If you did not know by my Twitter handle, I played ball at Northwestern University. With my five years of experience there, if there is one thing I at least somewhat know when it comes to college football, it’s the Big Ten. I’ve played in front of 4,000 people at 11:00am in West Lafayette, Indiana when its 37 degrees, overcast and windy, while the 15 students that actually came to the game haplessly chant ‘Boiler Up’ as we stomp them by 30.
I’ve also played in the Big House in front of 120,000 fans where we got stomped by 30 and it was so loud I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone hear a snap count. Goddamnit, the Big Ten is special. Throughout the year I will be giving you my picks and previews for the Conference. So, after last weeks beautiful 4-1 outing, put your big boy pants on, drop your SEC bias and let’s talk some Big Ten football.
**I would like it on the record that my ‘Big Ten Run the Ball, Punt the Ball Grey Skies in West Lafayette, Indiana, 11:00am Central Time Kick Off Lock of the Week’ is now 1-0 on the season with Purdue winning outright 30-13 as a 7 point dog last week.** I have two more specials for you this week.
Purdue vs. Nebraska, 9/29 3:30 pm
The play: Nebraska +3.5
Nebraska STUNK last week. Purdue look like world beaters. What’s that smell? You smell that? I smell a big fat serving of regression to the mean here. Nebraska is not as bad as they looked last week and Purdue, conversely, is not as good. Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez has another week to get healthy and Scott Frost will have the Cornhuskers heading back to Memorial Stadium itching to finally notch his first win as HC. This game is suffering from serious recency bias and I love Nebraska to actually show some signs of life at home catching points.
Michigan vs. Northwestern 9/29 4:30 pm
The play: Northwestern +14.5
SOUND THE ALARM. I am announcing this as my: ‘BIG TEN RUN THE BALL, PUNT THE BALL, SLEEPY AFTERNOON IN EVANSTON ILLINOIS, FUCK JIM HARBAUGH, NORTHWESTERN ONLY PLAYS GOOD WITH THEIR BACKS AGAISNT THE WALL, HOME DOG, LOCK OF THE WEEK’
In all seriousness, these spots are where NU flourishes; when we have no expectations, and nobody believes in us. Harbaugh and Co. will be coming to sleepy Ryan Field on a quiet Evanston Saturday afternoon with absolutely no narrative to get up for this game. On the other side, this game has the ability to completely change the course of the season for Northwestern after two disappointing results. I have been in the locker room before games like this and there isn’t a single person in there that doesn’t believe we can play with anybody in the country. Northwestern hangs around and keeps this in the number. Sprinkle a little on the money line while you’re at it.
Ohio State vs. Penn State, 9/29 7:30 pm
The play: Penn State +3.5
What’s that? Another Big Ten Lock of the Week?
I would like to official announce this as my “BIG TEN, RUN THE BALL, PUNT TH– SHIT BOTH THESE TEAMS ACTUALLY SCORE, INSTITUTIONAL FAILURE AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS, HOME DOG, LOCK OF THE WEEK”
Again, in all seriousness, I love this spot for Penn State. Home dog, getting no public love, going against a team that’s most impressive victory was actually very deceiving (OSU benefited from two non-offensive scores against TCU in what was otherwise a neck and neck game). The TCU offense gave OSU and their iffy secondary problems and I expect Trace McSorley to do more of the same. A few home-crowd induced stops for Penn State and I love the Nittany Lions to win outright.