Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Big Ten Rolls On...

[ed. Special shout out this week to B1G as he just got engaged to a wonderful woman. Congrats buddy, we're all very excited and happy for you!]

B1G Review and Preview- Week 8.The Big Ten race is now officially wide open. With a Wisconsin loss last week, now every team in the conference has lost a game. Michigan State and Penn State are unbeaten in B1G play, but they have plenty of hurdles to overcome. And breathing down their necks is a large class of 1 loss Big Ten teams who just need a stumble to get back in the race.

Is it goofy? Unpredictable? Confusing? Logic-Defying? You bet it is. This is Big Ten Football.

Last week- It was ugly.

My record: 19-7, (15-5)

B1G GOTW- #9 Michigan State 6-1, (3-0) at #13 Nebraska 6-1, (2-1). Noon. ESPN.Third week in a row for Michigan State to be profiled as game of the week. Kirk Cousins is just winning, baby. He completes 67 percent of his passes, 1,600 yards, 11 td, 4 ints. He’s got some receivers and a couple of good backs (Baker and Bell). They are not shock and awe on offense. Think dink and dunk with a pinch of three yards and a cloud of dust.

Their defense however, is very, very good. Second in overall defense. Eighth in rushing defense. Seventh in points allowed.

Nebraska will counter with Taylor Martinez at QB who runs their spread-run offense. He’s completed just over 50% of his passes and has 7 TD’s and 6 INTs (including 3 against Wisconsin). He has rushed for 600 yards and is a legit dual-threat QB. RB Rex Burkhead has 10 TDs and averages 5.8 yards a carry. He is a hard-nosed, big back who does a little bit of everything. With Martinez and Burkhead, the Huskers have one of the top rushing attacks in the nation. The Husker offense is second in scoring in the Big Ten, averaging 37.6 ppg. They are the 7th ranked rushing offense in the NCAA, one spot ahead of Wisconsin. The Blackshirts lost All American SR defensive tackle Jared Crick earlier this month in a big blow. They still have SR linebacker Lavonte David and SR cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. The usually stingy unit is giving up over 25 ppg.

Of Note: Bo Pelini’s first victory as Husker head coach came nearly four years before he became the full-time head coach of the Huskers. Pelini guided NU to a 17-3 victory over Michigan State in the 2003 Alamo Bowl, while serving as Nebraska’s interim head coach. He would have to wait until 2008 to get another head coaching victory.

The Line: Nebraska by 4.

The Pick: Nebraska to me looks an awful lot like Wisconsin and Michigan. Two teams the Spartans just done beating in East Lansing. Mobile quarterbacks, but want to run. Defense is good, but not great.

The other thing is that this Michigan State team is starting to remind me of Iowa circa 2009. They aren’t that good, but they ride their defense and find a way to win in the Big Ten every week. Call it the good Karma team. But when a pass bounces off two receivers and then you get the review for a game winning touchdown, well…

This game though is in Nebraska, where the Huskers have typically played very well. Now, the last time they played there, it took the largest NU comeback ever to win the game against Ohio State.

This game really can go either way. I want to pick the Spartans. However, Michigan State is due for a letdown. If not, then punch their ticket to Indianapolis because its destiny.
Nebraska 24 Michigan State 20.

Quick Slants-
Northwestern 2-5, (0-4) at Indiana 1-7, (0-4). Noon.
Dan Persa is going to play with turf toe. After winning their first two, the Cats have dropped 5 straight. I think they’ve lost by less than Indiana has to other Big Ten teams. Scorefest. Northwestern 38 Indiana 31.

Purdue 4-3, (2-1) at #17 Michigan 6-1, (2-1). Noon.Don’t look now but the Boilers are relevant in the Leaders Division. They upset the Illini last week, but this is a taller task. Michigan has had two weeks to think about the loss in East Lansing. They will be ready. Michigan 28 Purdue 14.

Iowa 5-2, (2-1) at Minnesota 1-6, (0-3). 3:30 p.m.Floyd of Rosedale has his bags packed. The pig might be jumping the gun though. Remember that last year, Iowa visited an woeful Minnesota team and got wacked in the season finale. Shouldn’t happen again. Iowa 31 Minnesota 10.

Illinois 6-2, (2-2) at #21 Penn State 7-1, (4-0). 3:30 p.m.Do you believe in Ron Zook? Yeah me either. The Illini are a 5 point dog on the road. State wants to keep it low scoring. Penn State 24 Illinois 21.

#12 Wisconsin 6-1, (2-1) at Ohio State 4-3, (1-2). 8 p.m.I can’t imagine that the Badgers had a fun week of practice. I also cannot imagine that Ohio State’s passing offense got that much better during their bye week. Wisky 31 Ohio State 17.

1 comment:

SEC Guy said...

Hey B1G...congrats on the engagement! I like the picks this week, especially Big Blue (as much as that pains me since Prod Sweatpants is such a Big Blue homer).