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Big Ten Football Week 9 Picks, Predictions, Previews

From Maryland-Northwestern to Ohio State-Wisconsin, we pick all the Big Ten matter how silly.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Kyle Robertson / USA TODAY NETWORK

We’ve come to the point where RMB doesn’t know whether or not I’m actually going to write these Friday morning introductions, and I think I like the air of mystery:

Hopefully MNWildkit allows MNW to write something fun or witty here, and nobody actually sees this note.

I commute a decent distance for work, and last night I had called my wife as I stopped-and-started my way through the Lowry Tunnel in Minneapolis—just 20 minutes away, I wanted to make sure she didn’t need me to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

No, she reassured me, she was just supervising Wildkit in the bath: “She’s just happy, splashing, and every once in a while she’s tootin—NO! [Wildkit], don’t do—oh no—wh—stop!—[MNW] she’s laughing and pooping and—oh god—you’re gonna have to—[Wildkit]!”

At that point MNWildkit turned to crying and, in a panic, Mrs. MNW decided she wanted to both towel the kid off and continue a conversation with me. I, for my part, was nearly choking I was laughing so hard as I got into the MNPass lane and zoomed my way home.

Upon arriving home, I was told that there was both a poopy bathtub AND a mouse on sticky trap behind the oven that I would need to attend to.

There’s no place like the Big Ten West.

About Last Week

* Must pick half the games to qualify


  • Everybody? 6/13 were over .500 last week and everybody but one broke even.
  • Thump maintains his season lead in ATS, but he gives up the straight up lead to HWAHSQB (.867)
  • Kind of... was the only one to go 6-0 straight up.

Points and Laughs:

  • Our fearless editor was the “but one”
  • Anyone who had MSU covering last week (raises hand)

The Picks

Saturday, October 28

Indiana Hoosiers @ (10) Penn State Nittany Lions

11:00am | CBS | Penn State -32 | O/U 44.5

Straight-Up: Penn State 14-0
Against the Spread: Penn State 11-3

Larry31: Is PSU hung over from their disappointing loss, and doesn’t cover and “only” wins by 30 points? Or are they super-pissed and take out their bully-anger on a hapless Indiana team that has quit? PSU may not be elite, but that defense is. Holding OSU to 20 points. Damn. PSU covers.

Kind of...: I picked Indiana to show some fight and keep it close last week. Lesson learned. If I’m wrong this week, so be it. But the onus is on Indiana to look like anything other than a team that’s quit. 55-7 seems like a fitting Tom Allen swan song, and I know an offense that wants to prove it still works.

BoilerUp89: Penn State’s season didn’t quite end last week, but Penn State needs to both beat Michigan and have Michigan beat Ohio State and get some help from the charming West division. That’s a lot to ask for and its further complicated by the fact that if Ohio State fans get their way, Michigan will be banned from the conference championship and won’t have as much to play for down the stretch run. Penn State will still win, but I’ll go ahead and say they struggle to motivate themselves enough to cover a 32 point spread.

misdreavus79: Whatever. Penn State numbers, Indiana smaller numbers.

AlmaOtter: Indiana hasn’t come close to covering since the Louisville game. That was in the middle of September. Penn State by 30+.

RockyMtnBlue: Penn State still looks good to win the conference if they win out in the regular season. Indiana, on the other hand, has nothing but pride to play for. Penn State 42-7

MNW: Unless something’s changed from when Penn State pounded Northwestern, they’ll put in the backups and keep taking deep shots. And fine, that’s well within their right! Indiana’s not good enough to stop them. Penn State, 45-10.


Indinia visits the Nits

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Penn State by many many many
    (171 votes)
  • 19%
    Ok sure. Penn State is really good, and Indiana’s a bit of a disaster, but they can stay within 4 touchdowns or so, right?
    (44 votes)
  • 3%
    Indiana’s QB scores on a fabulous reach to the pylon enroute to a program defining win. They’re not in line to win the division so the Big10 will just have to find some other way to screw them.
    (8 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins @ Northwestern Wildcats

11:00am | BTN | Maryland -13.5 | O/U 48.5

Straight-Up: Maryland 14-0
Against the Spread: Maryland 10-4

Larry31: Maryland was pretty banged up before the Illinois game. Tarhib Still, their best cover DB, is back from injury, as is another talented DB, Dante Trader. Ramon Brown is another talented RB, and he is available. Also, NFL-bound TE Cory Dyches is back from injury. Also, OG Cory Bullock. Yeah, that bye week was much-needed. No rain in the forecast. I think Maryland covers.

Kind of...: See above. Maryland is going to have to prove they can cover a post-September B1G game before I pick them to do so (again). 0-3 so far this month. I’ll pick NW to be scrappy enough.

BoilerUp89: Maryland is coming off a bye week. They are two touchdowns more talented than Northwestern. As much as I don’t believe in post September Maryland after being taught that lesson two weeks ago, I still think they cover against Northwestern.

misdreavus79: Who cares. Maryland stuff, Northwestern other stuff

HWAHSQB: Maryland has the bye week to get extra special coaching from Locksley. I’m beginning to think some of the September Maryland magic is because they haven’t had time for Locksley to Zook everything up yet. They will still win despite the extra dose of Locks, but it will be close.

