As we head into the opening week of conference match-ups in the Big Ten, Kevin and I are offering a little different style with our picks for the remainder of the season.
Yes, from now until the end of the season, Kevin and I will be providing brief explanations on our predictions for the week’s game, giving you the most insightful (or not so insightful) perspectives for the upcoming games.
In addition to our brief breakdowns, we also have a friendly, gentlemen’s bet riding on our picks when the season comes to an end. We are hoping to bring this agreement to the world of MSF by the week six picks.
So, now that we have added a little spice to our weekly picks, here are our Big Ten week 5 predictions:
Indiana vs. Northwestern
- Kevin’s Pick – Northwestern 45-17
The Wildcats look like the best team in the Big Ten this year (which isn’t saying much), but that still means they should have an easy time with the worse team.
- Dustin’s Pick – Northwestern 37-12
Northwestern has taken on the persona of the “Cardiac Cats” yet again this season, at least in the first three weeks of the season and sit at a perfect 4-0. This will be a close game for the first half, but the Hoosiers inability to do anything offensively or defensively will allow Northwestern to pull away in the second half.
Penn State vs. Illinois
- Kevin’s Pick – Penn State 20-10
I thought Illinois looked awful at home against Louisiana Tech. It also seems Penn State has found a groove good enough to beat the program who sent an army of coaches to Happy Valley trying to get their kids to transfer after Penn State’s NCAA sanctions.
- Dustin’s Pick – Penn State 17-13
This is going to be the ugliest game of the week for the Big Ten. Two teams that have been struggling mightily in the early part of the season. I give Illinois a chance since the game is in Champagne, but the Nittany Lions should win this game.
Minnesota vs. Iowa
- Kevin’s Pick – Minnesota 23-15
Iowa is a joke this year and Minnesota has been solid at home so far. Last week I couldn’t wait for conference play to start, but this match-up was not the reason.
- Dustin’s Pick – Minnesota 28-10
I like the direction that Jerry Kill is taking the Golden Gophers. Minnesota hasn’t been overly impressive, but they are winning ball games, which is a step in the right direction. Kevin’s right, Iowa is abysmal and will probably find themselves at the bottom of the Legends Division this year.
Marshall vs. Purdue
- Kevin’s Pick – Purdue 31-28
Though Marshall is in the Conference USA they will be pesky like the MAC opponents were last week. Purdue will squeak this one out Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette. As long they still have enough sun light to finish the game.
- Dustin’s Pick – Purdue 57-24
Marshall is a good team that can air it out and put points on the scoreboard. They will put up some points, but the Purdue defense will keep the Herd contained for a majority of the game and Purdue’s diverse offensive attack will light up the scoreboard against a weak Marshall defense.
#14 Ohio State vs. #20 Michigan State
- Kevin’s Pick – Ohio State 21-13
Urban Meyer said Mark Dantonio’s defense is like Alabama but has a less complicated pass defense. Braxton Miller doesn’t even need to get into a real QB rhythm to be a difference maker because of his athletic prowess.
- Dustin’s Pick – Michigan State 27-23
I was expecting a lot out of both these teams at the start of the season and haven’t been overly impressed. Yes, Ohio State is undefeated, but they haven’t won convincingly. I think the fact the game is in East Lansing and the Buckeyes haven’t played a road game yet is enough to propel the Spartans to victory in a close game.
Wisconsin vs. #22 Nebraska
- Kevin’s Pick – Nebraska 24-20
I don’t believe Nebraska will dominate both sides of the ball and Wisconsin might finally be ready to be competitive. I see a couple big turnovers by the Badger defense but it will only secure that it is not a blow out, which the Cornhuskers have shown they can do since the loss to UCLA. I also look forward to hilarious comments from @FauxPelini (link: http://twitter.com/FauxPelini ) on twitter as I watch this Saturday night tilt.
- Dustin’s Pick – Nebraska – 31-14
I DO believe that Nebraska will dominate this game from start to finish and on both sides of the ball. Brett Bielema’s squad isn’t a team were used to seeing…they’re just not that good. I don’t expect this to be much of a game, and Taylor Martinez will have a huge day against that Badger defense.
- Kevin – 42
- Dustin – 34