The fine Minnesota bloggers over at The Daily Gopher put together a Big Ten Bloggers Pick'em contest pitting my football prognostication acumen against the skills of many fine Bloggers across the Big Ten landscape. In reality think less sophisticated contest and more Special Olympics but I digress. I'm so sure I can win this damn thing I didn't even pick a game last week (read: I got swamped at work and totally spaced on my pics) so I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 points behind, buuuttttt… the Big Ten picks are now worth 3 points so I've got to get my shit together. So I thought since I have to actually research this stuff (instead of just guessing) I might as well give you my thoughts (I'm always putting you first, no really I am, It's all about you sweetheart).
Michigan St at Indiana
Welcome to the bludgeon battle of Bloomington. You'd think the team that has battering ram Javon Ringer would also have the better of the two running attacks but you'd be wrong. Indiana is 2nd in the Big Ten averaging 269 yards on the ground per game compared to Michigan State's 195 but they do it with Quarterback Kellen Lewis who is the team's leading passer and rusher. Both teams are utterly pathetic in the passing department coming in 8th and 9th in the Big Ten respectively and both have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. This game could be over in about an hour's time. Sparty gets the nod though simply because they've played a much tougher schedule and didn't lose to Ball State *glaring angrily in Indiana's direction*
TNL's Trooper - Michigan State
Wisconsin (9) at Michigan
The Badgers will be looking for their first win in the [not so] Big House in 14 years in a matchup between a ranked Wisconsin team and an unranked Michigan team for the first time in nearly a half-century. The Badgers rank 3rd in the conference in rushing while Michigan ranks 2nd in the conference in rushing defense – something's got to give. Forget all of that though I'm banking on the team that didn't lose to Notre Lame (I'm beginning to see a trend here).
TNL's Trooper - Wisconsin
Minnesota at Ohio State (14)
The Gophers are undefeated snacking on four glorious cupcakes and Ohio State is still stinging from the embarrassment that was USC (how's that looking for you now Buckeye fans?). OSU gets Beanie Wells back this week and Terrelle Pryor's had a game against a patsy to get used to the college life. Minnesota is definitely heading the right direction but they're not on THEosu's level yet.
TNL's Trooper - Poisonous Nuts
Northwestern at Iowa
The race to 10 points is on! Iowa's offense is somewhere in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten and the nation while Northwestern's is dreadful coming in 9th in rushing, scoring, and total and that's against four pushovers. Iowa can't find a quarterback and they're coming off a loss to a Big East team… and that team would be Pitt. I'm not looking any further go with the team that's pissed after an embarrassing loss.
TNL's Trooper – Iowa
Purdue at Notre Dame
What does Purdue have to do to earn respect? They pulled one out of fire against Central Michigan and would have beat Oregon had they had something that resembled a kicker. Meanwhile Notre Dame still has Javon Ringer tread marks from their 23-7 beatdown last week yet they're favored by one. Oh did I mention their offense is totally pathetic in every sense of the word? Did I mention Charlie Weis is still fat? I can't pick against my 2nd favorite team can I? Oh, no Boilers it's not you it's anyone playing Notre Dame.
TNL's Trooper - Purdue
Illinois(22) at Penn State(12)
Preview here – Suffice it to say, take Penn State but if you're a betting man take the points.
TNL's Trooper – Penn State