starting a rsFR at QB, and MSU has reasons (give the young RBs some run) and the means (returning QB/WR combination) to cover. 42-13.
Thumpasaurus: Western Michigan has an awful lot of offensive production to replace, and since they’re back to being prime Bill Cubit-era Western, offense is all they do.
MaximumSam: I’m still a bit iffy on Sparty. I want to believe. But I guess I’m just naturally skeptical of angry green men. MSU 31, WMU 21
RockyMtnBlue: Tucker enters his ‘prove it’ year. Unfortunately I think he does. Sparty 42, Western Michigan 10
MNW: Western’s got the questions at QB that Thump mentions that give me pause. While Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson can run around a bit for the Broncos, and I think Corey Crooms catching Sparty napping at least once, this one smacks of Mel calling ‘em off early. Sparty, 35-14.
In the Mix on 96...
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MSU wins, covers
MSU wins, does not cover
7:00pm | FS1 | Indiana -3.5 | O/U 47.5
Straight-Up: The verified fighting Berts 14-2
Against the Spread: The verified fighting Berts 15-1
BoilerUp89: Why are these teams playing on Friday? I’m picking Illinois due to the fact they already had a game to iron out the wrinkles and looked pretty good against the Cowboys.
HWAHSQB: I was pretty happy with the week 0 performance by my Illini, but in the cold light of day, there were some pretty big concerns. For starters, as bad as Illinois has been the last 25 years, they nearly always have won their home opener.
However, they nearly always lose their first road game. I’ll believe it will be different after I see it a time or two. In fact, 2007, the Fighting Zookers were the last version of the Illini to win their first road game. Other issues, giving up 182 rushing yards to an inexperienced G5 team. The D-line and secondary were solid, but the LBs were MIA. The D-line was solid against the run, but 1 TFL against Wyoming won’t cut it. 6 penalties for 65 yards is not typical of Bertball. Most of the penalties were on the offense and stalled drives and took points off the board. The interior OL couldn’t constantly move the worst DL they will face this season, but the Tackles were excellent. Lastly, our backup PK turned wide receiver turned punt returner and now starting PK was 1/3. We didn’t need those six points against the Cowboys, but we will need them in some games this year.
Beez: Illinois is gonna win it. This is absolutely their year*.
*This means they’ll be 3rd worst in the division.
Buffkomodo: In a sport where ties aren’t allowed and someone must win, I’ll take the home team. If you want my commentary, read my Friday article.
Kind of...: Lotta love coming in for Illinois. Making me nervous about my pick. Who’s going to make whom have to pass first? Yeah, sure, I’ll default to the “Illinois has already played” proverb. U of I: 23, IU 20
Thumpasaurus: The degree to which all of you believe in Illinois makes me uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as Indiana’s brand new quarterback with brand new skill players running a brand new offense will be against an experienced defense with a full week of game reps under their belt. Indiana’s run defense is tough, but last year’s Illini ran the ball against better. Furthermore, I’ve never seen Illinois lose a road game in person. Let’s go.
MaximumSam: Man, I loved how the Illini looked in the opener. The running lanes will be narrower, but I’m a Bert Believer. I am rooting hard for both these teams to git gud this season, though Indiana football gave me PTSD last year. Illinois 21, Indiana 17.
WSR: 2-0 Illinois. I’m not sure if I want to live in this world, but here we are. I think the Illini faced a tougher challenge last week from Wyoming than they’ll see here.
RockyMtnBlue: I’m giving Bert the benefit of the doubt here. Last week Illinois did exactly what good teams do. Maybe they’re not good. Maybe Indiana is. But right now this is the best data we have. Illinois 24, Indiana 17
MNW: I am very here to live in a world where 2-0 Illinois exists. Someone put forward last week the idea that Illinois-Northwestern could decide the West, and HAT for all the marbles is absolutely a world I want to live in, unrealistic as it may be. Why not, though? Illini, 27-10.
In the Battle for Terre Haute...
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Saturday, Sept 3
11:00am | FS1 | No Line
Straight-Up: Iowa 14-2
Against the Spread: No line.
[RMB: Yes, seven of our ‘writers’, including our esteemed editor, middled a game with no line. I THINK they were joking.]
[MNW: For what it’s worth, I did track down a line of Iowa -15.5, which I think is...uh...well.]
