2010 Big 10 Fearless Picks - (Iowa-Michigan)
Iowa DT Adrian Clayborn
Iowa DT Adrian Clayborn
Posted Oct 13, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every Big 10 game, Oct. 16, Part 2

2010 Big Ten Fearless Predictions

Week 7 ... Oct. 16, Part 2

Big Ten
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota
Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 

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- Oct. 16 (Ohio State-Wisconsin)

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Minnesota (1-5) at Purdue (3-2) Oct. 16, 12:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal … Minnesota has been the thorn in Purdue's side over the last two seasons. The Boilermakers might not have been bowl bound in 2008 or 2009 with wins over the Gophers, but the losses didn't help. This year's injury-riddled team pulled off the early shocker of the Big Ten season with an ugly win over a previously unbeaten Northwestern, and this is a win it must have to have any prayer of going bowling for the first time in three years. The offense isn't working, the return game is awful, and the defense is merely average, but Purdue is 3-2 with Indiana still on the schedule. A win this week, and in the regular season finale over the Hoosiers, and it'll take just one upset to get a 13th game, which would be a major accomplishment in such a rough year. While Purdue is coming of what might be a season-turning win, Minnesota is coming off a hissy fit after being more mad about Wisconsin going for two late than getting flattened in yet another blowout. The Gophers haven't been totally awful since the season-opening win over Middle Tennessee, but losing to South Dakota and Northern Illinois isn't a plus no matter how it's spun. It'll take an upset to come up with a second win.
Why Minnesota Might Win: It's not like Purdue went nuts on Northwestern. It took a few special teams gaffes from the Wildcats as the Boilermakers threw for just 47 yards and got 118 of the 232 rushing yards on two plays. Minnesota doesn't have a nasty defense, but it has enough of an offense to potentially put up enough points and come up with enough good drives early on that Purdue won't be able to respond to. For all of Minnesota's problems, turning it over isn't among them with just seven on the year, while Purdue is tenth in the Big Ten in turnover margin. The Boilermaker return game is among the worst in America, which should negate Minnesota's various special teams problems.
Why Purdue Might Win: Minnesota has found ways to lose. The secondary gives up huge gains in chunks, the defensive front doesn't generate any pressure, and the offense has never been timely. Minnesota is last in the Big Ten against the run, in sacks, in scoring defense, and in pass efficiency defense. Purdue's offense might be miserable, but it'll get time to work and it'll get its chances to rumble on the ground. If it could put up 232 yards on the ground against Northwestern, it should be able to rumble for over 250 against the Gophers. Defensively, Purdue is generating pressure in the backfield on everyone, and even though the Minnesota offensive line has been solid in pass protection, it should have problems this week.
What To Watch Out For: Rob Henry isn't fast and he's not particularly athletic, but he's been the rushing offense over the last three weeks running for 65 yards against Ball State, 67 against Toledo, and 132 and a score against Northwestern. Now he has to get the passing game going after struggling mightily last week completing 6-of-18 passes for 47 yards against the Wildcats, but he'll get his shot against the awful Gopher secondary. Defensively, Ryan Kerrigan continues to play at an All-America level with a sack in every game with 5.5 on the year, while leading the nation with 13 tackles for loss.
What Will Happen: Minnesota is bad, but Purdue's offense is worse. The Gophers will load up to stop the run and will dare Henry to win through the air, and he won't be able to do it. For the first time this year, the experience of four-year starting quarterback Adam Weber will make a difference as he'll come through with a big late drive leading to a game-winning kick to finally give the Gophers something positive in a lost year.
CFN Prediction: Minnesota 23 … Purdue 20 … Line: Purdue -5.5
Must See Rating: Jackass 3D – 5 … The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town -1 … 2
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Iowa (4-1) at Michigan (5-1) Oct. 16, 3:30, ABC

Here's The Deal … Michigan might have been lousy over the second half of last year, but it gave Iowa a major fight. Denard Robinson stepped in for Tate Forcier to run for a touchdown with just over three minutes to play, but he threw a bad interception in the final moments when the Wolverines were trying to drive for a game-winning field goal attempt in a 30-28 loss. This year, Michigan is trying to get back on track after struggling in a 34-17 loss to Michigan State, and more than anything else, to put a quick halt to a potential slide that nervous fans are worrying will happen after last year's collapse. This will be a great test for the Michigan offense to see what it can do against the nation's No. 2 run defense, but it'll also be a big moment for the Hawkeyes to see if they can come through on the road.

