Big Ten Fearless Predictions, Nov. 1
Michigan State RB Javon Ringer
Michigan State RB Javon Ringer
Posted Oct 29, 2008

With Ohio State and Penn State off this week, the spotlight is on Michigan State and Javon Ringer as they try to stay alive over the next few weeks until the showdown against the Nittany Lions. Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 10 Big Ten Games including the Spartans battle with Wisconsin.

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

Big 10 Fearless Predictions  Aug. 30 | Sept. 6 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 20 
- Sept. 27 | Oct. 4 | Oct. 11 | Oct. 18 | Oct. 25

How are the picks so far? SU: 50-16... ATS: 32-25

- Big 10 Fearless Predictions, Nov. 1, Part 2 (Iowa vs. Illinois)

Big Ten Game of the Week

Wisconsin (4-4) at Michigan State (7-2), 12:00 EST ESPN
Why to watch: Wisconsin was able to calm everyone down and get head coach Bret Bielema off the little bit of a hot seat that flamed up after an ugly four-game losing streak. It wasn’t the choke to Michigan or even the blasting from Penn State that got a segment of Badger fans up in arms, it was the horrible effort, poor tackling, and lack of execution against Iowa that got the blood boiling. After beating Illinois with a solid all-around performance, the battle is back on for a decent bowl game. But first, the Badgers have to get by a Michigan State team that’s looking for its first really good win. Beating arch-rival Michigan was nice, and the win over Iowa deserves a little bit of credit, but the respect factor still isn’t there. A win over Wisconsin might finally bring the attention and would keep the Spartans in the thick of the Rose Bowl hunt. With Penn State still on the schedule, along with Purdue, MSU could end up in Pasadena by winning out. There’s a logjam for the league’s No. 2 spot, and there’s no margin for error.
Why Wisconsin might win: Wisconsin has to be Wisconsin. Michigan State’s run defense hasn’t been special so far this season, and it has had problems against teams that tried to pound away. Iowa was held to 151 yards, but Shonn Greene had a nice day. Ohio State blasted away for 216 yards with Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor running wild. Cal used its speed to roll for 203 yards behind its tremendous offensive line. Wisconsin cranked out a solid 163 yards against Illinois, got an effective 174 passing yards, and it only lost one fumble and forced three interceptions. Wisconsin has to win on the ground, win the turnover margin, and keep Javon Ringer from going ballistic, but …
Why Michigan State might win: … that’s easier said than done. Illinois got away from its running game and tried to win through the air. Michigan State is going to bring the fastball. Iowa’s Shonn Greene ripped off 217 yards and four touchdowns on the Badger D. Beanie Wells ran for 168 yards and a score. Even Michigan was able to combine forced to run for 172 yards. Wisconsin buckled against the three really good offensive lines it faced (OSU, PSU and Iowa), and while the Spartans don’t have an elite front five, it knows how to get No. 23 on the move.
Who to watch: The Badger offense has undergone a facelift, both by design and by necessity. The passing game lost All-America TE Travis Beckum for the season to a broken leg, but it has another NFL-caliber tight end, Garrett Graham, ready to play a bigger role. John Clay has taken over a bulk of the rushing workload from P.J. Hill, getting 25 carries last week to Hill’s three, and Dustin Sherer is firmly entrenched as the starting QB. He was rock solid against Illinois completed 12-of-22 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and he even took off for 40 yards and a score.
What will happen: Usually, it’s Michigan State that steps up and wins this game when Wisconsin desperately needs it. The tables will be turned around this week. The Badgers will play up to their talent level, even if injuries are a problem, and will pound their way for a very tough, very good win.
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 26 … Michigan State 23 ... Line: Michigan State -5
Must See Rating: (5 RocknRolla – 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year) … 4
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Saturday, November 1st

