Hoge: Week 4 Big Ten Football Report
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By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) If you haven’t looked at this week’s slate of Big Ten games, you might not want to.
Your game of the week? I don’t know, Ohio State-Colorado? Michigan-San Diego State?
There’s a chance of an upset in both matchups, but because of the storyline, let’s go with the Wolverines and Aztecs.
Michigan is off to a 3-0 start and fans everywhere are debating whether or not they should buy-in.
I think this game will tell us a lot about what should be expected of the Wolverines in Big Ten play. This is the type of game that Rich Rod would have lost. And to put it simply, Brady Hoke can’t lose to his former school. Not in Ann Arbor.
The Aztecs are good. Hoke built the team. But the Wolverines have more talent, so theoretically he should be able to build a team that can beat his old one. If only it were that easy.
San Diego State beat an improved Washington State team 42-24 last week. Still, it’s Washington State. Hoke knows the Aztecs better than anyone. His team is more talented and they are playing at home.
My pick: Michigan 31, San Diego State 24
The rest of my Week 4 picks:
IOWA 41, Louisiana-Monroe 13
Louisiana-Monroe has already been beaten up on road trips to Florida State and TCU. Iowa’s offense is rolling behind quarterback James Vandenberg and the Hawkeye defense will finally put up some respectable numbers.
MICHIGAN STATE 27, Central Michigan 14
Still waiting to see more from what should be a very good Spartans offense. Central Michigan isn’t all that good this year so this could end up being one of those “looked-closer-than-it-really-was” games.
MINNESOTA 27, North Dakota State 21
The Gophers have been bi-polar through the first three weeks of the season so it’s hard to tell which team will show up in Minneapolis Saturday. Minnesota has struggled mightily against FCS teams in recent years, including a loss to North Dakota State. Still, I’m going to trust Jerry Kill’s coaching ability and stick with the Gophers in a close one.
Nebraska 48, WYOMING 17
The Cowboys are decent, but Nebraska’s offense is rolling and it’s about time its defense started to play well. Wyoming is undefeated but they have a true freshman quarterback and the Cornhuskers should be able to win this one easily on the road.
ILLINOIS 31, Western Michigan 24
This one has trap game written all over it. Illinois has impressed me just as much as everyone else so far, but Western Michigan is a good team and this one comes after a big win over Arizona State and the Big Ten opener against rival Northwestern. Illinois should win, but look for a flat start and tough grind-it-out second half.
Indiana 30, NORTH TEXAS 20
North Texas is 0-3 and has allowed at least 41 points in all three games. The hardly Mean Green rank towards the bottom of the FBS in almost every statistic imaginable. Kevin Wilson is making strides with the Hoosiers and there is starting to be some stability at quarterback with Ed Wright-Baker. Indiana can’t afford to lose this one.
OHIO STATE 21, Colorado 14
The Buckeyes’ offense looks just bad enough to lose this game. Still, the defense should play well enough not to cough up the upset. It will help that Luke Fickell named Braxton Miller the clear-cut starter.
PENN STATE 27, Eastern Michigan 10
The Nittany Lions still have problems at the quarterback position but they should be able to win just by keeping the ball on the ground in this one.
WISCONSIN 55, South Dakota 6
The Coyotes are one of the better FCS schools but the Badgers have been trampling their FBS opponents so South Dakota really doesn’t have a chance. I don’t think Wisconsin will hit 70 because I’m not sure sure their 2s are as good as they were a year ago, but this will be a nice scrimmage before the Badgers host Nebraska next weekend.
Hoge’s season record: 26-10
For live analysis during Saturday’s games, be sure to follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.