Mike: The calendar turns to November, and the B1G schedule starts getting interesting...even if the networks picked the worst two matchups to feature this week.
Tyler: If you're an offensive player for the Hawkeyes, are you just drawing plays on a white board the rest of the season knowing your OC is Dead Man Walking? Hopefully, Grumpy Ferentz flexes his oppressive muscles over his team and tells them to continue listening to his inept offspring until at least November 24th.
Jill: The race to be the best of the worst division ever is getting intense!
Andy: Isn’t the flip side of Big 10 West horrid offenses, good defenses? Besides MinnyFleckia, I mean? But. Michigan St….it’s a trap game…can’t hold anything back.
Wisconsin (-8.5) at Indiana
Mike: I don’t know what Vegas is thinking here. Stinking Badgers 31, Hoos-yer Next Coach 13
Tyler: Speaking of Dead Man Walking, Tom Allen will mercifully be booted from Bloomington in just a few short games. Don't expect any mercy on the scoreboard from Fickell and the Badgers though. Wisconsin 38 Indiana 16
Jill: Indiana showed some life against the Nittany Lions but I’m not sure they can do that again. Even with this game in Bloomington, I expect Fickell and the Badgers to win big. Wiscy 26 Hoos-waiting-for-basketball-season 10
Andy: Somewhere, the guy who invented the Under wager is reading this column and pleasuring himself to a picture of Kirk Ferentz and draped in a game-worn, unwashed Wisconsin basketball jersey. This is the first of a slate of games which will be less exciting than a UFC match between two grapplers. The O/U is 45 and Wiscy is now down to their starting QB and both feature backs. Let’s say upset time. Hooshzers 21 Wiscy 17
Jarek: Well let's see, I know Wisconsin is hurting about as much as anyone else in the B1G West, but unless Indiana shows a little more resolve than they did last week the Badger injuries won't cost them too much. I don't think they cover though. Wisconsin 24 Indiana 17
Penn State (-8.5) at Maryland
Tyler: A few weeks ago, this match-up might have intrigued me. Now? Not so much. The Terps are okay, not great. Jury is out on if they are the 4th or 5th best team in the East. One thing is certain though. They are still very much behind the Wolverines, the Buckeyes, and...these Nittany Lions. Penn State 34 Maryland 21
Mike: Maryland has turtled. No other explanation here. Nitts 38, Terps 17
Jill: With September Maryland, this is a much more interesting game. Lions 35 Turtles 20
Andy: This is the outlier in B1G Over/Under world at 50. And the poor bookies are viewing Maryland in the context of their season as a whole, not realizing early Maryland plays at about an .850 clip while Big 10 schedule Maryland has a default setting of about .075. Statue Worshipping Perverts 38 Turtles 19
Jarek: Penn State should control this one, unless early season Maryland reappears. This might not be that game. In fact, it won't be. Penn State 34 Maryland 20
Illinois (+1.5) at Minnesota
Tyler: Illinois begins a late season surge this weekend by taking down Khaki Dave and his boatful of Gophers. I think the Illini "out Minnesota" Minnesota in a ground game slugfest. Edge to Altmeyer on QB play over Kaliakmanas. That's the difference. Illini 24 Goofs 17
Mike: Fun fact: Minnesota is 0-for-9 against Bert. Even a blind gopher finds a nut sometimes. Not going 0-for-10. Goofs 24, Fighting Berts 20
Jill: Yuck. Do I have to pretend I care what happens in this one? Usually I go with the home team when there’s a close spread and I’m too lazy to search for the one thing that could make a difference. This time I’m picking Bert. Illini 8 Minny 6
Andy: Here we go - this Under is a steal at 43. Illinois’ time of death was called when the gun went off against the Huskers. However, Bert, mistaking them for a stubborn Arby’s bag with two Big Montanas inside, blew life into his team the last two weeks, defeating Iowa and narrowly dropping one to Wisconsin. I think the Illini pull out a heinous, disgusting game. Illinois 16 Minny 13
Jarek: I believe Minnesota needs to lose once...or twice for Nebraska to control its own destiny from here on out. Right now Nebraska only needs one loss from the Gophers, and I think it's here. Illinois 17 Minnesota 14
Iowa (-5) vs. Northwestern
at Wrigley Field
Tyler: Ah, football at Wrigley Field! At least the grounds should be more well kept than those at Ryan Field. And that's with the Cubs being stuck at home since the end of September. A sore subject for my father-in-law. Sorry Ed. Anyway, the Wildcats are also a team that will make a late season surge. Vastly outperforming expectations of the season, they continue the trend by helping deconstruct the Ferentz Era in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes could easily go 0 for the Month here on out. Saturday might be the start of that. Wildcats 20 HACKeyes 13
Mike: Another fun fact: The Over/Under is 29.5, which also matches the August 1 game between the Cubs and Reds at Wrigley, which the Cubs won 20-9. But Accuweather says the wind will be blowing in, so take the under. Squawkeyes 15, NW 9
Jill: Everyone loses in this one. Especially the eyeballs of the fans. Hawkeyes 4 Wildcats 3
Andy: It’s tough to currently find two more disgusting programs than the Purple Perverts and the Proud Hawkeyes. Northwestern…holy shit. Nice run this season but who wants to get behind THAT?
