I went 1-3 last Saturday. I’d say this officially makes this a sub-par season. I’ve got two weeks left to either bury myself deeper or claw my way back towards .500.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 11-7 (PREDICTIONS).
My Current Overall Record: 6-11
Northwestern 14 Iowa 10
Closing Line: Iowa -10
FTC Prediction: Iowa 17 Northwestern 16
My ATS Pick: Northwestern +10
I predicted Iowa to win, 17-16. I picked the wrong team but got the ATS win. Aside from predicting Iowa to win, this game played out much like I envisioned; a low scoring defensive battle. Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson threw the two interceptions I called for but Iowa QB Nate Stanley didn’t throw any. One thing that surprised me though, was how well Northwestern was able to run the ball. RB Isaiah Bowser finished with 165 yards. Thorson’s stats weren’t all that great, but he made some nice throws at times. Stanley put up some decent numbers and made some nice throws as well, but maybe didn’t take enough advantage of a Northwestern secondary that was depleted by injury. As I said in my prediction write-up, there isn’t much separation between these two teams- could have gone either way. A ten point spread was too many.
Indiana 34 Maryland 32
Closing Line: Indiana -1
FTC Prediction: Maryland 38 Indiana 24
My ATS Pick: Maryland +1
I predicted Maryland to win, 38-24. Yet another frustrating ATS loss. There are several things I said in my prediction write-up that are accurate and applicable here, though. None more significant than these last two sentences: What I’m getting at is Indiana, after coming off a bye week, might come up with the better game plan, and might play smarter football. But from what I’ve seen, Maryland has the better talent on both sides of the ball. And that was the difference in this game. Maryland has twice the talent but half the intelligence of Indiana. This is why I say coaches and QBs are so important in college football. Maryland has neither. It’s a tough spot for Maryland interim HC Matt Canada to be in, lots of distractions and turmoil going on, so I guess he should get a pass. But it was frustrating to watch Maryland’s stable of talented RBs consistently pick up 5 to 8 yards a carry, only to have the drive stalled by inexplicably calling for the worst QB in the conference to throw an incomplete pass or an interception. Again from my prediction write-up: Maryland is weak in the passing game. Maryland’s strength is in getting the ball in the hands of its speedy playmakers in open field. I knew this. Everybody knew this. Everybody except apparently the Maryland coaching staff. Given the success Maryland was having on the ground – RB Anthony McFarland gained over 200 yards, and as weak as the passing game is, why throw on first down? Yet that’s what Maryland did on far too many occasions with poor results, putting the Terps behind the chains. Maryland starting QB Kasim Hill missed badly on most of his throws, as he pretty much has all season. Eventually Hill threw an awful interception (on first down) that shifted the momentum heavily in Indiana’s favor. As I pointed out in previous posts throughout the season, Hill can play rather well when things are going well, but when faced with adversity he gives up. Hill eventually left the game, walking off the field with a reported leg injury, and walked out in street clothes after the half and watched the remainder of the game from the sidelines. But it wasn’t just the play calling. Add in too many stupid, undisciplined penalties and intentionally squib kicking every kickoff which resulted in Indiana starting most of their drives at or near mid-field. This team just doesn’t play smart football. And I knew that going in, even pointed it out in my prediction write up, albeit with the subtlety of someone who isn’t yet frustrated with an ATS loss. So shame on me for making a play on Maryland, I guess. It’s just difficult to ignore all the talent Maryland has. No way this team should lose to the likes of Indiana.
Ohio St. 26 Michigan St. 6
Closing Line: Ohio St. -4
FTC Prediction: Michigan St. 20 Ohio St. 17
My ATS Pick: Michigan St. +4
I predicted Michigan St. to win, 20-17. This game played out much like I envisioned when Ohio St. had the ball. Not so much when Michigan St. had the ball. The Spartans couldn’t get anything going offensively. Much of this was due to poor field position, but even more was due to Michigan St. QB Brian Lewerke’s inability to throw accurate passes. Lewerke has been battling a shoulder injury, so that may have been a big part of the problem. Eventually Lewerke was replaced by Rocky Lombardi, who threw the ball much better, but was ineffective in running the offense. HC Mark Dantonio eventually put Lewerke back in, which didn’t make much sense to me, regardless of how much Lombardi struggled. Lewerke couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. But with either QB it could be generally said that the Michigan St. offense was a bumbling mess. The Michigan St. defense played very well, but with no help from the offense was bound to give up some points. Ohio St. QB Dwayne Haskins did struggle some against the Spartans pressure, but otherwise played a bit better than I predicted. Haskins made some nice throws, didn’t throw any of the interceptions I called for, and put up some decent statistics.
Minnesota 41 Purdue 10
Closing Line: Purdue -10.5
FTC Prediction: Purdue 45 Minnesota 24
My ATS Pick: Purdue -10.5
I predicted Purdue to win, 45-24. Apparently Minnesota calls my bookie every Saturday to find out if I bet with them or against them, and then plays to make sure I’m on the losing end. Sheesh. Can’t with ‘em, can’t win without ‘em. Last Saturday I made a play on Minnesota to cover against lowly Illinois. The Gophers defense was virtually non-existent in allowing the Illini to rack up 55 points. In comes Purdue with an offense that ranks among the best nationally, and the Gophers nearly shut them out. I’m pretty sure no one saw this coming. Obviously there are some who took Minnesota and the points and obviously I wasn’t one of those people. But again, a final score like this is an anomaly. It happens in college football. I just happened to be involved ATS in this case.
(note: I found out after writing this post that Louisville fired its HC. Purdue HC Jeff Brohm will surely be targeted as a replacement, and probably already had been before this game. I understand that Brohm doesn’t actually play the game, but maybe the coach was distracted and underprepared himself for this game. Could be part of the reason for Purdue’s subpar performance)
Nebraska 54 Illinois 35
Closing Line: Nebraska -17.5
FTC Prediction: Nebraska 49 Illinois 29
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Nebraska to win, 49-29. I was pretty accurate with the score and my pre-game comments on this one. Both defenses were lousy, so the offenses had a field day. Illinois QB A.J. Bush ran the ball well, but he did commit the couple of turnovers I called for plus one. I didn’t figure Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez for any interceptions but he did throw one. And I was also fairly accurate with my scoring by quarters, suggesting that while both teams would score often, Illinois would be unable to keep pace with Nebraska’s output.
Michigan 42 Rutgers 7
Closing Line: Michigan -37.5
FTC Prediction: Michigan 45 Rutgers 10
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Michigan to win, 45-10. I accurately predicted the point spread and almost hit the score exactly. Michigan actually kinda struggled there in the beginning. The score was tied at 7 after the first quarter. And although the outcome didn’t seem to be in doubt, the Wolves only led by two TDs at the half. So this game didn’t go exactly as I envisioned – I figured Michigan to be subbing in its backups about midway through the third quarter- but the end result was the same.
Penn St. 22 Wisconsin 10
Closing Line: Penn St. -7.5
FTC Prediction: Penn St. 27 Wisconsin 20
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Pen St. to win, 27-20. I was low with Wisconsin’s score, but I handicapped the game under the assumption that Wisconsin’s starting QB, Alex Hornibrook, would be playing. Hornibrook did not play due to concussion protocol. And this made a difference. Hornibrook had been struggling anyway, so I don’t think Wisconsin would have won had he played. But with Hornibrook, the Badgers certainly would have had a decent chance. Backup QB Jack Coan struggled badly, which allowed Penn St. to load up against the run.