B1G Week #10 Picks.

So, I was 50/50 last week which leaves me at 39-31 or 56%. Not great but good enough to meet my 55% goal for the year as longs as I don’t go off the rails again. A few of this weeks picks are a little tricky, so I’m cautious in my optimism. Anyway, let’s do this…

Wildcats Hawkeyes

Northwestern @ Iowa – Noon on BTN.  How in the hell did the N’Western beat Wisconsin? Oh yeah, three picks helps. The Wildcats have a solid defense but that offense isn’t doing them any favors. The Hawkeyes are kind of in the same boat but with even more mediocrity in that their defense is not quite as solid and their offense is not quite a awful. Playing at Iowa is no cakewalk either. Iowa is favored by four and I’ll take them to win by seven.

Terps Lions

Maryland @ Penn State – Noon on ESPN-2.  The Terrapins got crushed by the Badgers, and yet they beat the Hawkeyes. Kind of makes me re-think my previous pick. I think the Badgers just had their number. Their defense is just allowing way to many points and so their offense has to make up the difference, and that only works against week defenses. Bad news, The Nittany Lions defense is really good. Penn State has lost to close ones and I think they find their mojo this week at home against the B1G newcomer. Penn State is a 3.5-point favorite but they win by 10.

Badgers Knights

Wisconsin @ Rutgers – Noon on ESPN.  Maybe Wisconsin doesn’t travel well? They dropped both road games (LSU and Northwestern) and have won all of their home games. They also haven’t played anyone particularly good at home, so it might just be that. With that rushing game and defense, they should be a lock in this one. The Knights are good enough to beat the Wolverines (who isn’t?) but got beat-down by Ohio State and Wisconsin (both road games). I think the Badgers make it a trifecta. Wisconsin is favored  by 11-points but they win by 14.

Boilermakers Huskers

Purdue @ #15 Nebraska – 3:30PM on ABC/ESPN-2.  The Boilermakers play up and down, but they don’t play up enough to win against a power like the Huskers. The Cornhuskers will run and run and run away with this one, especially at home. The real question is the point spread and can the Huskers cover 23-.5 points? I think the answer to that is “yes” because they need to impress. Nebraska is a 23.5-point favorite and they win by 27.

Hoosiers Wolverines

Indiana @ Michigan – 3:30 on BTN.  Interesting tidbit, both of these teams are coming off a loss to Michigan State in their last game. Neat. The Spartans ran pretty effectively against Michigan and without a super-stud like Tevin Coleman (no offense jLang). I think the Wolverines will struggle to stop them. Indiana wil score. The question is if the Hoosiers can stop Michigan’s dumpster fire of an offense. I think they can. I think they will. Michigan is favored by 7-points but I bet Indiana wins by three in OT at home which then triggers Brady Hoke’s dismissal within 48 hours.

block-i Buckeyes

Illinois @ #16 Ohio State – 8:00PM on ABC.  Yes, the Bucks win. Now, how will J.T. Barrett play? How hurt is he? I’m thinking about next week, of course. If Barrett is functional, this will be an easy win. The Illini did beat Minnesota, but the Gophers are not the Buckeyes. I do think the Buck’s running game will no longer feature Barrett which might slow them down and make them more one-dimensional. Ohio State is a 28.5-point favorite but I think they win by only 21.

Is it odd that the only team that I pick to not cover is Ohio State. That QB injury is in my head big time, and that is a ton of points too. Anyway, that’s how I see ’em. We will find out Saturday. Enjoy your week off Minnesota and Michigan State.

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G Standings: Week #9.

Things continue to sort themselves out and the teams with two or more losses are looking pretty much out of Championship consideration.

In the EAST, our favorite team Michigan State remains on top at 4-0 after delivering an ass-kicking on in-state rival Michigan. Ohio State is un-beaten at 3-0 and have a chance to catch the Spartans (during their bye week) with a win over Illinois. Maryland is sitting in third place at 2-2 but it’s not looking too likely for the Terps.

In the WEST, we have a tie for first between Nebraska and Minnesota at 3-1. But hold your horses, we also have Iowa and Wisconsin both at 2-1 having played only seven games, so they are right there in the hunt as well. Next up is Northwestern at 2-2, and like Maryland, they are most likely out of it.

Indiana is officially the worst team in the conference at 0-3; winless in the B1G. Michigan, Purdue and Illinois are also right there at 1-3. Every team has the potential to become bowl eligible (four teams already are), but they need to get serious about winning some games.

