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Big Ten Football Week 8 Picks, Predictions, Previews

[mnw says things about stuff]

About Last Week

* Must have picked at least half the games to qualify


  • The top 4 (HWAHSQB, Kind of..., and your two authors) were a combined 22-2 against the spread this week. That’s doin’ work right there.
  • Thump moves into first place on the season with a .642 accuracy rate.
  • Thump is also all alone in straight-up results. He’s 58-8 this year, batting .879.

Points and Laughs:

  • Remember those four guys I lauded for going 22-2 ATS this week. Um, yeah. 12-12 straight up. The four of us were tied for last. Isn’t ATS supposed to be harder?
  • RUready goes a dismal 1-5 ATS this week, falling like a homesick rock out of the top spot in the standings.
  • Our esteemed editor, MNWildcat, proudly pointed out last week he was only 2 games behind Thump straight up. Well now he’s in a morass of mediocrity tied for 5th through 9th places.

The Picks

Saturday, October 21

(7) Penn State Nittany Lions @ (3) Ohio State Buckeyes

11:00am | FOX | Ohio State -4.5 | O/U 48

Straight-Up: Ohio State 7-6
Against the Spread: Penn State 10-3

And so it begins...

misdreavus79: What’s the point of being a fan if I don’t predict my team to win? Penn State 31, Ohio State 28

BoilerUp89: Penn State has looked great. Despite punching the Boilermakers repeatedly, I’m not convinced this is a complete Buckeyes team. Nittany Lions go into Columbus and send Buckeye fans home sad.

Larry31: OSU’s marquee win was a lucky [because ND doesn’t know how to count to 11] road win against ND. PSU’s marquee win was a trouncing of Iowa at home. I really can’t tell, at this point, who is the better team. I think they are pretty close. ESPN advanced stats ranking has OSU #1 and PSU #3. Again, close enough to be virtually tied. I’m going with home field advantage, which will be a big factor. But, I don’t think OSU is 4.5 points better. OSU wins. PSU covers.

Buffkomodo: I like Penn State in this one. I think Ohio State is capable of coming out flat (see Maryland/Indiana games). The only different in this game than in other years is that Ohio State really hasn’t looked stellar and their QB play isn’t the greatest. I think they fall behind and can’t quite get a comeback complete.

Kind of...: This is the best PSU has been since Saquon Barkley was in uniform. And the most suspect OSU has looked since they lost twice in 2017 and got harbored in 2018. Guess what? OSU won both those games by a point. Might be a FG this year, but being tested by ND will pay off in the fourth quarter (as will the fact that it’s James Franklin, noted non-master of the 4th quarter) on the opposing sideline. Buckeyes to win, but not cover.

AlmaOtter: I’ll go against the grain here and argue that Ohio State is actually a more complete team this season. The offense isn’t as lights out as previous iterations, but their defense isn’t a complete sieve anymore either. I’m not sure that’s enough to cover against a truly great Penn State team, but I’ll hedge and take OSU to win and PSU to cover.

RockyMtnBlue: This game will be fun when it’s OSU’s offense vs PSU’s defense. I know OSU’s defense is ranked ahead of their offense this year, but Ryan Day still coaches this team so I’ll believe their identity is defense when hell freezes over. PSU’s defense is fully legit. They may well have the only defensive backfield in the league that can handle the Buckeye receivers. Still, Franklin hasn’t beaten OSU since that certainly-not-at-all-lucky-outcome in 2016. Ohio State 24-14


Warm up time is over. Now it’s on.

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    OSU is still the Death Star and Death Stars cover.
    (53 votes)
  • 23%
    These teams almost always play good, tight games, but then OSU is left standing when they’re done. At least PSU kept it close, right?
    (64 votes)
  • 56%
    Nits’ defense is elite. OSU is vulnerable. Nits get the huge road upset.
    (153 votes)
270 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Indiana Hoosiers

11:00am | BTN | Rutgers -5 | O/U 42.5

Straight-Up: Rutgers 13-0
Against the Spread: Rutgers 12-1

Not a lot of faith in you, Tom.

misdreavus79: Bowl-eligible Rutgers in week 8. How about that? Rutgers 24, Indiana 20

BoilerUp89: Rutgers to win.

Larry31: Indiana looks broken. Rutgers looks competent. Rutgers wins and covers.

Buffkomodo: Indiana in the Buff didn’t happen because I was busy. Rutgers wins this one and covers. As Larry has said, Indiana looks broken and sad, and the boos will rain down on the team when they go 3 and out in the first drive...or allow a 60 yard rushing touchdown on the 2nd play from scrimmage from Rutgers’ only real weapon.

Kind of...: I get that Indiana has looked awful, but WTF Rutgers? Why are you trailing Sparty by 18 at home to begin with? I don’t want to sound like the bad drive-time sports talk show guy, but the fact that Rutgers is ONLY favored by five is telling me that this game will be close. Indiana will be feisty enough to cover.

AlmaOtter: Indiana hasn’t covered a spread since keeping it close with Jeff Brohm’s Louisville well over a month ago. Rutgers can get to bowl eligibility in mid-October; I don’t think they’ll leave it as close as they did against MSU.

