Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Big Ten picks rewind: Week 11
By Adam Rittenberg
Week 11 brought some more surprises, none bigger than Purdue's second straight home victory against Ohio State. Neither of us saw that one coming.
Both Bennett and I went 4-2 in the Week 11 predictions. Not a great week, but not a horrible one either.
Brian Bennett: 4-2
Adam Rittenberg: 4-2
Rittenberg: 63-22 (.741)
Bennett: 62-23 (.729)
Now it's rewind time ...
Rice at Northwestern
Nebraska at Penn State
- Bennett's pick: Northwestern 41, Rice 27
- Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 38, Rice 28
- Actual score: Northwestern 28, Rice 6
- 20-20 hindsight: We both expected a shootout, but Northwestern's suddenly energized defense had other ideas and turned in a second straight solid performance. My prediction for three Kain Colter touchdowns fell short (he had none), and neither of us forecast a career performance from Wildcats WR Jeremy Ebert (7 receptions, 208 yards, 2 TDs)
Michigan State at Iowa
- Bennett's pick: Nebraska 21, Penn State 14
- Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 20, Penn State 17
- Actual score: Nebraska 17, Penn State 14
- 20-20 hindsight: This game produced our best predictions of the week, by far. Bennett nailed Penn State's score, while I had Nebraska's margin of victory pegged. Penn State seemed to play with good focus and rallied late, but Nebraska had the edge at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Purdue at Ohio State
- Bennett's pick: Michigan State 23, Iowa 17
- Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 27, Michigan State 24
- Actual score: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21
- 20-20 hindsight: A big swing and miss here for me, as I had serious doubts about Michigan State on the road and expected much more from Iowa on its home field. Bennett correctly pegged Spartans RB Le'Veon Bell for his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season (he had 112 on 20 carries). The balanced offense I expected from Iowa never materialized, as Michigan State held Marcus Coker, the Big Ten's leading rusher, to 57 yards on 21 carries.
Wisconsin at Minnesota
- Bennett's pick: Ohio State 27, Purdue 17
- Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 24, Purdue 10
- Actual score: Purdue 26, Ohio State 23 (OT)
- 20-20 hindsight: Our profound apologies to the Boilermakers, who ended a two-game slide with a strong performance in all three phases against the surging Buckeyes. Purdue slowed down Dan Herron and Braxton Miller and held Ohio State to 163 rush yards on 47 carries -- hardly the explosive performance we both expected from the Buckeyes' ground game.
Michigan at Illinois
- Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 20
- Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 34, Minnesota 21
- Actual score: Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 13
- 20-20 hindsight: Kudos to Bennett for nailing Wisconsin's score. He also pegged Badgers RB Montee Ball to record three touchdowns and break the Big Ten single-season touchdown record, although "Moneyball" needed the fourth quarter to score his final TD. Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray (6-for-14 passing, 68 rush yards) didn't come through for me.
- Bennett's pick: Illinois 21, Michigan 17
- Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 28, Illinois 24
- Actual score: Michigan 31, Illinois 14
- 20-20 hindsight: We both expected more from Illinois, and my prediction of a fast start for the Illini fizzled as they failed to score in the first half for the fourth consecutive game. Still, Bennett paid the price for his faith in the Orange and Blue, although he correctly predicted Michigan QB Denard Robinson to leave the game in the second half.