Get Gamm - Week Eleven
Here we are entering our 11th week of Big Ten football and each and every team can still make a bowl. Not everyone will of course, but it speaks to the parity of the league. Check that, it speaks VOLUMES to the parity in this league.
Aside from some must-win battles on the slate, we also have the BCS decider. The winner of Iowa and Ohio State will represent the Big Ten in the Granddaddy of 'em all. It's too bad that Iowa isn't full strength. This would have been similar to the MSU-Iowa game in terms of defense, goal line stands, bloodied and battered players...
AndrewJ1313 shot into first place with around 20-25 games left to pick and appears here again this week.
Michigan at Wisconsin - Do you think the Badgers might have a little payback in mind? A season ago, Michigan won a lone Big Ten conference game. It was at UW's expense and due to a blown lead at that. Fast forward a year and Michigan has one, close Big Ten win to its credit, is .500 overall and needs one win in two games to avoid a second-straight "home for the holidays" bowl season. Wisconsin still has at-large BCS dreams in mind. The Badgers are quietly racking up a very solid season, should win this one with relative ease and get that measure of satisfaction that comes from payback... Wisconsin 34 - Michigan 24
AndrewJ1313 says ... I think I said it when I picked with Gamm in week six, that Michigan looks like a typical RichRod team – all flash, no defense. I love it when I’m right. After the “Michigan’s back” 4-0 start, this team has hit the basement floor hard going 1-5 in their last six games. Wisconsin has a real chance of getting to 10 wins and that will be good enough for an Outback Bowl bid. Michigan on the other hand could be a real trap game for OSU next week if the Scarlet and Grey can handle Iowa this week. Michigan will have everything on the line to either go bowling or go home (actually, Michigan will probably be home regardless, as bowl eligibility will only take them to Detroit). Wisconsin 32, Michigan 20
Northwestern at Illinois - This one went from tricky pick, to no brainer, back to tricky pick all in the manner of a few weeks. At the onset of the season, I saw Illinois as a top tier team and Northwestern as a sleeper. Then Illinois sleep-walked through the first seven weeks of the season. Northwestern was playing well and it became clear that this was going to be a nice win in the pocket for the Wildcats. Then Illinois awoke - in a major way and followed that up with a good road win. Meanwhile, Northwestern faded against Penn State after losing Mike Kafka to injury, but followed that up with a big, road upset win over Iowa. Northwestern is bowl eligible already. Illinois needs to win out. The latter won't happen, but the Illini get it done in this rivalry game. Illinois 27 - Northwestern 24
AndrewJ1313 says ... Who would have thought that this game would feature two teams coming off nice wins? Did Illinois put it together for the remainder of the season or did their competition just pack it in? Can Northwestern carry the momentum from last week’s shocker into this week? I think so. Northwestern would like to position themselves for a better bowl and needs to do that either this week or next and their best chance is this week against an up and down Illini squad. I think Zook is looking for work next season, but we’ll see. Northwestern 28, Illinois 24
South Dakota State at Minnesota - Two unlikely mascots go toe-to-toe this weekend in the Land of 10,000 lakes. The Jackrabbits v. Golden Gophers. Neither strikes much fear unless of course you are the assistant greens keeper at Bushwood. But I digress... This is a critical game for Minnesota. Everything gained in the Halloween win over MSU was tossed out the window against Illinois. With a trip to Iowa City left, this is the best remaining change for the Gophers to get to six wins. The Jackrabbits are 7-2 and an impressive FCS foe. I'm really tempted to go with a big upset here, but Minnesota prevails... if barely. Minnesota 31 - SDSU 30
AndrewJ1313 says ... Just what the doctor ordered for Minnesota to get to bowl eligibility - South Dakota State. If the Gophers can’t get by an FCS foe, then they don’t deserve to go bowling anyway. Minnesota 42, Jackrabbits 13
Indiana at Penn State - This one is all about the future. Well, the immediate future (December/January) anyway. Indiana has to win out. No small task considering the impending trip to State College. Penn State still has a fair shot at a BCS at-large but needs to win out. The Nittany Lions have had no trouble with the teams it should be but have struggled in the big one. I think Doss and the Hoosiers come to play and make a great effort, but leave with a loss after Penn State wakes up late and staves off the upset. Penn State 37 - Indiana 28
AndrewJ1313 says ... Does anyone know how good Penn St. is? Their two toughest match-ups of the season were both losses in which Penn St. was dominated in the second half. Take away some major screw jobs from the officiating crews and Indiana could already be bowl eligible at 6-4. The week after the loss to Iowa, PSU followed it up by taking out their frustrations on Illinois. I think they do it again against a decent Indiana team. PSU 38, IU 20.
Michigan State at Purdue - The sleeper game of the week in the Big Ten. Heck, if we were talking hoops, this would be THE game! Purdue is at the peak after hitting rock bottom at Wisconsin two weeks ago. The Spartans are one win from their first back-to-back-to-back bowl berths since 1995-97. State thumped Western Michigan last weekend and is firing on all cylinders offensively. Purdue finally won at Michigan last weekend and is potent on offense as well. Both have lost close games this season. Both have visions of warmth and sun for the holidays. Michigan State has the edge in overall talent and wins this game by forcing turnovers. Michigan State 30 - Purdue 24
AndrewJ1313 says ... Purdue has been up and down almost as much as Illinois this year, perfect example, the past two weeks. A 37-0 loss followed by a come-from-behind 38-36 thriller in Ann Arbor. The Boilers have the ability to beat MSU. Both teams need this win, but Purdue needs it more, add that motivation to the fact that it is senior day, I think the Boilers get it done in a nail-bitter. Purdue 24, MSU 23
Iowa at Ohio State (Tiebreaker) - The Game of the Week. Two of the best defenses in the conference. An offense that has started to rise up. An offense that has lost its leader. And that is the difference. I wish Stanzi were playing because I think this would be a vintage Big Ten game. But he's not and Iowa's run for the Roses will hit the wall. The Hawkeyes will keep this a game with defense, but the injuries have come to a point where they have become insurmountable. Iowa hangs tough against a conservative game plan, but OSU prevails and wins its fifth straight title. Ohio State 23 - Iowa 14
AndrewJ1313 says ... The clock may have struck midnight on Iowa. A freshman QB making his first start on the road at the Shoe against a rolling and confident OSU team. Iowa is a team that knows how to win, that’s why they were 9-0. Even without Stanzi, Iowa is playing for the Roses and that should be motivation enough to make this a closer and better game than most people are thinking. The win against Penn St. felt good for Buckeye fans, trust me, but just because they Buckeyes went on the road to one of the toughest places to play in the country, dominated the trenches and won big, doesn’t mean they are out of the woods just yet. Getting by Iowa would be big for the Buckeyes, but they must stay focused or Michigan will catch them. In the end, no Stanzi, the Big Ten’s most dominating defense, Ohio State should be heading to Pasadena. OSU 20, Iowa 16.