Rivalry week is here! Seven rivalry games are on tap this week, including Michigan State versus Penn State - that will go on hiatus in 2024 due to B1G expansion. Two of the annual (as of 2023) rivalries are dead-even, and one will decide who goes to Indianapolis to boat race Iowa on December 2.
Trivia Question - Which Indiana head coach had more wins versus Purdue: Lee Corso or Kevin Wilson?
Last week brought the second push of the season, as Michigan State left Bloomington with The Spittoon and a 3-point win. I have to check my shoes to see what I stepped in to pull off a 6-0-1 mark. M1EK earns the "I Would Have Done That if Betting Real Money" award for not picking the Nebraska at Wisconsin game. Here's where things stand heading into Rivalry Week:
And with that, here goes nothing:
Friday November 24:
Iowa at Nebraska (+1.5): my pick - The Children of the Corn. Iowa heads into the Black Friday game thinking that it's payback time for Scott Frost's swan song in Iowa City last season. Problem is, a team usually has to score some points to win said payback games. Iowa doesn't have an offense; thus, the Hawkeyes will walk off of Dr. Tom Osborne Field with an 11-10 win that will have the good doctor scratching his head.
Penn State versus Michigan State (+20) at Ford Field: my pick - Penn State. Lazerz!! Did someone say lazerz?? Did someone say this series is tied at 18-18-1? Someone did say that MAMU is a hot mess, and for some weird reason decided to play this thing off-campus in Detroit (seriously, will the 2027 Penn State home be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh?). After a slow start, Penn State gets rolling and wins this game going away; as this annual rivalry goes away (MAMU and Penn State meet up again in 2025 somewhere in Michigan and 2027 in Happy Valley).
Saturday November 25:
Indiana at Purdue (-6.5): my pick - IU. Will this be Tom Allen's final game as Indiana's head coach? If so, who's writing the check to pay his buyout? Somebody has to not lose this game, so in a bit of an upset, IU brings the Old Oaken Bucket back to Bloomington and wins in West Lafayette for the first time since 2019.
Northwestern at Illinois (-4): my pick - Illinois. Who saw this coming? A show of hands for those who thought jTarpwestern would have a chance to head into the post-season at 7-5. My guess is that Illinois comes into this game pissed off at what transpired in Iowa City (and rightfully so!) and grinds out a low-scoring win punching their ticket into the post-season.
Maryland at Rutgers (+2): my pick - Butters. Speaking of who saw this coming, a show of hands for those who thought the winner of this one heads into the post-season at 7-5. The Rutgers defense that held wunderkind quarterback Drew Allar to an awful performance in Happy Valley does similar things to Taulia Tagovailoa. The Scarlet Knights get win #7.
Wisconsin at Minnesota (+1.5): my pick - Row Row Row Your Boat. This is the 133rd meeting of the FBS's oldest rivalry. The series is dead-even at 62-62-8. Minnesota hasn't won 3-straight in this series since the mid 80s: back when Lou Holtz was Gophers' head coach. Both teams are awful, so I'll go with the home team. The Gophers get win #63 in this series in a mild upset.
Ohio State at Michigan (-4): my pick - The Maize and Blue. Last season, Ryan Day became the first Ohio State head coach since John Cooper to lose to That Team Up North at The Shoe. This season, Ryan Day becomes the first Ohio State head coach since John Cooper to lose three-straight to That Team Up North. Michigan books their ticket to Indianapolis, as Ohio State wonders if they did just enough to get into the CFB Playoffs.
Trivia Answer - Trick Question! Both coaches won The Old Oaken Bucket 4 times (Corso went 4-6 versus Purdue, Wilson went 4-2).