BoilerUp89: Hawkeyes win 3-0.
Beez: Isn’t this team good every once in a while? SD State, I mean. Or am I thinking basketball? Either way, this is a win-win for B1G fans. Either Iowa wins and nobody cares or they lose and it’s hilarious.
Buffkomodo: Iowa to win, South Dakota to cover...I said what I said.
Kind of...: We all know the Jackrabbits are no joke. While I could easily see Iowa slugging their way to a 31-14 cover, I think tummy-tattooed Hawkeye fans are going to spend a lot of the long weekend lamenting the state of the OL and thanking the heavens for Phil Parker. What? That’s every week? Fine. It’s going to be a game into the 4th quarter when, inevitably, Iowa relies on their TE (Sam LaPorta) to make a play. 20-16 Iowa.
Thumpasaurus: Iowa’s gonna do that pro wrestling thing where they look dead on the mat, the ref counts 1...2...long pause...KICKED OUT OF IT! My God, the obviously favored guy somehow still has some fight left!
MaximumSam: Iowa will win, but will they be outgained? Probably. Iowa 24, SDSU 7
WSR: Why would you schedule a Dakotas school? YOU SHOULD HAVE LEARNED YOUR LESSON ALREADY YOU MORONS.
RockyMtnBlue: Iowa’s defense is terrifying. Iowa’s offense is terrifying in a complete different connotation. Iowa 4, South Dakota State 2
MNW: MaxSam hits the nail on the head here—the Jacks feel very good about their offense in year 49 of Stiegelmeier in Brookings, and while they won’t have much room to cook against a typically-good Iowa defense, the MO here as always is for Kirk Ferentz to sit on the ball, get out of Kinnick in under 3 hours, and get back to sitting on his porch and yelling at the paperboy. Iowa, 24-14.
This is a game.
This poll is closed
Tooth-birds roll or fly or whatever
Tooth-birds win, but angrybunnies keep it close-ish
WHY WOULD YOU SCHEDULE A DAKOTA STATE
11:00am | BTN | Maryland -22.5 | O/U 63
Straight-Up: All Turtles
Against the Spread: Mostly Turtles (10-6)
BoilerUp89: I’m sure Buffalo falling off a complete cliff following their previous coach’s departure means something - like Nebraska should hire that coach - but this is all good news for the Terrapins as September Maryland remains a dangerous team.
Beez: I think the Terraps are good enough to overcome Josh Allen, especially September Maryland, but I’ll never be surprised by early season OOC losses in the B1G.
Buffkomodo: Maryland with some program momentum crushes the bulls and we hear some Dolphins commentary because did you know the Maryland Quarterback’s brother is Tua?? Yeah! He played at Alabama!!
Kind of...: It’s Maryland in a non-conference game. Let’s not complicate things. Check back in on Buffalo in November, though. Maurice Linguist has brought in some talent. Terps: 48-21
Thumpasaurus: A familiar script is developing for Maryland’s Septembers. The only question is just how devastating the Michigan game will be.
MaximumSam: You can’t have less faith in a coach than I have in Mike Locksley. Still, it’s early in the season against a crappy opponent, so they should be all right. The Taulia Heisman campaign starts in September and ends in October, so they should be all right. Maryland 42, Buffalo 21.
WSR: September Maryland rules apply. This one will get ugly.
RockyMtnBlue: What WSR said. Maryland 52, Buffalo 10
MNW: I like “Mostly Turtles” as a general vibe around here. Being reminded as I have that September Maryland is absolutely a thing, I am nonetheless resigned to stick with my prediction and suggest that the Bulls—RIP UB Bull Run—keep this interesting. While it’s a run-first offense that’s rebuilding around a new QB, their defense could test Taulia & Co. Maryland, 38-17.
This poll is closed
Turtles win but don’t roll because that’s bad for turtles
Bulls step on turtles
11:00am | ACCN | BC -7.5 | 48
Straight-Up: Owls 9-7
Against the Spread: Knights 11-5
BoilerUp89: I will not watch this game. If it wasn’t on ACCN maybe I’d consider it as it should theoretically be close, but I’m not purchasing ACCN just to watch this game. Knights to win and just barely cover the spread.