RockyMtnBlue: It says something about something when 12 of 13 writers go one way against the spread. In this case I’m pretty sure it says Indiana is bad at football. I have less faith in Rutgers than many here. I think their QB is a mess. On the other hand, I think large swaths of the whole Indiana team is a mess. Rutgers 21-14


In other news in the East...

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Rutgers covers and is bowl eligible in October. Start spending your retirement because the world is ending soon.
    (167 votes)
  • 20%
    Rutgers squeaks out the win. All the rest of the words above still apply.
    (45 votes)
  • 5%
    Indiana rights history and saves the world from certain doom.
    (12 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Golden Gophers @ (24) Iowa Hawkeyes

2:30pm | NBC | Iowa -4.5 | O/U 32.5

Straight-Up: Iowa 12-1
Against the Spread: Iowa 7-6

misdreavus79: The road to 11-1 Iowa continues. Iowa 2, Minnesota 0

BoilerUp89: Iowa covers the spread. Hawkeyes 5, Gophers 0

Larry31: LOL. An O/U of 32.5 points. Pathetically low. Take the Under anyway. 14-3 with a defensive touchdown feels about right. The Iowa football crime family wins and covers. Crime family because it is a crime for Hawkeye fans to have to watch this “style” of football. But, they keep winning enough, so the Iowa football crime family’s not going to jail. It is soo cruel, like prying off fingernails.

Buffkomodo: I split this because I think more of the Iowa defense than I think of the Minnesota offense. A 7-6 score would suffice my split. Hell, 10-6 does too I guess.

Kind of...: Lost in last week’s excellent performance by the Iowa D and special teams is that UW’s D, which is only above average, at best, shut down Iowa but for one crippling 80+ yd TD run. We all know what Iowa’s M.O. is. And we all know that they’re pretty good at it. But pretty good is 8-4/9-3. They do lose ugly games. This figures to be one of them. Minnesota had a bye. Iowa’s coming off a pretty big high. If it doesn’t happen for Minnesota this year, then it truly may never happen for Peej. Minnesota with the mild upset

AlmaOtter: I was going to argue for taking the points with Minnesota in what would have to be a low-scoring game against Iowa, but I’ll be damned: Minnesota is 0-2 as an underdog against the spread and Iowa is 3-1-1 as a favorite. Hawkeyes by a (likely defensive or special teams) TD.

RockyMtnBlue: The Ferentzi have perfected no-offense football. I really don’t have a bead on Minnesota, but I find “bet on Kinnick” to be good gambling philosophy. Iowa 13-7


Where does Floyd live next week?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Iowa covers on the strength of a punt return TD, two interception return TDs, and a safety.
    (72 votes)
  • 33%
    Iowa comes nowhere near the Ferentz line, but they win a close, stupid game because that’s just what they do.
    (84 votes)
  • 16%
    Minnesota makes the west a race again!
    (41 votes)
  • 20%
    Wait. Iowa is ranked???
    (51 votes)
248 votes total Vote Now

Wisconsin Badgers @ Illinois Fighting Illini

2:30pm | FS1 | Wisconsin -2.5 | O/U 43

Straight-Up: Illinois 8-5
Against the Spread: samesies

misdreavus79: Did Illinois find something, or did Maryland Maryland? Tanner Mordecai is out with a broken hand and is out for what appears to be the rest of the season, so can the Illini use this to their advantage? Illinois 20, Wisconsin 17

BoilerUp89: Flips coin. Illini win by stacking the box on defense.

Larry31: I feel like Illinois is doing what jnorthwestern did a few years back, totally shit the bed in September [the complete opposite of September Maryland], only to roar back and claim the Big Ten West. With the Mordecai injury, I think Illinois wins.

Buffkomodo: Illinois beating Maryland is more of a “well that was odd” than Illinois completely imploding and losing to Wisconsin. But then I heard Wisconsin lost their QB and now I don’t know what to think. I’ll still take the Badgers but I don’t feel good about it.

Kind of...: UW’s performance against Iowa was jarring, yet still predictable. Maybe there’s a tailspin coming, but the defense has been playing well, and Longo is taking a lot of heat for the skewed run/pass ratio last week. UW should come out with a better game plan and pull out the win. They very well might not, but I’m going to trust the fundamentals even when it conflicts with my self-hating gut.

AlmaOtter: I’m predicting a breakout Kaden Feagin game. While the O line still isn’t very good, I could see Bert trying to ground and pound against his old team, while getting to .500 in the division and overall.

