Kudos to Michigan State for choking down the stretch against Notre Dame. Thanks to you, Across the Big Ten went 4-0 with its picks! This week’s picks may be a little bit tougher, but that won’t keep ATBT (see, this time we got the acronym right) from playing. Just like the Michigan football team, we don’t have a bye week and we don’t want one. So sit back and relax. This can’t be much worse than the lecture you’re sitting in now, right? At the very least you can pretend to read this article while you check out that cute guy or girl sitting across from you in the hallway. Anyway, on to the picks:
Wisconsin (0-1 Big Ten, 3-1) at Indiana (0-1, 2-1) – Noon, ESPN2
Had a rough weekend? Looking to rebound with a big game? Then you must be Wisconsin, and nothing is better than having a bye week . er . a game against Indiana following a tough loss. The only bright spot for the Hoosiers is the return of their energetic head coach Terry Hoeppner. Whomever the head coach decides to put behind center, there won’t be much run support. Indiana averages just 73.5 yards per game on the ground – making it the only Big Ten team to average below 100. Don’t expect this game to be exciting. Consider it your appetizer for a three-course meal of a football Saturday.
Wisconsin 25, Indiana 10
Illinois (0-1, 1-3) at Michigan State (3-1) – Noon
John L. Smith may have broken ground for his own grave after last weekend’s game against Notre Dame. Blowing a 16-point lead at home? Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, John. After blowing a 31-17 lead last season but holding on for the win, you should’ve known better than to try it the second time around. At least the Spartans square off against Big Ten doormat Illinois, a team they dispatched 61-14 last season. Quarterback Drew Stanton went 20-for-26 for 259 yards and five touchdowns in that game. Expect it to happen again.
Michigan State 56, Illinois 17
Purdue (1-0, 4-0) at No. 12 Notre Dame (3-1) – 2:30 p.m., NBC
The coaches agreed before the season began that the top three teams in the Big Ten were Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan. But Joe Tiller and the Boilermakers have quietly started off 4-0 and would love to use this weekend as a springboard for a successful Big Ten campaign. Unfortunately, only one of those wins was convincing – and that was against Indiana State. The last time Tiller visited South Bend, he walked away a winner. Could it happen again? Not likely. The Boilermakers’ running game isn’t strong enough to complement the pass and keep the defense on its toes. Get back on the Notre Dame hype train.
No. 12 Notre Dame 31, Purdue 28
No. 1 Ohio State (1-0, 4-0) at No. 13 Iowa (1-0, 4-0) – 8:00 p.m., ABC
This is Ohio State’s third tough game in four weeks, and it’s safe to say the defense isn’t inexperienced anymore. The Buckeyes haven’t given up more than seven points in three straight games, but this will be the first time Jim Tressel’s team squares off against a team with an experienced quarterback. Last season, Drew Tate had a terrible game while his counterpart, Troy Smith, threw and ran all over the Hawkeye defense. This year things have changed, most importantly the venue. Ohio State must travel to Kinnick Stadium. But history is on the Buckeyes’ side. Iowa has never beaten a No. 1 team, and in the only other night game played at Kinnick, the Hawkeyes fell to No. 1 Miami 24-7. But hey, there’s a first time for everything.
Iowa 17, Ohio State 14