Baby Bri-Bri being shown the door may result in Papa Kirk pouting his way to retirement. Then maybe without the last two coaches who encouraged certain players to stop acting a certain way, they can find a way to Make Iowa Great Again (MIGA?) which doesn’t cost the state several million bucks every few years. The game? The O/U is now 30.5 which is still the lowest since O/U lines went national in 1995. It will redefine unwatchable. Final: The HWCU 11 Chicago Slapdicks 6
Jarek: Don't sleep on Northwestern before this season is all said and done. Yes little Ferentz will be gone at the end of the year, but both him and his crap offense stays until the end of the year. Iowa currently has 857 more punting yards than total offense, and that number should grow. Give me the Wildcats. Northwestern 14 Iowa 10
Nebraska (-3) at Michigan State
Tyler: Ok...let's take stock here. No Bowl Games in 7 years. No undefeated record in the month of October since 2002. No player on the current roster has ever won 3 games in a row in a Husker Uniform. It seems unfathomable that we continue to ask Coach Rhule and this staff to continue to overachieve in Year One, when he has gone beyond that and then some. But we do. And, we are asking him to go 1-0 again this week to ultimately make us a 6-3 team with 3 games remaining. But. We will have exercised one of the biggest demons that has latched onto us for 7 long seasons. A bowl bid. A 'reward' for a hard fought season. Extra practices to continue to develop and build depth on a very young and talented roster. Whatever wins come after 6 are just extra icing on the cake. Exacting some revenge on a down Wisconsin team? Sweet. Taking home the Heroes Trophy for a second straight year? Wicked. Big Ten West Champs? Cool. It starts Saturday with getting #6 though. And it will be ugly at times, your heart will still sit on pins and needles, never fully feeling relieved until the clock hits triple zero. But, when it does. The Huskers will be going Bowling. Huskers 31 Spartans 10
Mike: The whole point behind Matt Rhule wanting to go 1-0 each week is that NU needs to focus on the today, not next week or last week. Just win the day, win the game. And Nebraska is poised to do that against a Spartan team that appears to have checked out. Huskers 28, Sparty 13
Jill: I feel better about a Husker win here than I did a couple weeks ago. However, I don’t share Tyler and Mike’s optimism about the point differential. The Huskers turn it over enough to keep it uncomfortable the whole way through. The defense needs some heroics or a score to pull this one out late. Nebraska 24 Sparty 19
Bonus prediction by Jill: It’s the Dakota Marker game this weekend!!! NDSU looks mortal for the first time in forever and the reigning national champs are coming off a bludgeoning of in-state rival South Dakota. The Bison really want the big heavy rock back but I think the Jackrabbit machine continues to grind along. SDSU 31 NDSU 28
Andy: I’ve blurted all I care to say about this. I’ve been three weeks pushing we fight our curse with all the superstition and dark magic voodoo of our own we can find. Both good luck charm stuff and burning evil talismans, howling at the moon, whatever. (No fires inside, no actual ritual sacrifices. Especially not mom’s annoying cat(s)).
Also, there’s my “we only have one game forever till it’s over”. Matt Rhule stole it like a burglar in the night a week later, but that’s ok because “Go 1-0 every week,” is much, much cooler. We worry about nice things and other games later. This week? We can’t hold anything back. And yes - Brent still sucks.
Jarek: Nebraska needs to finish the original goal of bowl eligibility now. Then it can turn its focus to higher things. Michigan State hasn't looked good in almost 2 months, including 16 turnovers in the last 3 weeks. Nebraska should take care of business this week. Nebraska 27 Michigan State 20