Week 2 of conference play this Saturday. Week 1 gave us a few glimpses of what is to come. Michigan State looks legit (right now) remember this is Sparty and they haven’t represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl since 1987, or won a share of the conference since 1990. But they are playing with a lot of heart and emotion after Coach Dantonio’s heart attack and readmission to the hospital. Michigan is going to light up scoreboards on offense, but they can’t stop anyone. Iowa isn’t going to let anyone do much of anything on defense, special teams and Ricky Stanzi will determine how far the Hawkeyes go. And Ohio State got a scare of life without Terrel Pryor in Champaign.
This week’s games and picks.
Minnesota at Wisconsin (11am – BTN)
Battle for Paul Bunyon’s Ax. The oldest rivalry in college football. On Paper this game looks like a mismatch, and I’m going to guess on the field it will be too. Minnesota isn’t good, they played tough at home vs Northwestern and a late pick cost them. Wisconsin got beat and lost their top 10 ranking at Sparty. I expect Wisconsin to come out and run the ball up and down on the Gophers. I don’t think that Minnesota will put up much of a fight and the Badgers will win by at least 2 touchdowns. PICK-WISCONSIN
Illinois at Penn St (11am – ESPN2)
Illinois surprised me and played tough at home vs Ohio State. Penn State was who I thought they’d be vs Iowa. If this game was at Illinois I might put the Lions on upset alert. I think getting back to Beaver Stadium will help the young QB and the offense. Not playing Iowa’s killer D will also help. I think this games is somewhere around 20-30 points and decided late in the fourth. The Fighting Zookers come up short though. PICK-PENN STATE
Indiana at Ohio St (11am – ESPN)
If this Indiana team could play some defense they might be able to get to the top half of the Big Ten. I like the offense and QB Ben Chappell. I think Bill Lynch is doing some good things, but they just don’t have the depth or talent on both sides of the ball. Great showing against Michigan last week but that was at home. Now they go into the Shoe. Ohio Stadium will be rocking and I think Pryor has a big game. I think Indiana will put up 20 points but think they’ll give up 40 to the Buckeyes. PICK-OHIO STATE
Purdue at Northwestern (6:30pm – BTN)
This game would be a heck of a lot more attractive had Purdue QB Robert Marve not got hurt, and possibly a shoot out. Northwestern had a nice comeback on the road vs the Gophers, and now come home to Ryan Stadium. It’s not a great home field advantage but going on the road in the Big Ten is never easy. If it weren’t for Denard Robinson, Dan Persa, the Wildcats QB might be getting more love. Dude is completing over 70% of his balls. He and WR Jeremy Ebert have formed a nice little connection. I think the Cat’s roll to 6-0 in blow out fashion. PICK-NORTHWESTERN
GAME OF THE WEEK
Michigan St at Michigan (2:30pm – ABC/ESPN)
Both teams come in at 5-0. Michigan and QB Denard Robinson have been the talk of the season so far. They are rolling throwing up video game like numbers on offense. They just can’t stop anyone. UMass gashed them and so did Indiana. Not real big college football juggernauts. Michigan State has been riding high on emotion playing for their coach. They stunned the college football world with the fake field goal vs Notre Dame, and then last week beat up a top 10 team in Wisconsin. They have a veteran QB and a stud middle linebacker. I think you’ll see a lot of Greg Jones on Denard Robinson hits. That being said will Denard come out healthy this game heading to the next week’s battle vs Iowa? This is the 103rd meeting between the 2 schools and I think it will be a great one. I really like the Spartans and if the game was at home, I’d probably pick them. But I think PS3 makes a play late and the Wolverines come out on top 33-31. PICK-MICHIGAN
Jimmy John’s Challenge: -1