Monday, November 3, 2008
A look back at the (bad) Week 10 picks
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Like an unblocked linebacker, Week 10 just flattened your Big Ten blogger. After a charmed nine weeks of picks, Saturday proved to be my downfall. A 2-3 record resulted in easily the worst round of picks this season. Honestly, I thought this would happen earlier, so it's not all bad.
At least Penn State and Ohio State return to action this week, providing a chance at forecasting redemption.
Here's a look back at the picks.
- My pick: Central Michigan 27, Indiana 24
- Game result: Central Michigan 37, Indiana 34
- 20-20 hindsight: The two-time defending MAC champs and Indiana's weak defense prevented a truly embarrassing week of picks. But it was Chippewas backup quarterback Brian Brunner, not injured star Dan LeFevour, who engineered the victory in Bloomington. Brunner passed for a school-record 485 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Indiana used both of its quarterbacks (Ben Chappell and Kellen Lewis) and made some big plays, but it wasn't enough.
- My pick: Michigan State 21, Wisconsin 17
- Game result: Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24
- 20-20 hindsight: The best pick of a bad bunch correctly pegged a potential emotional letdown for Michigan State after its streak-snapping win at Michigan. The Spartans came out flat but recovered and rallied behind quarterback Brian Hoyer. Wisconsin's fourth-quarter miscues, starting with a penalty on head coach Bret Bielema, led to another blown lead. Badgers running backs P.J. Hill and John Clay outshined Javon Ringer, but Wisconsin lost again.
- My pick: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 14
- Game result: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 17
- 20-20 hindsight: The winning score turned out to be close, but Northwestern pulled out the upset thanks to resilient play on both sides of the ball. Playing without starters at quarterback, running back and middle linebacker, Northwestern received an excellent performance from backup quarterback Mike Kafka (217 rush yards, 2 pass TDs). The game came down to turnovers, and Northwestern's defense forced the critical one in the final minute.
- My pick: Michigan 19, Purdue 14
- Game result: Purdue 48, Michigan 42
- 20-20 hindsight: This was the biggest surprise of the day. The Big Ten's two worst offenses combined for 90 points and 822 total yards in a shootout at Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue third-string quarterback Justin Siller stepped up in his first career start, racking up 343 total yards and four touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush). Brandon Minor and the Michigan offense surged, but the Wolverines defense continued to disappoint as the team clinched its first losing season since 1967.
- My pick: Iowa 27, Illinois 21
- Game result: Illinois 27, Iowa 24
- 20-20 hindsight: I had a bad feeling about this one shortly after posting my pick. Illinois was a desperate team, and Iowa came off a bye week, which has been more of a detriment than an advantage for Big Ten teams this year. Iowa running back Shonn Greene recorded another 100-yard rushing game, but Illinois' defense forced mistakes and the offense capitalized for the win.
Byes: No. 3 Penn State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten), No. 11 Ohio State (7-2, 4-1)
Season record: 58-13 (81.7 percent)