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Big Ten Football Week 4 Schedule, Picks, Previews, and Predictions

Like a broken-down furnace, the Big Ten West will try to keep you warm through the weekend.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Every week RMB reserves this space for me in case I want to say something witty. Some mornings I have thoughts, but it’s a Thursday where not only do I have to get DWT;WT ready for a 1pm drop, but we had a guy out to look at our furnace at 7:30am and now we’re getting an entirely new one installed.

And a colicky 4-week-old.

And my dad over, because I teach soon and need to leave and don’t want to leave my wife and home.

But now, as I look out my window, there are three trucks from the furnace guy parking me in, there’s an old furnace on a dolly at the end of my driveway, and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to leave.

Fuck it, let’s get this over with.

The Picks

(all times CT)

Thursday, Sept 22

Chattanooga Mocs @ Illinois Fighting Illini

7:30pm | BTN | No Line

Straight-Up: Illinois 15-0
Against the Spread: No Line

misdreavus79: I don’t assume Chattanooga is one of the good FCS squads, so Illinois should have little trouble with this one. Illinois 38, Chattanooga 10

WSR: I took Illinois, but this one worries me a bit. Chattanooga’s ranked #9 in FCS and has a top 10 defense and top 20 offense. Beating UVA made me feel a bit better, but I’m not sure if it should. It’s entirely possible that the state of Illinois goes 0-fer in 1-AA games and that’s just depressing.

Thumpasaurus: I want it on record that I am very concerned about this game. Illinois cannot afford to make the kind of mistakes they’ve made in their last two games. The key to this game will be the interior O line play and the pass rush. The Mocs are not a terribly productive rushing team, and while they try to strike a balance, they’re just much better at throwing. If Illinois can make Preston Hutchinson uncomfortable, chase him from the pocket and prevent him from scrambling for first downs, they can play a field position game.

The Mocs defense is formidable enough that the Illini had best not get overly cute in the red zone again. Illinois could absolutely lose this game, but they are the better team and just need to play disciplined football. I expect to sweat this one out until the end.

Buffkomodo: Worry not. Illinois learns from it’s northern (or Northwestern) rival and beats the FCS team in style.

HWAHSQB: The Mocs are possibly the best team we’ve faced so far this year. I picked my Illini but I don’t feel good about it.

Kind of...: I can understand some Illini fan nervousness, but Bert doesn’t usually play with his food, and, if Illinois is moving up, program wise, this is one you win convincingly. Illini: 30-13.

MaximumSam: Losing a game with no line would be funny and on-brand for the B1G West. But I have faith in Bert. Illinois 38, Chattanooga 12

RockyMtnBlue: The loveable can-lose-to-anyone Illinois is no more. Dammit, Bert. What’s the fun in this? Illinois 35, Chattanooga 6

MNW: Was Preston Hutchinson a former quarterback at Eastern Michigan? Because that’s exactly the kind of QB the Illini should struggle with. Illinois, 38-15.

Poll

Pick the winner in this sure-to-be scintillating college football game.

  • 100%
    Illinois
    (195 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now

Saturday, Sept 24

Central Michigan Chippewas @ (14) Penn State Nittany Lions

11:00am | BTN | Penn State -26.5 | O/U 60

Straight-Up: Penn State 15-0
Against the Spread: Penn State 10-5

misdreavus79: I am not allowed to bet more than 200 dollars on Penn State covering. Sad. Penn State 49, Central Michigan 17

WSR: Yeah, this should be a nice little cardio day for PSU. Get your steps in and establish good form, kids.

Thumpasaurus: The Lew Canoe is taking on water. Central is almost done getting beaten up by ranked teams and will try and regroup. Lew Nichols does not have breakaway speed relative to Penn State’s athleticism.

Buffkomodo: Penn State wins big….but not as much as they beat Auburn by. That’s so weird conceptually.

Kind of...This screams trap game. Except that next week they’re at home against NW so, um...PSU 45-14

MaximumSam: Penn State deserves a breather after punching Auburn in the dong. CMU isn’t good, though they have showed just enough punch on offense to get within the spread in the fourth quarter. And who could doubt Jim McElwain? Penn State 40, CMU 17.