Spartans Huskers

If the B1G Championship Game was today, it would be Michigan State vs. Nebraska (The Huskers have a better overall record than the Gophers). I know those huskers of corn are looking for some revenge so I’m sure they would love it. it wold be a good game, I’m sure.

STANDINGS CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big Ten – East W-L PF PA W-L PF PA STRK
Michigan State 4-0 163 81 7-1 364 162 W6
Ohio State 3-0 139 65 6-1 310 145 W5
Maryland 2-2 106 150 5-3 253 234 L1
Penn State 1-3 56 88 4-3 151 122 L3
Rutgers 1-3 77 135 5-3 218 228 L2
Michigan 1-3 67 104 3-5 163 185 L1
Indiana 0-3 61 138 3-4 211 244 L2
Big Ten – West W-L PF PA W-L PF PA STRK
Nebraska 3-1 147 82 7-1 329 163 W2
Minnesota 3-1 117 97 6-2 225 178 L1
Iowa 2-1 100 77 5-2 189 153 L1
Wisconsin 2-1 104 55 5-2 260 113 W2
Northwestern 2-2 83 82 3-4 146 143 L2
Purdue 1-3 117 135 3-5 226 250 L2
Illinois 1-3 97 145 4-4 228 275 W1

Go B1G!

B1G

One Last Go At Michigan… I promise.

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The University of Michigan is a tire fire. Burn, baby, burn.

Their pizza czar AD is clearly on the ropes as he slashes student ticket prices for next season in a last-ditch effort to befriend the customer, the target audience, the students.

Their nice-but-oblivious coach is beyond salvation with his “I am somewhat aware but not fully aware” media comments and inability to win games with four- and five-star talent.

Their alumni are cautiously backing away and clinging to the fact that at least the quality of their education was excellent, goddamit.

And the horde of Walverines are firing off anger bullets randomly and blindly just hoping to hit something or someone to make themselves feel just a little less of that awful bitterness.

It’s gotten ugly. and it might get worse if they don’t win three of their four remaining games to become bowl eligible. And what if they lose “A Game” as they are most likely going to. This tire fire is belching black smoke from Ann Arbor and all of the firemen in the world can’t contain the inferno.

So nasty is the retribution. Decades of arrogance and entitlement coming home to roost. Why does everyone seem be piling on? Because you made no friends along the way. Your conference hates you and most of the country hates you. Take stock in what you have left?

Delaney likes you, or did.

But you will always have the Walverines, right? But they only like you because of the winning that you did so well for so long. Once upon a time. Your victory made them look like winners. You dressed them in your success. You know, they sell Alabama shirts and Oregon hats and North Carolina jerseys and USC boxers at Walmart too. Maybe the Michigan gear is over in the deep discount aisle, or it will be soon.

Your SB Nation blog Maize N Brew knows the score and they can’t summon up optimism any longer. Links to a sample of recent posts…

It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact: Gas was poured on the fire.

Michigan fails in just about every way against MSU: A recap of those events.

An open letter to UM President Mark Schlissel.

Garrett Taylor decommits from Michigan.

Hoke isn’t worried about job security talk, feels discussion will take place at seasons’ end.

You get the point. Ann Arbor is burning. People are queuing up with gallons of gasoline. Burn, baby, burn. To the ground.

I’m done picking on Michigan for the year I think. Fish in a barrel. You bore me.

Basketball season will be here soon so there is hope in Ann Arbor.

Go B1G!

B1G

Rankings & Ramblings: Week #9.

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First off, a correction: I listed Nebraska as #17 last week when in fact they were ranked at #16. An honest mistake. The chart above has been corrected.

After a rather exciting week of football, we see a whole lot of no movement in the B1G, or at least very, very little. Maybe no news is good news?

The B1G squads listed in the AP Top25 include:

Michigan State remains at #8. Another example of how down Michigan is right now is that even after beating the tar out of them you see no movement in the rankings.

Ohio State remains at #13. The Bucks struggled with a not-great Penn State squad and yet, no movement. Let’s be honest, everyone is holding off until Michigan State-Ohio State, and then we’ll see action.

Nebraska drops one spot from #16 to #17.  Perhaps the win against Rutgers wasn’t convincing enough

In the almost-but-not-quite ranked category we have only Wisconsin at #28. Oh Minnie, I had such hopes for you.

