Ah college football, we've reached that time of year when the great debate starts going around about whether or not the BCS should be abolished for a playoff system. The strength of that debate all hinges on whether or not Penn State and Texas Tech both finish undefeated or not. Should be an interesting final month. Anyway, on to the picks.
PENN STATE at Iowa 8. Penn State is coming off a bye week that came at just the right time to rest up QB Daryll Clark, who suffered a concussion against Ohio State and is expected to play this weekend. Penn State needs this to be a convincing victory to make their claim as a national title contender. They'll rely on Clark, as well as RB Evan Royster and a staunch defense to give them the victory here. Iowa, coming off a close loss to Illinois last weekend, will counter with RB Shonn Greene, the nation's fifth leading rusher. Too bad they won't have much of a passing attck to compliment that running game this weekend. Penn State will come out fired up after being passed over for the number 2 spot in the polls here.
Penn State 38 Iowa 24. Penn State beats the spread
OHIO STATE at Northwestern 11. Well Northwestern, who's taking snaps this week, Kafka or Bacher? Actually, the way that Kafka ran the ball last week, I wouldn't be surprised if they both see snaps. Both of these teams need wins to rally for position of Jan 1st bowl games. Ohio State has played close games against all Big Ten teams not named Michigan State, so I'm a little surprised by the 11 point favorite. Pryor will need to have success throwing the ball as the Wildcats have a decent rush defense. Too bad they also have a star running back who is currently on the bench for the remainder of the season. Ohio State will determine the tempo of this game on the ground, and add some timely pass plays to overcome.
Ohio State 31 Northwestern 28. OSU does not beat the spread.
Purdue at MICHIGAN STATE 10. MSU, don't fail me now! After a last minute stunner against Wisconsin last week, the Spartans are looking to cement good standing in the Big Ten and a Jan 1st bowl game as well. Ringer was held to 54 yards last week, but he should have no problem rushing for over 100 this week against the woeful Boilermakers. The only thing that can defeat the Spartans this week is Curtis Painter remembering that he was supposed to be good this year, or Brian Hoyer remembering that he is not supposed to be good.
Michigan State 35 Purdue 24. MSU beats the spread.
ILLINOISat Western Michigan 7 1/2. So far this year, the MAC has had some unprecedented success against horrible teams sitting at the bottom of the Big Ten (I'm looking at you Michigan). But I doubt that trend continues this week. Illinois has shown some life of late as they jockey for position in the crowded middle of the Big Ten standings. This may be the game that Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn hook up to put Ben over 1000 receiving yards.
Illinois 38 Western Michigan 30. Illinois barely beats the spread.
WISCONSIN at Indiana 9 1/2. Wisconsin nearly upset a ranked Spartan team last weekend to fall to a 1-5 record in the Big Ten. I believe that the Badgers are by far the most underachieving team in the Big Ten. While they are likely removed from playing in a decent bowl game, or any bowl game for that matter, they'll need a couple of wins here at the end to retain some sense of dignity. Look for poor QB play with some good rushing by PJ Hill in this one.
Wisconsin 21 Indiana 17. Wisconsin does not beat the spread.
Michigan at MINNESOTA 8. Oh Michigan, when will the hurting stop for you? Not this week. Minnesota will be charged up after last week's loss to Northwestern. Adam Weber and WR Decker will have a field day against a pass defense that allows over 250 yards a game. Sorry Michigan, now let me drink your tears as your season falls further into oblivion.
Minnesota eleventy billion Michigan -14. Minnesota beats the spread.
Note: This week's game descriptions are lacking in substance and deep thought. It's been a very busy week in grad life.