- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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It was a brutal week for the Big Ten, and a brutal week for the Big Ten bloggers.
Both Brian Bennett and I took a beating in the Week 2 predictions, as we both expected a much better result from the league. It would have been even worse had we bet against the spread. Like Big Ten players and coaches, we can only hope this is rock bottom.
WEEK 2/SEASON RECORDS
Adam Rittenberg: 8-4, 18-6 (.750)
Brian Bennett: 7-5, 17-7 (.708)
Rewind time ...
New Hampshire at Minnesota
Bennett's pick: Minnesota 31, New Hampshire 20
Rittenberg's pick: Minnesota 26, New Hampshire 20
Actual score: Minnesota 44, New Hampshire 7
20-20 hindsight: Minnesota's recent struggles against FCS foes clearly clouded our judgment, as this time the Gophers pulled away and never looked back. MarQueis Gray exceeded my touchdowns prediction by one (2 pass, 2 rush), while Ra'Shede Hageman stepped up. The Gophers rushed for 173 yards and three scores, backing up Bennett's prediction.
UCF at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 38, UCF 21
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 34, UCF 17
Actual score: Ohio State 31, UCF 16
20-20 hindsight: This one went more or less as expected, and Braxton Miller backed up my prediction with a huge performance (296 total offensive yards, 4 TDs). Buckeyes RB Carlos Hyde couldn't reach Bennett's forecast of 100 yards as he left the game with a knee injury.
Penn State at Virginia
Bennett's pick: Penn State 17, Virginia 14
Rittenberg's pick: Virginia 21, Penn State 14
Actual score: Virginia 17, Penn State 16
20-20 hindsight: Bennett's prediction might have held up if his forecast of two Matt McGloin-Allen Robinson touchdowns had held up (they connected for one and Robinson nearly had another). Unfortunately for the Lions, my prediction of a late-game fade proved true as Virginia rallied to steal a game it didn't deserve.
Purdue at Notre Dame
Bennett's pick: Purdue 28, Notre Dame 24
Rittenberg's pick: Notre Dame 27, Purdue 21
Actual score: Notre Dame 20, Purdue 17
20-20 hindsight: We both correctly pegged Purdue to rotate its top two quarterbacks quite a bit (Rittenberg) and receive a big performance from Kawann Short and the defensive line (Bennett). But the Boilers couldn't get the field-goal block they needed in the closing seconds, as Bennett had predicted, and fell again in South Bend.
Indiana at Massachusetts
Bennett's pick: Indiana 21, UMass 20
Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 27, UMass 21
Actual score: Indiana 45, UMass 6
20-20 hindsight: We both thought the line on this game -- Indiana was a double-digit favorite -- seemed way off. That's why we're bloggers, not Vegas oddsmakers. Indiana had no trouble with UMass, despite losing starting QB Tre Roberson to a season-ending leg injury. Roberson had two rushing touchdowns, not two passing touchdowns, as I had predicted, before his injury.
Air Force at Michigan
Bennett's pick: Michigan 38, Air Force 17
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 35, Air Force 20
Actual score: Michigan 31, Air Force 25
20-20 hindsight: We both were fairly close on Michigan's score, but Air Force gave the Wolverines' defense more trouble that we expected. Michigan QB Denard Robinson exceeded Bennett's prediction of 350 yards by 76 yards, recording the second 200-200 game of his career. Fitz Toussaint didn't back up my prediction and did nothing in his return.
Michigan State at Central Michigan
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 28, Central Michigan 7
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 38, Central Michigan 10
Actual score: Michigan State 41, Central Michigan 7
20-20 hindsight: This was my best pick of the week as Spartans QB Andrew Maxwell made me look smart with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Michigan State DE William Gholston had one sack, not two as Bennett predicted, and Isaiah Lewis and Johnny Adams had the picks for the Spartans, not Darqueze Dennard.
Iowa State at Iowa
Bennett's pick: Iowa 35, Iowa State 31
Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 24, Iowa State 20
Actual score: Iowa State 9, Iowa 6
20-20 hindsight: A big swing and a miss for the Hawkeyes and both bloggers, who expected some actual touchdowns in Iowa City (imagine that). Although Iowa did a decent job of containing the Cyclones' Steele Jantz, as I predicted, QB James Vandenberg continued to struggle in the new offense. Hawkeyes RB Damon Bullock came 47 yards short of Bennett's rushing prediction (100).
Wisconsin at Oregon State
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 23
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 30, Oregon State 20
Actual score: Oregon State 10, Wisconsin 7
20-20 hindsight: This might be the most stunning final score of the season, and neither of us saw Wisconsin's offensive woes coming. We both expected big things from the Badgers' run game and especially Montee Ball, who finished 114 rush yards and three touchdowns shy of Bennett's prediction. Our apologies to Mike Riley and the Beavers for underestimating you.
Nebraska at UCLA
Bennett's pick: Nebraska 42, UCLA 31
Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 33, UCLA 28
Actual score: UCLA 36, Nebraska 30
20-20 hindsight: We both expected somewhat of a shootout, and Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah made Bennett look smart by eclipsing 100 rush yards. Huskers QB Taylor Martinez fell three touchdowns shy of my prediction (2 rush, 2 pass), and UCLA gave the Blackshirts more than "a few issues," racking up 653 yards.
Vanderbilt at Northwestern
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 42, Vanderbilt 41
Rittenberg's pick: Vanderbilt 35, Northwestern 31
Actual score: Northwestern 23, Vanderbilt 13
20-20 hindsight: Here's another game that went nothing like we expected, as Northwestern outlasted Vanderbilt in a defensive struggle. Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers took aim at Northwestern's secondary on the first drive, as I predicted, but then he mysteriously stopped. And the Wildcats' maligned defense rose up in the second half, buying enough time for the offense to find its rhythm.
Illinois at Arizona State
Bennett's pick: Arizona State 23, Illinois 17
Rittenberg's pick: Arizona State 21, Illinois 20
Actual score: Arizona State 45, Illinois 14
20-20 hindsight: We both thought a talented Illini defense would show up for this one. It didn't. Illinois didn't merely wear down, as Bennett thought, or have some struggles with Todd Graham's offensive scheme. The Illini looked overmatched from the start, and QB Nathan Scheelhaase likely wouldn't have helped enough to prevent the blowout.
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer