Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Big Ten picks rewind: Week 4
By Adam Rittenberg
The picks rewind comes to you a few days later than normal. (You didn't think we'd just sweep the final nonconference Saturday under the rug, did you?)
The Big Ten had another mostly forgettable Saturday, as did Bennett, who went 6-4 in the Week 4 predictions. I fared a bit better at 8-2 to open up a commanding three-game lead in the season standings.
WEEK 4/SEASON RECORDS
Adam Rittenberg: 8-2, 36-10 (.783)
Brian Bennett: 6-4, 33-13 (.717)
It's rewind time ...
UAB at Ohio State
UTEP at Wisconsin
- Bennett's pick: Ohio State 45, UAB 14
- Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 41, UAB 10
- Actual score: Ohio State 29, UAB 15
- 20-20 hindsight: We both were close on UAB's score, but Ohio State had much more trouble with the Blazers than either of us envisioned. Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller accounted for two scores, not three as Bennett had predicted, and didn't really "go nuts," as I thought he would. My prediction of a mini breakout game for Ohio State running back Jordan Hall (105 rush yards, 17 carries) came true.
Central Michigan at Iowa
- Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 24, UTEP 10
- Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 31, UTEP 17
- Actual score: Wisconsin 37, UTEP 26
- 20-20 hindsight: Both of us underestimated UTEP's offense a bit, although most of my predictions came true, as Badgers quarterback Joel Stave indeed found wide receiver Jared Abbrederis for a long touchdown pass (47 yards) and the running game, led by James White and Melvin Gordon, took over late against the Miners. Only Stave called signals for the Badgers, rather than the quarterback rotation Bennett had predicted.
South Dakota at Northwestern
- Bennett's pick: Iowa 31, Central Michigan 14
- Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 31, Central Michigan 17
- Actual score: Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31
- 20-20 hindsight: A big swing and a miss for both bloggers. We expected Iowa to make easy work of the Chips, and while Hawkeyes running back Mark Weisman came through for both of us with another huge performance (217 rush yards, 3 TDs), it wasn't enough as Iowa made mistake after mistake down the stretch. Iowa's James Vandenberg and Kevonte Martin-Manley connected for one score, not two as Bennett had predicted. The Hawkeyes recorded no takeaways, not the two that I had predicted.
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State
- Bennett's pick: Northwestern 35, South Dakota 16
- Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 38, South Dakota 13
- Actual score: Northwestern 38, South Dakota 7
- 20-20 hindsight: We both know Northwestern rarely embarrasses an opponent, and I nailed the Wildcats' score, while Bennett came very close. Venric Mark and Mike Trumpy combined for only 127 rush yards, far less than what I had predicted (250), but Northwestern had 277 rush yards and five scores in the win. Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter played decently but didn't torch the Coyotes, as Bennett thought he would.
Idaho State at Nebraska
- Bennett's pick: Michigan State 49, Eastern Michigan 3
- Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 37, Eastern Michigan 6
- Actual score: Michigan State 23, Eastern Michigan 7
- 20-20 hindsight: Next question? We both nearly pegged Eastern Michigan's score but were way off in thinking Michigan State's offense would explode against the Eagles. Spartans running back Le'Veon Bell eclipsed both of our yards predictions (Bennett had him for 150, I had him for 200) with 253 yards, but he scored only one touchdown, below both of our predictions. Wideout DeAnthony Arnett wasn't a factor in the Spartans passing game, as I thought he would be.
Temple at Penn State
- Bennett's pick: Nebraska 56, Idaho State 10
- Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 49, Idaho State 7
- Actual score: Nebraska 73, Idaho State 7
- 20-20 hindsight: Bennett came closer, but both of us underestimated Nebraska's offensive prowess against a grossly overmatched FCS opponent. Huskers running back Rex Burkhead made me look smart with 61-yard touchdown game early on, while Imani Cross and Ameer Abdullah didn't quite reach my prediction of 300 rush yards and four scores. Bennett had quarterback Taylor Martinez for 13 of 15 passing and two touchdowns, and T-Magic came pretty close (9 of 13 passing, 2 TDs).
Michigan at Notre Dame
- Bennett's pick: Penn State 21, Temple 19
- Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 24, Temple 16
- Actual score: Penn State 24, Temple 13
- 20-20 hindsight: This was one of my best score predictions of the week, although Lions quarterback Matt McGloin not only stepped up in the fourth quarter but the entire game en route to a career-high 318 pass yards and three scores (2 rush, 1 pass). Lions linebacker Michael Mauti had a forced fumble, as I predicted, but not the tackles for loss. Bennett had Mauti for an interception, which he didn't get.
Syracuse at Minnesota
- Bennett's pick: Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24
- Rittenberg's pick: Notre Dame 27, Michigan 20
- Actual score: Notre Dame 13, Michigan 6
- 20-20 hindsight: I pegged the winner and the margin of victory, but both of us expected a lot more from Denard Robinson and the Michigan offense. Robinson's turnovers likely cost the Wolverines the game, as Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o not only bottled him up in the fourth quarter, as I thought, but for the entire game. Running back Fitz Toussaint and tight end Devin Funchess provided some help, as Bennett thought, but not nearly enough.
Louisiana Tech at Illinois
- Bennett's pick: Syracuse 31, Minnesota 28
- Rittenberg's pick: Syracuse 28, Minnesota 27
- Actual score: Minnesota 17, Syracuse 10
- 20-20 hindsight: We both owe Goldy an apology. We should have trusted you, and especially your defense, which stifled Ryan Nassib and the Syracuse offense all night long at TCF Bank Stadium. Nassib passed for 228 yards, 72 below Bennett's prediction, and couldn't rally the Orange in the fourth quarter, as I thought he would. Gophers quarterback Max Shortell did an adequate job (228 pass yards), as Bennett predicted, in his first start of the season.
- Bennett's pick: Illinois 28, Louisiana Tech 25
- Rittenberg's pick: Louisiana Tech 31, Illinois 28
- Actual score: Louisiana Tech 52, Illinois 24
- 20-20 hindsight: I had the Bulldogs getting the win, but neither of us saw this beat-down coming. Illinois' defense once again had no answer for an up-tempo spread offense team, and the Illini committed six turnovers in the loss. Running back Josh Ferguson didn't do much, and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase had two first-quarter turnovers before being benched in his return from an ankle injury. Not a good end to the night for the Illini -- or our predictions.