AlmaOtter: I was at the damn game and I still don’t fully understand how Maryland lost to an Illinois-based team. I don’t think it’ll happen twice in a row. Turtles get right after a bye week.

RockyMtnBlue: I got a system. Maryland to cover in September. Not that in not September. Maryland 28-17

MNW: Here’s where I complain that in DWT;WT, I had this as a 14.5-point line. I think. So when I hastily and drunkenly thoughtfully sat down with my abacus and counted beans in a thrilling, back-and-forth Turtle-’Cat affair, I had it as Maryland by two scores.

Northwestern is stuck with what some of us—surely not me at any point, don’t go looking, you won’t find anything—pined for: the Brendan Sullivan Era. Ben Bryant will “hopefully return at some point this season,” according to David Braun—who appears to come from the Joel Quenneville/Pat Fitzgerald School for Lower-Body Injury-Describing—which means he’s already been off to see the horse doctor and is currently being squeezed into a bottle of Elmer’s Special.

What does that mean? Northwestern will try a decent amount of quick passing with mixed results, then will say “Fuck that” and call a bunch of toss sweeps and off-tackle runs that go nowhere against even the most passable defenses. Maybe they’ll mix in a Jack Lausch possession too where even Connor Stalions tells the DC “figure it out your fucking self, I’m getting a churro” because everyone knows it’s QB power left or right.

Fire Mike Bajakian into the sun, is what I’m saying.

It’s a shame, because this is a defense that’s trying its damnedest and showing shades of its old self: Bryce Gallagher and Xander Mueller are still a step slow at LB, I think, but look more comfortable as the Anthony Walker/Paddy Fisher-esque field general. Coco Azema is coming down from safety and laying the wood, and his partner Devin Turner has four passes defended. Meanwhile, Rod Heard II and Garnett Hollis Jr are more than competent at safety. There are the pieces here of an old Mike Hankwitz defense, and that’s a welcome relief after the Jim O’Neil Speed-n-Scrape or Scratch-n-Sniff or Slip-n-Sob Experience, whatever it was.

Against Taulia? I think a QB who can run—not will run, but can—and throw efficiently (all due respect to Heinrich Haarberg, but...uh...) will give the ‘Cats more than they can handle. Maryland has the playmakers that, if they don’t jump out to a hot start, will wear down the ‘Cats in the second half. Terps, 30-17.


Maryland in a crossover game. What could possibly go wrong?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Maryland covers. Calendars be damned.
    (97 votes)
  • 38%
    Kittens keep it close, but it’s not enough.
    (77 votes)
  • 12%
    Northwestern with the upset. Maryland’s fear of the central time zone continues.
    (25 votes)
199 votes total Vote Now

Michigan State Spartans @ Minnesota Golden Gophers

2:30pm | BTN | Minnesota -7 | O/U 40.5

Straight-Up: Minnesota 13-1
Against the Spread: Michigan State 10-4

Larry31: An MSU win would not surprise me. Then, again, we are talking about the Gophers. Anything can happen. They could win and cover. This is a game I wouldn’t even think about betting on. I have no feel for this one. Only that the talent level on each team allow either team to win. Let’s go with MSU covering the 7-point spread, but Minny winning the game.

Kind of...: Maryland has covered a B1G game this year. Their September date with MSU. I can’t get the complete folding job against Rutgers out of my mind. Maybe the theme this week is that I’ll do awful because I’m overapplying lessons, but, well, I’m not betting on Sparty to cover a road spread.

BoilerUp89: I have zero confidence in either team so I’ll middle and get at least half right. I’m also going to likely be half wrong, but there’s a reason I don’t gamble and if I did it would be on college basketball not football.

HWAHSQB: I wouldn’t bet on Minnesota -7 against anyone right now.

misdreavus79: Sure. Minnesota less than 20, Michigan State less than that

AlmaOtter: As said above, I have no read on these teams. Taking the points and assuming that the offenses will be ugly, as we do out West.

RockyMtnBlue: I don’t feel like I have a bead on Minnesota. I do feel like I have a bead on MSU, but that bead is “straight up chaos”, so it’s not exactly helpful. We’ll say home team by 3, except a gifted TD from an MSU mistake makes it 10. Minnesota 24-14

MNW: Keep it to a crisp 2.5 hours, boys, Peej has some trophies to fuck. Gophers, 17-14.


Maybe our best shot at a sickos game this week

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    quadruped > biped. Badgers roll.
    (72 votes)
  • 45%
    Sparty’s in it, but manages to lose in hilarious fashion.
    (85 votes)
  • 15%
    Michigan State hears they’re playing UofM this week and they get the upset they so dearly desire.
    (28 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

Purdue Boilermakers @ Nebraska Cornhuskers

2:30pm | FS1 | Nebraska -2.5 | O/U 42

Straight-Up: Nebraska 9-5
Against the Spread: Nebraska 8-6

Never say BuffKomodo lacks courage.

