I went 1-2 last Saturday. There was at least some football played between penalties. And the review of penalties. Sorry. I promised myself before the season I wouldn’t complain about the officiating. But I can’t help it. It’s so frustrating to watch the outcome of games altered by the subjective opinion of the referees. There’re just too many rules these days that give the refs that opportunity. That’s not why I went 1-2, though. I have no good excuse for that.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 9-26 (Predictions Week 5).
My Current Overall Record: 2-3
Indiana 24 Rutgers 17
Closing Line: Indiana -16.5
FTC Prediction: Indiana 45 Rutgers 10
My ATS Pick: Indiana -16.5
I predicted Indiana to win, 45-10. Indiana went into the half with a 24-7 lead, which is almost exactly the same as my predicted halftime score, so this game was right on schedule at that point. But Indiana couldn’t score another point in the second half against lowly Rutgers, of all teams. I did a bit of a “what could go wrong” analysis in my prediction write-up, and I addressed (and unfortunately dismissed) the possibility that Rutgers couldn’t play as poorly as they have been forever, and at some point they may turn a corner. I think that happened to some extent in this game. Rutgers QB, Artur Sitkowski played the whole game, and played much better than he has recently. Sitkowski threw only one interception, which for him, is an improvement. And the Rutgers defense didn’t give up any long touchdown plays and was actually pretty stout against the run. But I don’t know that I can give all the credit to Rutgers. I couldn’t understand why Indiana started the game throwing on virtually every down against such a weak opponent. But the reason became apparent as the game went on; Indiana has no running game. The blocking was terrible and the RBs seem to have zero vision as they continually buried their helmets in the backs of their linemen. And the Hoosiers don’t have many players that are capable of breaking off long touchdown scores. But Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey was able to take advantage of Rutgers’ ridiculously soft coverage in the short to intermediate passing game, which ultimately led to the Indiana victory.
Ohio St. 27 Penn St. 26
Closing Line: Ohio St. -3.5
FTC Prediction: Ohio St. 42 Penn St. 17
My ATS Pick: Ohio St. -3.5
I predicted Ohio St. to win, 42-17. Obviously I was way off in my assessment of both teams coming into this game. Penn St.’s defense looked vulnerable against the run in the previous week against Illinois and it appeared as though QB Trace McSorley and RB Miles Sanders were the only offensive threats. Ohio St. appeared to be full of offensive weapons including a QB that could make all the throws with accuracy. But as it turned out, Penn St. stepped on the field full of swagger with the awesome “white out” behind them, metaphorically looked the Buckeyes in the eye and said “we’re gonna kick your ass”. And all those five-star recruit superstars on the Ohio St. roster promptly curled up into the fetal position and waited for a diaper change. Somebody in the Ohio St. locker room provided the diaper change at halftime as the Buckeyes looked like a different team in the second half. After trailing 13-0, Ohio St. got a gift just before the end of the first half as Penn St. fumbled deep in its’ own territory allowing the Buckeyes to score a TD on a short field and gain some momentum going into the half. From there it was a slugfest and eventually the explosive playmakers on the Ohio St. roster made the explosive plays I was expecting to see throughout the whole game. But it was too little, too late in terms of my getting the cover in this one. But not in terms of Ohio St. winning the game. Under HC Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes always find a way to get it done. I mentioned in my prediction write up that Penn St. QB Trace McSorley would be the best competitor on the field and I at least got that much right. McSorley is pretty much the whole show for the Penn St. offense, and for most of the game, that was enough to stay ahead of the Buckeyes. McSorley was sensational. All this talk on BTN suggesting Ohio St. QB Dwayne Haskins is the best in the conference and a possible Heisman candidate can stop after this game. The game announcers were singing Haskins’ praises for engineering two late drives to win the game, but the reality is that all Haskins did during those drives was flip out a few short swing passes and one off target pass over the middle to his playmakers who picked up chunk yards after the catch. For the most part, Haskins was like a deer in the headlights as he rushed errant throws in the face of a pretty good Penn St. pass rush… a pass rush much better than he saw from the likes of Oregon St. and Tulane anyway. Haskins is young and this was most definitely a hostile environment, so there’s no doubt he deserves a pass for his fidgety performance. And he’ll learn from the experience. But let’s take the crown off of his head for now and save it for when it’s justly earned. Which most likely will be in the near future, there’s no questioning his talent as a passer. But not this season. The best QB in this conference is McSorley, hands down.