While we remain with only three schools in the Top25, at least we continue to slowly climb our way upward. #8, #13 and #17 is a pretty nice grouping. Maybe next week we can add Wisconsin to the party?

Go B1G!

B1G

Michigan State 35, Michigan 11; The Spartans are 7-1, 4-0 in the B1G.

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I will say that I am never truly confident or comfortable when the Spartans play the Wolverines. Most of the time, it hasn’t even been an issue because they are favored or more highly ranked. But in years like this were Michigan State is clearly the better team coming in to the game (#8 ranking vs. unranked, vegas favored by 17, UofM hasn’t beat a ranked opponent on the road since 2006 which is two coaches ago), it seems like I could be a little cocky. I can’t. I’m always nervous against the Wolverines and I always will be. Why? In my lifetime (prior to Coach Dantonio coming on board), they have earned it. They have won so  many more of these match-up than the Spartans, it’s not even funny.

From when I was born, MSU won 1967, 1969, 1978, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2001. That’s 10 wins over Michigan in the first 34 years of my life! Once int he 1970s when I was a elementary school kid, and only twice in the 1980s when I was in junior high, high school and college. Think about it, that’s three total wins over the Wolverines during my entire education.

So this game is never in the bag for me. This game is never to be taken for granted. I will never be comfortable until the final whistle blows and the Spartans have the game won, officially. Which is why winning this game is so damn special. I call it Superbowl Saturday. Beating Michigan is so sweet and that warm and fuzzy feeling lasts all year long. I don’t really give a shit if Michigan says it’s not important to them, it’s important to me. And they’re fucking lying and we all know it.

So let’s give it up for the Spartans who invited the enemy in and then taught them a lesson in humility that they won’t soon forget. Job done. Mission accomplished. I love it.

OFFENSE

It was no cake walk, but the Spartans put up the plays both on the ground and through the air to get the job done. 446 total yards of offense with 227 passing and 219 rushing. Again, nice balanced approach. Two fumbles hurt but in the end, didn’t really matter all that much.

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Our man Connor Cook didn’t have his best day but he was absolutely good enough, and great when he needed to be. Cook went 12 of 22 for 227 yards and a TD, no picks. That’s 10.3 yards per catch, which is good. And how about that 13-yard run for a first down where he drops his shoulder and lays out Delano Hill and draws the Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty from him to boot. Loved it. Spartan Will right there.

And the receiving end of the ball, The Incredible Mr. Tony Lippett had three receptions for 103 yards and a TD. His 70-yard catch with a little juke move and a TD run was beautiful. Aaron Burbridge had two for 34 and Keith Mumphery had one for 28; nice big plays. Michigan had pretty tough coverage so the fact that the Spartans pulled down some big catches says a lot.

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What really warmed my heart and gave me a sense of pride was how MSU ran the ball. Jeremy Langford ran low, ran hard and never, ever stopped. Langford had 35 carries for a personal best 177 yards and three TDs. What an effort for jLang as he extends his B1G 100-yard per game streak to 12 games, the longest active streak in FBS. Keep this in mind, 150 of Langford’s 177 yards was inside the tackle running, and he had more yards inside the tackles than Michigan had rushing. Langford too the majority of snaps Saturday, but also running the ball, Delton Williams three carries for 20 yards, Nick Hill had three for 17.

Michigan State won the rushing battle (219-65) and won the time of possession battle (33:46, I would have thought more actually), and that’s how you beat Michigan.

DEFENSE

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Michigan has some offensive weapon, but they haven’t really gotten it all together yet and the line is a real weakness. Funny that they get all the five- and four-star talent and yet they can’t make it work. Arrogant and entitled assholes rarely mesh in to a cohesive unit, so maybe that is part of the issue. Just a hunch. But anyway, the Spartan defense held the Wolverines to 186 total yards for the game. That stat is awesome. Michigan had 121 in the air and 65 on the ground (they had zero rush yards in the first half, btw). And only 13 first-downs for the entire game. Michigan was clearly out-matched and although they gave it everything they had, it wasn’t even close to enough to get the job done. Not even close.

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First off, let’s give it up to RJ Williamson for a 29-yard pick-six and to Taiwan Jones for a pick off the strangest shovel-pass-to-no-one that I have ever seen. Jones had an excellent game against the Wolverines with eight tackles, two for a loss, a break-up and a sack. But Jones almost got ejected for a roughing the passer penalty that had targeting added to it. Upon further review, the targeting call was taken back and Jones remained in-play (and will for the first half against the Buckeyes too, thank God). Taiwan Jones took over for Max Bullough this year and there has been a bit of a learning curve, but he looked fantastic against Michigan.

