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Big Ten Football Week 3 Schedule, Picks, Previews, and Predictions

Massacres incoming? Huskers’ last stand against Sooners, Purdue and Penn State on the road, and Minnesota plays a truly terrible P5 team.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Picks

(all times CT)

Saturday, Sept 17

(6) Oklahoma Sooners @ Nebraska Cornhuskers

11:00am | FOX | Oklahoma -11.5 | O/U 64

Straight-Up: Oklahoma 15-0
Against the Spread: Oklahoma 9-6

The first of many, many all red graphics. What are we even doing here, people?

misdreavus79: Something tells me that Nebraska is going to come out with their hair on fire “for the coach” and actually give Oklahoma a game, the way they did last year. I don’t expect them to win, but they’re definitely not going to get blown out. Oklahoma 35, Nebraska 28

MaximumSam: I’d like to think Nebraska will come out playing great, but...with what? They currently sit at 124th in the country in total defense. This team sucks at football in a way they didn’t usually under Frost. I’m not sure how good the Sooners are this year, but I could see this going the other way - the Frost magic of being good enough to lose is gone. Now they will just lose. Oklahoma 38, Nebraska 24

Buffkomodo: Expect a 1st half dying gasp by Nebraska before getting the ever loving shit knocked out of them in the 2nd half.

Thumpasaurus: They’re gonna make Scott Frost proud when they send off his spirit with a 3-point loss on a botched snap.

Kind of...: Agree with @MaximumSam. Frost isn’t the coach anymore; Nebraska is free to lose by more than a score. Venables knows what he’s doing, and the players are getting used to his approach. Boomer Sooner 31-14.

RockyMtnBlue: I think BK has the right of it here. jNebby somehow keeps it close through the first half, despite having a junior high school defense. The OK Boomer Sooners get their shit together after that. Oklahoma 45, Nebraska 24

MNW: Dead cat bounce game if ever I saw one. Nebraska has the playmakers and the offense to keep this one dumb for a while. Let’s say a late breakdown costs them a close game, but not the cover. Oklahoma, 45-34.


You tell me.

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Okie big
    (167 votes)
  • 29%
    Okie less-than-big
    (80 votes)
  • 7%
    (21 votes)
268 votes total Vote Now

Southern Illinois Salukis @ Northwestern Wildcats

11:00am | BTN | Northwestern -14 | O/U nope

Straight-Up: Northwestern 15-0
Against the Spread: Northwestern 10-5

misdreavus79: Well the Northwestern offense isn’t the problem anymore, so they should cover easily against a team that, in theory, shouldn’t pose a threat. But it wouldn’t be even year Northwestern if they didn’t lose all their non-conference games only to go out and win the division. So there’s that. Northwestern 44, Southern Illinois 13

Buffkomodo: Seems a small line for the Salukis. I’ll take my chances with the Wildcats.

Thumpasaurus: Okay, come on. 14? Southern Illinois is better than their 0-2 record in a tough conference, but they’re certainly nothing like the 2016 Illinois State squad that upset the Cats before advancing to the national finals. They’re certainly not of the same caliber as FCS #2 South Dakota State...or the #10 team, Chattanooga, who I bring up for no particular reason.................................Anyway, Nern should be able to get this done easily.

MaximumSam: Northwestern gets their layup game. What could go wrong in the B1G West? Northwestern 35, SIU 12

Kind of...: We all seem to be leaning in the same run away fast. (Wild)Cats 31, Dogs (Salukis) 10.

RockyMtnBlue: I watched the entire Northwestern/Duke game last week. I don’t know how watching a nerd bowl makes you dumber, but that game certainly did. Nonetheless, if your mascot is a thing I’ve never heard of, I’m not going to pick you to cover. Northwestern 38, Southern Illinois 17

MNW: Why did I take Northwestern to cover here?

First, shout-out to Carbondale, a city where I spent 2 weeks a few years back. Paul Simon Papers were neat, Molly’s Pint over in Murphysboro was cool, Makanda has the water tower, I dig the vibe.

Hilinski is good enough that Northwestern can pass their way through this if they need...but it’s a good week to have Evan Hull on your fantasy team, because these are the games that make him a 1,000-yard rusher. ‘Cats, 35-14.


a real directional illinois treat

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    northwest -14
    (135 votes)
  • 19%
    south +14
    (36 votes)
  • 6%
    south straight-up
    (12 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now

Purdue Boilermakers @ Syracuse Orange

11:00am | ESPN2 | Purdue -1 | O/U 58.5

Straight-Up: Purdue 11-4
Against the Spread: no middles

It’s a minor miracle none of our ‘writers’ tried to middle a 1 point spread.

misdreavus79: Take the over. Purdue 45, Syracuse 42

BoilerUp89: I know nothing about Syracuse this season. It's a noncon road game though which have historically gone poorly for the Boilers. This could go either way.

