Predictions: Big Ten Week 4

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
9:00
AM ET
Bennett might be the new guy around here, but you wouldn't know it from the predictions. At this rate, Rittenberg might want to find a new conference home. I hear the Big East needs bodies.

Week 4 brings both bloggers a chance to pad their stats, only one opponent from a major conference, Colorado, is on the docket.

Let's get to the predictions!

CENTRAL MICHIGAN at MICHIGAN STATE

Brian Bennett: The first of our many directional Michigan school games this week. The Chippewas don't have enough firepower to counteract a tough Spartans' D. ... Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 13

Adam Rittenberg: The Chips are no longer the world beaters they were under Brian Kelly. Michigan State's defense performs well and a patchwork offensive line does enough to help Kirk Cousins have a big day. ... Michigan State 28, Central Michigan 14

SAN DIEGO STATE at NO. 22 MICHIGAN

Adam Rittenberg: Ah, the Brady Hoke Bowl. The Aztecs will be fired up for this one, and they'll give Michigan a very good test before Big Ten play begins. Ronnie Hillman makes some plays, but Denard Robinson makes more as Michigan survives. Michigan 31, SDSU 27

Brian Bennett: Michigan better avoid its slow starts this week, because the last thing it wants is a confident, revenge-minded bunch of Aztecs on its hands. Robinson does his thing, though, and the Wolverines get a couple of key turnovers to stay unbeaten. ... Michigan 28, SDSU 23

EASTERN MICHIGAN at PENN STATE

Brian Bennett: The Eagles hung tough for a half at the Big House last week, and Penn State's offense will let a lot of teams hang around. But the talent gap is still too large, and Silas Redd goes for more than 100 yards on the ground. ... Penn State 27, E. Michigan 3

Adam Rittenberg: I think this is the week when Penn State gets clarity at the quarterback position. Just don't ask me which guy separates himself. Either way, the Lions' defense rolls, recording at least two takeaways. ... Penn State 30, E. Michigan 7

LOUISIANA-MONROE at IOWA

Adam Rittenberg: ULM isn't a bad defensive team (38th nationally in yards allowed), but Iowa has some confidence in the passing game as several options emerged last week alongside Marvin McNutt. James Vandenberg tosses two touchdown strikes in this one. ... Iowa 31, ULM 14

Brian Bennett: The Warhawks got off to a great start last week at TCU before fading. Iowa should have some momentum from last week's comeback, though. ... Iowa 35, ULM 17

COLORADO at OHIO STATE

Brian Bennett: My boldest prediction: the Buckeyes complete more than four passes. Braxton Miller starts and has an up-and-down day, but the Silver Bullets clamp down the Buffs. ... Ohio State 21, Colorado 10

Adam Rittenberg: Wow, you truly are a gambler, BB. It definitely sounds like Miller time in Columbus. Can't see Ohio State lighting up anyone right now, but the Buckeyes do enough in the second half to win this one. Ohio State 19, Colorado 12

SOUTH DAKOTA at NO. 6 WISCONSIN

Adam Rittenberg: Bucky Badger had better bulk up this week. He'll be doing plenty of push-ups in this one as Wisconsin keeps it on the ground with Montee Ball and James White. ... Wisconsin 66, South Dakota 10

Brian Bennett: I actually feel kind of sorry for the Coyotes. Since Bret Bielema was still passing up 49-7 on Northern Illinois last week, this one could get real ugly. ... Wisconsin 70, South Dakota 13

WESTERN MICHIGAN at NO. 24 ILLINOIS

Brian Bennett: Trap Game Alert! Sandwiched between the Arizona State upset and the Big Ten opener against Northwestern, I think the Illini are due for a letdown. But the defense showed me last week that it's better than I thought, and it will slow Alex Carder and the Broncos just enough. ... Illinois 31, Western Michigan 23

Adam Rittenberg: I agree on the letdown front. Illinois has some holes in the secondary that Carder will exploit, but Western Michigan won't be able to stop a revived run game from Jason Ford, Nathan Scheelhaase and Donovonn Young. ... Illinois 35, Western Michigan 24

NORTH DAKOTA STATE at MINNESOTA

Adam Rittenberg: The Gophers have no reason to overlook North Dakota State after their recent struggles against FCS foes. Jerry Kill will make sure his team is ready. That doesn't mean it won't be close, but MarQueis Gray again shows why he's the best athlete on the field. ... Minnesota 28, North Dakota State 23

Brian Bennettt: As I said in my chat, it's not a good idea to sleep on the Bison, figuratively or literally. This is a very good FCS team that will be highly motivated. But I liked what I saw from the Gophers last week, and they win on a late field goal. ... Minnesota 24, NDSU 21

INDIANA at NORTH TEXAS

Brian Bennett: The Polite Green rank No. 6 in our Bottom 10 this week and are about as big a pushover as it gets in the FBS. But it's not like Indiana can just show up and beat anyone, especially on the road. The Hoosiers offense is getting a little better, though, and Ed Wright-Baker comes through in the fourth quarter. ... Indiana 35, North Texas 24

Adam Rittenberg: I worry about Indiana's young offensive line on the road, especially after false start fever last week at home. But North Texas is truly abysmal, and Indiana will find a way to prevail in Denton. ... Indiana 27, North Texas 21

NO. 9 NEBRASKA at WYOMING

Adam Rittenberg: Wyoming is undefeated but hasn't faced any team close to Nebraska's level. The Pokes hold their own in the first quarter or so before Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead run away with this one. ... Nebraska 38, Wyoming 14

Brian Bennett: The Huskers offense will have a field day, and I also see a bounce back for the Blackshirts against Wyoming's true freshman quarterback. ... Nebraska 44, Wyoming 13

Byes: Northwestern, Purdue

Yes, it's lame that we agree on every game, but given this sorry slate, what did you expect?

SEASON RECORDS

Rittenberg: 25-11 (.694)

Bennett: 28-8 (.778)

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