RockyMtnBlue: For the first time in recent memory, Penn State has a balance on offense. When you combine that with the typical PSU defense and athletes you get “Skullfuck an SEC team in their building.” This game will be as bloody as Penn State wants it to be. Penn State 49, Central Michigan 13

MNW: Penn State’s awake, they’re looking to prove a point, and most importantly should run it up so Chips QB Daniel Richardson—who lost one of his best receivers—has to throw a lot and gets a few garbage-time touchdowns for my fantasy team. Penn State 52, CMU 21.

Poll

This is a game that exists

  • 78%
    Nits by lots
    (225 votes)
  • 14%
    Nits by a bits
    (43 votes)
  • 6%
    CHIPPEWAS!
    (20 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins @ (4) Michigan Wolverines

11:00am | FOX | Michigan -17.5 | O/U 61.5

Straight-Up: Michigan 14-1
Against the Spread: Michigan 11-4

mmmmm

misdreavus79: Well, reality is going to hit hard for one of these teams, and it would be reasonable to assume it’s Maryland. That said, who knows how good Michigan actually is given who they’ve played so far. Michigan will win, but I don’t know that it’s going to be the blowout we’re accustomed to seeing when these two teams play. Michigan 34, Maryland 24

Buffkomodo: I don’t know if I love this matchup for Michigan given the explosive firepower the turtles have. That said, Michigan is Michigan and Maryland is Maryland and until that changes, I’ll take Michigan to win.

Thumpasaurus: I mean...you’ve all seen this movie, right? The best unit is the Michigan offense, the worst unit is the Maryland defense. Maryland might fool you with a scripted drive or two, but in short order they’ll quit scoring. Michigan won’t.

HWAHSQB: It’s still September, so Maryland straight up.

Kind of...: Michigan hasn’t played anybody, and SMU is nothing to laugh at. That said, in a 60 minute game, I’m guessing the Wolverines figure out how to impose their will. Michigan 45-17.

MaximumSam: Maryland has looked a bit better than expected, only to get smashed by the first good team they play. What year is it? We know the script. Michigan 48, Maryland 10.

RockyMtnBlue: No college football program in the state of Maryland has any business having a WR corps like that. Michigan has the DBs to slow them down at least. The same cannot be said of Maryland’s DBs against Michigan’s WRs. Maryland keeps it close enough that I’m throwing things at the TV, but they don’t have enough to pull off the upset. Michigan 41, Maryland 27

MNW: What’s the thing we’re supposed to be concerned about? Michigan’s offensive line? Not against Maryland we’re not. Much like a fiddle in the band in Texas, you gotta have a run D in the B1G.

Thump, let’s start working on a cover of that for next week’s podcast. Michigan, 45-10.

Poll

M’s. And more M’s. Anyone else hungry?

  • 44%
    Sexy Yellow M by many
    (154 votes)
  • 27%
    Sexy Yellow M by few
    (93 votes)
  • 27%
    You fool! Never bet against the ugly red M in September.
    (96 votes)
343 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Michigan State Spartans

2:30pm | BTN | Minnesota -1 | O/U 51.5

Straight-Up: Minnesota 8-7
Against the Spread: Minnesota 8-7

Two weeks in a row no writer tried to middle a 1pt spread. I’m so proud of us.

misdreavus79: This game still has potential, but getting blown out at Washington took off some of the luster on the Michigan State side. Minnesota 31, Michigan State 27

WSR: Is this full-on homersota? Not really. MSU doesn’t appear to have an OL or a secondary, while we haven’t really seen a flaw from the Gophers.

Buffkomodo: Minnesota finally proves the B1G West upper ranks can hang with a middle tier Sparty team.

Thumpasaurus: Imagine trying to predict Michigan State against a Big Ten West team. It’s a fool’s errand.

HWAHSQB: I thought from the beginning of the season that both of these teams are frauds, but only MSU has proven me right (so far)

Kind of...: Minnesota has done everything right so far, but this is a step up in competition, it’s on the road, and the Gophers just lost their best WR. Sparty wins 27-21.

MaximumSam: I didn’t get to watch Sparty last week. I’ve heard they were terrible, but the box score doesn’t look bad, other than Penix played really well for the Huskies. But I like Minnesota a lot, and think they can button down on defense and put the screws in. Minny 27, MSU 17.

