Saturday, August 23, 2008

Big Ten Pick'ems - The reigning champion speaks

In 2007, the Big Ten Bloggers had a friendly little game of prognostication. A Pick'Em contest, run admirably by Tom, (the Blogger Formerly Known as Gopher Nation) who has a nifty new site over at The Daily Gopher.

Last year, there was a two-way tie for the championship between the aforementioned Tom and yours truly. I'm back this year to defend my title.

So with the season opener bearing down on us, I bring you my picks for Week 1 of the BTB Pick'Em contest;

The games

- Syracuse vs Northwestern
- W Kentucky vs. Indiana
- Youngstown State vs. The Ohio State University
- Coastal Carolina vs Penn State
- Akron vs. Wisconsin
- Maine vs. Iowa
- Utah vs. Michigan
- Northern Illinois vs. Minnesota
- Michigan State vs. Cal
- Illinois vs. Missouri

My picks

- Northwestern over Syracuse
- Indiana over Western Kentucky
- Ohio State over YSU
- Penn State over Coastal Carolina
- Wisconsin over Akron
- Iowa over Maine
- Utah over Michigan
- Minnesota over Northern Illinois
- Michigan State over Cal
- Illinois over Missouri


Northwestern over Syracuse
- Not many people give Northwestern their due. Despite being 10th in the Big Ten last year, they were almost bowl-bound, finishing at 6-6. I look for them to be improved this year and get to play in December. Syracuse? They suck.

Indiana over Western Kentucky
- The Hoosiers shocked a lot of teams last year and they have the most underpaid head coach in league history. QB Kellen Lewis is dying to explode on the field after some off-season problems. Western Kentucky is actually a good squad, and their RB is looking to have another 1,000-yard season. Unfortunately for WKU, he's all they've got this year.

Ohio State over YSU
- You don't really need me to explain, do you?

Penn State over Coastal Carolina
- The only stat in question is how many fans will post their own pre-game crimes on YouTube. I vote for three. But this game will give a LOT of opportunity for Penn State to answer the "pretender/contender" questions. I still think they are contenders.

Wisconsin over Akron
Akron has the 88th-best run defense in the NCAA. Wisconsin likes to run the ball (and may be their only offensive weapon this year until they find a QB good enough to carry Travis Beckum's jockstrap). Easy enough to predict the outcome of this game.

Iowa over Maine
- By the end of the season, Iowa might have more players in county lockup than they will in the stadium. But this is the first game of the year, and it's Maine. Look for a lot of pent-up frustrations to be released on the (whatever Maine's mascot is).

Utah over Michigan
- Really, would it be an upset if it happened? Not really. Utah is expected to have a ten-win season and Michigan still doesn't have their two-deep chart set up. The Utes had the 18th-best defense in the NCAA last year and they're looking for that breakout win to show the country they are for real. Michigan's been plagued by the injury bug the past few weeks and no matter how good RichRod was in WVA, there are no Slatons, Whites or Devines anywhere near Ann Arbor.

Northern Illinois over Minnesota
- Minnesota doesn't have much going for it, and second-year head coach Tim Brewster desperately needs something for his kids to build upon. Anything to build confidence in his team. A game against 2-10 NIU should do the trick.

Michigan State over Cal
- This should be one hell of a game. Big Ten vs. Pac-10, on prime-time TV. ABC's first big Saturday Night Game. Most years, it'd be a nasty scene for the visiting school, but I've got confidence in Mark Dantonio. He's gots himself a good football education (he was an assistant at Ohio State, nudge nudge wink wink). I'm calling the upset, which should help defray some of the anti-Big Ten screams

Illinois over Missouri
- A lot of the BTB is down on Illinois, thinking perhaps 2007 was a fluke year. That may be, but the Illini don't know it yet. I expect to see them fly high into Missouri and knock off what I think was an overrated Tiger squad last year. Plus, I really need them to be 10-0 when Ohio State visits them. I have tickets to sell to that game, and I'll get more money for them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters, but I believe the University of Maine's gridiron warriors are the Black Bears.

After the Iowa game, this will likely be changed to Black and Blue Bears.