Pickin' On the Big Ten: Week 3, 2019 Season

By Mark Hasty on September 12, 2019 at 10:00 am
Sparky vs Sparty: Round II
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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This is the last week with a significant number of non-conference games so I'll dispense with the introduction and get right to the review of last week's performance.

Illinois at UConn: I said Illinois 33, UConn 17; actual score, Illinois 31, UConn 23.
So in consecutive weeks I underestimated both Illinois and UConn. Why do I keep writing, again?

Eastern Illinois at Indiana: I said IU 44, EIU 7; actual score, IU 52, EIU 0.
That's what I get for thinking the likes of EIU could ever score even a single point against that defensive juggernaut, Indiana.

Rutgers at Iowa: I said Iowa 33, Rutgers 27; actual score, Iowa 30, Rutgers 0.
That's what I get for thinking there is anything at all to be gained by paying even a flyspeck of attention to Rutgers. Fool me once, shame on you ...

Syracuse at Maryland: I said Syracuse 24, Maryland 20; actual score, indeterminate because this game was never played.
No, it wasn't. Stop trying to convince me. Anyone can make a fake webpage.

Army at Michigan: I said Michigan 30, Army 17; actual score, Michigan 24, Army 21.
I would have you note that it appears I was right about Harbaugh not preparing for Army at all.

Western Michigan at Michigan State: I said Sparty 41, WMU 13; actual score, Sparty 51, WMU 17.
I am not sure I want to live in a world where Sparty can drop half a century on anyone.

Minnesota at Fresno State: I said Fresno State 34, Minny 24; actual score, Minny 38, Fresno 35.
I think since I was within one point of Fresno's actual point total that should count as a win.

Nebraska at Colorado: I said Colorado 28, Nebraska 27; actual score, Colorado 34, Nebraska 31.
I am informed that after the game Husker Todd finally admitted he should take his meds at least twice a week, if he remembers.

Cincinnati at Ohio State: I said Ohio State 40, Cincinnati 16; actual score, Ohio State 42, Cincinnati 0.
It's a new Day in Columbus, get it?

Buffalo at Penn State: I said Penn State 56, Buffalo 10; actual score, Penn State 45, Buffalo 13.
I still believe in Lance Leipold, for what it's worth.

Vanderbilt at Purdue: I said Purdue 30, Vandy 24; actual score, Purdue 42, Vandy 24.
Look! I got one exactly half-right!

Central Michigan at Wisconsin: I said Wisconsin 48, CMU 12; actual score, Wisconsin 61, CMU 0. 
For those of you keeping score at home (literally), no one has scored on Wisconsin this season. I predict no one does it this week either.

Okay, now for the fresh games:

EASTERN MICHIGAN (1-1) AT ILLINOIS (2-0) (11 AM CT, BTN)
Eastern Michigan used to be the go-to example for futility in FBS-level football, but former Drake coach Chris Creighton has lessened the shame in Ypsilanti, taking the Eagles to two bowl games. He lost them both, but whatever. EMU has yet to record a significant upset, so the Illini had better be prepared for a fight instead of a MACrifice, particularly since Illinois remains a go-to example for futility in Power Five football. The Illini win, but it's close.
Only Lovie Can Break Your Heart 24, Creighton Barrel 21

#21 MARYLAND (2-0) AT TEMPLE (1-0) (11 AM CT, CBS Sports)
Doubtless across the vast, beautiful country of ours there are thousands upon thousands of woodsheds, behind which you may find an owl or two. If you'd like to see approximately 85 Owls behind the woodshed, watch this game. If you aren't a bit in awe of Maryland, you should be. 
Goldi-Locksley 52, Trade Hoo-ing for Booing 7

PITT (1-1) AT #13 PENN STATE (2-0) (11 AM CT, ABC)
Like a lot of people, I tend to forget Pitt exists and is actually in a major conference. The Panthers have had a shaky start to the season, losing to Virginia and beating Frank Solich's Ohio team, but only by ten points. Penn State has looked brilliant but has yet to be seriously tested, so there is danger in this game for James Franklin's squad. But not much danger. Close through a quarter and a half, then the Nits pull away.
Blue Cats 40, Nardu-Cats 13

#6 OHIO STATE (2-0) AT INDIANA (2-0) (11 AM CT, FOX)
Have you noticed how, for whatever eldritch reason, Bloomington has been a complete snakepit for Ohio State over the years? I mean, the Bucks don't lose there, but they always seem to just barely survive the trip. It boggles the imagination to think that this young, nothing-special Indiana team could hassle a tOSU squad that doesn't seem to have lost a step in the transition -- but it didn't make sense the other times it happened, either. Once again, Brutus escapes, but doesn't have much to brag about.
New Day Rising 38, Everything Falls Apart 34

