We joke about it, but I really did hate throwing three Big Ten games at Luke. Honest. How do you know I'm telling the truth? Because for the luvva Pete, you think I want to pick Big 10 games? Don't be silly.
That said, the games in question at least have the benefit of potentially delicious schadenfreude, and we can never pass that up. I mean, picks are For Entertainment Purposes Only, but schadenfreude is our life's blood.
|Saturday, 11:00 AM CT
Beaver Stadium, University Park PA
JM: This could go horribly wrong, but what the heck. Temple is the team that ruined East Carolina's season. Penn State is, to put it as gently as I possibly can, not a good football team. I don't know why; Christian Hackenberg's a heck of a quarterback, James Franklin's a heck of a coach, and I've just used the word "heck" three times in ten seconds. The point is, Penn State doesn't really deserve to be 11-point favorites over anyone. You want a list of teams Penn State has beaten by 11 points all season? Akron, Massachusetts, and Northwestern. Real murderer's row there. I mean, come on, Penn State only beat Indiana by six-- oh. Crud. I'm sorry, Luke. Anyway, Temple covers, and claims the title of best team in Pennsyvania. Ahem.
LT: Dude, you missed the best potential schadenfraude of all with this game. The team James Franklin unceremoniously left during the offseason, Vanderbilt, opened with a rather astonishing 37-7 loss at home to Temple. Now how sweet would it be if the Owls did the same thing to Penn St.? In case you can't tell, I'm not a big James Franklin fan, and not just because he created some confusion with the identity of Mizzou's quarterback the past couple years. Another interesting fact is that Vandy needed 2 fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat UMass, which is probably a sign Penn St. isn't gong to get blown out the same way the Commodores did. But I think the Owls still cover.
|Saturday, 11:00 AM CT
Some ice rink in some cold hellscape
JM: I would be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for the Gophers. First, it would absolutely destroy the Big 10. Second, I really don't like Ohio State. But let's be honest with one another here. The Buckeyes are going to roll Minnesota. If I'm wrong, at least I'll be happy about it. Ohio State covers.
LT: Best-case scenario is a blizzard comes in and sweeps Urban Meyer away, also canceling the game. Sadly, that's not going to happen, and Minnesota is going to finally be exposed for the fraud they are. It's going to be a sad, cold day in Minneapolis, or as they call it up there, Saturday. I'm sorry, I'm not sure why I'm being so mean here. Anyway, Buckeyes cover.
|Saturday, 2:30 PM CT
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison WI
JM: Okay, I've picked against my clear rooting interest, now I'm going to do the opposite. I'm not sure Wisconsin's actually any good at all this year. They have beaten precisely nobody; Maryland is their best win, then Rutgers, and they're not even real Big 10 teams I don't think. Also, they lost to Northwestern. On the other hand, Nebraska isn't any good either, and almost lost to McNeese State -- something we'll never let them live down, ever. So maybe the Huskers are actually a little better, but I just don't care. Badgers cover.
LT: I understand it's Nebraska, but I'm still not sure I can justify rooting for Wisconsin. It's probably Bo Ryan's fault. This one's tough, because it's two teams with just-plain-awful resumes, and the only difference is that whole loss to Northwestern thing. Both teams are going to run the ball a lot, which at least means it will be over quicker. Wisconsin is good at defending the run. Nebraska not so much, and running back Ameer Abdullah might not even be at 100% after getting hurt last week against Purdue. That's enough to convince me. Badgers cover.
|Saturday, 6:00 PM CT
Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto CA
JM: I think we've established that Utah is for real. I don't think we can really hold a fourth-quarter collapse against Oregon against them; I mean, that happens to everyone, right? More importantly, however, Stanford has not scored more than 20 points in a game against a team with a winning record all year. Not one. The only team Utah has scored less than 20 points against all year was Arizona State, and you may have heard they're pretty good at football. Also, this game is on the road and we all know that up is down and down is up in the Pac-12. And Stanford is favored by a touchdown? Yeah, gimme some of that action. Utes cover.
LT: Utah is also responsible for the single most hilarious, saddest play of the season. Seriously, how does something like that happen? The Utes should have gone up 14-0 on Oregon, but instead it was 7-7. No telling how things might have gone differently, but that certainly does not happen to everyone. Stanford is having a down year, but they're home and I just don't think Utah is up to the physical challege. Cardinal covers.
|Saturday, 8:00 PM CT
Sun Life Stadium, Miami FL
JM: This can't be right, can it? I double-checked and triple-checked and it sure looks like it. Maybe it's got something to do with those allegations? But if so, you'd think this game wouldn't even be on the board, right? Whatever. I don't care. If Florida State somehow spits the bit Saturday, we'll all be better off anyway. I'll happily eat a loss in that event. But I just don't see the Noles losing this game, or only winning by two points. FSU covers.
LT: LOLWUT? This is silly. Florida State covers. Obviously.