Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Big Ten picks rewind: Week 2
By Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten took a bit of a beating in Week 2, and so did the Big Ten bloggers.
Not surprisingly, Bennett continues to look like the smarter blogger, as his 9-3 record topped me at 8-4. It's not much of a win to savor.
First, a check of the standings:
Adam Rittenberg: 8-4
Brian Bennett: 9-3
Rittenberg: 17-7 (.708)
Bennett: 19-5 (.792)
Now let's look back at those predictions ...
Iowa at Iowa State
Florida Atlantic at Michigan State
- Bennett's pick: Iowa 24, Iowa State 9
- Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 27, Iowa State 13
- Actual score: Iowa State 44, Iowa 41 (3 OT)
- 20-20 hindsight: We both had too much faith in Iowa's new-look defense and too little faith in Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz, who boasts a great name and plenty of game, too. Marcus Coker fell one rushing touchdown short of my prediction and racked up 140 rush yards but lost another fumble.
Toledo at Ohio State
- Bennett's pick: Michigan State 35, Florida Atlantic 7
- Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 33, Florida Atlantic 10
- Actual score: Michigan State 44, Florida Atlantic 0
- 20-20 hindsight: We both predicted a strong performance from Michigan State on the ground, but neither of us forecast such a dominating defensive effort. The Spartans allowed no points, one first down and just 48 total yards against the Owls, who had the ball for just 17:34.
Oregon State at Wisconsin
- Bennett's pick: Ohio State 28, Toledo 10
- Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 31, Toledo 13
- Actual score: Ohio State 27, Toledo 22
- 20-20 hindsight: We both underestimated a solid Toledo squad, and perhaps the Buckeyes did, too. Ohio State's defense faced some hurdles against the Rockets, while Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde made me look somewhat smart with two rushing touchdowns.
South Dakota State at Illinois
- Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 42, Oregon State 20
- Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 13
- Actual score: Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 0
- 20-20 hindsight: We both did well on the Wisconsin score, but we figured Oregon State would do more on offense. The Badgers' defense dominated play, while Montee Ball fulfilled Bennett's prediction with another solid performance (118 rush yards, 2 touchdowns).
Eastern Illinois at Northwestern
- Bennett's pick: Illinois 44, South Dakota State 7
- Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 40, South Dakota State 12
- Actual score: Illinois 56, South Dakota State 3
- 20-20 hindsight: We both envisioned another big day for the Illinois offense, although neither of us pegged running back Troy Pollard to be a key contributor. Illinois' defensive performance was a bit better than both of us expected.
New Mexico State at Minnesota
- Bennett's pick: Northwestern 31, Eastern Illinois 13
- Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 38, Eastern Illinois 10
- Actual score: Northwestern 42, Eastern Illinois 21
- 20-20 hindsight: Our score predictions would have looked a lot better had Northwestern kept EIU out of the end zone in the final minute. As I thought, Northwestern emphasized the run game again and finished with 320 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Alabama at Penn State
- Bennett's pick: Minnesota 35, New Mexico State 14
- Rittenberg's pick: Minnesota 31, New Mexico State 13
- Actual score: New Mexico State 28, Minnesota 21
- 20-20 hindsight: We both totally whiffed here. Although I cited a potential letdown from the USC game in my prediction, we both expected the Gophers to roll against what looked like a lousy New Mexico State team. Fail.
Purdue at Rice
- Bennett's pick: Alabama 24, Penn State 12
- Rittenberg's pick: Alabama 19, Penn State 13
- Actual score: Alabama 27, Penn State 11
- 20-20 hindsight: Finally, an impressive score prediction, courtesy of Mr. Bennett. My lack of faith in Penn State's quarterbacks revealed itself, and as I thought, Alabama running back Trent Richardson came on strong late in the game.
Virginia at Indiana
- Bennett's pick: Purdue 19, Rice 16
- Rittenberg's pick: Purdue 26, Rice 18
- Actual score: Rice 24, Purdue 22
- 20-20 hindsight: Neither of us were overly confident in the Boilers, and Bennett correctly put them on upset alert. We didn't give enough credence to the karma factor, as a Purdue team that escaped its opener against Middle Tennessee lost in heart-breaking fashion as Rice blocked a short field-goal attempt by standout kicker Carson Wiggs on the final play.
Fresno State at Nebraska
- Bennett's pick: Virginia 34, Indiana 23
- Rittenberg's pick: Virginia 27, Indiana 17
- Actual score: Virginia 34, Indiana 31
- 20-20 hindsight: Bennett nailed Virginia's points total and I wasn't too far off, but neither of us envisioned Indiana squandering an 8-point lead in the final minutes. The Hoosiers did produce a better performance in the opener, as we thought, although their number of big plays on defense came as a surprise.
Notre Dame at Michigan
- Bennett's pick: Nebraska 31, Fresno State 10
- Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 33, Fresno State 14
- Actual score: Nebraska 42, Fresno State 29
- 20-20 hindsight: We both picked the Huskers, but neither of us thought Fresno State would gash the Blackshirts as much as it did. Rex Burkhead had two rushing touchdowns but not the big day I envisioned, while Fresno State surprisingly looked like a giant killer for a portion of the game.
- Bennett's pick: Michigan 31, Notre Dame 30
- Rittenberg's pick: Notre Dame 24, Michigan 21
- Actual score: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
- 20-20 hindsight: Bennett looks like the genius here, as he predicted "crazy things happen in this game" and "Denard Robinson pulls off more heroics." I couldn't have written it better myself. I wish I had. Damn.