GEORGIA SOUTHERN (1-1) AT MINNESOTA (2-0) (2:30 PM CT, BTN)
Much as it pains me to do this, I have to give Minnesota credit for something: It's probably playing the hardest non-conference schedule of any Big Ten team. The Molding Golfers opened with the team that would be dominating the Missouri Valley if North Dakota State wasn't in it, then traveled to the West Coast for a night game, and now they're playing a triple-option team, which you can just go ask Michigan how easy that isn't. The GSU Eagles had three rushers go over 100 yards last week against Maine. The first two weeks have proved that Minnesota has no explosiveness on offense yet. Could the Golfers be vulnerable to a grinding pipeclog of an upset? Partilcularly since they went double overtime after dark last week? I think Fleck gets his team to 3-0, but this will not be pretty for the Gilded Rodents.
Only Option 20, Triple Option 13.

UNLV (1-1) AT NORTHWESTERN (0-1) (2:30 PM CT, BTN)
The Runnin' Rebs got destroyed at home last week by Arkansas State. So I really can't justify a spite pick of an upset here. Fitz gitz the win.
Drip 40, Strip 12

ARIZONA STATE (2-0) AT #18 MICHIGAN STATE (2-0) (3 PM CT, FOX)
Herm Edwards and Mark Dantonio would be the absolute worst morning team ESPN Radio could possibly come up with. Their show would be like listening to Jell-O congeal in a refrigerator with a faulty thermostat. Sparty, I guess, but why did they give this game such a prime slot?
Of Course We Knew 31, The Other University of Phoenix 13

TCU (1-0) AT PURDUE (1-1) (6:30 PM CT, BTN)
There is nothing worse than a second-week bye, in my opinion, because of how hard it makes it to write this column. TCU crushed a FCS school in Week One whose acronym I could not immediately decipher (Arkansas-Pine Bluff). And then the Horned Frogs took a weekend off. How am I supposed to know if TCU is any good or not? At least Purdue has been challenged twice, and is always a threat to start scoring points. Still, I had to turn to the Magic 8 Ball and ask "Will Purdue win this game?"

Quoth the 8 Ball: OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD

Well, duh; that's why I use Gmail.

I'll take TCU because if Purdue wins, it'll be the 8 Ball who looks like a nincompoop, not me!
Fort Worth 23, Fort Wayne 20

NORTHERN ILLINOIS (1-1) AT NEBRASKA (1-1) (7 PM CT, FS1)

(Remember, Husker Todd started his meds again.)

I know all the HATERS are down on Good Old NU right now but that is just the price of being great, everyone dances on CHEETOS SPARKLE IN A FUZZY PINK MATRIX your grave. MY CRAYONS WON'T STOP BURNING, LIEUTENANT! I don't think there's any great shame ARE YOU RELATED TO DIRK BENEDICT? in losing to a team that has recently won a national title like Colorado University has. I think Scott FrostY THE SNOWMAN WAS A JOLLY HAPPY SOUL will turn the ship around LIKE A RECORD BABY, RIGHT ROUND and easily beat the University of Northwest Illinois. Also I just want to say I'm sorry for what I said last week about Maurice Washington and the stuff he had NO I'M NOT EVERY HUSKER SHOULD GET A COUPLE FREE FELO [tasing sounds]

They take a couple weeks to start working, you know. Anyway, rough spot for the 'Skers last week, but this isn't Jerry Kill's NIU any more. Nebraska rolls under the lights and for one night it's 1993 again.
Lincoln 55, Land of Lincoln 16

And now, the main event ...

#19 IOWA (2-0) AT IOWA STATE (1-0) (2:30 PM CT, FS1)

We know that when Northern Iowa plays one of the other state universities, it's a grudge match. We also know that Northern Iowa usually plays the Clones the way we've always accused the Clones of playing Iowa: like the game is far more important than it actually is. Week One's outcome was unusual in that Iowa State actually came out on the good side of it for once. You can blame it on opening-week jitters, asymmetric warfare, or even Matt Campbell deliberately holding back some things to throw at Iowa, but the fact remains that the Clones nearly lost to a school predicted to finish in the middle of the Missouri Valley. Old Clone teams would not have learned from such a near miss, and the jury's out whether this one will learn anything either. However, Matt Campbell is probably the most competent coach to walk the ISU sidelines since Johnny Majors, so we should assume we're in for a fight and the Clones will be amped. Nonetheless, ISU just doesn't have the offensive weaponry to control this game so I'm going with Iowa.
Good 30, Evil 24

Last week: 10-2 (.833)
Season: 23-3 (.884)

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