The non-con road ends here. It’s been a crazy, unpredictable and not-great non-conference season for the B1G, but things settled down (for the most part) last week and this week is looking to remain fairly stable as well. Every team plays at home this week except for Michigan, btw. And even though the B1G has been unpredictable, I’ve done a fairly good job at predicting the games. I’m 28-5 on the season so far which is like batting .848. Let’s make some picks and then watch some football and see how it all shakes out.
#21 Michigan State vs. Eastern Michigan – 3:30 on BTN. The Spartans need to work out some issues and today is the day to make progress. I don’t pick the MSU games because I would never pick the Spartans to lose, so it would be pointless. And it just seems like bad ju-ju. But I will say this… GO GREEN!
#16 Ohio State vs. UAB – Noon on BTN. Cake. Bucknuts by about as many as they want. Yawn.
Wisconsin vs. UTEP – Noon on ESPN-2. I can’t recall a worse Badger offense. Just not good. But many of the elements are there so I do think that they may be able to pull it together and create some kind of cohesive unit. At least the defense is solid. The Miners are simply not good. Wisconsin by 17.
Iowa vs. Central Michigan – Noon on BTN. Iowa lost to Iowa State and squeaked by Northern Illinois, so this is not a powerhouse Hawkeye squad by any means. The only thing worse than their running game is their passing game, but like the Badgers, the defense is still formidable. The Chippewas are coming off a by week after taking a beating by the Spartans, but I still don’t think then are up to B1G standards this year. Iowa by 21.
Northwestern vs. South Dakota – 3:30 on BTN. I love that the Wildcats are undefeated AND that they have beat legitimate football squads in Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Boston College. The Coyotes should be a sure-thing for the Wildcats, but I just want these boys to be careful and not take anything for granted. I’ll take Northwestern by 28.
#25 Nebraska vs. Idaho State – 3:30 on BTN. It’s nice to type a number before “Nebraska” again as they re-enter the Top 25 this week. Even though Bo left the game last week with a tummy ache or sunburn or whatever it was, the Huskers offense continues to score well, especially on the ground. T-Mart is as advertised: improved mechanics and decision making and his stats reflect that improvement. The Bengals don’t really have a chance in this one. Nebraska by a bunch.
Penn State vs. Temple – 3:30 on ABC / ESPN-2. Even though I didn’t call it, I’m glad the Lions got a win last week. They are starting to move behind the crisis and all the abandonment issues and pull-together and play some Penn Sate football. That being said, I think they will have their hands full with the Owls this week and they can not give anything less than 100%. Ficken makes them all today and Penn State wins by a score.
#18 Michigan @ #11 Notre Dame – 7:30 on NBC. This is the game of the week for several reasons, but mainly because of how freakin’ nut-balls the game was last year and it appears that both teams are better than last year. Unless the Irish have a post-Spartan victory hangover, I think their defense shuts down Robinson and his big-play ability. Bottom line, the Wolverines are, per usual, over-rated and over-hyped. The hype has died down after getting bitch-slapped by Bama, but experience tells us that Michigan fails against a team with a solid defense. I’m thinking it’s a low-scoring affair and my gut says Shoelace might even get inured or go out for an extended period of time. I’m taking Notre Dame by 10.
Minnesota vs. Syracuse – 8:00 on BTN. The Golden Gophers are undefeated! Haven’t typed that many times, maybe never. The the Orange is no joke and they can throw the ball better than most. Remember, they put up 41 on Northwestern and 29 on USC, so they can score. The issue is their defense which is simply not very good. The Gophers are well-rounded and they have a sturdy defense, but I just don’t think it’s enough this week. I’m going with Syracuse by three in OT.
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech – 8:00 on BTN. I wish we could have seen the Bulldogs play Texas Tech as that would have given us a really good read on how legit LT really is. They are as lop-sided a team as I’ve ever seen. The are all offense with dangerous running and passing games. They are averaging 56 points! But then there is the defense which ranks 121’s in Points Allowed. Ouch. The Illini hasn’t really put up big yards, but do think they can and will score in this game. The game really comes down to Illinois’ defense and can they slow or stop Tech. I say they can’t stop them, but they can slow them down enough to carry the day. Illinois by three.
Well, that’s my picks. We’ll see in a few hours how things are shaping up. Not much TV coverage today so I’m off to Rudino’s to sit on their roof-top bar and cheer on the Spartans with my B1G brethren. And I’m really looking forward to next week when everything gets real as conference play begins. This season is going to be crazy. Best of to all the B1G this week, and, as always…