RockyMtnBlue: I haven’t seen Minnesota play this year but Tucker is undefeated in front of a crowd in East Lansing. Minnesota will ‘look’ better, but Sparty will pull it out on some bullshit and RMB will spend the week posting “you had one goddamn job, Minnesota!” Michigan State 27, Minnesota 24

MNW: wait wait wait wait wait WSR

“we haven’t seen a flaw from the gophers”

i don’t give a single shit who northwestern has lost to

fuck outta here with that shit

the gophers have played nmsu, western illinois, and a colorado team that could go 0-12

no one knows if you have a fucking flaw yet, you putz

gophers, 27-23.

Poll

Best game of the week

  • 19%
    Sparty because I am a fan of a West Division team and Minnesota can get bent.
    (76 votes)
  • 45%
    Goldy because I am a fan of an East Division team and Michigan State can get bent.
    (175 votes)
  • 34%
    I don’t know who wins, but both of those teams can get bent.
    (135 votes)
386 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers @ Cincinnati Bearcats

2:30pm | ESPN2 | Cincinnati -15.5 | O/U 54

Straight-Up: Cincinnati 15-0
Against the Spread: Indiana 10-5

misdreavus79: Another game where I don’t think it’s going to be as wide as the line indicates. Cincinnati 28, Indiana 20

WSR: I don’t understand the concept of scheduling this game. But I also don’t understand undefeated Indiana. That’s why I’m happy both of these things will be in the past next Sunday.

Thumpasaurus: The check is going to come due for Indiana at some point, but honestly? If I’m them, all I’m doing on offense is letting Bazelak sling it deep. We know there’s a low ceiling on the running game. The only chance they really have to hang in this one is to make a bunch of spectacular half-bullshit-level plays in the passing game.

Don’t burn out the rest of your luck here...if you even have any left.

Buffkomodo: Read my article…but spoiler alert….Indiana ain’t winning or covering.

Kind of...: Fine, Buffkomodo, I’m switching to Cincy covering. Cincinnati, 31-14.

MaximumSam: This just has that feel that Cincinnati will dominate in every facet and win by one score. Cincinnati 21, Indiana 13.

RockyMtnBlue: Indiana has been spunky and the cats have clearly taken a step back. Not a big enough step for Indiana. Cincinnati 24, Indiana 17

MNW: WHAT IS THAT CINCINNATI LOGO?!?!?!?

I love learning new things.

Anywho, this is a perfect two-score kind of line for a two-score kind of disparity. Bearcats, 28-14.

Poll

Golly gee, I never would have guessed we’ve have a game between two red teams!

  • 34%
    Fighting Fickles bigly
    (95 votes)
  • 42%
    Indiana keeps it close, but there’s no joy in Bloomington
    (115 votes)
  • 22%
    Indiana looks terrible, loses every possible stat, and somehow stays undefeated because every team needs an identity and by damn they found theirs.
    (62 votes)
272 votes total Vote Now

Iowa Hawkeyes @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights

6:00pm | FS1 | Iowa -7.5 | O/U 35.5

Straight-Up: Iowa 10-5
Against the Spread: Rutgers 12-3

misdreavus79: First to 3 wins! Iowa 10, Rutgers 8, 7OT

WSR: Nope.

Townie: I feel dirty even picking this game. /dry heaves noisily

Thumpasaurus: The team that has no idea who to play at quarterback on any given snap...versus the team that will never change their quarterback no matter what happens. GIMME THE ‘GERS BABY

Buffkomodo: Schiano is more creative than Ferentz. (I think I butchered both spellings but that’s the quality you get with a game like this) Therefore I pick Rutgers.

HWAHSQB: EWWW!

Kind of...: Okay, the Iowa jokes make themselves, but that defense travels. And, really, struggling to put away Temple IS probably worse that struggling with South Dakota State. Iowa, 17-3.

MaximumSam: Has there ever been a game where the teams combine for negative yardage? Can the special teams outscore the offenses? Iowa 1, Rutgers 0.

misdreavus79: Silly Maximum, you need a touchdown in order for a team to score a single point!

RockyMtnBlue: I kinda want to watch this travesty out of morbid curiosity. This game could make the 10-3 rock fight Iowa and Michigan played a couple years back look like a big12 barn burner. I’m taking Iowa to cover, but my actual money will be on the Under. Iowa 8, Rutgers 0.

