The race is tightening just a bit.
dirty beloved St. Louis Cardinals, Brian Bennett is chipping away at the leader (that'd be me), cutting his deficit to three games with his Wisconsin-Purdue pick. Neither of us ran the table in Week 7 -- all in all, it wasn't a great week -- and we both whiffed on Iowa's upset of Michigan State, so the quest for perfection continues.
In case you missed them, the Week 7 Big Ten predictions.
WEEK 7/SEASON RECORDS
Adam Rittenberg: 3-2, 48-14 (.774)
Brian Bennett: 4-1, 45-17 (.726)
Rewind time ...
Iowa at Michigan State
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 17, Iowa 14
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 21, Iowa 17
Actual score: Iowa 19, Michigan State 16 (2 OT)
20-20 hindsight: The score predictions came close, but we both had the winner wrong. Iowa forced the key turnover in overtime, not Michigan State as Brian predicted, although Spartans RB Le'Veon Bell (140 rush yards, 1 TD) did play a bit better than Mark Weisman (116 rush yards, 1 TD). Michigan State intercepted James Vandenberg in the first quarter, not the second half as I predicted, and while the Spartans did claim an early lead, they couldn't hold it in the end.
Northwestern at Minnesota
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 31, Minnesota 28
Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 28, Minnesota 24
Actual score: Northwestern 21, Minnesota 13
20-20 hindsight: Had the rain stayed away and Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray remained healthy, our score predictions might have been a bit closer. I correctly pegged running back Venric Mark and QB Kain Colter for three combined touchdowns, and Northwestern did indeed survive a late scare from the Gophers. Bennett correctly pegged Minnesota to struggle, at least early, against Northwestern's run game, although a gimpy Gray could have led the Gophers to victory if he hasn't re-injured his knee.
Wisconsin at Purdue
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 23, Purdue 20
Rittenberg's pick: Purdue 27, Wisconsin 24
Actual score: Wisconsin 38, Purdue 14
20-20 hindsight: Both of us expected Purdue to play with a sense of urgency (it didn't) and keep the game close (it didn't). Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis had a quiet day with no touchdowns (Bennett had him for one). I pegged Wisconsin running back Montee Ball for two touchdowns (he had three), and my predictions of touchdown passes for Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve, as well as a Purdue victory, blew up in my face.
Illinois at Michigan
Bennett's pick: Michigan 34, Illinois 10
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 37, Illinois 14
Actual score: Michigan 45, Illinois 0
20-20 hindsight: We both predicted Michigan blowouts but clearly gave Illinois too much credit. My forecast for Michigan QB Denard Robinson -- 150 rushing yards, 175 pass yards, 2 rushing TDs, 2 passing TDs -- wasn't too far off (128 rush yards, 159 pass yards, 2 rush TDs, 2 pass TDs), and while linebacker Jake Ryan didn't secure his first interception of the season, he had a forced fumble and 3.5 tackles for loss. Bennett correctly predicted Michigan would hold Illinois to fewer than 250 yards (the Illini had a meager 134).
Ohio State at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 42, Indiana 24
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 45, Indiana 21
Actual score: Ohio State 52, Indiana 49
20-20 hindsight: We weren't too far off on Ohio State's points total but didn't give Indiana's offense enough credit (or thought too highly of the Buckeyes' leaky defense). Bennett correctly predicted Ohio State QB Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde would combine for four touchdowns, while Miller came through for me with 149 rush yards (I had him for 150), and Hyde recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game. Buckeyes cornerback Bradley Roby didn't have an interception, as Bennett predicted, but he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.