Thursday, September 23, 2010
Big Ten predictions: Week 4
By Adam Rittenberg
Came this close to another perfect week of picks last Saturday. If only Iowa had completed its comeback. Oh, well.
Here's another stab at perfection:
Michigan 41, Bowling Green 26: I just can't imagine Michigan's defense playing as poorly as it did last week against UMass, and the Falcons will be without their starting quarterback. Denard Robinson gets a much needed rest in the fourth quarter as the Wolverines pull away thanks to a big first half.
Michigan State 45, Northern Colorado 20: The Spartans' offense continues to show good balance as backs Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell both eclipse 120 rush yards. Northern Colorado can score -- the Bears come in averaging 45.3 points -- and start quick before the Spartans take control in their first game without head coach Mark Dantonio.
Northwestern 34, Central Michigan 28: This should be one of the better games on a mostly uninspiring slate around the Big Ten. Central Michigan jumps ahead early as Northwestern's offense starts slow for the second straight week. But quarterback Dan Persa turns in another dominating second half and finds Jeremy Ebert for three touchdowns as the Wildcats survive.
Wisconsin 48, Austin Peay 10: The Badgers surge out to a quick lead behind the running of John Clay and James White. Quarterback Scott Tolzien gets some rest in the second half as Bret Bielema gets a good look at his linebacking corps without star Chris Borland.
Iowa 40, Ball State 10: Iowa comes out throwing the ball downfield to conserve its only healthy proven running back, Adam Robinson. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi has a big first half connecting with Marvin McNutt, and the defense holds Ball State to one offensive touchdown in an easy win.
Purdue 27, Toledo 17: Toledo has looked a lot better since the opener, and the Rockets jump ahead in this one. Quarterback Robert Marve takes a little while to get comfortable, but he'll be helped by a healthier Dan Dierking in the backfield as the Boilers' offense surges in the third quarter to take control.
Ohio State 45, Eastern Michigan 3: Terrelle Pryor passes for a couple of touchdowns but takes a backseat as the running game gets going behind Brandon Saine and Dan Herron. Just like last week, Ohio State surges out to a big lead but doesn't run up the score like some of the other teams in the top 10.
Penn State 23, Temple 13: Penn State fans are awfully chesty about this matchup, and given the series history, I guess they should be. But Al Golden brings his best Temple team to State College and the Owls hang around for a while as the Nittany Lions' offense struggles early. Ultimately, Penn State's defense will be too strong for Temple.
Indiana 38, Akron 17: Coach Bill Lynch receives a more balanced offensive performance as running back Darius Willis rebounds nicely from a subpar performance last week. Still, Indiana leaves too many questions on defense heading into next week's Big Ten opener against Robinson and Michigan.
Minnesota 26, Northern Illinois 24: This is my Pick of the Week. Check back later for a video post breaking down my selection.
Last week: 10-1
Season record: 30-2 (.938)