It’s ok Missouri, somebody will pick you up.

Written Ramblings by DJ, JS and BB

Russell Wilson = For real ..

How were those $200 tickets Husker fans?  Apparently one Husker fan bought Wisconsin season tickets just so he can go to the game last weekend.  He can probably make a profit by selling the rest of them compared to the other fans.  The Big Ten games with College Gameday around haven’t been that good lately.  Last year’s Gameday showcase between Illinois and Northwestern wasn’t close either.  Both teams had to go only one direction on the field.  The fan turnout was weak b/c Gameday didn’t realize that there is really not much of a strong Illini presence in Chicago.  Then there was the main biggest issue of the day – Erin Andrews wasn’t out on Clark/Addison b/c she was covering the field inside the ballpark.  Nonetheless, these games don’t bode well for the Big Ten on the national stage.

One week down in the Big Ten, eight more to go.  Let’s break the games down with our roundtable of writers.  To paraphrase Bret Bielema, “On, Big Ten…”

Iowa @ Penn State (3:30 EST, ABC/ESPN)

DJ:  Why are Penn State linebackers talking smack about Iowa by calling them a “wrestling school” and not a “football school??” Maybe they should figure out if they have a quarterback and an offensive line first before mouthing off.  Iowa has owned Penn State in the recent years and that won’t change this weekend.  Iowa wins 21-17 and enters the Top 25.

BB:  PSU hasn’t looked good yet this year and Iowa seems to have their number the last few seasons.  Poor JoePa.

JS:  Every time I see this game I am reminded about the 6-4 game that they played. That’s not a typo – the final score was 6 to 4 – Iowa won. The only reason why Penn State scored four points was because Iowa purposely sent the ball sailing through the end zone on a punt so that it would give PSU a longer field to try and score on. THAT”S how inept PSU’s offense was that year. This year? Can’t say it will be too different. As the saying goes, if you have two quarterback, then you have none. Personally, I think they should just start Matt McGloin, a ginger haired walk on. That’s pretty much all you need to know about him. He is the classic overachiever. The other quarterback is Rob Bolden – talented dual threat quarterback but someone who doesn’t seem to have the confidence of the team to perform well. How do I know that? They keep pulling him for McGloin. PSU has one of the best defensive linemen in the league in Devon Still, but he needs help. They lost Mike Mauti, a middle line backer, to a torn ACL and their secondary isn’t great.  Iowa, on the other hand, seems like their defense is poorer than it has been in years. Case in point – a 44-41 triple overtime loss to Iowa State for the greatest trophy ever made – The CyHawk Trophy. Iowa does, however, have a great passing game. Their quarterback, Vandenberg, has some Stanzi in him and has a good enough arm to make all the throws, which is more than enough to beat Penn State.  On a side note – how come Michigan can’t play Penn State when they are atrocious?

Iowa – 28; Penn State -20

Illinois @ Indiana (2:30 EST, BTN)

DJ:  Since when does the Big Ten schedule games at 2:30 EST??  ACC tries to “buy” a few minutes of extra ratings by starting games around 12:30 or 4:30 EST … that’s why the Clemson – Va Tech game started at a random time last week.  Please stick to the regular times of 12, 3:30 and 8 EST,  thanks.  Oh, and about the game?  I was surprised that The Zooker didn’t pull Scheelhase midway through the 3rd quarter last weekend which would have led to a Wildcat blowout.  Jason Ford should have been walking around the campus with the ball this past week after almost blowing the game with his fumble.  Illinois is good but I am not sure if they are top 20 material.  First road game of the year for them.   Indiana played Penn State pretty tough.  Expect Indiana to cover but an Illinois win.  Illinois wins 28-24.

BB:  Despite a close game against a seemingly terrible PSU team, Indiana just doesn’t have the talent.  Illini go to 6-0.

