By Joe Ostrowski–
#7 Michigan St(7-0, 3-0) @ Northwestern(5-1, 1-1)
MSU favored by 5
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of taking the Wildcats to hand Sparty their first loss of the season. The contest is in Evanston, Northwestern has been preparing for two weeks, the Cats always seem to beat someone they shouldn’t, Michigan St could be caught looking ahead to Iowa next week, this Spartan team hasn’t played a game outside of the state of Michigan. An old, delirious man once said…”Not so fast my friend.” MSU uses 3 backs to rush for 206 yards a game. Illinois did a nice job of keeping that run game in check, but the last time we saw Northwestern, Purdue ran up & down Ryan Field on them. Michigan St is allowing less than 17 points per game, good for 17th in the country. This will be fun to watch with the 2nd & 3rd best offenses in the Big Ten. NW is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 home games & the road team is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings. Sparty moves up at least 1 spot in the BCS with Auburn or LSU losing.
PICK: MSU -5
#13 Wisconsin(6-1, 2-1) @ #15 Iowa(5-1, 2-0)
IOWA favored by 6
You can’t help but think about South Carolina when it comes to this week’s Wisconsin matchup. Two weeks ago, SC beat then #1 Alabama at home. Last week, they go to Kentucky & lose. We all know about the Badgers knocking off then #1 Ohio St just a week ago. Now, Wisky must head to Iowa City. In fact, the last 7 teams to beat the AP #1 team in the regular season, is 3-4 the next game. Iowa is no Kentucky. The Hawkeyes are much better as they’re still in the hunt to win the Big Ten. After the Badgers, Iowa still hosts Ohio St & Michigan St. The only game that John Clay didn’t rush for over 100 yards, was their loss. Clay & James White have combined for 20 rushing touchdowns in 7 games. The Hawkeyes stop the run(7th best in the nation), give up just 13 points per game(6th best in the country), but allowed Michigan to score 28 last week. The Iowa defense won’t let that happen again. The Badgers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 meetings. Wisky takes their 2nd conference loss.
PICK: IOWA -6
Indiana(4-2, 0-2) @ Illinois(3-3, 1-2)
ILL favored by 13.5
A matchup of a rushing offense vs a passing offense. The Illini are pounding it for 200 rushing yards a game. The Hoosiers offense comes through the air. Ben Chappell is flinging it for 420 yards a week. Illinois won’t admit it, but they’ll take a split on the road at Penn St & Michigan St. The Hoosiers are allowing teams to run for 170 yards per matchup. Unlike Mike Martz, expect Paul Petrino to call running play after running play. It’s tough to have any respect for Bill Lynch’s Indiana club whose 4 wins are against Arkansas St, Akron, Western Kentucky, & Towson. With awful opponents, Indiana’s defense is still giving up 29 points a game. Historically, the Illini haven’t played great on Homecoming. Illinois wins, but not by 2 touchdowns.
PICK: IND +13.5
Notre Dame(4-3) @ Navy(4-2)
ND favored by 6.5
It took a few games, but the Irish are starting to look like the team Brian Kelly envisioned. After a 1-3 start, ND has rattled off 3 straight wins. It’s another passing offense vs rushing offense matchup. Notre Dame throws for an average of 400 passing yards. Navy runs for an average of 259 rushing yards. The Midshipmen have won 2 of last 3 times these teams have met. Last year’s 23-21 Navy win in South Bend was the start of the Irish losing their last 4 & the firing of Charlie Weis. Dayne Crist & Michael Floyd are hooking up on deep passes like Floyd did last year with Jimmy Clausen. Floyd scored 3 touchdowns vs Western Michigan last week. In their last 15 matchups, the road team is 14-1 ATS. Kelly has had ND working on defending Navy’s triple option every day in practice for a month. If Notre Dame plays the entire game like they did the 2nd half last week, they’ll win by a touchdown.
PICK: ND -6.5
#1 Oklahoma(6-0, 2-0) @ #11 Missouri(6-0, 2-0)
OKL favored by 3
Boomer Sooner is out to prove that they deserve to be #1 after being named that in the first week of the BCS standings. Oklahoma has been #1 three times at the start of the BCS, but only made the championship game once. Some were shocked at their top ranking because 4 of their 6 games have been close victories. Missouri has this week & next to prove they’re for real. Next up for the Tigers is Nebraska. The Sooners is the mountain Missouri just can’t seem to climb. Oklahoma has won 7 in a row over Missouri & taken 19 of their last 20 matchups. Missouri’s defense throws a wrench into this year’s game. The Tigers defense has held their opponents scoreless in the last 6 quarters & collected 20 sacks(6th in the nation). We’ll see if their defense has enough to stop Oklahoma’s firepower with Landry Jones & DeMarco Murray. The Sooners separate the men from the boys.
PICK: OKL -3
#6 LSU(7-0, 4-0) @ #4 Auburn(7-0, 4-0)
AUB favored by 6
The eye test tells you that LSU doesn’t have a chance at Auburn, AL. LSU led McNeese St by only 6 points late in the 3rd quarter last week. They went on to win, 32-10. But, Les Miles’ Tigers just keep winning. Miles has to be the most hated winning coach in the nation by his own fans. LSU’s 3rd ranked defense gives them a chance every week. They have to stop the Cam Newton attack. The dual threat QB is at the top of everyone’s Heisman ballot and has accounted for 25 scores. Auburn scored 65 hosting Arkansas last week & their offense ranks in the top 10 in points per game, rushing yards, & total yards. The LSU offense is 92nd in total yards & 111th in passing yards. The winner will be the only undefeated team left in the SEC. Do Auburn fans still hate the Gene Chizik hire?
Last Week: 3-2-1