Buffkomodo: Boilers stick it to the ‘Cuse in a game that’d be more fun on the hardwood.

Thumpasaurus: Dino Babers didn’t just forget how to coach football. He had a rough patch where he failed to replace Eric Dungey’s role in the offense and the Orange floundered for a bit, but everyone who wrote them off completely really overreacted to the 1-10 campaign in 2020. Y’all remember that 2020 was weird, right?

Outside of that it’s been a 5-7 campaign in 2019 and another last year. The offense found an identity midway through last year when Tommy DeVito was replaced with the more durable Garret Schrader. DeVito’s departure has worked best for everyone, since Schrader is more of a running threat with a running back/option quarterback mentality for taking contact and DeVito was sick of getting smashed whenever he dropped back. The defense is where Syracuse continued to struggle even as their offense finally looked as coherent as any time since 2018.

However, in their debut, they completely locked up Louisville’s dangerous quarterback Malik Cunningham. Louisville’s offense shouldn’t have fallen off a cliff, so I think a lot of credit is due to the Syracuse defense. Either way, Cuse should be able to control the clock with their option-based offense. Purdue will need to stop the run to put the Orange away, since you know they won’t run the ball even if they can. I think Syracuse can actually win this one.

MaximumSam: I’m shellshocked by the Penn State game. Sure, we all know Purdue struggles to run the ball, but watching them piss away a win because they are incapable of even trying to run the ball puts an imprint on the ol’ brain. I’m skittish against any legitimate team, and Syracuse has been legitimate. Syracuse 31, Purdue 28

Kind of...: Man, that’s a lot of words on Syracuse, Thump! But they all seem to add up to saying that the ‘Cuse’s baseline is a tad below Purdue’s. Boilers win the jump ball, 38-34

RockyMtnBlue: Thump pays WAY more attention to things like Syracuse Football than I do. I think Penn State is a top 10ish team, and Purdue gave them all they wanted. Purdue 35, Syracuse 27

MNW: Wait, did I really? That has to have been a mista—oh, no, Syracuse ran away from Louisville and looks vaguely competent. Orange, 38-35.



This poll is closed

  • 69%
    (160 votes)
  • 30%
    (69 votes)
229 votes total Vote Now

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers @ Indiana Hoosiers

11:00am | BTN | Indiana -6.5 | O/U 60

Straight-Up: Indiana 11-4
Against the Spread: Indiana 8-7

misdreavus79: Indiana did not look good last week for certain stretches, but, as far as I’m aware, there are no thunderstorms slated to drop on Saturday, so they should be good to go. Western Kentucky also decided to stay in their conference instead of jumping ship, so their “group of 5 mojo” is probably still in the mail. Indiana 27, Western Kentucky 20

BoilerUp89: WKU isn't good. Neither is Indiana but this shouldn't be too much of a struggle for the Hoosiers.

MaximumSam: I’m still uncertain as to what the Hoosiers are this year. I was impressed by their win against Illinois (not a sentence I imagined typing this year). But they looked rough last week, and WKU can score if you aren’t on the ball defensively. Indiana 34, WKU 24

Buffkomodo: Read my article.

Thumpasaurus: This is not last year’s Western Kentucky. Bailey Zappe and his top two targets are gone, and a stout IU secondary should have a much easier time with their replacements.

Kind of...: A worse Indiana team beat a better WKU team by 2 last year. Such linear thinking will often get you in trouble in Wagering World, but I’ll still ride the Hoosiers, 28-19.

RockyMtnBlue: Shut up, Buffkomodo. You’re not the boss of me! Indiana 31, WKU 20

MNW: I dunno, WKU isn’t great. Let’s say a late IU touchdown. Hoosiers, 38-31.


IU by...

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    ...more than a touchdown
    (89 votes)
  • 27%
    ...less than a touchdown
    (54 votes)
  • 26%
    (52 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now

Connecticut Huskies @ (4) Michigan Wolverines

11:00am | ABC | Michigan -46.5 | O/U 58

Straight-Up: Michigan 15-0
Against the Spread: Michigan 11-4

misdreavus79: We know Michigan will win by 40 million, but UConn is actually better this year; better than Hawai’i, at least. Michigan 45, UConn 17

MaximumSam: I’m honestly impressed at how bad Michigan’s nonconference schedule is. Where do they dig up these teams? Michigan 50, UConn 3

Thumpasaurus: Two former NFC West coaches in this game!

