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Big 10 Fearless Predictions, Nov. 17, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 15, 2007


Previews and Predictions for the Week 12 Big 10 Games, Part 2


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

Big Ten Fearless Predictions Sept. 1Sept. 8 | Sept. 15Sept. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10

How are the picks so far? SU: 63-19 ... ATS: 33-37-2

Big 10 Week 12 Predictions, Part 1

Big 10 Saturday November 17

Western Michigan (3-7) at Iowa (6-5)  3:30 PM  Big Ten Network
Why to watch
: The last time these two played, Western Michigan pulled off a 27-21 shocker in 2000 to set the tone for a miserable Hawkeye campaign. Since then, Iowa has feasted off MAC teams winning ten straight including a 16-3 win over Northern Illinois. Iowa desperately needs this win to stay in the hunt for a bowl game, with a loss likely meaning it'll be on the outside looking in with the Big Ten not having enough slots for all its eligible teams. On a three-game winning streak, and a nice run of four wins in five weeks sparked by the upset over Illinois, this is one of the hotter Big Ten teams. Western Michigan still has a date with Temple, and it can salvage something out of a tremendously disappointing season with an upset this week. On a three-game losing streak, anything positive would be nice after blowing any shot at making some late noise in the MAC race with a loss to Central Michigan.
Why Western Michigan might win: Iowa couldn't blowout Minnesota. You and ten friends could hang 45 on the Gophers. The Hawkeye offense is hit or miss, failing to generate consistent production from any one area and failing to come up with the same game twice. Western Michigan is having the same issues with its attack, but if Iowa lets down thinking this will be a layup, there's a chance Tim Hiller and the WMU passing game could get up early. It had better because ...
Why Iowa might win: ... it'll be a major shock if the Broncos can get 100 yards rushing. Iowa's defensive front seven might is the best the Broncos have faced since the season opener against West Virginia, and the WMU O line isn't anything special. To have a shot, WMU has to be nearly perfect, and it won't be. Turnovers have been a major issue giving away ten in the last three games.
Who to watch: It's redemption time for Western Michigan WR Jamarko Simmons. One of the MAC's best playmakers, and the Broncos' best receiver, he was booted out of last week's game against Central Michigan, the team's biggest of the year, after kicking a player after a big tackle. He went nuts on the sidelines thinking the ejection was unfair, and now he wants to make it up to his team with a big game. He has four double-digit catch game on the year, but hasn't gotten into the end zone in his last five games. That has to change this week.
What will happen: Iowa's defense will make up for the mediocre offense and shut down WMU from the start. The Hawkeyes aren't going to lose Senior Day for the second year in a row.
CFN Prediction: Iowa 28 ... Western Michigan 13 ... Line: Iowa -13
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ...1.5

