Get Gamm - Week Eight
For most, this is just another interesting week of conference play. A couple of good games and some other tune-ups for next week and beyond. For me? This is THE week. Michigan State and Michigan go toe to toe and there is plenty at stake. There is also plenty of talk, though mostly from former players.
Before I get picking though, I have to weigh in on the college football landscape.
Memo to Mizzou - stay where you are. The SEC will eat you alive and use you for the fact that you are about more than just sports (See Vandy). A&M was wisely replaced with TCU and if the Big 12 has its wits, Houston and SMU will follow to make it a happy family of 12 once again. Or, hey, do nothing and stay at ten. Forget BYU or Boise. My goodness can we get some regional reality in these conferences?
Speaking of which... the Big East is desperate. It is said to be courting schools as far south as Orlando and as far west as Boise. Please. May as well change the name to Big Spread All Over. Boise does not belong in the Big East. Nor does Air Force or even eastern based academies like Army and Navy. In fact, I think Army, Navy, Air Force, VMI and The Citadel should create their own militant conference... but that's just me.
Kudos to the Big Ten for staying put. The only logical move is when or if Notre Dame is ever truly fair game. Then you add them and only someone else if they make sense...
Now, onto the week at hand:
Indiana at Wisconsin, Noon EDT (ESPN2)
Yawn. Indiana is on the cusp of ESPN.com's Bottom 10. Wisconsin is coming off of a bye, ready and refreshed. It is Homecoming, which may be the only thing that keeps the crowd engaged. Kevin Wilson will eventually get the Hoosiers competing, but Russell Wilson pads the stats in a warm up for the big game in East Lansing (the last time the Badgers lost in conference was at MSU last year). Wisconsin 45 - IU 10
Purdue at Penn State, Noon EDT (BTN)
Purdue might wind up one of the those teams that somehow manages to make a bowl game this season. The Boilers aren't very good but have a chance in this one because Penn State's offense has been abysmal. I'll venture to guess that the Nittany Lions will be sluggish to start after a hard fought win over Iowa and that this will be a better game than expected. But PSU is flat out better and just keeps finding ways to win. Penn State 23 - Purdue 13.
Michigan at Michigan State, Noon EDT (ESPN) (Game of the Week)
Really? A noon game between two ranked teams? I guess OK and TX did it last week but come on. This is far better than OSU and Illinois. Ok, enough venting. The noon tilt back in 2009 was a memorable one - an OT win for the green and white. If you look at it carefully, Michigan State has had some of the best success in slowing D-Rob over his career. The Spartans bring a great defense if a sluggish offense to the table. Michigan has been far more opportunistic with the turnovers on D and is bending but not breaking. Typically this one goes to the team who rushes for more yards. M has the upper hand on offense, but State on defense and special teams. Spartans break it open late. Michigan State 31 - Michigan 17.
Ohio State at Illinois, 3:30pm EDT (ABC)
Well, we know OSU isn't totally dead yet - at least not if Braxton Miller is healthy. For as awful as he was made to look against MSU, Miller was a stud against Nebraska. Problem is, the Buckeyes fizzled and blew a 21-point lead. Illinois wasn't great last week at Indiana but that was to be expected after three close wins in a row. The Illini are good and should win this game, but I cannot believe that Ohio State will lose a third straight Big Ten game. OSU pulls off a mild upset. Ohio State 23 - Illinois 20
Northwestern at Iowa, 7pm EDT (BTN)
A battle of the bruised and battered. Iowa looked the part of a wrestling school at Penn State last week. Northwestern once again failed to sustain a lead against a good team. The Wildcats have given the Hawkeyes fits of late and the black and gold O took a giant leap back last week. I'm not sure who truly needs this one more, but for some reason I like the 'Cats to pull off the weekend's second road upset. Northwestern 26 - Iowa 24.