Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Big Ten picks rewind: Week 3
By Adam Rittenberg
It's time to nitpick the Week 3 picks.
Do I have to? Yes, Adam, you have to. You're terrible and you can't hide from it. Now stop talking to yourself on the blog.
OK, here's the deal. After three years of fairly strong predictions, I've fallen apart this season. An 8-4 mark in Week 3 is just the latest setback. I'm below 70 percent in picking winners for the first time ... maybe ever.
Mr. Bennett, meanwhile, continues to extend his lead in the standings, although he shouldn't feel too giddy about a 9-3 mark.
Let's check the standings:
Adam Rittenberg: 8-4
Brian Bennett: 9-3
Rittenberg: 25-11 (.694)
Bennett: 28-8 (.778)
Now let's look back on the predictions:
Eastern Michigan at Michigan
Penn State at Temple
- Bennett's pick: Michigan 42, Eastern Michigan 10
- Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 36, Eastern Michigan 14
- Actual score: Michigan 31, Eastern Michigan 3
- 20-20 hindsight: Not a bad start for us, and Bennett was right about Eastern Michigan having no answer for Denard Robinson, at least on the ground (198 rush yards, 3 touchdowns). My prediction of offense coordinator Al Borges sticking to his system more didn't pan out, as Michigan looks like a spread team once again.
Pitt at Iowa
- Bennett's pick: Penn State 21, Temple 17
- Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 23, Temple 16
- Actual score: Penn State 14, Temple 10
- 20-20 hindsight: Two pretty solid score predictions, and both of us expressed concerns about Penn State's offense, which struggled yet again. RB Silas Redd came through for me with a rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Derek Moye made Bennett look wise with a big day catching the ball, although he didn't score.
Southeast Missouri State at Purdue
- Bennett's pick: Iowa 28, Pitt 19
- Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 27, Pitt 20
- Actual score: Iowa 31, Pitt 27
- 20-20 hindsight: The score predictions aren't far off, but neither of us saw Iowa needing to rally from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to complete the biggest comeback in team history. I correctly predicted Pitt to take an early lead, but I wasn't thinking 24-3. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg came of age in the fourth quarter.
South Carolina State at Indiana
- Bennett's pick: Purdue 35, SEMO 10
- Rittenberg's pick: Purdue 34, SEMO 17
- Actual score: Purdue 59, SEMO 0
- 20-20 hindsight: Neither of us saw another nailbiter for the Boilers, but we also underestimated the offense against an FCS foe. Purdue racked up 33 first downs and 627 offensive yards as quarterbacks Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve carved up Southeast Missouri State. I correctly predicted a big day for the Boiler run game, which piled up 393 yards and seven touchdowns.
Michigan State at Notre Dame
- Bennett's pick: Indiana 41, South Carolina State 17
- Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 30, South Carolina State 17
- Actual score: Indiana 38, South Carolina State 21
- 20-20 hindsight: Some decent score predictions here, especially Bennett's, as Indiana recorded its first win. I correctly predicted Indiana's run game would come to life a bit, but it was freshman D'Angelo Roberts who provided the spark with 102 rush yards and a touchdown.
Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota
- Bennett's pick: Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 28
- Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 27, Notre Dame 24
- Actual score: Notre Dame 31, Michigan State 13
- 20-20 hindsight: We both whiffed here, as Michigan State fell behind early and couldn't claw back. The close game we both envisioned never materialized as Notre Dame made the big plays and totally shut down the Spartans' rushing attack.
Washington at Nebraska
- Bennett's pick: Minnesota 21, Miami 20
- Rittenberg's pick: Miami 27, Minnesota 21
- Actual score: Minnesota 29, Miami 23
- 20-20 hindsight: Of course, Bennett looks like the genius as Minnesota seemed to elevate its play for coach Jerry Kill, who returned to the sideline only a week after suffering a seizure. As Bennett predicted, there was some drama at the end, but Minnesota's shaky secondary made enough plays to win.
Northwestern at Army
- Bennett's pick: Nebraska 31, Washington 14
- Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 28, Washington 16
- Actual score: Nebraska 51, Washington 38
- 20-20 hindsight: Both of us once again gave too much credit to Nebraska's defense, which now ranks 66th nationally in points allowed (24.7 ppg). At least Bennett predicted another big day for his fantasy team star Taylor Martinez, who recorded three touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush).
Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois (at Chicago)
- Bennett's pick: Northwestern 24, Army 20
- Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 27, Army 21
- Actual score: Army 21, Northwestern 14
- 20-20 hindsight: We both predicted a close game and I nailed Army's score, but we both expected much more from quarteback Kain Colter and the Northwestern offense. As I thought, Northwestern showed more willingness to pass the ball, but Colter didn't execute like he needed to, and neither did the Wildcats' defensive line against Army's triple-option.
Arizona State at Illinois
- Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 38, Northern Illinois 24
- Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 45, Northern Illinois 21
- Actual score: Wisconsin 49, Northern Illinois 7
- 20-20 hindsight: We both put too much stock in former Badgers assistant Dave Doeren and Northern Illinois' high-powered offense led by quarterback Chandler Harnish. The Wisconsin defense buckled down again, surrendering only 11 first downs. Bennett went out on a limb with his Russell Wilson prediction, as the Wisconsin quarterback continued to sizzle (347 pass yards, 3 touchdowns).
Ohio State at Miami
- Bennett's pick: Arizona State 51, Illinois 48
- Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 33, Arizona State 31
- Actual score: Illinois 17, Arizona State 14
- 20-20 hindsight: Both of us forecast a close game, but neither of us saw a defensive struggle between the Fighting Illini and Sun Devils. Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase ended up providing the game-winning score, as I predicted, but it was on a pass to A.J. Jenkins, not a run.
- Bennett's pick: Miami 21, Ohio State 16
- Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 20, Miami 17
- Actual score: Miami 24, Ohio State 6
- 20-20 hindsight: We both thought it would be a difficult night for the Buckeyes offense, but neither of us saw Ohio State recording only 35 pass yards on 4 of 18 attempts. Running back Jordan Hall (14 carries, 87 yards) had a nice performance in his season debut, as I predicted, but it wasn't nearly enough. Bennett correctly picked the Canes.