Things turned up last week, no thanks to Iowa’s defense, which was about 0 for 11 stopping Iowa State in “crucial plays in the 4th quarter and overtime” last week. The good news is that my personal account is up about 15% after two weeks, which hasn’t completely translated to the Big Ten picks yet, but those things have a way of evening themselves out. Let’s hope the Big Ten picks trend up rather than the other way around.
2* STAR PICKS
Temple +9.5 vs Penn State
It feels like yesterday that Temple was posting 1-11 seasons and getting booted from the Big East. These days the Owls are coming off a #2 slot in the power rankings and kicking off our award winning picks. Somewhere, Bill Cosby is smiling. Temple trots out one of the best running backs in college football in Bernard Pierce, and has senior leadership at the QB position in Mike Girardi, all backed up by one of the best defenses in the MAC . It all adds up to a trap game for Penn State. With uncertainty in all phases of the offense, the Lions will have trouble moving the ball and won’t be able to simply outgun the less-talented Owls. With the game at home and a shot to knock off a powerhouse, the intangibles are heavily in Temple’s favor. I wouldn’t rule out a money line play, but I’m playing it safe and taking the points.
Illinois pk over Arizona State
Random fun fact: Dennis Erickson has had 15 coaching jobs in his career, and only 1 of which (his notorious stint with Miami) was at a school east of the Rockies. I’m not sure that has any relevance to this game, but I think it’s safe to say he hasn’t won many night games in the Midwest. The Illini get a rare break from the weekly 11am Big Ten slot to host the notoriously mistake-prone Sun Devils, who finished last week’s game vs Missouri with 12 penalties in a game that frankly neither team wanted to win. I’m shocked that I’m saying this, but Ron Zook has the Illini in very good shape, coming off a 9-4 season ATS and having begun this year with two dominant victories. I feel confident with Nathan Scheelhaase behind center and Vic Koenning dialing up defenses. This is the kind of game where the road team has to play very well and mistake-free to win, and I can’t see Arizona State doing that. Champaign is a little out of ASU’s element, Zook and company protect the home turf.
Miami (FL) -2 over Ohio State
This is going to come as a surprise to some, but it’s a real testament
to how I feel about the Buckeyes versus an endorsement for Miami. Last week Ohio State was outgained at home by a MAC school (338-301 by Toledo). Not good. I know that Miami is a mess but I liked what I saw from them against Maryland a few weeks ago. Even though cash-drain Jacory Harris is getting the start, the key matchups are heavily in favor of the ‘Canes.
- Home Field – edge Miami
- 7:30pm Start Time – edge Home Team (Miami)
- Al Golden vs Luke Fickell – edge Miami
- Jacory Harris/Stephen Morris vs Joe Bauserman – edge Miami
Forget about what these brands were to college football from 2006-2010. It’s a new decade, and Al Golden gets his first signature win this weekend.
1* STAR PICKS
Iowa -3 vs Pitt
The Iowa defense is all of a sudden in a maligned position. They had at least 4 chances to seal the deal on what would have been a 7-point, spread covering win last week, but Steele Jantz just wouldn’t go away. Tack this on to defensive collapses last year against Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Northwestern and you start to wonder if the unit has a complex. The good news is that the Todd Graham era at Pitt isn’t off to a high-flying start. When Graham is throwing out quotes like ‘Our whole deal is we’re a timing passing team”, “We’re just not executing the system”, and “We have to run that system exactly as we teach it. We obviously have not gotten it taught yet”, I conclude that it’s not the best of weeks to visit Iowa City. This isn’t the week that Pitt gets better, and 3 little points for the home team seems like a steal to me.
Notre Dame vs Michigan State O52
There isn’t a single supposedly-legitimate team in the country that needs a win more than the Irish, and I’m willing to guess Brian Kelly reminded his players of this once or twice this week. We love picking on the Irish on this blog, but the fact is the team had put up more than 500 yards in both losses (which doubled South Florida’s total) and by my accounts looked like the better team in both games. My guess is they at least get to 30. On the other side of the ball, MSU had owned the Irish as of late, and sports one of the best offenses in the Big Ten. This has the looks of a shootout, 52 is very obtainable and likely to be in the 60s or even hit 70.
Army +6.5 vs Northwestern
Pat Fitzgerald, on the road, against one of the service academies? This has 3 point Wildcat win written all over it. 9.5 is way too many, the decision is easy, take the points.
Minnesota -3.5 vs Miami (OH)
Poor Jerry Kill. If my quarterback completed 50% of his passes, threw 2 INTs and lead his team to a home loss against one the worse teams in FBS I’d have a seizure too. At this point, we’ve seen two complete different results from the Gophers. They went head-to-head on the road at USC and followed it up with an atrocious performance. At the sake of sounding cliché, will the real Minnesota Gophers please stand up? I’m going to let things hash out for a few weeks before messing with this team. In the meantime, let’s wish coach Kill a speedy recovery
Eastern Michigan +31 vs Michigan
Too many points, too early in the day. Rich Rod’s Michigan would have actually been better equipped to run up the score for a cover here, but my feeling is that after two wild weeks Michigan takes it easy on the little brother from Ypsilanti and wins this by 25-30.
Washington +16.5 @ Nebraska
I was high on the Huskies going into this season, and nothing so far has changed my opinion. They’re certainly talented enough to play with the Huskers (as last year’s bowl game tells us) but an ass-kicking wasn’t out of the question either. My lean is the cover, but let’s not forget that Keith Price is making his first start in a hostile environment. The bottom could fall out, so I’m making the wise decision to leave this one alone.
Wisconsin -17 vs Northern Illinois
Wisconsin will get theirs points, but I keep having a recurring image of Chandler Harnish tormenting the Badger D. I can’t bet against a CC icon, I’ll be watching from the sidelines.