Central Michigan (6-2) at Indiana (3-5), 12:00 EST Big Ten Network
Why to watch: Indiana blew its first chance against a MAC team, getting blasted by Ball State 42-20 a few weeks ago, but now things appear to have changed. That loss sparked an ugly five-game losing streak, broken up last week by a stunning 21-19 win over Northwestern that had helped by five takeaways and a decent day from QB Ben Chappell. A win is a must to keep bowl hopes alive. For Central Michigan, who is 0-3 all-time against the Hoosiers, this game doesn’t mean much outside of it being a possible confidence booster. The Chippewas have won four straight, but they’re 0-2 against non-conference FBS competition and haven’t beaten a BCS conference team since a 24-20 win over Michigan State in 1992. Winning this week would be nice, but beating Northern Illinois next week is more important leading up to the showdown against Ball State.
Why Central Michigan might win: Who isn’t hurt for Indiana? This is a banged up and bruised Hoosier team that’ll be without top strong safety Austin Thomas, who suffered a broken leg, and could be without three starting offensive linemen, Rodger Saffold, Andrew McDonald, and Cody Faulkner. Making matters worse, top receiver Andrew Means has a broken hand. With all the injury problems, the aggressive CMU defensive front should be able to get into the backfield, while QB Dan LeFevour should be able to throw at will on a defense that has a problem with efficient passing games.
Why Indiana might win: If IU’s passing game was ever going to work, this would be the week. The CMU pass defense has struggled for the last few years, and has been particularly bad this year allowing 280 yards per game and 13 touchdowns. Making matters worse, CMU has only picked off one pass outside of a three interception day against Temple. The Hoosier air attack hasn’t been consistent, but it has cranked out yards from time to time.
Who to watch: This was supposed to be a high-caliber showdown between LeFevour and IU QB Kellen Lewis. LeFevour is hobbled a bit, but playing, while Lewis is having problems with a high ankle sprain he can’t seem to shake. IU sophomore Ben Chappell hasn’t set the world on fire, but he was solid last week completing 21-of-34 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown with a rushing score. LeFevour doesn’t need to run for CMU to win, but Chappell and Lewis, if Lewis plays, have to do a little bit with their legs as well as their arms.
What will happen: CMU might have the better, tighter team at the moment, but Indiana will be pumped up after the win over Northwestern and will keep the passing game going just enough to pull off a tight win.
CFN Prediction: Indiana 27 … Central Michigan 23 ... Line: Indiana -2.5
Must See Rating: (5 RocknRolla – 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year) … 2
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Northwestern (6-2) at Minnesota (7-1), 12:00 EST ESPN2
Why to watch: Raise your hand if you ever though Northwestern and Minnesota would be in the Rose Bowl hunt on November 1. Minnesota doesn’t have to play Michigan State or Penn State, and it’s taking advantage of the relatively light schedule with a solid three-game winning streak. There was nothing cheap about beating Illinois at Illinois, and its defense allowed a total of 13 points against Indiana and Purdue. The loss to Ohio State took control of the Big Ten title out of their hands, but the Gophers are still dreaming of being this year’s Illinois and going to Pasadena, or at least they’re hoping for a New Year’s Day bowl. On the other side, Northwestern’s fantastic season took a major downturn with a stunning, inexcusable loss to Indiana that was bad enough, but the offense lost two key players in QB C.J. Bacher to a hamstring and RB Tyrell Sutton to a wrist injury. After going 6-6 last year and being left out of the bowl picture, last week was supposed to be a coronation to get over the hump and take the Pat Fitzgerald era to another level. With Ohio State up next, a trip to Michigan, and Illinois to close things out, there isn’t sure-thing in the bunch. The program has been resilient in coming back from the death of Randy Walker, and now it has to show on the field that it can bounce back from last week’s disaster.
Why Northwestern might win: It’s not like the Minnesota offense is throwing a ton of points on the board. The running game is mediocre, the passing game if efficient, but it’s not explosive, and the O is doing just enough to get by. Ohio State was able to run the ball without a problem inside and out, and Northwestern needs to get creative without its two stars in the backfield. The offense might be dumbed down a bit, and that’s not a bad thing. The offensive line should be able open things up for the ground game as the Wildcats use a bit of power.
Why Minnesota might win: There’s little margin for error when it comes to Northwestern. It needs to be offensively balanced, the lines have to dominate, and there can’t be turnovers. The lines should be solid, but there might be a problem hanging on to the ball. Last week against IU, the Wildcats lost three fumbled and gave away two interceptions. Minnesota leads the nation in turnover margin. Not only does the offense not make mistakes, but the defense is aggressive and sells out to force errors. It should be able to come up with its share of takeaways considering the offense will be run be ....
Who to watch: … NU QB Mike Kafka and RB Omar Conteh. Kafka is an athletic option who runs better than Bacher, even if he didn’t show it last week against the Hoosiers. The offense might turn him loose running the ball just to keep things simpler, and there will be a lot of Conteh, a good veteran and a nice banger with a good burst. The senior has rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns so far, and he was great last year when he had to step in for an injured Sutton. The running game should be fine.
What will happen: Northwestern won’t skip a beat with the replacements in the backfield, but it still won’t matter. Minnesota is too efficient, too tight, and is playing too well right now. The mobility of Adam Weber will offset the Wildcat pass rush, and the defense will force two key turnovers to produce the win.
CFN Prediction: Minnesota 26 … Northwestern 17 ... Line: Minnesota -5.5
Must See Rating: (5 RocknRolla – 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year) … 4
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- Big 10 Fearless Predictions, Nov. 1, Part 2 (Iowa vs. Illinois)