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Other standout Spartan defensemen include Ed Davis with six tackles, two for a loss, Trae Waynes with five tackles, Shilique Calhoun with three tackles, one for a loss and a sack, Daren Harris with seven tackles, one for a loss and finally, Kurtis Drummond with six tackles, one for a loss. These are just some standouts but the number of Spartans who made great plays and contributed to shutting Michigan down is too long to list. Great job on defense!

SPECIAL TEAMS

Geiger!?! What is going on with Michael Geiger? Another missed FG puts him at seven of twelve for the year. That’s awful. We are going to need those FG points against Ohio State, I just know it. I hope Geiger get’s his head screwed on straight before then. He has two weeks to take up yoga or meditation, get laid, kick booze, read the Tao of Pooh, watch the Tao of Steve, get laid, practice a whole bunch, start smoking, get laid, quit video games, get a tattoo, whatever it takes. Fix it! Please. It hasn’t cost you a game yet, but it will.

SUMMING UP

Michigan State took care of business. It was a pretty solid beat-down. I couldn’t be happier. It’s so quiet in the social sphere right now as the Michigan fans log off so they can spend all of their time moping and dreaming of who they might get to coach this game next year in the Big House. Why would you plant a stake in the turf at Spartan Stadium? I understand a symbolic gesture to get fired up, but that just pissed off the Spartans who are bigger, meaner, and just a whole lot better than you are. Maybe a turn in the visitor locker-room garbage can would have been more appropriate?

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Great job Spartans. Go walk the streets, you have earned it. And you get a week off, so soak it in. But not for too long as Ohio State is looming and this one is for the East. They might be a little pissed-off after losing the B1G Championship and having their two year unbeaten streak snapped all in one fell swoop. Yes, they’ll be mad as hell, and yes, they are very good. Much better than Michigan. But the game is in East Lansing and based on the Penn State game I watched last night, they are very beatable. Rest up, heal up, and then get back to the business at hand: Winning the B1G.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Wins, Losses and the Point Spread.

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Last week I was perfect, but not so much this week. I’m sitting 37-29 for the season which is okay but I was hoping to open up a bit of a lead this week. Yeah, not so much. Anyway, let’s have a look…

Gophers block-i

Minnesota @ Illinois – Minnesota is a 6.5-point favorite but I think they more than cover winning by 10.  The Gophers surely would kick the crap out o the Illini, right? Wrong. The Gophers offense was terrible for three quarters and the Illini got off to a fast start. What planet are we on? Illinois won by four. 37-30

Terps Badgers

Maryland @ Wisconsin – Wisconsin is a 10.5-point favorite at home but I see them winning by 14.  I’ve been praising the Terrapins so far this season but against the mighty Badgers, they simply folded. They were almost shut-out. I picked Wiscy to cover but good Lord. Wisconsin won by 45. 38-30

Knights Huskers

Rutgers @ #16 Nebraska – Nebraska is a 17.5-point favorite but they cover winning by 24.  Same story as the Terps-Badgers here in that I’ve given the Knights some credit but they were out-matched this week. Not as much of a rout as Maryland, but Nebraska ran the show, no question. But was it enough? Nebraska won by 18 just covering. 39-30

Wolverines Spartans

Michigan @ #8 Michigan State – Michigan State is a 17-point favorite. Go GREEN!!!  YES! YES!! YES!!! This was fun. The Spartans trounced the Wolverines again. It was never close. My only disappointment was that Michigan scored at the end, it would have been so sweet to keep the no-touchdown streak alive for three years instead of just 11 quarters. Great job Spartans! Michigan State wins by 24 more than covering the largest spread in this game in my lifetime. 39-30

Buckeyes Lions

#13 Ohio State @ Penn State – Ohio State is favored by 13.5-points and I think they cover winning by 17 on the road.  Truly a tale of two halves. What the Bucks did in the first half, the Lions did in the second. The Buckeyes showed that they have weaknesses and they are beatable. They are also not by any means a bad team, so let’s not go crazy. Ohio State wins by seven in OT, but they don’t cover. 39-31

I went even this week: Two right, two wrong. Kind of like kissing your sister as Duffy once said. I’m sitting at 56% for the year. Not bad but no room for error either.