For Iowa, getting a win over a real, live team is a must. While the defense allowed just 17 points in the four wins, it still has yet to pass any sort of a test. Penn State's offense stinks, and Iowa State's attack is nothing to get excited about. Arizona picked the Hawkeyes clean, but this game begins a nasty journey to get back in the national consciousness. With Wisconsin and Michigan State at home over the following two weeks, a win in Ann Arbor is a must considering this will likely be the toughest road game the rest of the way (with all apologies to Northwestern). Iowa won last year's game, but Michigan won the previous three and won seven straight from 1991 to 2001 before the Hawkeyes came up with two straight wins.

Why Iowa Might Win: If Michigan couldn't do much against the Michigan State defensive front, it's going to have a nightmare of a time with Adrian Clayborn and the Iowa line. The Hawkeyes have yet to allow more than 78 rushing yards in a game, with Iowa State and its mobile quarterback, Austen Arnaud, having the most success. Arnaud was held to 20 yards. Being able to focus totally on Denard Robinson, with no other Wolverines helping the cause, shouldn't be too much of a problem for the Iowa defensive front. Offensively, Iowa can pick and choose how it wants to move the ball. Ricky Stanzi has started out the season red hot ranking third in the nation in passing efficiency for an offense that's averaging 426 yards per game, while Michigan is 119th in the nation (only Tulsa is worse) in pass defense. Pass protection has been a bit of an issue for Iowa, but that won't be a concern this week against a Michigan pass rush that doesn't generate consistent pressure.
Why Michigan Might Win: Glossed over in the loss to Michigan State was that Robinson was actually good and the offense worked. Yeah, it wasn't like blowing up for 721 yards against Bowling Green, and there were the three interceptions, but those were mostly because of poor decisions and there were plenty of good moments. Robinson still ran for a solid 86 yards and a touchdown, and while he didn't have any of his trademark home runs, he got the ground game moving and he completed 17-of-29 passes for 215 yards with a touchdown; he spread the ball around well. Against the Iowa secondary that got picked apart by Nick Foles and Arizona, Robinson has to be efficient and effective through the air to keep the linebackers away just enough to give the ground game a little more room. Iowa only played one team that can throw, and it failed.
What To Watch Out For: Stanzi isn't going to make any All-America teams and he's not the flashiest quarterback around, but he's on his game over the first five weeks. While he was criticized for holding on the ball too long late in the loss to Arizona, he was careful at not forcing throws and he didn't get any time to work in key moments. Completing 68% of his throws for 1,226 yards and ten touchdowns with two interceptions so far, has thrown for more than 200 yards in each of the first five games and his decision-making has been rock-solid. He's getting help from RB Adam Robinson, who's carrying the ground game by himself with so many issues in the Hawkeye backfield, but he's also playing like the seasoned veteran the offense needs him to be.
What Will Happen: Robinson will come up with a strong, sound game, and he'll keep the picks and the mistakes to a minimum, but he also won't be able to break free to give the Wolverines many big game-changing moments. Iowa's defense will come up with just enough stops to allow Stanzi and the balanced attack to whatever it wants to. It might take a half, but Iowa will have full control of the game in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Iowa 38 … Michigan 20 … Line: Iowa -3.5
Must See Rating: Jackass 3D – 5 … The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town -1 … 4
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- Oct. 16 (Ohio State-Wisconsin)