Beez: Oh god. Please tell me BC finally has an offense this year.
Buffkomodo: BC wins, ‘Gers cover. Next.
Kind of...: So this is one of those master/protégé matchups, huh? I think the protégé has the better QB. Mind you, I have no idea who that is. It just feels like a good guess. 24-13 Eagles.
Thumpasaurus: BC was better than The ‘Gers last year and doesn’t lose anywhere near enough production to be worse than them this year.
MaximumSam: I remember some girl talking about how she went to Boston College because her parents wanted her to go to a good school. That blew my mind, as I thought Boston College was like a knock off Florida State. Live and learn. BC 21, Rutgers 17.
WSR: Why am I the only one who has faith in Rutgers? This feels so weird.
RockyMtnBlue: I want to believe, Rutgers. I WANT TO BELIEVE. Rutgers 19, Boston College 17.
MNW: I honestly must have blacked out when I picked this game. RUTGERS?! To win on the road?! Against a P5 school!?
Let us remember, as well, that this is the first of TWO Rutgers non-conference road games. Kirk Ferentz hasn’t left the state of Iowa since the Obama Administration. Good for you, Schiano et al. You deserve the win, least of all because I can’t believe BC just kinda hired some rando Ohio State assistant. Rutgers, 22-19.
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11:00am | ABC | Michigan -27.5 | 58.5
Straight-Up: All good guys
Against the Spread: Good guys 11-5
BoilerUp89: CSU has a new coach and he’s rather good at his job. But in game 1 of his tenure the Rams aren’t likely to pull the upset or even keep this one close.
Beez: Michigan should win. Analysis.
Buffkomodo: Michigan wins. Jimmy’s Cain and Abel approach to quarterbacking gets weird when they don’t pull the starter and he gets hurt, causing Colorado State to cover and Michigan to get stuck with QB2 by default.
Kind of...: You don’t do the QB thing this way unless you’re really hoping the backup seizes the reins, right? Does that mean Michigan calls a conservative game this week? Am I mis-reading Wolverine scripture? Don’t ask me if I covet either QB. I cheer for Wisconsin. Of course I do. Michigan will sputter early, but turn it on to the tune of 45-14. Good luck to Jay Norvell, though.
Thumpasaurus: Colorado State is a trainwreck. Jay Norvell might make it fun some day. This is not that day.
MaximumSam: Is Michigan a legit big boy program? We shall see, but they are unquestionably a September Big Boy Program. Michigan 42, CSU 10.
RockyMtnBlue: Colorado puts 9 in the box. Michigan runs into it for three quarters anyway. Michigan 31, Colorado State 24.
MNW: Jay Norvell is taking over a program built to be DUDES and turning it into one that’s fun and up-tempo and will be good.
Just in 2-3 years. Michigan, 48-7.
Does Michigan cover?
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No, AND they lose!
2:30pm | BTN | No Line
Straight-Up: jNebby 14-2
Against the Spread: No line.
[RMB: There’s STILL NO LINE, Thump.]
[MNW: Line I found was around UNL -21.5 or something like that. Which, uh.]
BoilerUp89: Hey, children of the corn. I picked you to win this one in the Survivor pool. Don’t disappoint me now.
Beez: No, this isn’t North Dakota State, which would absolutely be favored. It’s North Dakota, who I’m also picking.
Buffkomodo: Whatever this line is, take the over. If they don’t cover, don’t expect Scooty Frooster to cover his ass too much longer.
Kind of...: Good chance for Casey Thompson (and the lines) to build some confidence. Let’s go with 45-14 again.
Thumpasaurus: Squint hard enough at the interlocking ND logo and you might just feel good again, Husker fans. I once convinced myself that Western Illinois was LSU in a similar situation.
MaximumSam: I just want Scott Frost to have a fabulous day and feel good and hug his family. Just one. Nebraska 48, North Dakota 10.
WSR: WHAT DID I TELL IOWA ABOUT SCHEDULING A SCHOOL FROM THE DAKOTAS? AND YOU’RE NOT EVEN SHITTY IOWA BECAUSE YOU SCHLUBS HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO PLAY DEFENSE.
I should have faith in Nebraska to win this one because they have superior talent to the worst Dakota FCS school, but I’m kinda guessing that the players call it a day because the NIL checks have cleared and they’ll be playing for an interim coach by Halloween. Go out there and have some fun and get those 10,000 steps boys. Just don’t get hurt.
