Last week Across the Big Ten warned John L. Smith, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We should’ve taken our own advice when picking the Michigan State-Illinois game. Two weeks ago, we picked the Spartans, and they lost. Last week, we picked the Spartans, and they lost. Maybe next time we’ll be more cautious when picking a Michigan State game. As for this week, the Big Ten slate is as exciting as listening to Ben Stein talk. These games may be stinkers to watch during a tailgate, but they’re always a great excuse to hide your emerging alcoholism. And now, the picks:
Penn State (1-1 Big Ten, 3-2 overall) at Minnesota (0-2, 2-3), Saturday, October 7 – noon.
Penn State can’t look past this game toward next Saturday night’s game against the Wolverines. Last week was a convincing win for the Nittany Lions against a terrible Northwestern team. The defense allowed just one third-down conversion in 13 tries and held the Wildcats to 81 yards on the ground. Penn State will need that run defense to be at its best against Minnesota’s rushing attack. Gopher running back Amir Pinnix rushed for 91 yards against a Michigan team that hasn’t allowed any other back to top 60. The Golden Gophers may be just what the doctor ordered for depressed Twins fans by the time Saturday rolls around, so this could be hostile territory for JoePa. Look for Minnesota to take advantage.
Minnesota 17, Penn State 13
Northwestern (0-1, 2-3) at Wisconsin (1-1, 4-1), Saturday, October 7 – noon.
Dub this one the Baby Bowl as the two youngest coaches in Division I-A square off at Camp Randell Stadium. This game should pose no problem for Wisconsin. The Badgers play in one of the most hostile environments for visiting teams, and they’re hosting a declawed Wildcats team. This season has been a rough one for Northwestern. Since their emotional season-opening win against Miami (OH), the Wildcats have gone 1-3, their only win coming in a weak, 14-6 slapfest with Eastern Michigan. The oddsmakers in Vegas have no faith in the Wildcats and neither does ATBT. Look out for Badger running back P.J. Hill to have a monster game.
Wisconsin 45, Northwestern 10
Indiana (0-1, 2-3) at Illinois (1-1, 2-3), Saturday, October 7 – noon.
This matchup consists of the two Big Ten’s black sheep of the Big Ten. With the success of Ohio State, Michigan and even Iowa, the Big Ten likes to forget that it has teams like Indiana and Illinois to keep it balanced. The Fighting Illini finally won their first Big Ten game in two years against Michigan State, and Ron Zook is looking to build on the momentum from that win. Juice Williams looked good for a freshman last week, throwing for 122 yards and a touchdown while running for 103 yards. Add to that the threat of running back Pierre Thomas and the Hoosiers may be in trouble – Indiana gave up eight straight scores to Wisconsin last week. The Fighting Illini may not be the Badgers, but just about anyone can look good when lining up with the Hoosiers, including your IM football team.
Illinois 28, Indiana 14
Purdue (1-0, 4-1) at No. 19 Iowa (1-1,4-1), Saturday, October 7 – 12:03 p.m., ESPNU.
If this game starts three minutes later than everyone else, it must be important. Despite the tough loss to Notre Dame, Purdue is still scorching the statsheets to the tune of 36.8 points per game. And when you give teams like that an inch, they can take a mile. Iowa’s offense, on the other hand, hasn’t had a 100-yard runner or 100-yard receiver this season, a pretty unbelievable statistic when you consider the Hawkeyes have played cupcakes Montana and Illinois and a mediocre Syracuse. Last season, Tate and then-starting Purdue quarterback Brandon Kirsch combined to throw for a whopping 710 yards. Fireworks are going to fly again this season, but desperation will work in favor of Iowa. And nothing is more comforting to a desperate team than home-field advantage. Purdue drops its second straight game against a ranked opponent on the road, but it’ll be interesting.
No. 19 Iowa 34, Purdue 27
Bowling Green (2-1, 3-2) at No. 1 Ohio State, October 7 – 3:30 p.m.
What can you even say about this game? A Mid American Conference team travel into the Horseshoe to play the No. 1 team in the nation. Is there even a reason to do an analysis of this game? Ohio State is a 35 – 35-point – favorite in this one. That means there is a better chance of Paris Hilton making guest picks for ATBT than the Falcons winning this game. And another thing; Ohio State has won 22 straight games against in-state opponents. Fortunately, there is another game going on at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday that’ll keep you occupied from watching this public sacrifice.
No. 1 Ohio State 53, Bowling Green 10