Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Afternoon QB
It was a wild weekend in college football and the Big Ten was not spared from the chaos. Michigan and Northwestern stormed back from large, early game deficits; Michigan State and Indiana played a crazy game in Bloomington; Penn State looked dominant on a national scene (the white outs at State College NEVER get old); Ohio State is rounding back to form and Purdue took one on the chin.

Congrats to AndrewJ1313 for winning the tiebreaker and Getting Gamm on the weekend.

To see what has to say about the week that was, click here...

My team by team thoughts and weekly awards follow:

Player of the Week - I'd love to make it a quadra-fecta for Javon Ringer but I guess it's time to spread the wealth! I'll go with a guy I saw this weekend - Marcus Thigpen from Indiana. 9 carries for 113 yards and 94 receiving yards on two catches including two long jaunts total for scores. He got dinged up and sat the fourth quarter, otherwise he might have racked up another 80 yards! See who picked.

Around the Big Ten - it was a crazy weekend all around college football, with USC, Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin and others in the Top 25 going down. The Big Ten was no different than the rest...

Illinois - Came out of the gates strong at Penn State but that place is crazy loud. I generally liked what I saw, but this team needs to have a short memory with a roadie to Ann Arbor coming up. Michigan suddenly has life and Illinois needs to be prepared. By the way, Benn is a first rounder in waiting. Man that guy is good.

Indiana - The Hoosiers were amazing, sloppy, inspired and dog tired all at the same time on Saturday. The two QB sets will cause some defensive coordinators to lose sleep the rest of this season. If this team can stay healthy, it will pull off an upset or two, despite the injury bug that has bitten. IU goes to Minnesota this week for a must-win game.

Iowa - The Hawkeyes have now been stung two weeks in a row and the question is - can/will they rebound or fall upon harder times? Something is missing this year but I can't figure it out. It doesn't help that the Hawks head to East Lansing to face a State team looking for revenge for last year's late collapse in Iowa City. A loss this weekend might start the calls for Ferentz's head.

Michigan - What an amazing comeback for Michigan. After one of the worst one half performances I've ever seen of U-M, the Wolverines battled back and caught Wisconsin sleeping, escaping with a huge, confidence building win in the 500th game played at Michigan Stadium. Illinois comes in this week, which means there is little time to celebrate the big win.

Michigan State - Saturday might be the best example to date of the changes MSU has made under Mark Dantonio. The roller coaster ride never got the Spartans too low or too high and it allowed State to plow forward and get a nice road win. Good teams aren't always on their game but find a way to get the W in cases where the A-game was left at home. I won't label MSU "good" yet, but there is potential...

Minnesota - Predictably, Minnesota fell short in its first test of the season but the Gophers did fight all the way through this game. Indiana comes calling for a key game for both in terms of postseason aspirations.

Northwestern - Wow! 5-0 for the first time since 1962 and a week off to rest and prep for a visit from Michigan State. The Wildcats are coming up big at opportune times and have seven chances to get the one win necessary to become bowl eligible. I like their chances!

Ohio State - OSU has found its man in Pryor and now that Wells is back, and the college football world was turned on its ear this past weekend, look for renewed energy from C-bus. This weekend is huge, with a trip to Madison to face wounded and angry Penn State. Look for an instant classic in this one...

Penn State - Penn State is good - really good. The meat of the schedule is upon them but based on the way they took apart a good Illinois team the other night, I am willing to predict great things for this team. They come at you from all angles. Purdue better be ready to stop this juggernaut...

Purdue - Notre Dame laid a b*tch slappin down on Purdue at South Bend this past weekend. This one might hurt worse than the Oregon game long-term. Purdue was exposed for its lack of run-stopping ability by a team that managed just 16 yards at Michigan State. The same MSU defense that gave up 113 yards on just 9 carries to ONE IU tailback. Penn State is next and suddenly the Joe Tiller swan song tour has hit a BIG snag.