RockyMtnBlue: I remain unconvinced Illinois is even decent. If they win again this week I’ll admit I’ve been wrong. Until then...Wisconsin 24-17


A second opportunity for glorious west division hijinks

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Wisconsin wins and covers
    (82 votes)
  • 13%
    I’m middling a 2.5pt spread and I hereby consent to be mocked in the comments.
    (26 votes)
  • 43%
    Illinois wins
    (83 votes)
191 votes total Vote Now

Northwestern Wildcats @ Nebraska Cornhuskers

2:30pm | BTN | Nebraska -12.5 | O/U 44

Straight-Up: Nebraska 11-2
Against the Spread: Northwestern 11-2

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnot gonna watch this game

misdreavus79: Northwestern winning helps Penn State in a potential three-way-tie scenario, but I don’t see how they pull this off. Nebraska 33, Northwestern 17

BoilerUp89: Matt Rhule has one job to do this year. Beat Northwestern. The Cornhuskers get it done, but it’s closer than comfortable.

Larry31: I like the moxie jnorthwestern has been playing with. But, I don’t think it is enough to beat Nebraska at home. Nebraska to win. jnorthwestern to cover.

Buffkomodo: Nebrasketball ftw.

Kind of...: Nebraska is 3-1 over their last four with all three wins being by multiple scores. Are N. Illinois, La. Tech, or Illinois setting the world on fire? No, but neither is Northwestern. Nebraska covers.

AlmaOtter: The NUNU game! Big NU Saturday! Northwestern might get a backdoor cover, but I can’t imagine they’ll win outright.

RockyMtnBlue: The game I’m most looking forward to watching this weekend. I really kinda feel like Nebraska is decent. I do not think NW is decent, but I do think they’ll look splendid with their new “j”. Nebraska 28-14


The battle for the "j"

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    This ain’t Ireland. Nebraska covers.
    (67 votes)
  • 45%
    I don’t really know, so I’ll just say Nebraska wins and Northwestern covers because it feels comfortably noncommittal.
    (88 votes)
  • 20%
    Somehow Northwestern hangs the "j" around Nebby’s neck once again.
    (39 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now

(2) Michigan Wolverines @ Michigan State Spartans

6:30pm | NBC | Michigan -24.5 | O/U 48

Straight-Up: Michigan 13-0
Against the Spread: Michigan 11-2

misdreavus79: Bad Michigan State teams don’t usually win this game, so don’t expect much. Michigan 45, Michigan State 10

BoilerUp89: Michigan beats up Sparty.

Larry31: MSU fans just hate Michigan, especially now because Sparty is struggling mightily and Michigan is elite. And this game is at Mighigan State. Does a very good Michigan teams obliterate a weakened rival so as to leave no doubt about their superiority? Or does “hated rival magic” happen and we get numerous comically stupidifed expressions from Harbaugh when inexplicable bad stuff happens? For the sake of pure entertainment, I hope the latter occurs. Boy, 24.5 points is a lot for a rival game. I just feel like Michigan is on a Death Star mission of seek and destroy. Michigan wins and covers.

Buffkomodo: Michigan wins this in such a fashion that it excited my bones.

Kind of...: Everybody seems to be taking Michigan, maybe the sharps know some-...nah, nevermind. Michigan is bent of appearing a remorseless killing machine with Harbz back on the sideline. That won’t change with a rival across the field, especially a rival who just blew a three-score lead to Rutgers. Wolverines. Big.

AlmaOtter: Everything Kind of... just said, but throw in a healthy dose of Harbaugh’s “Us against the world” mentality with the news of the sign stealing investigation. Angry Mustelids cover.

RockyMtnBlue: MSU hasn’t been like Indiana this year. They haven’t been a bad football team. They’ve been a decent football team fucking up at the worst possible times. The first one is hard to fix. The second just takes focus, and they will be focused this week. 3.5 touchdowns, on the road in a rivalry game? Take the points. Michigan 31-21


Cheaters @ Criminals. Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Michigan covers that big-ass spread on the road. Obviously cheating.
    (149 votes)
  • 24%
    Michigan wins, but Sparty keeps it close. Plus they beat the "under" of 3 post-game felonies!
    (52 votes)
  • 4%
    MSU redeems their entire season with the upset. The burning couches can be seen from outer space.
    (10 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now

Too cowardly to play this week

Maryland Terrapins
Purdue Boilermakers

misdreavus79: Cowards!

BoilerUp89: It’s fan day at Mackey Arena. Come see the women’s and men’s basketball team intrasquad scrimmages.

Larry31: I hope Locks sits the entire team in a corner for two weeks, so they can think about what they have done. Bad children. That loss to Illinois probably blew any chance of Maryland receiving a bid to a warm weather bowl. Dammit! If I’m going to watch Maryland in a bowl, it has to be a warm and sunny destination, not the Bronx or Detroit in December.

Buffkomodo: Ahhhhh. The Indiana schools moving on to basketball before the close of October. Familiar things that feel like home.


Who wins the bye week?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (77 votes)
  • 41%
    (70 votes)
  • 11%
    My liver (I’m a fan of one of these teams)
    (20 votes)
167 votes total Vote Now


Bonus question: IF Rutgers beats Indiana this week, did you have Rutgers being bowl eligible before both Maryland and Wisconsin?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (61 votes)
  • 16%
    Yes (I’m a liar)
    (33 votes)
  • 25%
    There must be some mistake.
    (51 votes)
  • 26%
    Oh God I need to go to church.
    (52 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now