Not much went according to plan in Week 8, a slate of likely blowouts that turned out to be surprisingly captivating, especially in both Ann Arbor and Columbus. Brian Bennett and I had the same set of winners, so there was no opportunity to gain ground.
We both ended up missing on one contest. As for those score predictions ... not good.
Week 8/Season record
Adam Rittenberg: 4-1, 55-9
Brian Bennett: 4-1, 54-10
Here's one final look at the Week 8 predictions we made and those of guest forecaster Micah Tweeten from St. Paul, Minn.
Let's rewind the tape ...
Minnesota at Northwestern
Brian Bennett's pick: Northwestern 35, Minnesota 20
Adam Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 34, Minnesota 21
Actual score: Minnesota 20, Northwestern 17
20-20 hindsight: Bennett nailed the Gophers' score and I came close, but we both expected Northwestern's offense to show up. Wildcats QB Kain Colter never played, as I thought he would, and QB Philip Nelson provided the spark for Minnesota's offense, not Mitch Leidner.
Purdue at Michigan State
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 34, Purdue 6
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 31, Purdue 7
Actual score: Michigan State 14, Purdue 0
20-20 hindsight: We expected more offense from both teams, especially Michigan State, which mustered only one offensive score in the game. Bennett's prediction of three Connor Cook touchdown passes fell short as Cook struggled, and while Jeremy Langford (131 rush yards) stepped up, neither he nor Delton Williams reached the end zone (I had them for three combined touchdowns). My prediction of a first-half defensive touchdown proved true as LB Denicos Allen had a scoop and score.
Indiana at Michigan
Bennett's pick: Michigan 38, Indiana 28
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 35, Indiana 27
Actual score: Michigan 63, Indiana 47
20-20 hindsight: We weren't too far off on Michigan's margin of victory, but both offenses certainly exceeded our forecasts on a record-setting day at the Big House. Indiana QBs Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson both led first-half scoring drives, as Bennett predicted, but Michigan QB Devin Gardner (team record 584 yards of offense) blew past Bennett's projection (350 yards). My prediction of two first-half rushing touchdowns for Michigan's Fitzgerald Toussaint came true, and Indiana WR Cody Latimer (96 receiving yards, TD) wasn't too far off my prediction (120 receiving yards, 2 TDs).
Iowa at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 37, Iowa 17
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 42, Iowa 20
Actual score: Ohio State 34, Iowa 24
20-20 hindsight: This turned out to be one of our better score predictions, although we were still both off by 10 or more points. Buckeyes RB Carlos Hyde became the first player to rush for a touchdown against Iowa this season, as I thought he would, and exceeded my predicted rushing total (125 yards) by 24 yards. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller came one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown shy of Bennett's prediction. Iowa received a boost from a tight end, but it was Jake Duzey (six catches, 138 yards, TD), not C.J. Fiedorowicz.
Wisconsin at Illinois
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 31, Illinois 14
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 34, Illinois 20
Actual score: Wisconsin 56, Illinois 32
20-20 hindsight: We both expected Illinois to take an early lead, but the Badgers stormed out to a 21-0 advantage before the Illini steadied themselves a bit in the second quarter. Bennett nearly nailed Wisconsin's rushing total (he predicted 290 yards; the Badgers finished with 289), and Badgers RB James White finished two yards shy of my triple-digit prediction for both he and Melvin Gordon. TE Jacob Pedersen had three receptions, but none for touchdowns.
You've seen our picks. Now it's time to check on our guest picker, Micah.
Northwestern 31, Minnesota 17
Michigan State 34, Purdue 10
Ohio State 38, Iowa 24
Michigan 31, Indiana 21
Wisconsin 35, Illinois 18
Micah's picks mirrored ours, so he also went 4-1. He had similar score predictions, too, although he came closer on Ohio State-Iowa than we did, nailing the Hawkeyes' score on the dot. Like us, he expected much more offense from Michigan State and much more defense from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Not a bad result, though.