Big Ten picks rewind: Week 1

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
1:00
PM ET
The picks rewind is back!

Every Tuesday or Wednesday during the season, we'll take a look back at our game predictions, see how we fared and critique ourselves. Let's get started.

WEEK 1

Adam Rittenberg: 9-3

Brian Bennett: 10-2

Not an overly impressive start for either of us, given an opening slate filled with lopsided games. Both of us lacked faith in Northwestern without Dan Persa and paid the price. I picked the wrong upset special involving an Indiana school, and Ball State burned both of us big time.

Let's get to the picks and the games ...

UNLV at Wisconsin
  • Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 42, UNLV 10
  • Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 45, UNLV 14
  • Actual score: Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17
  • 20-20 hindsight: We both start strong, as Bennett goes out on a limb and correctly predicts a big night for Wisconsin's offensive line. QB Russell Wilson performed as advertised, as I thought he would, and Montee Ball doubled my predicted touchdowns total with four (3 rush, 1 receiving).
Youngstown State at Michigan State
  • Bennett's pick: Michigan State 38, Youngstown State 3
  • Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 48, Youngstown State 10
  • Actual score: Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6
  • 20-20 hindsight: Both of us overestimated Michigan State's offense in the opener, as the Spartans had a sluggish start. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had an efficient performance (18-of-22 passing, 222 yards, 1 TD), but wideout B.J. Cunningham had the biggest night (9 catches, 130 yards, 1 TD).
Northwestern at Boston College
  • Bennett's pick: Boston College 19, Northwestern 17
  • Rittenberg's pick: Boston College 24, Northwestern 20
  • Actual score: Northwestern 24, Boston College 17
  • 20-20 hindsight: Both of us were close on the score predictions, but we didn't think Northwestern's offense could put up enough points without Persa. Backup quarterback Kain Colter showed good poise in his first career start, and he got plenty of help from the offensive line.
Akron at Ohio State
  • Bennett's pick: Ohio State 37, Akron 9
  • Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 35, Akron 6
  • Actual score: Ohio State 42, Akron 0
  • 20-20 hindsight: Not a bad assessment here, although we both foolishly thought Akron could score on the venerated Buckeyes defense. If one of us had correctly predicted three touchdown receptions for an Ohio State tight end (Jake Stoneburner), we'd be in Vegas right now.
Indiana State at Penn State
  • Bennett's pick: Penn State 45, Indiana State 13
  • Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 38, Indiana State 7
  • Actual score: Penn State 41, Indiana State 7
  • 20-20 hindsight: Two pretty good score predictions, although it didn't take Nostradamus to see this coming. My prediction of a big day for running backs Silas Redd and Brandon Beachum panned out, especially for Redd (104 rush yards, 2 TDs), as Penn State racked up 245 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Tennessee Tech at Iowa
  • Bennett's pick: Iowa 31, Tennessee Tech 16
  • Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 34, Tennessee Tech 3
  • Actual score: Iowa 34, Tennessee Tech 7
  • 20-20 hindsight: Bennett foolishly underestimated the Hawkeyes' new-look defense (he'll learn), while I foolishly thought running back Marcus Coker would open with a bang (he did, fumbling twice and getting benched). Still, I'm pleased with my score prediction.
Middle Tennessee at Purdue
  • Bennett's pick: Purdue 21, Middle Tennessee 17
  • Rittenberg's pick: Middle Tennessee 26, Purdue 24
  • Actual score: Purdue 27, Middle Tennessee 24
  • 20-20 hindsight: I nearly nailed the score but had the teams in the wrong order. Purdue proved me wrong by showing it could complete a late rally behind quarterback Caleb TerBush. Bennett correctly predicted a strong opener for Boilers running back Ralph Bolden (17 carries, 120 rush yards).
Minnesota at USC
  • Bennett's pick: USC 28, Minnesota 14
  • Rittenberg's pick: USC 30, Minnesota 20
  • Actual score: USC 19, Minnesota 17
  • 20-20 hindsight: Count both of us among those surprised and impressed by Minnesota's performance at the L.A. Coliseum. The Gophers' defense struggled to stop Matt Barkley and Robert Woods, but it clamped down in the second half and limited points. Freshman quarterback Max Shortell showed good signs in relief of MarQueis Gray.
Western Michigan at Michigan
  • Bennett's pick: Michigan 48, Western Michigan 20
  • Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 37, Western Michigan 16
  • Actual score: Michigan 34, Western Michigan 10
  • 20-20 hindsight: Either of our score predictions could have been on the money had the teams played a full 60 minutes. Stupid weather. We both thought Denard Robinson would have a big day, and while he performed well, he had help from his running backs and a strong offensive line.
Chattanooga at Nebraska
  • Bennett's pick: Nebraska 49, Chattanooga 6
  • Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 44, Chattanooga 7
  • Actual score: Nebraska 40, Chattanooga 7
  • 20-20 hindsight: Both of us predicted the Mocs wouldn't do much offensively, but we also expected a bit more from Nebraska's new-look offense. Rex Burkhead made me look good with 75 rush yards and a touchdown on only 11 carries, although quarterback Taylor Martinez had the bigger day on the ground.
Arkansas State at Illinois
  • Bennett's pick: Illinois 38, Arkansas State 24
  • Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 41, Arkansas State 28
  • Actual score: Illinois 33, Arkansas State 15
  • 20-20 hindsight: Although the score predictions weren't super close, we both correctly forecast a big day for the Illini offense and some possible concerns for Vic Koenning's defense. We didn't envision two Illinois receivers (A.J. Jenkins and Darius Millines) both eclipsing 100 receiving yards in the game.
Indiana vs. Ball State (at Indianapolis)
  • Bennett's pick: Indiana 28, Ball State 20
  • Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 23, Ball State 21
  • Actual score: Ball State 27, Indiana 20
  • 20-20 hindsight: Bennett nearly nailed the score but should have switched the teams. Neither of us predicted a pretty game at Lucas Oil Stadium, but we thought Indiana would find a way in Kevin Wilson's debut. Whoops.

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