Kind of...: Will almost always take this many points, but Harbz has reason to want to dominate and put the QB controversy to rest. 55-3, Michigan.

RockyMtnBlue: UConn isn’t good, but at least they’re trying to do interesting things. CSU and Hawai’i have high school offenses. UConn has a college offense run by high school players. Michigan’s down a couple linemen and a linebacker (their thinnest position). I’m assuming those guys are still out. Take UConn to cover. Michigan 52, UConn 10

MNW: Nah. Michigan, 55-0.



This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Big Blue
    (123 votes)
  • 15%
    The other blue
    (31 votes)
  • 22%
    Can’t you two share?
    (44 votes)
198 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Temple Owls

1:00pm | ESPN+ | Rutgers -17.5 | O/U 44

Straight-Up: Rutgers 15-0
Against the Spread: Temple 8-7

misdreavus79: Why is Rutgers playing two non-conference road games again? Did they forget they’re a Big Ten team now? Rutgers 31, Temple 10

MaximumSam: Temple is garbage, but I just can’t press the button on Rutgers as a three score favorite on the road. Rutgers-focused PTSD is the clinical term I believe. Rutgers 28, Temple 13

Thumpasaurus: Temple has completely fallen apart. Rutger should cover here. 21-0, perhaps?

Kind of...: Thump’s right: Temple is dogshit. Rutgers wants to hit conference play on a roll, and will: 33-10.

RockyMtnBlue: Rutgers has been picked to win 30-1 by the OTE writers the last two weeks. Repent. The end is nigh! Rutgers 27, Temple 13

MNW: Temple’s completely rebuilding and doesn’t really seem into their football program at this point, but Rutgers has also decided on quarterback-by-committee, which, I mean... Rutgers, 24-7.



This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Knights aren’t really red, you clowns.
    (85 votes)
  • 10%
    Owls aren’t really red, you clowns.
    (21 votes)
  • 48%
    Let’s compromise. You’re all clowns.
    (98 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now

(22) Penn State Nittany Lions @ Auburn Tigers

2:30pm | CBS | Penn State -3 | O/U 49

Straight-Up: Penn State 10-5
Against the Spread: Penn State 9-6

misdreavus79: Penn State will go to their second road game in the first three full weeks of the season. No problem! The silver lining is that they’d have played two of their five road games in the month of September. Auburn has struggled with lesser competition, but it’s still a road game in an SEC environment against a team motivated to get revenge for last season. So. Penn State 21, Auburn 17

Thumpasaurus: Auburn is getting undue levels of respect here. Last year they mostly found ways to stay in games against every opponent they played. They finished 3-5 in conference play, good for last in their division. The team they tied for last fired their head coach. Auburn should absolutely be worse this year. It’s a sinking ship. Penn State should win this game.

MaximumSam: I’m not convinced Auburn can run or throw. On a neutral field I’d probably take Penn State. But I’m also a B1G fan and have seen so much of Sean Clifford at this point that if I’m staking my name on something, it’s probably him throwing three picks as opposed to anything else. Auburn 17, PSU 14

Kind of...: Do I realize how maligned Bryan Harsin is? Reader, I do. Still taking Auburn, 28-23.

RockyMtnBlue: I don’t understand the Clifford hate. He struggles when he’s broken, and there’s a good chance he’ll be broken again by the end of the season. But he’s not right now. If Auburn played in the big12, ESPN would think they’re the 65th best team in the country. Penn State 27, Auburn 17

MNW: Whether or not Penn State can stop Tank Bigsby will tell me a lot about the Nittany Lions’ season. For now, I think Sean Clifford is just fine against a mediocre SEC opponent and the athletes of Penn State speeeeeed their way past the War Eagles. PSU, 28-17.


Which perennially overrated cats?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    the mountain ones
    (140 votes)
  • 28%
    the savannah ones
    (65 votes)
  • 10%
    I’m taking the middle because I don’t know how point spreads work.
    (25 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now

Colorado Buffalos @ Minnesota Golden Gophers

2:30pm | ESPN2 | Minnesota -27.5 | O/U 47.5

Straight-Up: Minnesota 15-0
Against the Spread: Minnesota 11-4

misdreavus79: The crimes against humanity in this one might make [redacted] [redacted]. Minnesota 55, Colorado 0

Thumpasaurus: This is yet another game where my picking the B1G team against the spread is more about how terrible I think the opponent is. Colorado has a legit claim to the title of Worst P5 Football Program with Kansas on the rise.

