Get Gamm - Week Five
Can you believe it is October? Wow, time flies. Basketball practice starts in less than two weeks. For some of us (maybe me) that is really important!
I'm not giving up on football just yet. We're but one game into Big Ten play in a conference that appears wide open. In fact, as I re-evaluate the situation, we may have a 1990-like four way tie at the top this year. Time will tell. In the meantime, Buckeye Nation is here to pick with me this week. A week which boasts some good - and critical I might add - rivalry match-ups.
Arkansas State at Iowa - Don't look now but the Iowa team we all questioned heavily after the week one scare is 4-0, improving and poised to do great things this season. The only possible glitch comes if the Hawkeyes get caught looking ahead to next week's battle with Michigan. I doubt that happens. Iowa rolls. Iowa 38 - Arkansas State 10.
Buckeye Nation says ... The Hawkeyes get a home breather after the huge upset win they pulled off in happy Valley last Saturday. If this were a Big 10 game, the Hawks could have been ripe for a trap game. Instead, after an initial lethargy, the Hawks will be feeling their oats amongst the home folks in Iowa City in a laugher. Iowa 36 - Arkansas State 13
Northwestern at Purdue - This one is very intriguing to me. Purdue starts fresh (0-0) if only because the 1-3 OOC slate is behind them. It was very MSU-like with two tough losses at Oregon and to Notre Dame and three losses by a total of 12 points. Northwestern has lost two in a row and suddenly can't tackle. The 'cats hammered Purdue last year and the Boilers are hungry for payback, to win on Homecoming, and heck, to win in general. An overtime, instant classic. Purdue 38 - Northwestern 37.
Buckeye Nation says ... The Boilers now have two coulda, shoulda, wouldas firmly in the loss column. No doubt they shoulda beat Notre Dame, but they didn't, as the result of a questionable TO call by their bench. Moving on, which they better do, lest they be prime for a home upset, the Boilers begin the Big 10 slate with a home game they should win over a struggling/disappointing Wildcat squad. Purdue 32 - Northwestern 23
Wisconsin at Minnesota - The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe takes place outside in the elements in Minnesota for the first time in over two decades. Wisconsin is a rock solid 4-0 (1-0). Minnesota has just one OOC blemish (Cal). I witnessed the Badgers first hand and love their balance and defense's ability to turn people over in droves. Minnesota keeps getting better, but I think Wisconsin gets it done in another instant classic. Wisconsin 27 - Minnesota 24.
Buckeye Nation says ... A rivalry game right out of the chute for the Gophers in their new TCF "the Bank" Stadium. Ordinarily, Badger fans would fill the rafters of the Metrodome as the Wisconsin faithful travel well to the Twin Cities. However, this year, with the new stadium, interest in Minnesota GOPHER football has exploded, thanks largely to the new OUTDOOR facility. That means most of the seats will be occupied by Maroon & Gold loyalists, and not No Stinkin' Badgers fans. This one is for the Paul Bunyan Axe, and I see the Gophs prevailing in this hard-hitting rock 'em, sock 'em contest. Minnesota 31 - Wisconsin 28
Michigan at Michigan State - Folks, this is THE season for Michigan State. And I'm bummed as it is the first home game in the series that I have to miss in my 19 years as a season ticket holder. My son's football game comes first, but he and I will be willing the Spartans to a much-needed, season turning win from afar. Neither team can stop the pass. Michigan can run. Michigan State can throw. The team that has won the ground game has won 36 of the last 39 - which bodes well for Michigan. But I think Tate Forcier is more hurt than we're hearing and MSU needs this more. Michigan State wins in game not as close as the final indicates and makes it two straight over Michigan for the first time since the 1960s! Michigan State 42 - Michigan 34.
Buckeye Nation says ... Another rivalry game sees the worse-than-expected Spartans host the better-than-expected Wolverines. MSU could be undefeated right now, but instead are 1-3. The Wolvie have not played a game outside of Ann Arbor, and a first road game down the road in East Lansing before a hostile Spartan crowd will change the calculus for who wins this contest. I see the green and white finally righting the ship and eventually driving a stake through the heart of RichRod and his maize and blue contingent. Michigan State 32 - Michigan 28
Penn State at Illinois - Two teams that were stung in different ways last week. Illinois has flat out looked bad, and I don't think they can recover. Anyone seen a FireRonZook.com yet? Penn State was exposed up front on offense and had it proven that playing all cupcakes in September does you no good. Penn State has more to play for than Illinois. Penn State is better than Illinois. Penn State crushes Illinois. Penn State 31 - Illinois 10.
Buckeye Nation says ... Both teams are coming off huge losses. Illinois was thought to be much better this year with a seasoned Juice Williams running and throwing to Aurelious Benn, arguably the best WR in the conference. Penn State was thought to be merely reloading from last year's Rose Bowl Big 10 co-champs squad. Both thoughts were wrong; neither squad is as good as they were in previous seasons. Without protection up front, Darryl Clark is just an average QB as Iowa proved last Saturday. Although the Illini are at home, they have many more problems to address than Penn State. Unless PSU turns the ball over, I see the Nittany Lions getting back on the winning track in Champaign-Urbana, while the "fireronzook.com" contingent gains steam among the Illini faithful. Penn State 27 - Illinois 24
Ohio State at Indiana - So, either last week showed Indiana was for real or Michigan is still a long way from where some think they might be. The last two weeks showed me that Ohio State is not dead. While the offense would still scare me if I was Buckeye Nation, the defense is nails right now. Indiana is better than I had them pegged to be, but I think as for my lead in, it was a little bit of both. I expect a valiant effort by IU at home, under the lights but Ohio State is flat out better and wins going away late. Ohio State 33 - Indiana 14.
Buckeye Nation says ... The Hoosiers were oh-so-close to almost knocking off Michigan in Ann Arbor for the first time since Harry Gonso and Jade Butcher donned the crimson and cream way back in 1967. But a controversial officials call in the waning moments gave the game to Michigan. The Hoosiers think they should have won, but they lost, and that bad after-taste will linger into this contest. The Buckeyes are coming off a second consecutive shutout win over Illinois, with a defense that some believe is the best OSU has had in some time. Buckeye fans always travel well in large numbers for the 4-hour trip to Bloomington, and this year will be no exception. The game will be under the lights, and look for OSU to prevail over Indiana once again.Ohio State 35 - Indiana 10