Purdue 42 Nebraska 28
Closing Line: Purdue -3
FTC Prediction: Purdue 42 Nebraska 24
My ATS Pick: Purdue -3
I predicted Purdue to win, 42-28. I almost hit this one right on the nose. Consequently, I got the win but I have to thank the game clock for that. If there was more time left, Nebraska would have caught the Boilermakers. Purdue’s defense was bad for most of the game, but they were godawful in the second half. They looked completely out of gas, couldn’t stop a turtle from scoring. Fortunately, Nebraska isn’t very good right now and shot themselves in the foot enough times to let the Purdue defense off the hook. And Nebraska’s defense isn’t much better. Neither defense could mount a pass rush nor could they cover the pass. So this was a “who could score the most” type of game and Purdue came out on top. QB David Blough played well enough, and the Purdue running game was successful, as I predicted it would be. HC Jeff Brohm gets a lot of praise for his play calling, and rightfully so, I guess. But I couldn’t understand why he didn’t give the ball to his RBs even more early in the game. I’m going by memory, but I believe it was late in the second quarter when RB D.J. Knox had something like 65 yards and a TD on five carries. I’m thinking, with that kind of success, why only five carries? But it didn’t matter. Purdue was having plenty of success throwing the ball and on flea-flicker trick play passes. There’s more theater in that than just letting your RB score from 40 yards out, I guess. At any rate, Brohm is going to have to be on top of his play-calling game all season, considering his team’s lousy defense. If this keeps up, the only way Purdue is going to win is in the same fashion they won this one, by outscoring the opponent. Nebraska showed some improvement on offense, I suppose. It’s hard to tell considering what I just said about the Purdue defense. QB Adrian Martinez is back at full strength and appears to be a good foundation for this rebuilding project HC Scott Frost has in front of him. Martinez is a dangerous runner, but his passing is a bit sporadic at this point in his career. Nebraska just doesn’t have the players right now, so until Frost has a chance to do some recruiting, I expect a tough rest of the season for the Huskers. I’m still not sure if Frost is capable yet, only time will tell, but I loved his post-game comments when he called out his reserves for dancing on the sidelines during kickoffs when his team was trailing by 13 points. “It’s almost like they enjoy losing”, said Frost. Frost said he’ll get that corrected, and I applaud that because it’s not just Nebraska’s team that has this problem. I see it all the time where players are more interested in camera time and celebrating themselves than they are in winning the game, even when their team is losing big. Might as well slap a big “L” on their forehead.
Michigan 20 Northwestern 17
Closing Line: Michigan -15.5
FTC Prediction: Michigan 29 Northwestern 16
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Michigan to win, 29-16. My predicted score wasn’t too far off and my prediction write-up was accurate in many ways. I was wrong about the order of the scoring, though. Northwestern got their points right out of the gate as opposed the “garbage” touchdowns I called for at the end of the game, which made this game a nail-biter for the Wolverines. As I called for, Michigan struggled offensively, especially early in the game. Northwestern brought a much better defense than what the Wolverines had been facing lately, and squelched any notion Michigan players might have had about being an elite offense after the cakewalk they enjoyed the previous Saturday against pitiful Nebraska. The Wolves had to earn every point they put on the board, and it wasn’t until late in the game that they were able to do so. It also took the Michigan defense a bit of time to adjust to a legitimate opponent, but once they did, the Wolves were as dominating as predicted. This was a heartbreaker for Northwestern, but considering the opponent, not a bad performance. QB Clayton Thorson’s injury appears to be healing, but I’m not quite sure if he’s fully recovered. Thorson doesn’t have much around him, though, and after impressively leading his team to an early 17 point lead, struggled against a very good, swarming Michigan defense. And as I said, the Northwestern defense played well, but could only hold on for so long as the Wildcats offense was non-productive for just about all of the second half. Northwestern isn’t a great team, but they’re not near as bad as their record indicates. Michigan QB Shea Patterson isn’t the superstar he was hyped up to be in the pre-season, but he’s solid enough, and came up with some clutch plays when the Wolves needed them, which is something Michigan has been missing from the position during the Harbaugh era.