Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Get Gamm – Week Seven …
My own picks haven’t been showing it as much lately, but my lead in last week called it: Minnesota is the only team that might not win any league games, everyone else is primed to upset or be upset. Well, just last week, Illinois proved that they are for real with an upset (not by Vegas standards) of Wisconsin. Northwestern surprised Michigan State at home.

There is a pack of contenders still in the mix, with everyone still mathematically alive for a bowl game at this point. That said, Minnesota is more or less done. Iowa and Northwestern have major uphill climbs. But Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin are just one game away. Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State are two away. Ohio State has clinched but has bigger goals in mind now that the Buckeyes have shot up to number three in the nation.

This week poses the same conundrum as past week’s – will the teams that are supposed to win, win, or will there be a couple of brow-raisers along the way? Truth is, there is but one certainty this week – OSU will win. The rest of the games are up for grabs. Picking with me is OSU fan AndrewJ1313 and he agrees - "What a week for me to have to pick! Ugh, there are four games that can easily go either way and I have to pick one team or another…damn I love College football. "

Illinois at Iowa
Kent State at Ohio State
Minnesota at Northwestern
Purdue at Michigan
Wisconsin at Penn State (tiebreaker)
Indiana at Michigan State

Illinois at Iowa
The first of the tough to call genre this weekend. Yes, Illinois is on a roll. Yes, Iowa is stuck in the slop - particularly on offense. Yes, a win here makes Illinois bowl eligible and keeps them atop the conference race. But, Iowa is desperate and might Illinois be set up for a fall after two hard-fought, emotional home wins over ranked foes? That's what makes this so tough to call. Illinois should win this game. The Illini are superior offensively. However, Iowa has a very good defense - or at least it did earlier this season. Do you go with the wounded bird or the sky-high Illini? I'm going with the upset. Why? I'm not really sure except for every week had to have one! Iowa 16 - Illinois 14.

AndrewJ1313 says ... At this point, this should be a no brainer, but this game could be a trap for the Illini. Two big wins at home against ranked opponents and then on the road to a hostile environment at Kinnick Stadium. Hopefully this young team won’t get caught looking ahead to their home date with Michigan. In the end, Illinois is rolling and Iowa is not, Illinois sticks with its bread and butter while throwing some new looks at Iowa. Illinois 24, Iowa 16.

Kent State at Ohio State
Kent State is 3-3, which surprisingly ties for the top record in the MAC. The Golden Flashes have played an upper tier team - Kentucky - but have not carried any momentum from week to week. The mere fact that this is a game no one gives them a chance to win will be enough to fire up the Flashes for a quarter or so, but really, OSU could play its second string and win. Ohio State 31 - Kent State 9.

AndrewJ1313 says ... Easiest pick of the week, but Tressel and OSU won’t treat it that way. Kent has played well on offense this year, even in two of their three losses, but OSU's defense should have had a shut out against a high powered offense last Saturday and will look to get it this week at home. OSU will score early and often and by the third quarter will be preparing backups for a physical game against MSU the following Saturday. Tressel could run the score to 48 or more, but he generally doesn’t humiliate Ohio teams. GO BUCKS!!!!! OSU 35, Kent 0.

Minnesota at Northwestern
I guess if there is a game left on the schedule that Minnesota has a fair shot to win, this would be it. Hey, NU has lost to Duke after all. But something tells me that the Wildcats will be playing with a ton of confidence after the OT win in East Lansing last weekend. The 'cats dodged some bullets in that game with two blown FG attempts late and had the spread offense firing on all cylinders. One thing is for sure, the scoreboard operator better be ready. Minnesota can score too - they just can't stop a thing. Northwestern 51 - Minnesota 48.

AndrewJ1313 says ... Minnesota has scored 30 points or more four times this year - they’ve lost three of those games. They’ve also given up 30 points or more 6 times. Northwestern’s defense isn’t much better…but it is better. This game has the potential to be a high scoring event, especially if Northwestern picks up where it left off in East Lansing. For some reason I want to pick Minnesota in this one, I just have a feeling they are going to find a way to outscore Northwestern, but logic tells me to pick a hot team who is returning home. Northwestern 38, Minnesota 35.