Penn State
(8-3) at Michigan State (6-5)  3:30 PM  ABC
Why to watch
: In what was a dead-even rivalry over the years, Penn State has taken over winning three straight over the Spartans. Getting a fourth in a row could ensure a New Year's Day bowl bid for the Nittany Lions, but would most likely put them fourth in the pecking order. Part of the theme this weekend around the Big Ten is the need for several already-eligible teams to win to be assured of a bowl spot. Michigan State is a good position with the Motor City Bowl likely to want the Spartan crown to fill seats in Ford Field, but a win this week still might be a must. After losing five games in six weeks, including overtime heartbreakers to Northwestern and Iowa, and with the collapse against Michigan, MSU could've packed it in. Instead it turned things around with a win over Purdue in one of its better offensive showings of the year. Penn State has basically gone chalk with wins over all the teams it was supposed to beat and losses to the teams it was supposed to lose to, and that includes, in hindsight, Illinois. Michigan State is a team it's supposed to beat, and if it can come out of East Lansing with a win along with a bowl victory, Joe Paterno will have his second double digit-win season in three years.
Why Penn State might win: Ohio State. Michigan State got the passing game going to beat Purdue last week, but for the most part, it has to get its tremendous running game going to win. That's probably not going to happen against the Nittany Lion linebacking corps that keys the nation's fourth best run defense. Ohio State was able to stuff the Spartans with James Laurinaitis coming up with 12 tackles and Marcus Freeman coming up with seven stops. Dan Connor and Sean Lee should be able to keep the MSU's Javon Ringer from breaking off too many, if any, big runs.
Why Michigan State might win: If MSU can crank its pass rush up to 11 and make Penn State become one dimensional, it should have a chance. When the Spartans come up with three sacks or more, they're 6-0. When they get fewer than three, they're 0-5. Penn State's offensive line is great for the running game, but has been merely average in pass protection. MSU will get at least three sacks.
Who to watch: Michigan State's running game has taken center stage all year while junior QB Brian Hoyer has been lost in the shuffle. He hasn't needed to be explosive, but he's had to keep his mistakes to a minimum while keeping the chains moving. He picked a great time to come up with one of his best games of the year, completing 22 of 31 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, along with a rushing score, against Purdue. Filling in for Drew Stanton at the end of last year, he had a strong day in the loss to Penn State throwing it 61 times for 291 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Now he's going to have to make some deep throws early on to open things up just a crack for his running game. He failed to do that against Ohio State, and the linebackers teed off. If he can't get Connor and Lee on their heels just a little bit, MSU might not have a chance.
What will happen: Penn State has the better team with the right mix and the right formula to beat Michigan State, but Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio is quickly changing the culture around East Lansing and will have his team playing one of its best games of the year. MSU will win on Senior Day for the first time since 2004
CFN Prediction: Michigan State 27 ... Penn State 23 ... Line: Penn State -2
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ... 3

Wisconsin
(8-3) at Minnesota (1-10)  3:30 PM Big Ten Network
Why to watch
: The longest running rivalry among FBS teams with the Badgers and Gophers going at it for the 117th time. Wisconsin has won the Paul Bunyan Axe four of the last five times, and is coming into the game playing its best football of the season winning three of its last four games highlighted by last week's win over Michigan. Even the loss at Ohio State wasn't bad with the Badgers leading after three quarters. On the flip side, the Gophers are having one of its worst seasons in the long and storied history with nine straight losses including last week's 21-16 defeat at Iowa. As the only Big Ten team not bowl eligible, this is it for Minnesota as its ending its season in mid-November for the first time since 2001. For Wisconsin, a win keeps a dream of a New Year's Day bowl alive, but it's probably headed for the Alamo Bowl no matter what happens.
Why Wisconsin might win: Wisconsin was playing well despite a slew of major injuries, and now it's getting healthy. Star RB P.J. Hill is expected to be back after missing most of the last two games hurt. He got five carries against Michigan, and while he might not be ready to handle a full workload again, he should get more work. Even if it's Zach Brown getting most of the carries, he should be able to run wild behind an offensive line playing as well as it has all year. Now that tackle Eric Vanden Heuvel is back, the Badgers are healthier up front and should be able to pound away at will on the nation's 112th ranked run defense.
Why Minnesota might win: Wisconsin was able to handle Indiana's Kellen Lewis without a problem, but it has struggled with mobile quarterbacks throughout the year and had problems earlier this year with the spread offenses of UNLV and Citadel. The only shot Minnesota has of pulling off the upset is if QB Adam Weber has the game of his life. Lost in this horrific season has been a solid statistical year from the freshman with 3,073 yards of total offense helped by 530 rushing yards. He needs to be on the move early and often, and his decision making has to be flawless, or this will be a blowout.
Who to watch: Wisconsin might be healing up a bit, but one of its key cogs, QB Tyler Donovan, is iffy after getting beaten up by Michigan. The Wolverines made a point to hit No. 12 over and over again, occasionally a bit too aggressively (to be polite). Donovan has been a steady senior leader who has been surprisingly impressive throwing the ball with no interceptions against Ohio State and Michigan and just two picks thrown in the last month. Backup Allan Evridge, the Kansas State transfer who was neck-and-neck with Donovan for the job in the off-season, has mostly handed the ball off so far. If he plays, that's all he'll likely do with the UW gameplan to be all about pounding the ball.
What will happen: Wisconsin will pile up over 500 yards of offense as it keeps the axe for the fourth straight year.
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 41 ... Minnesota 20 ... Line: Wisconsin -13.5
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ... 2

Big 10 Week 12 Predictions, Part 1