I went 3-0 last Saturday. Finally got a good week. Much needed, too. It’s been a rough season. You can tell I’m a little bitter about it by some comments I make on this week’s Illinois game and the Maryland game.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 11-14 (PREDICTIONS).
My Current Overall Record: 9-11
Michigan 31 Indiana 20
Closing Line: Michigan -28
FTC Prediction: Michigan 30 Indiana 13
My ATS Pick: Indiana +28
I predicted Michigan to win, 30-13. I was pretty close with my predicted score and consequently got the ATS win. They say a good percentage of defense is inspiration, and Michigan’s defense probably wasn’t quite as inspired as usual for this game. The Wolverines have worked their way through a challenging schedule and this game and last Saturday’s game against Rutgers appeared to be the only chance for a breather. That’s not to say Michigan didn’t play good defense. This just wasn’t one of their better performances when compared to the lofty standards that have been established. But subpar performance or not, 28 points was too many to give Indiana in this spot. The Hoosiers aren’t that bad. Indiana hung in there and even had the lead going into the half. QB Peyton Ramsey was outstanding and RB Stevie Scott rushed for over 100 yards. But still, I never at any time during the game felt like Michigan was going to lose.
Penn St. 20 Rutgers 7
Closing Line: Penn St. -28
FTC Prediction: Penn St. 34 Rutgers 14
My ATS Pick: Rutgers +28
I predicted Penn St. to win, 34-14. I’ve now cashed in on Rutgers for the second time this season. Only this time I felt much better about taking the Scarlet Knights. Most of what I said in my prediction write-up applies to this game, I think: Rutgers plays better at home and really isn’t as bad as most might think, Penn St. isn’t as good as most might think, Penn St. QB Trace McSorley hasn’t been playing as well since he was injured a few weeks back and didn’t throw the ball very well in this game. And Penn St. was probably a bit flat given the opponent. Rutgers actually could have made this game a lot closer, but Rutgers did what losers do. Starting QB Artur Sitkowski, who has already thrown way too many interceptions this season, earned himself a seat on the bench after tossing what may be his most ridiculous interception of the season. The turnover lead to a short field and a TD for Penn St. Rutgers also dropped a wide open two yard pass in the end zone that was thrown so softly and perfectly that it appeared to be more difficult to drop than to catch.
Northwestern 24 Minnesota 14
Closing Line: Minnesota -3
FTC Prediction: Northwestern 23 Minnesota 13
My ATS Pick: Northwestern +3
I predicted Northwestern to win, 23-13. The concern here was that Northwestern may be a little flat after clinching the West division. Minnesota was coming off a convincing win over a good Purdue team and the game was at Minnesota, where the Gophers play their best football. And let’s face it, division champ or not, Northwestern hasn’t blown anybody out. Consequently, Minnesota ended up as a three point favorite in this game. I didn’t see it that way, though. One impressive game doesn’t completely transform a team. I remember the Minnesota team that got beat by lowly Illinois only two weeks ago and Purdue seems to be going in the tank since the Louisville job opened up. Northwestern is the better team -mostly because it has the better defense- and that showed out in this game. But, in typical Northwestern fashion, this wasn’t a blowout. In fact, the game was pretty tight throughout.
Iowa 63 Illinois 0
Closing Line: Iowa -15
FTC Prediction: Iowa 34 Illinois 20
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Iowa to win, 34-20. I figured Iowa to be a bit deflated and lacking in confidence after the three game losing streak. A game against Illinois cured those symptoms quickly. I also pointed out the Illinois defense isn’t very good but they try hard. They stopped trying before halftime in this game. The floodgates opened early and that was it for Illinois. I still can’t believe this Illinois team beat Minnesota and burned me ATS only two weeks ago.
Nebraska 9 Michigan St. 6
Closing Line: Nebraska -1
FTC Prediction: Nebraska 38 Michigan St. 34
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Nebraska to win, 38-24. I picked the right team and was very close with the margin of victory, but my score was way off. Michigan St. has a great defense, and coming into this game the Nebraska offense appeared to be among the best in the conference. I figured the Nebraska offense to win this matchup behind QB Adrian Martinez. Turns out, it was the other way around. The Michigan St. defense was outstanding as usual and completely shut down Martinez. The Nebraska defense is poor, and so is the Michigan St. offense. I figured the Michigan St. offense to win this matchup. Turns out, it was the other way around. The Michigan St. offense was terrible. Nebraska’s defense played well, I guess. Hard to tell given Michigan St.’s offensive performance.
Wisconsin 47 Purdue 44 OT
Closing Line: Purdue -3.5
FTC Prediction: Purdue 31 Wisconsin 28
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Purdue to win, 31-28. This game went into overtime tied at 27, so my predicted score was fairly accurate. I like to compare my predictions to the end of regulation; OT is a stat buster. And, for the most part, a game that goes into OT could go either way, regardless of which team has the most talent. My prediction doesn’t really matter though, because I stated that I won’t stand by my prediction if Wisconsin starting QB Alex Hornibrook didn’t play or if Purdue HC Jeff Brohm’s possibility of leaving Purdue to take a job at Louisville appeared to be a distraction. Hornibrook did not play, and Brohm has yet to clearly state that he is staying at Purdue. Purdue had this game but let it slip away- the Boilermakers were up by two TDs midway through the fourth quarter. But the Purdue defense couldn’t stop Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin backup QB Jack Coan has been a liability in relief of Hornibrook, who has missed a few games this season. But Coan had a transformation in this game. He started out as his usual well below-average self, but right about the beginning of the second half the switch was flipped and Coan started making some nice throws. I believe he’s found his sea legs and look for him to perform well enough next week to feel comfortable enough to handicap Wisconsin the same way regardless of which QB plays.
Ohio St. 52 Maryland 51 OT
Closing Line: Ohio St. -14
FTC Prediction: Ohio St. 35 Maryland 21
My ATS Pick: Pass
I predicted Ohio St. to win, 35-21. This game ended in regulation at 45-45. I couldn’t help but be annoyed as I was thinking where was this Maryland team when I bet on the Terps last week. In fact, as luck would have it, the Maryland team that showed up in this game never seems to show up when I bet on them. As I’ve been saying all season, Maryland has some speedy playmakers who can take it to the house from long distances. This was very evident in this game as RB Anthony McFarland scored from over 70 yards twice and racked up close to 300 yards rushing. I was right and wrong concerning Maryland in my prediction write-up: Maryland does play better at home, but as it turns out, Maryland does play better without starting QB Kasim Hill. Backup Tyrrell Pigrome made some nice throws, although he did miss on the game clinching two point conversion. Ohio St. played good enough offensively, although they did turn the ball over three times. This is the first time I’ve seen QB Dwayne Haskins take control and perform well in a clutch situation. Haskins grew some in this game, I think. The Ohio St. defense was “you’ve got to be kidding me” horrible in this game. In the most crucial moments the Buckeyes were giving up gashing runs and leaving Maryland receivers wide open. And the Buckeyes didn’t really stop Maryland on the game deciding conversion. They were just lucky that Maryland was foolish enough to ignore its strength – running the ball- and instead decided to pass. The receiver was open, but the pass was off target. Seriously, for all its five-star recruits, this Ohio St. defensive performance ranks among the worst I’ve seen all season including those of the worst conference teams. But the Buckeyes always seem to find a way to win, no matter how bleak things look. Haskins and the offense rose to the occasion and matched the Terps blow for blow. I know some find a game like this exciting, but the offenses were scoring so easily I found it to be boring. Felt like I was watching a Big 12 game.