Wisconsin - Despite the performance of Purdue, the biggest loser of the week resides in Mad-town. To lose a 19-point lead on the road against a team doing NOTHING with the ball is unspeakable. To have your star tight end make a crucial mistake on what would have put the game into OT is almost as bad. Wisconsin still has the potential to come out atop the Big Ten but there is no time to cry. Ohio State and Penn State come to Camp-Randall on back to back Saturday's. Can The Badgers bounce back?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Get Gamm - Week Five...
After an unplanned week off, Get Gamm is back and giving full due to Dan Meyer - the king of Getting Gamm year to date.

Big Ten play finally kicks off this weekend with a few nice matchups and also an OOC tilt to keep an eye on. One week doesn't mean much in the end, but no one wants to start conference play on the wrong end of the standings.

Michigan State at Indiana - Michigan State is playing old-fashioned, smash mouth football. Indiana is reeling from a bad home loss to a good Ball State team and the injuries are piling up for a defense that can ill afford them. Javon Ringer can't go three straight with over 200 yards - can he? He broke 200 against the same Hoosiers team last year, so don't bet against it. Kellen Lewis is everything for IU and that's the problem. While the Hoosiers will come out inspired early, the State offensive front will "pound green pound" and wear down an undermanned IU defense. Michigan State 45 - Indiana 21.

Dan says ... MICHIGAN STATE 35 at Indiana 20 - Another strong start in East Lansing as Sparty goes to 4-1. Hope there are no "Dante Love" type injuries in this game. Not yet sold on the Hoosiers against bowl-caliber competition.

Minnesota at Ohio State - Minnesota is a much better football team this year than last, but we're still talking about a team that has played virtually no one thus far (except BGSU). Ohio State isn't exactly tearing it up right now but made a wise move in naming Pryor the starter. He brings so much to the table it isn't even fair! The Gophers will put up a fight, but not for long enough. Ohio State 31 - Minnesota 10.

Dan says ... Minnesota 10 at OHIO STATE 27 - Gophers have improved, Buckeyes appear to have dropped off from last year. This said, Scarlet and Gray still are markedly better than Maroon and Gold, especially at the Shoe. Wonder whether Pryor or Boeckman starts at QB?

Northwestern at Iowa - Probably the most underrated game of the day in the Big Ten. Iowa got stung on the road at Pittsburgh and still isn't firing on all cylinders offensively. Northwestern is 4-0 for the first time since 1962 and looking to hit 5-0. In a game where one team is markedly better on offense, I might lean that way. But I like Iowa's defense better at home than NU's O on the road. Iowa 24 - Northwestern 23.

Dan says ... Northwestern 17 at IOWA 20 - One of the weeks toughest games to pick, as both teams have been somewhat better than expected in the noncon games. When in doubt, pick the home team.

Purdue at Notre Dame - Hmm, this is a bit of a toss up for me. On one hand, I saw how State dominated Notre Dame from start to finish last weekend. On the other, I saw Purdue blow a big lead against Oregon and nearly lose at home to a good, but still MAC Central Michigan team. If Purdue can run the ball and pound Sheets, the Boilers will send South Bend into a tizzy. If Notre Dame goes down the field with the ball, the Irish can get a much-needed win. I think this is a toss up. In a toss up, I like the home team. But really not by much and frankly, I hope I'm wrong! Notre Dame 23 - Purdue 20.

Dan says ... PURDUE 24 at Notre Dame 21 - BIASED PICK!! Going against my advice in the NU-IA game and picking the Boilers with my heart here. If Painter is ever going to get it together this year, this game would be a darn good time.

Wisconsin at Michigan - Michigan has the benefit of a bye week... but oh, wait, so does Wisconsin. The Badgers are simply a better team. Michigan started to move the ball better against Notre Dame but Wisconsin is far better than Notre Dame. The saving grace may be the home field advantage. Look for some new wrinkles from RichRod and Co. but in the end Wisconsin prevails. Wisconsin 27 - Michigan 17.

Dan says ... WISCONSIN 21 at Michigan 14 - A bye week should help the Maize and Gold with the spread learning curve, thus the Badgers get more of a battle than some might expect. Nevertheless, Bucky Badger starts a strong run at the Big Ten with a rare win at the "Big House."

Illinois at Penn State - The big game of the week. How good is Illinois? I'm not sold yet. How good is Penn State? Well, the Nits crushed Oregon State who last night pulled off the upset of the season. Is it apples to apples? Hard to say, but I love Penn State's offense against an Illinois defense that got pushed all over the field by Missouri. Penn State 31 - Illinois 23.