JS:  This should be a cake walk for the Illini but remember – they are coached by Ron Zook. Still, their defense seems pretty legit and Indiana is still Indiana, although they are improving bit by bit with new head coach Kevin Wilson. Also, Illinois is coming back down to earth after a thrilling game where they beat Northwestern in the final 30 seconds – eerily similar to how Michigan beat Notre Dame – three lead changing touchdowns in the last two minutes. Very exciting stuff. Scheelhaase is one of the better quarterbacks in the B1G and he’s got a decent running back behind him and a good wide receiver. Indiana needs to play well not just because that’s what they are expected to do, but they need to keep Gunner Kiel, the nation’s number one pro style quarterback recruit this year, committed to them. It helps that his brother is getting increasing amounts of playing time, but the lack of noticeable improvement has got to be concerning to him and all Hoosier fans.  

Illinois – 35; Indiana 17

Minnesota @ Purdue (11 AM EST, ESPN)

DJ:  The ‘Stache Bowl!!!  Nothing more to say about this game.  Purdue probably plays Drew Brees highlights during timeouts to keep their fans around during blowouts.  What about Minny?  They got romped by 58 points for the Brown Jug.  The Gopher – Wolverine rivalry hasn’t been that good over the last ten years.  If this continues, most Michigan students will just think of the Brown Jug as a place that serves really good hummus, offers $3 o-bombs and has a “back room” with $2 pizza slices. Purdue wins 20-14.

BB:  Someone has to win this game.  Why not the home team?

JS:  Ugh – it hurts my brain just thinking about this game. Aren’t we all losers if we have to watch these two teams play? I’m still in shock that Minnesota only lost to USC by TWO POINTS. I had heard big things about Minnesota’s Coach Kill and from his stint as a very successful head coach in the MAC, I expected that Minnesota would struggle but play with more determination and fight. Then reality happened. I still think Kill is a good coach but it’s taking quite some time for people to buy into him. The biggest key is MarQuis Grey – Minnesota’s most dangerous player (a dual threat QB) that was sidelined with a toe injury against Michigan. If he plays, the chances of Minnesota winning increase dramatically. Also, how can you not root for Coach Kill after he’s suffered seizures after games and still presses on. That man loves football and the Golden Gophers should be fighting like hell to play well for this man.  Purdue is just an enigma – they are basically Minnesota but with a better run game. I thought having Marve back would make Purdue better but I was wrong. I’ve seen glimpses of the other Purdue quarterback, Caleb TerBush, and if Marve can’t keep him on the bench, then there must be something REALLY wrong with him. It will be a very close game and the only reason I’m going to pick Purdue is because they are at home.

Purdue – 23; Minnesota – 21

Michigan @ Northwestern (7 PM EST, BTN)

DJ:  No road games so far for Michigan.  They beat a team that could go winless all year long by 58 points at home.  All of a sudden this team has a defense and jumps seven spots in the polls??  Ease off the cool-aid Michigan fans.  I like Hoke but you are not there yet.  Persa might be playing in this game.  If Tommy Rees ripped the Michigan secondary, can you imagine what Persa can do?  Did you see what Persa did last weekend?  Four TDs over 11 attempts!  The Northwestern Fitzies win this game with Persa.  I’ll take Willie to win 35-31.

BB:  Even with Persa playing, I’d take Michigan but without him this is no contest.  The Wolverines might be back.

