Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 7: Rise of the Two-Headed Quarterbeast

Northwestern at Minnesota

Pat Fitzgerald

I’d like to thank the rest of the college football world for providing dozens of distracting storylines last Saturday, sparing us all from having to endure an avalanche of coverage about how Pat Fitzgerald’s “get tough” approach finally woke up his team. It would have been unendurable. It would have led to somebody approaching Fitz and asking him if he’d ever thought about running for the Senate or something.

What nobody is talking about: Minnesota’s quietly excellent defense, which gave up seven fewer points to TCU than Oklahoma did and apparently learned from the experience, giving up only 21 points in the past two weeks — yes, to San Jose State and Michigan, but still. If Jerry Kill can get out to an early lead and control the ball, the Gophers’ chances are better than good. If Northwestern can open up the Gopher D, all bets are off. But can Northwestern, which hasn’t scored more than 29 points in a game this season, really do that? I’m taking the Gopher D at home, but be careful: Northwestern has a way of making me look foolish.

The pick: Minnesota 23, Northwestern 17

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