Looking at the win-loss chart, that’s my Spartans way off to the left with the best record in the B1g. Nice. Oh, and that’s the Wolverines way off to the right, tied with Purdue for the worst record in the B1G. My how the mighty have fallen. They have to win three of their remaining four games to even become bowl eligible. Based on what I’ve seen, that’s not happening. The Game this year will more than likely be simply “a game”, and a game that Michigan will not win.` Also, Nebraska has moved up a tick and is now leading the West. I know they’d love another shot at the Spartans if they can get it.

Next week we have six games instead of just five as only Michigan State and Minnesota have bye weeks. Northwestern at Iowa and Wisconsin at Rutgers look interesting. So does Indiana at Michigan but in a car-crash that you can’t look away from kind of way. I’ll need to think on some these a little bit. Great week this week, and best of luck to everyone next week.

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G Week #9 Picks.

Last week I was perfect. 100%! That rarely happens but it’s darn nice when it does. I’m 37-29 now sitting right at 55%. I’d like to kick that percentage up a bit and give myself a little wiggle room. Here goes…

Gophers block-i

Minnesota @ Illinois – Noon on ESPN-U.  The Gophers are steady rolling with three B1G wins and there only loss coming against TCU. Heck, they bitch-slapped Michigan. Minnie is on top of the West right now and looking good. Illinois on the other hand is winless in the B1G and is sitting in last place in the West. The Illini will move the ball through the air but the Gophers run game and defense will be the difference. Minnesota is a 6.5-point favorite but I think they more than cover winning by 10.

Terps Badgers

Maryland @ Wisconsin – Noon on BTN.  The Terrapins are having a good year overall and they just beat Iowa last week which is a quality win. They are good across the board but just not quite great in any single measure other than fashion flair. The Badgers look better than their record would indicate but they are just about terrible in terms of passing game. With Melvin Gordon and that defense, they are still very dangerous. This game is at Camp Randall which is a serious plus for Wiscy. Wisconsin is a 10.5-point favorite at home but I see them winning by 14.

Knights Huskers

Rutgers @ #16 Nebraska – Noon on ESPN-2.  You know you want to sing “Gary Nova, Gary Nova” to the tune of “Rock me Amadeus“, just admit it. Nova is solid in his passing skills, but Rutgers is deficient on the ground and their defense is slightly under-par as well. The Huskers on the other hand are outstanding on the ground and on defense, and the weakest part of their game (passing) is almost as good as the best part of Rutgers game. And the game is in Lincoln to boot. Nebraska is a 17.5-point favorite but they cover winning by 24.

Wolverines Spartans

Michigan @ #8 Michigan State – 3:30PM on ABC.  Game of the week / month / year! My own personal SuperBowl every year. Michigan has a very good defense, I’ll give them that. But their offense struggles most of the time between fits of brilliance that must be ever so frustrating to Wolverine fans. They’re 1-2 in the B1G and pretty much out of contention for anything this year except maybe a third tier bowl game. The Spartans are #3 in the country in terms of scoring points and they can do it on the ground and through the air. The Spartan Faithful are hoping for a repeat of 2013. Anything can happen in this game and my gut tells me Michigan puts up more of a fight than we think. I hope I’m not holding my breath in the fourth quarter. Michigan State is a 17-point favorite. Go GREEN!!!

Buckeyes Lions

#13 Ohio State @ Penn State – 8:00PM on ABC.  The Buckeyes are doing better than expected as their redshirt freshman QB makes huge strides each and every week. These Ohio State back-up QBs are tough, I tell you. If they had a few more games in before facing Virginia Tech, they might be undefeated right now. They are putting up 46.5 points per game and holding opponents to only 20.2; that’s darn good. The Lions are on a two-game slide with losses to Northwestern and Michigan. They have no running game and Hack seems to have lost the knack for passing the ball. I must give them props for a very solid defense though, but will it be enough against a very strong and balanced Ohio State? Not likely. Being at home helps, but they just can’t seem to score. Ohio State is favored by 13.5-points and I think they cover winning by 17 on the road.

Did I just pick every favorite to cover? Crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. That makes me a little nervous to be honest. Oh well, what’s done is done. Let’s do this thing. To Indiana, Purdue, Iowa and Northwestern, enjoy the week off and rest up for next week. Best of luck to all the B1G squads playing this week, and let’s hear it for the favorites.

Go B1G!

B1G