MaximumSam: Karl Dorrell is still a head coach. How about that. Minny 31, Colorado 12

Kind of...: Buffaloes are dogshit. Minnesota’s D is rolling. 38-7 Gophers.

RockyMtnBlue: I live less than 20 minutes from Folsom Field and I’m telling you: CU is not good at the footballing. Minnesota 38, Colorado 3

MNW: At least this year Minnesota won’t have lost to Bowling Green. Gophers, 38-7.


Is Minny really favored by almost 4 touchdowns against an honest-to-god P5 team not named Rutgers?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Majestic, Tasty Mammals
    (72 votes)
  • 51%
    (116 votes)
  • 16%
    only mostly rodents.
    (37 votes)
225 votes total Vote Now

New Mexico State Aggies @ Wisconsin Badgers

2:30pm | BTN | Wisconsin -37.5 | O/U 46.5

Straight-Up: Wisconsin 15-0
Against the Spread: Wisconsin 10-5

Thumpasaurus: What are we doing here?

misdreavus79: Wisconsin is quite good at beating bad teams. Not so good against good teams, or mediocre teams at that, but lucky for them, New Mexico State —who seems to want to become a Big Ten West team, is a bad one. Wisconsin 49, New Mexico State 10

MaximumSam: Yeesh. Wisconsin 38, NMSU, 7

Kind of...: Wisconsin gave away last week’s game, and will be looking to build confidence before heading to the abbatoir that is the Horseshoe. Badgers 45-0.

RockyMtnBlue: I don’t even know what to think. On the one hand, this is Wisconsin at home against a demonstrably bad football team. That usually means ‘bloodbath’. But Washington State? Seriously? Wisconsin 35, New Mexico State 3

MNW: Poor Jerreh. Can’t wait until next year, when Northwestern plays New Mexico State and Fitz doesn’t actually bother to put the Aggies away. badgers, 38-0.



This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Badgers with big, pointy teeth!
    (89 votes)
  • 5%
    Badgers get lassoed
    (10 votes)
  • 48%
    Literally no one is happy.
    (95 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now

Toledo Rockets @ (3) Ohio State Buckeyes

6:00pm | FOX | Ohio State -31 | O/U 60.5

Straight-Up: Ohio State 15-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State 11-4

misdreavus79: Hey look Ohio State can score again! Buckeyes [name your score], Toledo 21

BoilerUp89: Toledo is probably one of the better MACtion teams this year. I don't think that's enough to beat OSU, but they could stay within striking range longer than expected.

Thumpasaurus: I want to believe that the last halfway decent team in the MAC can hold on to the ball long enough to prevent this one from getting away.

MaximumSam: Toledo is a competent outfit, hitting 62 on SP+. That’s one spot ahead of Illinois and two behind Marshall. The Buckeyes looking to get healthy again at receiver, so it would be nice to see the offense operate at a higher level. I’m still calling this a Tressel team until proven otherwise. OSU 36, Toledo 13

Kind of...: Toledo is solid. OSU wants to be healthy for conference play. Expect a boring second half. 38-16 Buckeyes.

RockyMtnBlue: OSU has been down 2 of their top WRs, one of whom is the best WR in college football. Expect OSU to do to my safety school what they usually do to my heart. Ohio State 49, Toledo 14

MNW: 31 points is way too few. Ohio State, 45-10.


THE battle for Ohio

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    OSU big because of course.
    (119 votes)
  • 12%
    RMB plays "Rocket Man" on loop for a month
    (25 votes)
  • 25%
    Middles are boring.
    (50 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now

(11) Michigan State Spartans @ Washington Huskies

6:30pm | ABC | Michigan State -3.5 | O/U 58

Straight-Up: Michigan State 9-6
Against the Spread: Washington 11-4

[RMB: NOTE: I pulled this line on Monday. The line on Thursday night reversed to Washington -3.5. I don’t update the line the writers are picking against as the week goes on, because that’s high-effort and shows a commitment to quality. What the hell kind of blog would this be if we did that?]

misdreavus79: Washington was favored when this opened up, or at least I think they were, so seeing the line move this swiftly means either a bunch of people are going to get got or the sharps saw an opportunity for a payout. I genuinely don’t know what will happen in this game. So I’m the coward who picked Michigan State to win and Washington to cover. Spartans 17, Huskies 14

Thumpasaurus: On aggregate, Michael Penix has outscored Michigan State in the last three matchups.