Dan says ... Illinois 17 at PENN STATE 21 - PSU has DOMINATED four teams, but none nearly as good as the Illini. I think that the home team prevails, but they better not take Zook and Company lightly.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Morning QB...
First thing's first - hat's off to Dan "The Machine" Meyer. He went 8-0 last week and is 36-3 on the year with three wins in four weeks. You're more fine-tuned than your Boilers my friend!

Second on the hot list - Javon Ringer. Dude just became the first player to ever share/win three straight B10 Offensive POtW honors and only the second one period. His pace can't continue, but let's do the math: 2097 yards, 33 TDs and plenty of honors await if he can continue on this path. Amazing!

Third on the list... hmm, so Charlie Weis says the illegal laptop in his coach's box was a mistake and not meant to do any harm. This coming from a guy who helped his boss (Bill Belichick) cheat for years in New England. I'm not sayin' ... I'm just sayin' ...

Sorry I bailed on my own home page picks last week... my dad went to the hospital Friday with what they thought could be a stroke or TIA or heart attack. Turns out he had Transient Global Amnesia. Strange, but he's back to normal - for him - so I am as well!

Team by team:
Wisconsin - Da Badgers got a week off to prepare for a tough trio of Big Ten games, starting with a trip to Michigan. While Michigan is down, they are not out and also had a week to prepare. Look for a very good game in AA this weekend.

Purdue - The Boilers used a little shake and bake by Kory Sheets to stave off CMU yet again. ND is next and trust me, they're pissed after getting pounded at State. A win here will go a long way for either team. Purdue must play better.

Penn State - Things finally get tougher for the Nits with Illinois coming to town. The Illini had a week off and are ready to give Penn State a game. This is one of the better games on the slate around the nation this weekend. The question is, can PSU avoid more suspensions?

Ohio State - Welcome to the Pryor show. Troy was the perfect first start for him and now a much-improved Minnesota team rolls into Columbus. OSU is still not firing on all cylinders which could be good or bad for the Gophers. My thinking? It'll be bad as the Bucks are bound to put it all together sooner rather than later.

Northwestern - Don't look now but the 'cats are 4-0. NU takes to the road to battle a wounded Iowa squad in what amounts to a very critical early season game in terms of bowl position. Pay attention, the Wildcats are going to upset someone this year.

Minnesota - See Northwestern above. While I don't like this team as much as I potentially like NU, the Gophers are vastly better than last season. Six wins may still be tough to come by but this team is playing solid football right now.

Michigan State - Perles ball. That's what's being played in E.L. these days. And as a Spartan fan who once lamented that style, I'm loving every minute of it right now. As long as Ringer stays healthy, it is going to work. The passing game must get better but rather than blame Hoyer, I'm focusing on the five drops by receivers. State will be ready for IU - a team Ringer ran all over a season ago.

Michigan - Rich Rod has had a week to prep for the Badgers. He'll unveil something new and this offense, which has started to move the ball well, will be prepared. The question is, will the defense step up? Turnovers have to stop if Michigan wants to get a win against what might just be the best of the Big Ten.

Iowa - The Hawkeyes got stung on the road last weekend but have no time to hang heads. A hungry Northwestern team awaits as does a road trip to East Lansing. Will Iowa rebound? Only if it gets consistent play at QB.

Indiana - The Hoosiers took a big hit to the chops in a big loss at home to Ball State. Ball State is a very good MAC team but this can't bode well heading into the Big Ten. Too much of IU's offense relies on Kellen Lewis. All he doesn't do is catch his own passes. It doesn't get any easier with MSU coming to Bloomington this weekend.

Illinois - First real test since the Mizzou game. Is this a very good or very average Illinois team? We'll find out in Happy Valley this weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Morning QB
Three weeks are already in the books and the Big Ten has had its share of ups and downs. There has been good, bad and ugly all around. Dan Meyer won the tiebreaker this week so he's picking the games up front with yours truly. Dan, email me at by Friday.

To see what has to say about the week that was, click here...