Larry31: Only a 2.5-point spread? Nebraska at home? I gotta go with the home team winning and covering.

Kind of...: Yeah, Nebraska looks, um, solid. Purdue has only looked good against the team Walters used to coach. Nebraska by enough.

BoilerUp89: Both teams need this win to maintain realistic hopes of bowl eligibility. Both teams have been extremely mediocre this year. Nebraska has played Northwestern, Minnesota, and Illinois (in addition to an extra easy non-conference game) while Purdue has played wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. The spread feels appropriate, neither team winning would surprise me all that much.

Until you consider that Purdue is 0-9 all-time the week that a Taylor Swift album drops and her newest album is scheduled to drop this Friday. I wanted to pick Purdue, but facts are facts, Boilermakers won’t go bowling this season.

misdreavus79: Uh-huh. Nebraska score, Purdue score

AlmaOtter: Two incredibly flawed teams. I think Purdue’s a bit of a random number generator this year and it’s not like Nebraska’s blowing teams out. Let’s take the Boilermakers on the road to win outright.

RockyMtnBlue: Look at all the red in that graphic. What a difference the lack of a “j” makes. The West is wonderfully unpredictable, so I’ll just take my standard hedge and take the home team. Nebraska 24-21

MNW: This was just a coin-flip proposition. I think it’s all the injuries that Dead Read mentioned for the Huskers in our Slack channel—that’s enough for Purdue to go cause some chaos. Purdue, 27-24.

And now that I say that, Haarberg will run for 145 and three scores.


No wait. THIS is our best chance for a sickos game!

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Nebby stays in the hunt for the west crown with a solid win.
    (102 votes)
  • 13%
    I’m with BuffKomodo. That dude really knows where his towel is.
    (27 votes)
  • 37%
    The universe will not stand for a Nebraska 3-game winning streak.
    (78 votes)
207 votes total Vote Now

(3) Ohio State Buckeyes @ Wisconsin Badgers

6:30pm | NBC | Ohio State -14.5 | O/U 43.5

Straight-Up: Ohio State 14-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State 12-2

So much ugly red

Larry31: Oof. This is a tough one. I can see OSU being hungover after their big win against PSU. But, Luke Fickell’s team did not impress against Illinois, and that OSU defense is impressive. I think OSU wins and barely covers the point spread. Like 31-14.

Kind of...: Is Ohio State going to open things up enough to cover the spread? Probably not. Will Braedyn Locke make enough mistakes to let OSU cover anyway? Quite possibly. He’s got a lot of potential, don’t get me wrong. But he’s pretty green right now, and OSU has handled PSU and ND. Don’t think UW will pose too much trouble.

BoilerUp89: Ohio State by 30.

misdreavus79: Ohio State 21, Northwestern 7. Ohio State 26, Nebraska 17. Ohio State 20, Purdue 49. Ohio State 24, Iowa 55. At least they win nowadays.

HWAHSQB: Fuck wisconsin!

AlmaOtter: Fuck Wisconsin, indeed. Buckeyes by 20+. Their defense is going to have a fun time with Locke.

RockyMtnBlue: Wiscy might have made this interesting with Mordecai. Poor young Locke is about to discover why he’s so happy to be in the West. And then he’ll be sad to learn it’s only for three more weeks. Ohio State 28-6

MNW: Took the hook here. Ohio State, 28-14.



This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Death Star Death Star’s Wiscy to Death. Star.
    (163 votes)
  • 16%
    Wiscy keeps this game within a couple touchdowns (you probably shouldn’t pick this one)
    (38 votes)
  • 10%
    Wisconsin wins! (you REALLY shouldn’t pick this one)
    (24 votes)
225 votes total Vote Now

Too cowardly to play this week

Illinois Fighting Illini
Iowa Hawkeyes
(2) Michigan Wolverines
Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Larry31: Bye Week Activities:

Bert kicks back in his Barcalounger, esconced in velvet track suit pants and a wife beater t-shirt with spaghettis sauce stains on it, with a six pack and a large pepperoni pizza.

The Iowa Football Crime Family intimidates the athletic director with an unexpected late night visit at the AD’s home. Just to chat. About future employment.

Members of Connor Stallion’s inner circle [Buck Naked, Dick Shakeshaft, Rod Penix (Michael’s lesser-known brother), and Peter Fitzwell] flock to Upper Midwest college football stadiums because, you know, the architectural styles at Ryan Field and Memorial Stadium are so fascinating.

Schiano broods around the house and kicks the cat because he’s pissed at not being able to play this week. His team is rolling, dammit!

RockyMtnBlue: TIL I want to be Bert. Who knew?


Who’s the wurst?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    (25 votes)
  • 17%
    (48 votes)
  • 55%
    Michigan’s hilariously mis-named "intelligence" department
    (147 votes)
  • 4%
    People who think Rutgers is a sleeping giant
    (13 votes)
  • 3%
    People who make long, innane polls.
    (9 votes)
  • 9%
    People who can’t spell "inane"
    (25 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now