Tuesday, September 9, 2008
A look back at the Week 2 picks
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Another decent week of picks, which comes as no surprise given the Big Ten's shoddy competition. I hoped to be a little more accurate, and my lack of faith in an improved Minnesota team prevented perfection. Few foresaw the troubles Ohio U. gave Ohio State, and Penn State continues to exceed early season expectations.
Week 3 provides a much tougher test for Big Ten players, coaches and prognosticators. But first, here's a review of the picks from last week.
- My pick: Ohio State 45, Ohio 7
- Game result: Ohio State 26, Ohio 14
- 20-20 hindsight: Seriously, who saw this coming? Put your hand down, Frank Solich. The Buckeyes came out flat on offense without star running back Chris "Beanie" Wells and could have been in some serious trouble if not for special-teams heroics from Shaun Lane and Ray Small and big plays from star defenders. Ohio's team speed was noted during my pick, but it became a bigger factor than most envisioned.
- My pick: Wisconsin 40, Marshall 13
- Game result: Wisconsin 51, Marshall 14
- 20-20 hindsight: Star tight end Travis Beckum didn't play after Badgers coach Bret Bielema said he would, but quarterback Allan Evridge still got going after a slow start and passed for 308 yards. Evridge hooked up with reserve tight ends Lance Kendricks and Garrett Graham for 167 yards. As expected, Marshall presented some first-half problems for Wisconsin, jumping to a 14-0 lead, but the Badgers' attack countered in a big way.
- My pick: Illinois 52, Eastern Illinois 3
- Game result: Illinois 47, Eastern Illinois 21
- 20-20 hindsight: Ron Zook isn't the only one a little ticked at the Illinois defense, which hasn't consistently stopped the run. The Illini might pay the price in the Week 3 picks. At least Juice Williams had my back with 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing his own school record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
EASTERN MICHIGAN-MICHIGAN STATE
- My pick: Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 14
- Game result: Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 10
- 20-20 hindsight: The most accurate pick of the week, and probably the easiest to make. Eastern Michigan's defense was no match for Spartans senior running back Javon Ringer, who rushed for five touchdowns in the rout. Quarterback Brian Hoyer had a much better performance (8-of-12 passing), and wideout B.J. Cunningham matched rising star Mark Dell in production.
- My pick: Michigan 27, Miami (Ohio) 6
- Game result: Michigan 16, Miami (Ohio) 6
- 20-20 hindsight: The Wolverines' offense didn't perform to expectations behind redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet, who retains the starting job this week. Fortunately for Rich Rodriguez, his veteran defense came up with the save and knocked Miami starting quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh out of the game in the fourth quarter. And a Michigan running back did step up as freshman Sam McGuffie had 74 rushing yards.
- My pick: Iowa 44, Florida International 10
- Game result: Iowa 42, Florida International 0
- 20-20 hindsight: Iowa's offense continues to surge and evidently the defense deserves a little more love after allowing just three points in the first two games. I was wrong about Jake Christensen locking up the starting quarterback job, as sophomore Ricky Stanzi seems to have staked his claim there. As expected, another big game for Hawkeyes running back Shonn Greene (130 rush yards, TD).
- My pick: Purdue 41, Northern Colorado 0
- Game result: Purdue 42, Northern Colorado 10
- 20-20 hindsight: It sounds nitpicky to harp on a 32-point win, but I expected more from Purdue, and evidently so did coach Joe Tiller. Quarterback Curtis Painter was his normal superb self and senior Desmond Tardy emerged as a potential No. 2 wideout behind Greg Orton. But the defense allowed 22 first downs and didn't force a turnover against a Northern Colorado team picked to finish last in the Big Sky Conference.
OREGON STATE-PENN STATE
- My pick: Penn State 38, Oregon State 30
- Game result: Penn State 45, Oregon State 14
- 20-20 hindsight: Daryll Clark, Evan Royster and the Nittany Lions punished an Oregon State defense that can't stop the run. As forecasted, Clark ran much more this week, racking up 61 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. It's a little surprising Lyle Moevao and the Beavers couldn't do more against a Penn State defense missing two starting linemen, but right now everything is clicking in Happy Valley.
- My pick: Indiana 45, Murray State 10
- Game result: Indiana 45, Murray State 3
- 20-20 hindsight: Marcus Thigpen must be reading the blog. I know fellow Hoosiers running back and blogger Bryan Payton does. Thigpen provided the rushing spark Indiana needed with 100 yards and two scores on just seven carries. Star pass rusher Greg Middleton only picked up one sack, but the defense looked very strong in the blowout.
- My pick: Northwestern 30, Duke 21
- Game result: Northwestern 24, Duke 20
- 20-20 hindsight: This one figured to be close, though Duke dominated the stat sheet and would have won with a clutch play or two. Wildcats running back Tyrell Sutton rushed for two touchdowns but had a much smaller impact than forecasted after experiencing leg cramps in the second half.
- My pick: Bowling Green 38, Minnesota 34
- Game result: Minnesota 42, Bowling Green 17
- 20-20 hindsight: Props to the Gophers for proving me a fool, especially regarding their defense. Minnesota forced five turnovers and capitalized with a huge second half. Quarterback Adam Weber performed as expected, completing 21 of 25 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
Season record: 19-2