Monday, September 15, 2008
A look back at the Week 3 picks
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The record looks good (9-1), but a closer look reveals some score predictions that weren't even on the radar. You can bet I'll be on weather.com throughout the week before making my upcoming selections. Predicting an offensive shootout in East Lansing without accounting for the impending deluge was foolish. Then again, no one forecasted Michigan and Notre Dame combining to score 52 points in rain-soaked South Bend.
Time to review the picks:
FLORIDA ATLANTIC-MICHIGAN STATE
- My pick: Michigan State 44, Florida Atlantic 23
- Game result: Michigan State 17, Florida Atlantic 0
- 20-20 hindsight: The rain slowed down everybody but Javon Ringer, who backed up my prediction with a career high 282 rushing yards. Rusty Smith and the FAU offense looked totally lost in the monsoon, but credit Michigan State's defense for firming up. The Spartans will need a bigger game from Brian Hoyer this week against Notre Dame, but the senior quarterback did his job by handing off to Ringer.
- My pick: Minnesota 45, Montana State 14
- Game result: Minnesota 35, Montana State 23
- 20-20 hindsight: I expected a little more from the Gophers' defense, which got a great performance from DE Willie VanDeSteeg (3 TFLs) but missed a lot of tackles. DeLeon Eskridge emerged as a potential answer at running back, and the Adam Weber-Eric Decker combination continued to flourish. Decker had 157 receiving yards and a touchdown.
- My pick: Illinois 55, Louisiana-Lafayette 24
- Game result: Illinois 20, Louisiana-Lafayette 17
- 20-20 hindsight: Juice Williams won't hear any Heisman talk after this game. Same goes for Rejus Benn and several other Illini stars. Coach Ron Zook challenged his best players to be better after a lackluster performance. Linebacker Brit Miller answered the call and had a great strip-and-score on a 27-yard fumble return, but there weren't many other highlights.
- My pick: Northwestern 37, Southern Illinois 21
- Game result: Northwestern 33, Southern Illinois 7
- 20-20 hindsight: Another rain game in which one team's defense stepped up. I underestimated the Mike Hankwitz effect and the Wildcats continued to surge under their new coordinator, collecting six sacks in the victory. As expected, Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton returned to form with three rushing touchdowns and quarterback C.J. Bacher looked a bit more comfortable in the pocket.
- My pick: Iowa 31, Iowa State 21
- Game result: Iowa 17, Iowa State 5
- 20-20 hindsight: Another misread by your Big Ten blogger. I expected sophomore quarterback Ricky Stanzi to take control of the offense, but starter-turned-backup Jake Christensen ended up being the more effective quarterback. The QB controversy continues, but I'm not giving nearly enough credit to a Hawkeyes defense that has allowed six points -- Iowa State had a safety Saturday -- in three games.
- My pick: Penn State 51, Syracuse 10
- Game result: Penn State 55, Syracuse 13
- 20-20 hindsight: This was my closest pick of the week, thanks to Penn State's reliably dominant Spread HD offense and the worst BCS team in the country. Evan Royster had another 100-yard rushing game, but it was the passing attack of Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin that punished the Orange. With five touchdown passes, the Lions showed they can win in multiple ways.
- My pick: Oregon 44, Purdue 31
- Game result: Oregon 32, Purdue 26 (2 OT)
- 20-20 hindsight: This turned into a pleasant surprise for those of us who attended the game. Purdue's defense showed a lot of moxie and contained a very dangerous Ducks attack in the red zone. The Ducks' much-publicized speed was a factor down the stretch as Jairus Byrd's punt return for a touchdown changed the game. But the Boilermakers wasted several opportunities to pull an upset and lost another big one.
- My pick: Michigan 21, Notre Dame 10
- Game result: Notre Dame 35, Michigan 17
- 20-20 hindsight: The Wolverines' defensive linemen performed below expectations, but they didn't have much chance to dominate the game because their teammates treated the football like a hot potato. Turnovers turned this into a surprisingly high-scoring affair. The weird thing is that both Steven Threet and Sam McGuffie had their moments for Michigan, but the game still turned into a disaster.
- My pick: USC 31, Ohio State 24
- Game result: USC 35, Ohio State 3
- 20-20 hindsight: At least USC came through for me on the points total, but I'll count myself among the millions who were let down by the Buckeyes. Ohio State's offense couldn't keep pace for two quarters, much less four, and the team's national title hopes are gone for good. Terrelle Pryor performed about as expected, and Jim Tressel has some decisions to make at quarterback going forward.
- My pick: Wisconsin 28, Fresno State 27
- Game result: Wisconsin 13, Fresno State 10
- 20-20 hindsight: P.J. Hill (112 rush yards) had my back after our conversation last week, but Wisconsin's defense proved to be the real story in a huge road win. Both defenses performed well, but the Badgers made more big plays, forcing two turnovers (actually three, if you include a blown fumble call). Wisconsin also avoided a slow start for the first time this year.
Season record: 28-3