MaximumSam: I am also puzzled at this game. What is Sparty? What is Husky? No one knows; we only guess. MSU 23, Washington 20

Kind of...: Yeah, I’m not seeing this line too many places. Doesn’t really matter to me too much though. I’m going with the fundamental truth that B1G teams don’t do well out West. And that Kalen DeBoer is a damn good coach. Huskies 33-27.

RockyMtnBlue: I was ready to bet a pile of money on Sparty -3.5. Imagine my delight when I was able to get a +130 moneyline instead! Michigan State 35, Washington 24

MNW: I guess this works. I was just hedging, anyway. Sparty, 24-21.


An actual game!

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Beautiful Dogs
    (83 votes)
  • 41%
    Horrible people trying to kill beautiful dogs with swords
    (88 votes)
  • 19%
    Meh. It’s about even.
    (42 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now

Nevada Wolf Pack @ Iowa Hawkeyes

6:30pm | BTN | Iowa -23 | O/U 40

Against the Spread:

misdreavus79: Someone in Vegas saw Iowa play the last two weeks and said “yeah, 23 points seems about right.” Yes, I’m aware Nevada is bad bad, but how exactly is Iowa supposed to score again? Iowa 7, Nevada 3 [yes, the seven is of the safety variety]

BoilerUp89: Nevada to pull off the upset win as Iowa fails to clear 200 yards of offense.

MaximumSam: The crimes against football shall continue. Iowa 8, Nevada 4

Thumpasaurus: To cover the spread, Iowa would have to nearly triple their total scoring on the year.


Kind of...: How bad is Nevada? Bad enough to lose to Incarnate Word by multiple scores. And honestly, wouldn’t it be even more infuriating to Iowa fans if the Hawkeyes look like a competent team this week? Hawkeyes roll 45-3.

RockyMtnBlue: I don’t understand. Is Vegas expecting Nevada to score negative 17 points? Iowa 9, Nevada 0

MNW: They’ll run the ball. They’ll be fine. No one cares. Iowa, 24-0.


If a horrible football game is played, but no one watches it, did it really happen?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    (33 votes)
  • 16%
    (38 votes)
  • 68%
    Mutual Destruction
    (156 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now

Southern Methodist Mustangs @ Maryland Terrapins

6:30pm | FS1 | Maryland -3.5 | 69.5

Straight-Up: Maryland 12-2
Against the Spread: Maryland 8-6

Dead Read chose not to partake in this one. Ask him about it in the comments!

misdreavus79: Take the over, part 2. Maryland 49, SMU 42

MaximumSam: The Pony Express rides into Maryland and maybe picks up a Lambo, but not a win. Maryland 45, SMU 38

Thumpasaurus: That carriage is still a carriage. It’s not yet time for it to revert to pumpkin form.

Kind of...: Forty years ago, this would’ve been Boomer Esiason vs. Eric Dickerson. And SMU would’ve been favored. Maryland 45-31

RockyMtnBlue: Does SMU get to play with Doak Walker and Don Meredith? Are they playing Maryland outside the month of September? No to all of these? Maryland 49, SMU 41

MNW: This one feels like a late field goal, and that’s why Maryland picked up the Eastern Michigan kicker. Terps, 38-35.


Parable time.

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Slow and steady turtle wins the race
    (96 votes)
  • 20%
    The parable is bullshit. Jackrabbit, er, Horse wins.
    (40 votes)
  • 29%
    It’s close, but obviously still high-scoring.
    (57 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now

Too Cowardly to Play This Week

Illinois Fighting Illini

MaximumSam: Bert has a well deserved cheeseburger before falling asleep under the buffet at the strip club. Chastity 38, Bert 31

MNW: How do you know which stripper Bert sees?

Buffkomodo: Look, Illinois is one touchdown call away from being undefeated. Let them rest.

Thumpasaurus: We need all the prep time we can get for a top-10 FCS opponent. Illinois has never lost an FCS buy game. I’ve been screaming for us to get rid of the practice of scheduling them specifically so we can preserve that record, but here we are taking on what could be the best FCS team we’ve ever faced in a couple weeks.

Kind of...: At present, the B1G has three wins over non-conference P5 caliber competition. OSU over ND, Rutgers over BC, and Illinois over Virginia. And none of those three teams have won yet. Congrats, Illini, on having the second best win of the year so far. Enjoy your bye.

RockyMtnBlue: I gleefully object to Kind of..’s assertion that Notre Dame is P5 caliber.