MNW: Iowa is horrific and a war crime and everything else imaginable.

Rutgers is Rutgers and if you have three quarterbacks you’re probably just making shit up as you go along.

Kirk Ferentz is programmed to stomp all the joy out of “making shit up as you go along.” Iowa, 20-7.

Poll

Resistible Force meets Moveable Object

  • 16%
    Hawkeyes cover and we all feel bad.
    (63 votes)
  • 16%
    Hawkeyes squeak it out and we all feel bad
    (63 votes)
  • 27%
    Knights pull this out and everyone outside of New Jersey feels bad.
    (109 votes)
  • 40%
    Well at least it’s in Piscataway, so we didn’t make sick kids watch this game.
    (157 votes)
392 votes total Vote Now

Wisconsin Badgers @ (3) Ohio State Buckeyes

6:30pm | ABC | Ohio State -18.5 | O/U 56

Straight-Up: Evil Empire 15-0
Against the Spread: Evil Empire 11-4

Look ma. More red.

misdreavus79: This will play out the same way it always does when Wisconsin plays Ohio State: Close for a half, then the Buckeyes pour it on in the second to make the score look worse than it was. Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 21

WSR: tOSU will be able to do pretty much anything it wants on offense, and we’re about to see the badger secondary really get exposed for how shitty it is. On the other side of the ball, Graham Mertz will be forced to make plays and that will lead to more Buckeye points. I’m sure Braelon Allen will have one run of over 15 yards and the announcers will scream about how good he is, in spite of the fact that his team is losing by 3 TDs and that run will probably double his total output on the day.

Buffkomodo: Prediction: Bad day to be a Badger. Brutus walks out with some pelts.

Thumpasaurus: When Ryan Day starts losing this kind of game to this kind of team, it’s over for him.

Kind of...: Let’s just get this over with. OSU 35-17

MaximumSam: I think this could be a pretty fun game. Wiscy fans are banging their defense, but they have looked pretty strong so far. They gave up 253 yards to Wazzu, so can’t pin that on them. The Buckeye defense has been much improved, but also has played a bunch of clubbed seal offenses. Unclear if Wisconsin is also a clubbed seal. If Wisconsin can jank up the game, they have a shot, but they also have to keep Mertz upright, and the Buckeyes actually try to get to the quarterback this year. OSU 28, Wisconsin 17

RockyMtnBlue: OSU is a giant 18.5pt favorite over what might be the best team in the West, and the ‘writers’ are 11-4 in favor of a cover. I’m just sayin’. Ohio State 48, Wisconsin 13

MNW: I have no idea about this game. I assume Ohio State is pretty good at football. I also assume wisconsin is going to commit the usual war crimes, take the air out of the ball, and gun for the cover.

I don’t think they’re successful, because that secondary...uh... Buckeyes, 38-14.

Poll

A potential preview of the conference title game

  • 58%
    OSU gets confused, thinks it’s the conference title game, and oh my God the carnage
    (192 votes)
  • 25%
    OSU lets Wiscy keep it close to give Michigan false hope
    (84 votes)
  • 16%
    Wisconsin wins in Columbus! (Seriously. Don’t pick this one)
    (54 votes)
330 votes total Vote Now

Miami RedHawks @ Northwestern Wildcats

6:30pm | BTN | Northwestern -6.5 | O/U 50

Straight-Up: Miami(OH) 10-5
Against the Spread: Miami(OH) 14-1

Yup. 2⁄3 of writers picked NW to lose at home to a 6.5pt dog from the G5.

misdreavus79: If Northwestern loses this game, Wildcats fans can comfortably book their tickets to Indy. Northwestern 31, Miami (OH) 28

WSR: 50. They really put the o/u on a Northwestern game at 50.

MNW: Last week the total on the Northwestern game was 55, so I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about.

Thumpasaurus: Nern is lucky Brett Gabbert got hurt against Kentucky. They ought to thank their fellow Wildcats for giving them a fighting chance in this one. What month is it again?

Townie: If Dook can do it, so can the faux-Ivy Redhawks

Buffkomodo: The dreaded Miami Hydroxide gave both Kentucky and Cincinnati hard times. Even on a backup QB, take the gaseous team. MOH all the way.

