Let me begin this week with a sincere apology. I totally forgot to pick the Indiana-Charleston Southern game last week. I know a lot of you rely on my advice to help guide you through the college football landscape that brings a bit of color to our otherwise dull and miserable lives. I'm truly sorry for the oversight.
On the other hand, it's not like any of you noticed that I forgot that game, so.
The Hawks are off this week, which means you might actually be paying attention to these other, lesser games. I won't be because of one of those patented Real Life Intrusions that seem to
afflict enhance my life every Saturday in every October. So let me just give these games my best shot now.
Rutgers at Illinois
Illinois 24, Rutgers 13.
Michigan at Indiana
This game is a great, almost perfect candidate for the post-heartbreak hangover for the Wolverines. (In other words, it's their version of our Michigan State game.) Coach Cool Dad Wannabe is suddenly without a quarterback and his team (which I remind you was in a lot of preseason Top Tens) looks like it might be the fourth best team in the Big Ten East. Indiana has scarcely done anything amazing yet but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Hoosiers managed to take this one from a suddenly directionless Michigan team.
Indiana 34, Michigan 31.
Northwestern at Maryland
That jNWU is doddering is well-known, but Maryland's struggles with injuries have taken some serious shine off of a pretty good team. We all knew the Terps had no shot against the Buckeyes last week but I wasn't expecting them to get filleted like they did. I think Maryland will rebound nicely from that, however. You kind of know they weren't expecting to win. jNWU hasn't looked good in any of its games this season, and it's Week 7 now. They're just an average team struggling to make plays.
Still, I wouldn't watch this game unless there was a free five-day vacation attached to it.
Maryland 28, jNWU 20.
Michigan State at Minnesota
O'Rourke Fleck's confidence is infectious, beyond a doubt, but let's not forget that Minnesota once employed the equally confident Tim Brewster and got little out of the experience. Michigan State is what it always was -- the football equivalent of a two-hour lecture in the late afternoon after a huge pasta lunch -- but at least Sparty is winning again.
Look, I enjoy mocking the Gophers as much as any Iowa fan who spent seven years in Minnesota possibly can. But I do believe Fleck is eventually going to make a difference in Minneapolis. He's going to need different players than the ones he's got, that's all, but he will get them. However, I see this game as yet another reminder for the Gopher faithful that they still have a ways to go to bust the six-win barrier.
Michigan State 17, Minnesota 10.
Ohio State at Nebraska
I am so stoked.
I've been rolling around Lincoln in my 5.0 all week listening to sports talk radio and everyone is talking about how big this game is.
It's bigger than the coeds' hair. Bigger The Last Action Hero. Bigger than Poison. Bigger than pogs.
This is going to be epic, homeslice. And I can't believe we're favored by three and a half touchdowns over OSU. I am so glad everyone finally realizes that the Huskers aren't back because they never left, we're ready to start making the giants cry again like we did to Steve Spurrier a couple years ago. WE HAVE COME HERE TO CHEW BUBBLE GUM AND KICK A--
[is handed a note explaining what "+24.5" means in a point spread]
I HATE YOU GUYS, YOU SUCK WORSE THAN NKOTB
Ohio State 44, Nebraska 17.
Purdue at Wisconsin
It took to the end of the list but we finally get to a game that promises to be pretty good. I don't know what sort of magic incantations Jeff Brohm knows that Darrell Hazell didn't, but he has completely flipped his team. The second half of the Boilermakers' schedule is a bit on the soft side (yes, yes, I know we're on it) so at this point I think Purdue could wind up with seven or eight wins, a remarkable one-season turnaround for a program that's been a bit soft in the moments of amazement lately.
Which is not to say they're going to win this game, because they're not. I couldn't name a single player who plays for the Badgers, but I learned long ago that the names on those jerseys don't matter anyway. They'll win nine games no matter who they put out there.
Wisconsin 37, Purdue 24.