JS:  Michigan’s first road game of the year and biggest challenge since Notre Dame. Michigan is coming off an evisceration of Minnesota and Northwestern is coming off a heartbreaker against Illinois. New Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has his team pretty grounded, as he himself has stated that he thinks his team is overrated as the 11/12 team in the country. NW’s coach Pat Fitzgerald, who was rumored to be a candidate for the Michigan coaching job at one point, is a fantastic coach and is bringing a new level of high play consistency to the Wildcats’ program. I’m sure he will have his player fired up for this game. Added motivation comes from the fact that it is supposed to be Northwestern’s biggest recruiting weekend and they want to put on a great show for their perspective/committed recruits. The biggest factor in this game is Northwestern QB Dan Persa – is his foot healthy enough to play at a high level? He didn’t run for much against Illinois but he lit them up through the air. Backup QB Kain Colter has seen a lot of playing time and is by far the more mobile of the two but is not nearly as polished in the passing game as Persa is. Also, adding insult to injury is that NW’s best running back, Mike Trumphy, is out with a torn ACL.  Michigan meanwhile is playing with a ton of confidence, buoyed by the surprisingly strong play of their defense this year, as well as the debut of a new offensive formation where Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson are on the field at the same time. They tried four different plays with this formation, all with some varying degree of success. An added wrinkle, to be sure, for defensive coordinators to prepare for and hopefully prepare unsuccessfully for. Having a 100% healthy Persa would scare the crap out of me but as of now, he only kind of scares the crap out of me.

Michigan – 35; Northwestern – 31

Ohio State @ Nebraska (8 PM EST, ABC)

DJ:  Ok, so Taylor Martinez can’t throw that well.  And the Nebraska secondary might be suspect. But Bucky is really good and they hit the jackpot with Wilson.  No need to panic at all.  Ohio State can’t buy a pass with any amount of money from the “friends of the program.” I never understood how a program like Ohio State can have such bad backups at skill positions.  Did they just stop recruiting after getting Pryor?  Or did they not give any reps to the backups.  How can these guys be that bad???  You knew Pryor wasn’t coming back for about two months now.  This is like UNC making the NIT after winning the NC a couple years ago and the media giving props to Roy Williams for doing a “great” job??  Top tier programs’ backups are at least as good as the middle of the pack teams.  I don’t get it.  Anyway, Ohio State has no offense.  Nebraska wins big … 24-10.

BB:  This game lost a lot of the intrigue after what happened in Columbus and Madison last weekend but tOSU just doesn’t have the QB play to hang with Nebraska on the road, especially with more tattoo-related suspensions.  Huskers get their first B10 win.

JS:  Oh man, I would not like to be Ohio State right now. As many people have noticed, OSU’s offense is inept. I believe the best comparison is that OSU 2011 offense = Michigan 2010 defense. Yes, that is a big slap in the face. Part of this has to do with Terelle Pryor taking his cars and tattoos to the NFL. Part of this also has to do with the rest of the suspended players on offense, which include their starting left tackle (Mike Adams), running back (Boom Herron) and receiver (DeVier Posey). Now it seems like Herron and Posey will be out for a longer period of time regarding even more illegal benefits taken from a summer job. As a Michigan fan this gives me great joy. OSU’s defense still seems pretty legit considering they held MSU to only 10 points (although ND’s atrocious defense held them to 13, so maybe they’re not as good as we thought).  Meanwhile, Nebraska just got through one of the most primetime thorough beatings I’ve ever seen. You know who else watched it? Bo Pelini, a man whose mouth makes Brian Kelly look like Mother Theresa. You can be sure that the not-so vaunted “Blackshirt” defense will be salivating to prove that last weekend was an deviation from the norm. All they will have to do is step on the field and mission complete. Braxton Miller might be a good quarterback in the future, but he is not one right now. He was widely considered the top dual threat quarterback coming out of high school and was the successor to Pryor, but he got thrust in the fire much sooner than expected. You can tell by the way he plays that he got by on pure athletic skill in high school because he can’t really read defenses just yet. I thought putting in Joe Bauserman was a sure thing but I was dead wrong. I can’t believe how poor they are playing. I’m hoping they will get their act together and put on a good show. I do not want Nebraska to come in and simply run roughshod over the B1G on their first run through. They will, however, run roughshod over Ohio State.

Nebraska – 28; Ohio State – 7

There you go folks.  5 games, 5 sets of predictions.  Be patient Missouri, there is definitely a conference out there for you.  I promise.

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