- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's time to look back at our Week 1 predictions for the Big Ten and see how our forecasts fared. Like the Big Ten itself, Bennett and I both went 10-2. And like the league, we both could have done a lot better with our scores.
Here we go ...
WEEK 1/SEASON RECORDS
Brian Bennett: 10-2
Adam Rittenberg: 10-2
Minnesota at UNLV
Bennett's pick: Minnesota 21, UNLV 17
Rittenberg's pick: Minnesota 31, UNLV 23
Actual score: Minnesota 30, UNLV 27 (3 OT)
20-20 hindsight: I correctly pegged Minnesota reaching the 30-point mark for the first time in the Jerry Kill era, while Bennett forecast two touchdown passes for Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray and came close on the victory margin. We both expected a cleaner performance from Minnesota in Vegas.
Boise State at Michigan State
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 17, Boise State 14
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 20, Boise State 16
Actual score: Michigan State 17, Boise State 13
20-20 hindsight: Bennett nearly fired the first bull's-eye pick of the year, and both of us had this game pegged pretty well. I expected a bit more from Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell, but the Michigan State defense lived up to the hype in its season debut.
Northwestern at Syracuse
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 33, Syracuse 30 (OT)
Rittenberg's pick: Syracuse 35, Northwestern 31
Actual score: Northwestern 42, Syracuse 41
20-20 hindsight: As expected, this one turned into a shootout, one that both of us underestimated a bit with our score picks. Although I correctly pegged struggles for Northwestern's young secondary and a big day for Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib (470 pass yards), the Wildcats rallied for a win. Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter came up one touchdown pass shy of Bennett's prediction (3).
Ohio at Penn State
Bennett's pick: Penn State 20, Ohio 10
Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 20, Ohio 13
Actual score: Ohio 24, Penn State 14
20-20 hindsight: My pick looked pretty good at halftime as Penn State stormed out to a 14-3 lead. I also correctly forecast a big second half for Ohio's Tyler Tettleton, although he made the game-winning touchdown strike, not Penn State's Matt McGloin. Bennett's predictions of a Penn State defensive shutout after halftime and a late Bill Belton touchdown run didn't come to fruition.
Western Michigan at Illinois
Bennett's pick: Western Michigan 34, Illinois 31
Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 27, Western Michigan 24
Actual score: Illinois 24, Western Michigan 7
20-20 hindsight: Another swing and a miss for Mr. Bennett, and while I nearly nailed Illinois' score, we both thought Alex Carder and the Western Michigan offense would perform a lot better in Champaign. Illinois' injuries in the secondary didn't hurt the squad as the defense shut down the Broncos. Illini running back Josh Ferguson had only 38 rush yards, falling short of my forecast.
Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 28, Miami (Ohio) 7
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 34, Miami (Ohio) 10
Actual score: Ohio State 56, Miami (Ohio) 10
20-20 hindsight: We both underestimated the prowess of Urban Meyer's offense, which, after a slow start, destroyed Miami in the final three quarters. It was hardly a "so-so offensive showing," as Bennett predicted. Braxton Miller only found two different receivers for touchdowns, not three as I had predicted, but he also added a 65-yard scoring scamper of his own.
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois (at Chicago)
Bennett's pick: Iowa 23, Northern Illinois 20
Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 31, Northern Illinois 27
Actual score: Iowa 18, Northern Illinois 17
20-20 hindsight: Bennett came closer on the score prediction, but both of us whiffed on pegging Iowa's offensive stars. Quarterback James Vandenberg passed for only 129 yards, 171 fewer than I thought he would, while it was Damon Bullock, not Greg Garmon, who keyed the Hawkeyes' rushing attack with 150 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue
Bennett's pick: Purdue 35, Eastern Kentucky 13
Rittenberg's pick: Purdue 31, Eastern Kentucky 9
Actual score: Purdue 48, Eastern Kentucky 6
20-20 hindsight: We both came fairly close on the Colonels' score, but Purdue's offensive firepower exceeded our forecast. Neither Akeem Shavers nor Raheem Mostert had the big performances we thought they would, but a good collective effort from the Boilers helped them to a very easy win.
Southern Miss at Nebraska
Bennett's pick: Nebraska 31, Southern Miss 14
Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 35, Southern Miss 17
Actual score: Nebraska 49, Southern Miss 20
20-20 hindsight: Again, we ended up closer on the score prediction for the losing squad than the victorious one, although neither of us pegged this game to be particularly close. As we both predicted, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez looked a lot more comfortable and eclipsed Bennett's prediction of 65 percent completions with 76.5 percent. Rex Burkhead could have made Bennett's prediction of 150 rush yards come true if he didn't suffer a sprained knee in the first quarter.
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 42, Northern Iowa 10
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 38, Northern Iowa 17
Actual score: Wisconsin 26, Northern Iowa 21
20-20 hindsight: About the only prediction either of us pegged was Bennett forecasting only three incomplete passes for new Wisconsin quarterback Danny O'Brien, who had just four misfires. The Badgers had only one rushing touchdown -- four fewer than I predicted -- and had a much more difficult Saturday than anyone expected on their home field.
Indiana State at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Indiana 27, Indiana State 17
Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 34, Indiana State 20
Actual score: Indiana 24, Indiana State 17
20-20 hindsight: Bennett came close on the score prediction, and my call for three Tre Roberson touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush) fell one pass touchdown short. As we thought, the Hoosiers passed the ball better as Roberson completed 26 of 36 attempts with no interceptions as IU recorded its first win since last September.
Michigan vs. Alabama (at Arlington, Texas)
Bennett's pick: Alabama 27, Michigan 14
Rittenberg's pick: Alabama 30, Michigan 17
Actual score: Alabama 41, Michigan 14
20-20 hindsight: Well, at least we had Michigan's points total and Alabama's line-of-scrimmage edge pegged, but both of us underestimated the Tide offense and Alabama's overall dominance in this game. I expected Eddie Lacy to be Alabama's dominant back, but it was T.J. Yeldon who had the best day on the ground (11 rushes, 111 yards, 1 touchdown).
It's time to look back at our Week 1 predictions for the Big Ten and see how our forecasts fared. Like the Big Ten itself, Bennett and I both went 10-2.