My team by team thoughts and weekly awards follow:

Player of the Week - Javon Ringer, Michigan State. Ringer set a career record in carries and yards and added to his nation's best touchdown tally. The senior bullied for 282 yards on 43 carries and tallied two scores (9 on the season) in Michigan State's wet and wild win over FAU.

Around the Big Ten - there were good things - and bad - in the conference last week. Three teams (Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) get a week off before conference play ensues, and that's a good thing for at least one of them (Michigan).

Illinois - As I watched the end of this one, I had visions of Michigan State - Louisiana Tech dancing through my head. The Illini should have dominated but almost got caught sleep walking. A win is a win, but a lot has to improve between now and the date with Penn State on 9/27.

Indiana - The Hoosiers got a week off to prepare for a good Ball State team. This game is bigger than one might think, mostly because IU can use every win it can get in order to make back-to-back bowl games.

Iowa - The Hawkeyes finally took back the CyHawk Trophy although it was an ugly process. Just when Coach Ferentz thought he had a QB, there was regression and now it is off to Pittsburgh to play a Panthers team that is hungry for a nice win.

Michigan - Yep, the Wolverines out-gained Notre Dame. Yep, there were flashes of what might be in store. But the bottom line? Michigan turned the ball over 6 times. 6 times! There is a week to circle the wagons before two tough Big Ten games in a row - Wisconsin and Illinois.

Michigan State - Saturday's win happened in what I have to say are among the worst, sloppiest conditions I've ever seen. Still, somehow the Spartans pitched their first shutout in 9 seasons and are nice and confident heading into a key battle with rival Notre Dame.

Minnesota - Montana State put up more of a fight than they should have but when push comes to shove, the Gophers have three wins and are building some confidence and momentum. Watch out for FAU this week though. The Owls will look a lot different in temperate, dry conditions than they did in East Lansing.

Northwestern - Hey, hey another team I picked low in the league is 3-0. NU has yet to be tested and this week isn't much different (Ohio). But hey, 4-0 to start means a sub-par conference season still leads to a bowl...

Ohio State - Ouch. Ugly. Let the critics unleash. OSU faced another big game in the face and flushed a chance to change the tide down the toilet. This is still the class of the Big Ten, but that scares me given the way USC manhandled this team. My take? Go with Pryor at QB and take your chances.

Penn State - Okay, so Syracuse, well, SUCKS. So does every team the Nits have faced thus far but man to this point, the offense is reminiscent of the 1993 juggernaut. One more glorified scrimmage to go until we really start to see how good PSU is.

Purdue - This one really hurts. Purdue had this game - and national respectability - in its grasp and it went wide left - twice. This could have been the spring board that the Boilers were seeking to catapult them into the Big Ten title conversation but nope. Let's see how they rebound with a tricky Central Michigan squad coming to town.

Wisconsin - A very nice, solid win that no one outside of Wisconsin probably witnessed this past weekend. Now there is a week to recoup and get ready for a mega stretch of conference games, starting with a trip to Michigan.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Get Gamm - Week Three
Are you ready for some football? It's rainy and nasty here in Michigan, but that makes it even better for crashing on the couch all day Saturday - a day full of great games around the Big Ten and the nation.

Myself? I'd normally be braving the rain to watch my alma mater take the field, but rocket football calls so I'll be watching in HD on a 50 inch plasma, trust me - the next best thing to being there!

We could finally see some separation in the standings this week with all the touch matchups. Click here to see the picks.

Florida Atlantic at Michigan State
Gamm says ... FAU is talking a little smack this week. Michigan State is all business. I think the Owls will move the ball but not be able to translate that into points. Javon Ringer might well go for another 5 scores this week, though I suspect a nice, balanced attack. Michigan State 41 - FAU 20.

Dan says ... MSU 38 - FAU 14

Louisiana-Lafayette at Illinois
Gamm says ... In a world of parity, nothing is a gimme. And the way Illinois is playing defense right now, or not playing defense, that's the case here too. Could be rainy but as long as Juice Williams is on his A-game, no way the Illini lose. Illinois 47 - Louisiana-Lafayette 21

Dan says ... Illinois 42 - Louisiana-Lafayette 10

Montana State at Minnesota
Gamm says ...
This isn't worth much of my time, though Minnesota has lost to teams like this before. However, after the crushing road win over a good BGSU squad last week, a loss here doesn't seem likely. Minnesota 37 - Montana State 13.