Kind of...: Northwestern 27-17.

MaximumSam: Miami was a college before Florida was a state, and Jim O’neil still coaches at Northwestern. Miami 31, Northwestern 30.

RockyMtnBlue: Ryan Hilinski can’t possibly be as bad this week as he was last week right? Wait, he plays QB for Northwestern in the non-con? Never mind. Carry on. Miami(ntm) 27, Northwestern 24

MNW: Thump makes a good point, but the problem? Miami’s backup quarterback can run.

And have you seen Northwestern’s linebackers? Imagine Pat Fitzgerald, but no neck roll and fast quarterbacks instead of Jimmy O’Toole, the Penn State quarterback who could hand it off or take 5 steps backward and throw to a lumbering tight end.

This front seven cannot contain anyone. This secondary spends more time looking for flags and playing 8 yards off than actually covering anyone. This coaching staff is confused by the “exotic” scheme SIU offered—line up in an illegal formation and motion into a legal one.

This could be a disaster. Miami Hydroxide, 31-27.

Poll

A game that will be watched by even fewer than Iowa/Rutgers

  • 8%
    Northwestern covers because Evan Hull is THE MAN!
    (23 votes)
  • 27%
    Northwestern wins close because Evan Hull is THE MAN! (but against that NW defense a backup QB from a middling MAC team is also THE MAN!)
    (71 votes)
  • 63%
    It’s Northwestern in the non-con. OF COURSE they’re losing to a MAC team.
    (167 votes)
261 votes total Vote Now

Florida Atlantic Owls @ Purdue Boilermakers

6:30pm | BTN | Purdue -20 | O/U 60.5

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

misdreavus79: One would assume Purdue will win this one, yes? Purdue 44, Florida Atlantic 34

WSR: Yeah, I don’t think Purdue should screw this one up.

Townie: I have my M.S. from FAU...back before it had a football team. We called it “Find Another University”. Go mighty burrowing owls!

Buffkomodo: Purdue.

Kind of...: Purdue will win, but FAU is (somewhat) feisty. 38-24, Boilers.

MaximumSam: Kind of feels like Purdue should be undefeated, and instead they need a win to get back to .500. Boilers go ham this week to set up everyone for their mindblowing loss. Purdue 45, FAU 20.

RockyMtnBlue: Last week Purdue managed to shoot themselves in the the foot, the other foot, the knee, the genitals, and the second joint on the pinky finger. On their gun hand. On the plus side I count six, so I’m a punk who’s feeling lucky. Purdue 38, FAU 14

MNW: That, RMB, is...evocative.

N’Kosi Perry is a fun quarterback and should make Purdue pay at least once or twice, but FAU on the whole isn’t going to have the horses to run with Purdue. Trains made the Pony Express obsolete, after all. No idea how Owls fit into this metaphor. Purdue, 38-21.

Poll

Isn’t the non-con over yet?

  • 62%
    Purdue wins big
    (151 votes)
  • 28%
    FAU keep it close
    (69 votes)
  • 9%
    Owls are fearsome predators. So fearsome they can take out steam locomotives!
    (23 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now

Too Cowardly to Play This Week

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Buffkomodo: YOU NEED A BYE WEEK TO PLAY INDIANA? HOW SOFT ARE YOU PEOPLE???

MaximumSam: Scott Frost sitting at home watching Nebraska turn into a complete crapfest must have been a bit cathartic. Now he gets to sit and watch things like Lance Leipold laughing at the idea of leaving Kansas for Nebraska. Scott Frost 18, Trev Alberts 13

misdreavus79: I’m sure the fat stacks of cash about to drop on Leipold’s doorstep will be enough to sway him from finishing the job at Kansas and starting all over at Nebraska.

Poll

As Lincoln Turns

  • 9%
    Scott Frost is a tool and something bad should happen to him
    (29 votes)
  • 5%
    Trev Alberts is a tool and something bad should happen to him
    (19 votes)
  • 84%
    I’m a fan of a team other than Nebraska, and I already miss Scott Frost.
    (269 votes)
317 votes total Vote Now

Even More Coverage

Those of you who figured out how to watch the games this weekend without a lot of help from Google won’t have seen our preview podcast yet!