Thursday, October 15, 2009

Big Ten Picks Week 7

Illinois @ Indiana (6pm Big Ten Network)
After picking Illinois to pull an upset over Michigan State last week, I should probably receive an oh-fer every week for the rest of the year when it comes to picks. I deserve it for thinking a team that has laid down and out-and-out quit this year like the Not-Fightin' Illini (we need to come up with a name for the 2009 Ilini- what's the opposite of fighting? Lovin'? That would probably be the antithesis but even love has redeeming qualities to it. There is nothing redeeming about the Illini quitting on their season in the first few minutes of the first game. What's anti-fighting or anti-confrontation that has no redeemable qualities? I'm going with "tree huggers" until somebody comes up with something better) could have could possibly defended their home turf against a weak secondary like Michigan State. Once again, they didn't show up and Michigan State cruised to an easy win. So after that pathetic performance, the Tree Huggin' Illini go on the road in the Big Ten and HAVE to be touchdown underdogs at least right? RIGHT? Not when their opponent is Indiana, who despite all Illinois have done to suck this year, had the absolute no-doubt worst peformance of the season. Indiana went to Virginia and all 70 or so guys that made the trip went to midfield and just took a collective dump right there on the 50 yard line. IU got blown out 48-0 and the score still makes it seem much closer than it was. The Hoosiers couldn't have helped Virginia more if they would have just taken the ball on offense and handed it to the Cavs defense for touchdown after touchdown. And yet despite that, after getting burned by Illinois yet again, I'm STILL taking Indiana. Only because they're at home, and only because I'm not picking Illinois again the rest of the season.

Northwestern @ Michigan State (11am ESPN2)
I learned my lesson picking Illinois, as the Spartans were the obvious pick. But are the Spartans getting better or is Illinois just that bad? Michigan State continues to move the ball well through the air, but continue to give up yards through the air too. Guess what's the one thing Northwestern has done well so far? Yep, throw the ball. Still, I think Northwestern is one of the clear worst four teams (with the Indiana schools and the Tree Huggers), and while they'll be able to throw a bit, the Spartans will be too much at home.

Delaware State @ Michigan (11am Big Ten Network)
Will Tate Forcier play or won't he? Tune in to find out Saturday on the Big Ten Network!! Ok, ok there's no real way to hype this game- the Wolverines win in a landslide regardless of whether Forcier or Denard Robinson or Smokey Robinson is playing quarterback.

#7 Ohio State @ Purdue (11am Big Ten Network)
Um, I really have nothing interesting to add here. Ohio State might not win pretty, but they WILL win. Purdue just cannot stop turning the ball over, and if Ohio State can beat a good offensive team like Wisconsin with just their defense and special teams, what do you think they're going to do to the Boilermakers?

#11 Iowa @ Wisconsin (11am ESPN)
Before the season started I thought Wisconsin would win this game- and this was with predicted losses to Ohio State AND Minnesota. Well, the Badgers ended up beating the Gophers and have looked even better and more competent on offense than I thought, so I'm certainly not going to back off my prediction of Sconnie beating Iowa now. However, according to the fine folks in Vegas, this wouldn't even be an upset, as #11 Iowa is GETTING POINTS on the road. That speaks to how suspect people must think Iowa's undefeated start has been, as well as how much respect they have for Wisconsin at home. Just seeing that point spread makes me nervous for two reasons :
1) you have to believe Kirk Ferentz has been playing the "nobody believes in us" card all week to his players, and you don't want to pick against a team with a defense as good as Iowa's have been playing this year with the "nobody believes in us" mindset.
2) Bret Bielma is coaching the Badgers, not Barry Alvarez. With Alvarez's track record this game is a lead pipe lock for the Badgers. Bielma, on the other hand, is the same guy who in the second half of the Gopher game made tge genius decision "you know, John Clay has been pruning the hedges, raping the horses and riding off on the women of the Gopher defense all afternoon. They can't tackle him until he gains at least 10 yards. You know what? I think I'll put in Zach Brown" FUMMMMMBLLLLEEEE!!! So yeah, I don't trust Bielma in big games yet at all.
Yet I'm still sticking with the Badgers in a really, really, REALLY close game. I doubt both teams crack the 20 point mark, with the Badgers eeking out a 20-17 win or something like that. Tolzien plays much better at home, and the crowd will absolutely be a factor against Ricky Stanzi. The best matchup of the year thus far will be Iowa's front seven against Wisconsin's massive offensive line.

Minnesota @ #14 Penn State (2:30pm ABC)
I have no idea if Penn State's any good, but I do know they're better than the Gophers. To have a chance Minnesota needs a repeat of the 2nd and 3rd quarters from their win last Saturday- force turnovers and give the offense some short fields and confidence. When Iowa beat the Nittany Lions, weather was definitely a factor, but not as much as Iowa's D line wreaking havoc on Penn State's inexperience offensive line, and their secondary hounding the PSU receivers all night long. The Gophers' linebackers will need to be the ones to force turnovers and get after Daryll Clark, although Cedrick McKinley's return from suspension certainly won't hurt. Offensively the line needs to have the game of their lives, give the team a chance to run, and hope Weber gets enough time to be as efficient as he was against Air Force. As I said on the podcast, Penn State's secondary doesn't scare me and Decker could have a monster day- that is if Weber's got time to get rid of the ball. Penn State will finally have all three starting linebackers on the field for the first time since week one, and I'm thinking they're going to want to make up for lost time. Minnesota should cover the 17 point spread (not that I'd ever wager on a game- well except on Centsports) but I still see something like a 31-17 Penn State win.

Finally, Jer and I like to make a few bets on Centsports. It's of course legal because it's not real money so like wearing stretchy pants in your room, it's just for fun, but I thought I'd share five non-Big Ten Centsports bets I'm expecting to win this weekend:

Oklahoma (+3) vs Texas

Arkansas (+24.5) @ Florida

Southern California (-10) @ Notre Dame

Marshall @ West Virginia (-21)

Stanford (+4.5) @ Arizona

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

can you believe a girl is reading about football. lol :) i can't help it i love it!

mandie reed