Dan says ... Minnesota 41 - Montana State 16

Southern Illinois at Northwestern
Gamm says ... Northwestern avoided an ugly loss last week at Duke and while SIU is decent, NU should get this win. I like the potential for balance with the Wildcats. Cats beat the dogs. Northwestern 30 - SIU 20.

Dan says ... Northwestern 34 - SIU 21

Iowa State at Iowa
Gamm says ...
The Cyclones have been regular winners of the Cy-Hawk a lot over the last 10 games (7 of 10) but Iowa seems to be hitting a stride with a new QB at the helm. This is always a good game and this will be no different. Iowa squeaks one out. Iowa 24 - Iowa State 20.

Dan says ... Iowa 21 - Iowa State 17

Oregon at Purdue
Gamm says ...
I picked Purdue in my preseason predictions but I'm not so sure the Boilers can slow the Ducks down enough to get the win. If it rains, as expected, that evens it out a little. It will be a great battle, a lot overshadowed by the other good games in conference this weekend. Oregon 27 - Purdue 23.

may0170 says ... A couple of potent offenses meet in what should be a great game. I really want to go with the home team here, but my gut tells me that Oregon is going to have the better defense between the two. This one is going to be close, but the Ducks quack louder than the steam whistle this week, Oregon 38, Purdue 31.

Penn State at Syracuse
Gamm says ... Yawn. Penn State is rolling everyone and Syracuse might not be in Coastal Carolina's league. The only way this is a game is if the Nits spot the Orange a three TD lead. Penn State 52 - Syracuse 9.

mayo170 says ... IF this is Joe Paterno’s last season, what a great way to go out, Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Syracuse, and Temple…there’s a murderer’s row. This will be a blowout extraordinaire, Penn State 54, Syracuse 20.

Michigan at Notre Dame
Gamm says ... First one to score wins. Seriously. These might be the two worst big time D1 offenses in the country. Not your typical, historic battle for supremacy. Michigan 10 - Notre Dame 9.

mayo170 says ... While this is a great rivalry, this is not going to be a very great game to watch. Two pretty bad offenses and a couple of decent defenses. Either defense or special teams is going to win this one and since it’s in South Bend, it’s going to be close and Michigan doesn’t look like the kind of team that is going to win many close games this year. Notre Dame 24, Michigan 21

Ohio State at USC
Gamm says ... No one, and I mean NO ONE is giving the Bucknuts a prayer in this one. Yes USC plays at home, has had an extra week to prepare, etc. However, Ohio State is good. They haven't played to potential, but the Buckeyes can win this game. Will they? Maybe not, but it will not be the slam dunk the pundits are predicting. USC 27 - Ohio State 24.

mayo170 says ... I HOPE this game lives up to all the hype. If it’s as good as Michigan-Ohio State in 2006 or Texas-Ohio State from a few years ago, it will be worth it. The good news is that Beanie is back and although this is a biased pick from a Midwesterner, I really like Ohio State in this one for the sheer fact that they have so many weapons on both sides of the ball and want to prove that last week was a fluke. Ohio State 27, USC 23.

Wisconsin at Fresno State
Gamm says ... In many other weeks, this would be the best OOC game in the Big Ten. Fresno is tough with its we take on all comers stance. Wisconsin gets a nice early test. This game might become an instant classic. I want to see the Badgers get the W, but I'm not sure the west coast trip will be as fruitful as the boys in red are hoping. Fresno State 23 - Wisconsin 20.

mayo170 says ... This game looks to be a trap for Wisconsin. If they play like they are capable, no contest, Wisconsin winds hands down. Fresno is a pretty tough team to play regardless of where they play. Fresno was impressive going across the continent to play Rutgers, and Wisconsin will be prepared, but I have a bad feeling that Bielema’s Badgers might hit a bump here. Fresno State 26, Wisconsin 19.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tuesday afternoon Quarterback...

Not much time to look back and frankly, not much to talk about. Michigan struggled - again. Ohio State struggled? Hmmm, how does that bode for this weekend? Minnesota is either a lot better than we thought, or Pittsburgh really sucks. Everyone else looked the part for the weekend.