RockyMtnBlue: Last week was pretty entertaining. This won’t be entertaining. AND it’s the only afternoon Big10 game on Saturday. WTF? jNebby 45, North Dakota 13
MNW: Yeah, thankfully there will be some more entertaining football on in the 2:30pm window, because there is no way in hell I”m watching this unless someone tells me in the third quarter than Nebraska’s only up 7 or Scott Frost literally shit himself on the sideline or something.
God, I hope I have a reason to tune in. Nebraska, 52-7.
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6:00pm | FS1 | No Line
Straight-Up: All Wiscy
Against the Spread: No Line
[RMB: They’re just fucking with me now]
[MNW: looking like uw -33 or so.]
Beez: As usual, I will not be round to watch this. As usual, I’m not sad about it. Can’t wait for Wisconsin to get back to watchable non-con (he says, knowing several Bama blowouts are on the horizon)
Buffkomodo: On Wisconsin....that felt wrong.
Thumpasaurus: I don’t know how aggressive Wisconsin will be in the opener, but unfortunately this pick is based on the fact that Illinois State has really fallen off a cliff under the watchful stache of Brock Spack.
Kind of...: Badgers are breaking in an almost entirely new secondary and replacing a tremendous ILB duo. Illinois State won’t light them up, but there may not be as many 3-and-outs as you’d otherwise expect. UW won’t breathe hard, but they won’t cover, either. 38-10.
MaximumSam: We are officially on the Graham Mertz Pick Watch. This week, few picks. Wisconsin 45, Illinois State 12.
RockyMtnBlue: We’ve all seen this story before. Wiscy schedules tomato can and recruits giant people to step on it. Wisconsin 42, Illinois State 6
MNW: You’re all kind of dead, Redbirds. Sorry. Long live the Spackstache. badgers, 38-0.
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badgers by lots
badgers by littles
little red birds
6:30pm | ABC | OSU -17!! | O/U 58
Straight-Up: People from that really horrible place 12-4
Against the Spread: People from that other really horrible place 11-5
BoilerUp89: As a Catholic Ohioan, I hate these two programs more than any other. I shall be watching the skies for the meteor.
Beez: Oooooo an actual good-on-paper game! Question is if this is actual good ND or just early season overrated ND. The line tells me it’s early season overrated, and without OSU having to break in an entirely new offense, I don’t see how ND even keeps this one close. OSU by 30
Buffkomodo: Good on paper game Beez? Look at that line! Holy shit. How can you give a team with a mediocre defense that much runway? Is Notre Dame a fraud? I’ll split this on principle, but good lord....17 against the number 5 team in the nation? Wow.
Kind of...: Who knows? The players demanded Marcus Freeman get the job. But, as foul as human being as he is, Brian Kelly is a good coach. Still, feels like maybe OSU takes a half to find their gear. 35-20 Buckeyes.
Thumpasaurus: Damn, 17 points is a bit much don’t you think? Marcus Freeman was left plenty of talent to work with, and I’ve been impressed with his coaching chops for years (he appeared on the last several editions of the Coaching Search Power Rankings I did back in 2019 when he was still with Cincinnati). Notre Dame wins and Ohio State goes on to win it all.
MaximumSam: I’ve been beating this drum all offseason. Notre Dame is pretty similar to Oregon last year. They are limited on offense, but they have a running game, and the defense is more than capable of janking up some things for the Buckeyes. Can the Buckeyes turn from garbage defense in the Rose Bowl to championship defense in the space of one offseason? I’m pretty skeptical. Notre Dame 30, OSU 28.
RockyMtnBlue: MaximumSam is attempting to channel his inner RMB. Said attempt is adorable. If this game were in South Bend I could see Notre Dame maybe putting up a fight. It’s not. OSU 49, Notre Dame 17
MNW: I’ve literally not thought about this matchup once, and I”m not about to start now. Ohio State, 41-30.
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Too Cowardly to Play This Week
Buffkomodo: They performed a service for this conference and website last week. They deserve this.
MaximumSam: Jim O’Neil is happy they let him back into America.
MNW: Fuck, I knew we forgot to burn a passport.