It's the most wonderful time of the year; the Saturday before Thanksgiving, also known as Chickenshit Saturday. How did it get this rather unflattering name? Well, long story short, SEC (and ACC) teams decided that it's in their best interests to schedule glorified scrimmages against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision (or a bottom-dwelling Group of 5 FBS team). While not quite as popular as it once was, 2023 offers up these wonderful match-ups:
- North Alabama at Florida State
- Chattanooga at Alabama
- Abilene Christian at Texas A&M
- Southern Mississippi at Mississippi State (the Bulldogs might lose this one to Brett Favre's alma mater)
- Florida International at Arkansas
- New Mexico State at Auburn
- Georgia State at LSU
- Louisiana-Monroe at Ole Miss
Won't find any of that drek on the B1G schedule this week. Seven conference games are on the agenda. For the second week in a row Nebraska plays a game where the winner walks off the field - in this case Camp Randall Stadium - bowl game eligible. Northwestern, Illinois, and Minnesota can also punch their tickets to the post-season this week.
Trivia Question - When was Illinois last win in Iowa City?
My 2-5 effort last week confirms that I'll be home for the holidays. Here's where things stand heading into the penultimate week:
Maybe Phyllis from Mulga could do better than these picks:
Minnesota at Ohio State (-27.5): my pick - THE Ohio State University. Here's what's facing the Gophers for their trip to Columbus. Ohio State has won 12-straight, 28-out-of-29, and and 40-out-of-42 against Minnesota. Not exactly the opponent Minnesota wants to face to keep its hopes for a bowl game alive. Ohio State puts this thing away early and doesn't let up, as some of the Buckeyes' focus will be on the 2-game losing streak to That Team Up North.
Illinois at Iowa (-3.5): my pick - Illinois. Last season's 9-6 offensive showcase in Chambana ended Illinois' 8-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes. This season's match-up affords an opportunity for the Illini to win in Iowa City for the first time in quite a while. In a game where points will be at a premium, Bert gets another win against his alma mater, making the Fighting Illini bowl game eligible.
Michigan at Maryland (+20.5): my pick - Maryland. With Jim Harbaugh joining some Maryland fans at The Smithsonian (if you hang out on Testudo Times, you'll get the joke here) Michigan puts this thing away by halftime, calls off the dogs in anticipation of next week's Ohio State game, and Maryland gets a garbage time score to get a backdoor ATS win. Not exactly what Taulia Tagovailoa's final game in College Park was supposed to be.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (-4.5): my pick - Flopsconsin. Both teams wear red and white. Both teams have first-year head coaches; after firing their previous head coaches who were also one-time quarterbacks on their teams. Both teams can get their sixth win and earn bowl game eligibility. Both teams can't win this game, though. That distinction will go to wisconsin, as a Cornhusker fuck-up or two will be the difference in this thing.
Michigan State at Indiana (-3): my pick - IU. Indiana hasn't retained possession of The Spittoon since a 3-year stretch from 1967 to 1969. That hunk of brass will be staying in Bloomington as the Hoosiers win this one. (And will MAMU be picking up the phone to Fox Sports, wishing to talk to Urban Meyer, once this thing's over?)
Purdue at Northwestern (+1): my pick - jTarpwestern. In front of hundreds of fans, the Wildcats clinch bowl game eligibility. A post-season match-up with Dabo Swinney's Clemson Tigers looks more and more likely. A fitting way to end the Wildcats' tenure at Dyche Stadium/Ryan Field 1.0.
Rutgers at Penn State (-19.5): my pick - Penn State. Even though the Scarlet Knights are significantly improved (and bowl game bound) for 2023, this one could get out of hand following Penn State's disappointing loss to Michigan last week. Penn State wins, Penn State covers, Penn State probably runs up the score.
Trivia Answer - 1999, in Kirk Ferentz's first season (which was also the last time Minnesota won in Iowa City prior to this season).