Ordinarily, I'd get into who's hot and not, players of the week, etc. but I just don't have the time!

So, let's get to Get Gamm. mayo170 was a perfect 11-0 this past week so he'll be picking the SECOND half of the games listed below. Dan Meyer won week two and will pick the top half. Sometime before Friday, please and thank you.

Florida Atlantic at Michigan State
Louisiana-Lafayette at Illinois
Montana State at Minnesota
Southern Illinois at Northwestern
Iowa State at Iowa
Oregon at Purdue
Penn State at Syracuse
Michigan at Notre Dame
Ohio State at USC
Wisconsin at Fresno State

Friday, September 05, 2008

Get Gamm - Week Two

Hard to believe it's almost Saturday. Told you I've been busy. I've had football thoughts swirling my head all week but no time to share! Predictably, last week was a pretty even week for picking the games. Dan was closest on the Mizzou - Illinois tiebreaker and holds the lead. If I can catch my breath, Dan and this week's winner will spilt the games next week and predict on the blog.

For now, here are the games and my quick thoughts as well as the predictions from Picks are due by kick of the first game.

Eastern Illinois at Illinois - The Illini offense was on full display last week, especially through the air. Problem is, the defense was more full of holes than Swiss cheese! Redemption this week, albeit against a far inferior foe. Illinois 45 - EIU 17

Murray State at Indiana - Indiana never really put Western Kentucky away last week but it wasn't Kellen Lewis' fault. He was almost as amazing as Juice Williams. Indiana needs to find a runner other than Lewis, games like this help. Indiana 38 - Murray State 7

Florida International at Iowa - Iowa looked strong last week against Maine, and while FIU won't pose a threat, it'll be a progressively tougher test. Iowa should cruise easily. Iowa 34 - FIU 13

Miami-OH at Michigan - The Red Hawks might be just what the doctor ordered for Michigan. The Wolverines struggled offensively against Utah and the defense didn't come to play until the second half. This should be a much easier game for RichRod and the maize and blue, but we'll see if the improvements are enough to satisfy expectant Michigan fans. Michigan 31 - Miami-OH 9

Eastern Michigan at Michigan State - Eastern Michigan is an improved football team. Michigan State is young and coming off its seventh loss in two seasons of 7 points or less. Are the Spartans mature enough to jam the throttle to the floor and not let up? Look for much more out of the ground game from Ringer and company and while EMU might hang for a half, they'll wear down late. Michigan State 40 - Eastern Michigan 16.

Minnesota at Bowling Green - Okay, I picked this one before the season and after BGSU's beating of Pitt, at Pitt last week, and the Gophers' struggle with middle-tier MAC squad Northern Illinois, I feel even more confident. Minnesota is getting better, and is gutsy to hit the road, but they'll wish they hadn't with this one. Bowling Green makes it 2-fer over BCS foes. BGSU 30 - Minnesota 23.

Northwestern at Duke - Ah the battle of the intellectuals! A horrid Duke team beat NU in Evanston last season, with Hurricane Hanna approaching, and conditions looking to be dismal, can they do the same? Paybacks are hell. Northwestern 27 - Duke 17.

Ohio at Ohio State - Chump two in the warm-up campaign for the trek to Southern Cal. Ohio State looked awfully good last week but will see how it can run without Beanie Wells. Look for Pryor to get more time and for the Bucks to roll. Ohio State 41 - Ohio 10.

Oregon State at Penn State - Perhaps the only decent match-up on the slate. Penn State suspended three for this game but the Beavers come cross-country after a rough loss to Stanford last week. It'll be a game most of the way, but Penn State is too good to lose this one at Beaver Stadium. Penn State 33 - Oregon State 17.

Northern Colorado at Purdue - The Boilers got their bye in week one and have to be chomping at the bit to hit someone else. Painter should have a field day. Purdue rolls. Purdue 48 - Northern Colorado 14.

Marshall at Wisconsin - Not a bad test for the home field dominant Badgers but not a test a la Michigan/Utah, Illinois/Missouri or Michigan State/Cal either. Step up from the Zips who played UW tough. Wisconsin 35 - Marshall 17.