Purdue at Michigan
Tough call number three. Purdue has a potent spread attack - a style that has been a thorn in Michigan's side for a while now. The thing is, Curtis Painter isn't exactly what you'd call fleet of foot, and in reality that's the bigger issue for the Michigan defense. Still, the Wolverines are flawed in all aspects of the game. Let me repeat that, because I can't believe I used Michigan and flawed in all aspects of the game in the same sentence. I'm not sure if it is the injuries, an internal issue, a sudden drop in talent or what, but this U-M squad is as beatable as they've been since 1984. Does that mean Purdue gets the "W"? Not necessarily. The Boilers failed to take advantage of the spotlight at home against Ohio State, so can they do it this week? If the gold and black can somehow bottle up Mike Hart, Purdue will win this game. Purdue 23 - Michigan 20.

AndrewJ1313 says ... We all know the story on Michigan, or lack there of really. This team still has a lot of questions and Michigan’s D should be sending OSU a thank you note for showing them what they need to do to slow down Purdue (I say “slow down” because I don’t think Michigan is talented enough to stop Purdue). Purdue’s defense did show signs of life in the last 35 minutes of the game Saturday, but Michigan has a talented offense and Mike Hart will be the difference in this one. Another match up with the potential to be a high scorer and possibly need OT to determine a winner. Michigan 28, Purdue 24.

Wisconsin at Penn State (Tiebreaker)
At the onset of the season, this appeared to be a watermark game in the title chase. It will still have bearing on the race, as a Penn State win keeps their slim hopes alive and brings one of the main contenders back to the pack. The question is, will all of the off-the-field shenanigans throw the Nittany Lions of their game? It seems like more trouble has been brewing the past six months in Happy Valley than in Miami. What gives? Anyway, back to the game. Wisconsin is reeling a bit after losing for the first time in 15 tries last weekend. The receiving corps is dinged up and every game has been far more of a battle than expected. Penn State finally got the offense signing from the same hymnal last weekend, a good sign for this week. I predicted last week that 3 or 4 teams would tie at 6-2. This one will make that even more realistic. Penn State 26 - Wisconsin 24.

AndrewJ1313 says ... A must win for Wisconsin. If Wisconsin wants to earn any respect back from the nation they have to win in Happy Valley. Penn State has outscored their opponents 162-41 at home including 1 shut out (true, this stat doesn’t involve any quality offenses). Wisconsin has struggled both times on the road this year and they will again this week. Bielema is proving to be a good coach and we'll see how his team rebounds after a tough loss on the road last Saturday. This one will be a classic Big Ten, smash mouth game and the outcome depends on how many plays/mistakes Morelli makes/avoids. Penn St. 20, Wisconsin 17.

Indiana at Michigan State
Of all the games on this week's schedule, this might be the toughest to call. Everyone is gang-tackling the Spartans this week after a woeful defensive - or should that be defen-sieve - performance in an overtime loss to Northwestern. The thing is, for as much hand-wringing and eye-rolling as is going on in Spartan nation, MSU is right about where they were pegged at this point. And the two losses had at least a handful of plays that had they gone the other way would have MSU unbeaten. Translation - MSU played poorly last week, but it was still nearly good enough to win. Now, Indiana is far better than Northwestern, but maybe not as good as Wisconsin. MSU has pressure for sure, but I think this is where we see some growth in the Spartans program. Everyone is counting them out again, and as an alum, I can tell you that this is precisely when State plays its best football. Michigan State 33 - Indiana 27.

AndrewJ1313 says ... Another tricky game to call, and if JLS were still in E.L. I’d take Indiana for sure. Indiana’s offense really surprised me by how well they beat Iowa’s defense on the road two weeks ago, but I don’t think they are going to surprise anyone this week at Michigan State. MSU will be ready and under Dantonio, should be hungry to prove they are better then their 4-2 record. Indiana has faced a good defense once this year and they were held to 14 points, at home no less. I think Dantonio and MSU get back on track this week and delay Indiana’s bowl eligibility celebration. MSU 27, Indiana 22.


Buckeye Nation said...

Tough week for pix except for the Buckeyes...

Illinois 29 at Iowa 18
Kent State 6 at Ohio State 42
Minnesota 21 at Northwestern 34
Purdue 34 at Michigan 38
Wisconsin 28 at Penn State 27(tiebreaker)
Indiana 34 at Michigan State 38

RossMackey 84 said...

This is "separation Saturday" IMO...the PSU/Wisky, Purdue/UM, and Indiana/MSU results will be critical in determining who plays on New Year's Day and who's relegated to the pre-Christmas "appetizer" bowls.....

Illini, Badger, and Wolverine fans may jump me for saying this, but the silver football (Big 10 title) and the lone conference BCS bid are the property of OSU this season....)