Another week of my B1G picks helping to offset my failings in the national games (am I starting to sound like a broken record yet?) On the bright side, last week MC&J did bring the overall season record to 2 games over .500. At least be lucky that I'm not writing about NFL picks, where I am picking at something like 42% so far this season.
As the calendar turns to November it means that time of the year when the B1G night games come to an end. With daylight savings time (Set your clocks back this weekend!) pretty much any B1G game starting at 3:30 is under the lights by the 2nd half anyway. I just wish that there was a little bit of flexibility with the rule by the B1G. Not so much this year, but every now and then the B1G gets a November game that deserves to played at night.
Really this is just me being selfish. Being born and raised in Western NY south of Buffalo means that cold weather football will always have a warm spot in my frigid heart. I know the cons outweigh the pros in holding late season night games for the B1G, it's just fun to think about sometimes what it would be like if that rule wasn't in place.
Anyway, here are your Week 10 predictions:
Last Week ATS: 6-5
Season ATS: 17-15
#16 Texas A&M (-7) vs. #17 Mississippi State - 12:00 EST - ESPN
Texas A&M comes off a blowout of Auburn last and week and now head into Starkville in the middle game of a 3 game road trip. Mississippi State should find the sledding a little easier this week compared to last week when they lost by 31 in Tuscaloosa, where the Aggies head next week. While Johnny Football is putting together a great freshman season for the Aggies, Tyler Russell is quietly having a very solid season at QB for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs take care of the football with only 7 turnovers this season, 3 of them coming last week against Alabama, while the Aggies haven't forced a turnover in 3 games. While it is hard to completely stop Johnny Football, Mississippi State has a defense that can slow down Manziel. I can see this being a very close game so I'll gladly take the points amongst the cowbells in Starkvegas.
Mississippi State 33 Texas A&M 30
Pittsburgh vs. #4 Notre Dame (-16.5) - 3:30 EST - NBC
The Golden Domers are coming off a huge win last Saturday to put themselves in the thick of the BCS race to lose to Alabama. The question is how much did Notre Dame expend in that win against the Sooners? The last 2 times Notre Dame has gone into November undefeated was back in 2002 and 1993. Both times they lost to Boston College during the month. The good news is that they aren't playing Boston College. But, they are playing a team from the Big East and Notre Dame hasn't covered as a favorite against a Big East team since 2002. This just has the feeling of one of those games where Notre Dame grinds out a win. I just don't see Notre Dame running away with this game.
Notre Dame 24 Pittsburgh 10
#2 Oregon (-8) vs. #18 USC - 7:00 EST - Fox
A couple weeks ago Oregon traveled to Tempe and I picked Arizona State to keep that game close against the Ducks. The spread in that game was almost the same as it is for Saturday's game (I think I had it at 8.5). Oregon will head into Los Angeles trying not only to avenge the loss that the Trojans handed them in Eugene last year, but also to try and make a statement in their quest for a BCS title game bid. USC has all the offensive tools (Barkley, Lee, Woods, Redd) to keep up with the Ducks but saying it and actually doing it are two different things. If USC wants to have any shot at the upset they'll have to keep Oregon off the board early, Oregon has outscored their last two opponents 99-7 in the 1st half, and I just don't see that happening.
Oregon 47 USC 33
Oklahoma State vs. #3 Kansas State (-9.5) - 8:00 EST - ABC
The last 2 weeks I have gone against the Wildcats as they had big matchups with what looked like high scoring offenses. They shut West Virginia and Texas Tech down, allowing a combined 38 points to those 2 opponents. Now the 6th ranked Oklahoma State passing offense comes into Manhattan and I'm not going to be fooled this time. Kansas State's D is 5th in the country in turnover margin at +15 and I see them forcing freshman QB Wes Lunt and company into key turnovers that will put the game out of reach.
Kansas State 41 Oklahoma State 24
#1 Alabama (-9.5) vs. #5 LSU - 8:00 EST - CBS
Saturday in Baton Rouge, LSU will try and break double digits against Alabama in their last 3 matchups. In a game that features two of the best defenses in the country I can't believe that I am considering taking a team that is almost a double digit favorite. I just can't see Mettenberger having any success against this 'Bama D while I can picture McCarron being able to move the football on the LSU D. Even though LSU had the bye week to prepare, it won't matter. It may not take LSU as long to cross midfield in this game but they won't do it very often.
Alabama 20 LSU 6
Michigan (-12.5) vs. Minnesota - 12:00 EST - Big Ten Network
This week brings us the battle for one of my favorite rivalry trophies, the Little Brown Jug. In my mind I always pretend that the LBJ is filled with moonshine and after the cameras are off the team that wins it proceeds to get housed, or if Michigan wins it is filled with bacon grease for Brady Hoke.This football game might be lucky to see the passing yardage between the two teams hit triple digits as both defenses are excellent against the pass, Michigan ranked 1st and Minnesota ranked 7th. Brady Hoke said that Denard Robinson will play in Saturday's game, but even with that you can expect Minnesota to load up against the run. Minnesota needs 1 more win to become bowl eligible and I don't think it happens this week, but they should get that win next week against Illinois.
Michigan 27 Minnesota 20
Iowa vs. Indiana (-1.5) - 3:30 EST - Big Ten Network
Last week Indiana halted their 11 game B1G losing streak against Illinois. Should they be able to beat Iowa this week it would be the Hoosiers first 2 game winning streak in the B1G since 2007. Freshman QB Nate Sudfield came off the bench to lead the Hoosiers to a win over the Illini last week and has compiled 7 TDs this year against 0 INTs. I'm having a tough time getting a feel for this game since the Hawkeyes have been so, so bad these last couple games, but Indiana is still Indiana. I think somehow Ferentz and company will find a way to pull out a win in Bloomington.
Iowa 20 Indiana 17
Penn State (-3.5) vs. Purdue - 3:30 EST - ESPNU
There has been a lot of talk this week about Purdue upsetting Penn State this week after the Nittany Lions loss last week to Ohio State. I don't really see that becoming a reality. Robert Marve will be starting for the Boilers this week and will have to deal with what will probably be a pissed off Penn State D. Purdue has lost 4 straight and week by week Danny Hope's seat gets a little hotter and he won't get any relief this week.
Penn State 30 Purdue 17
#21 Nebraska (-2) vs. Michigan State - 3:30 EST - ABC
In ending the Badgers 21 game home winning streak last week, Andrew Maxwell and the Spartans might have turned a corner offensively. While they only scored 16 points, Maxwell was 9 for 11 on his last 2 drives to help Sparty leave Madison with a win. Michigan State has done a really good job this year at holding high scoring teams in check. Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin have scored 17, 12, and 13 respectively against Sparty. Last year Michigan State was coming off an emotional win against Wisconsin and traveled to Lincoln and got blasted. I think this year they get some revenge against the Cornhuskers and throw a wrench into the B1G title game race.
Michigan State 24 Nebraska 21
Illinois vs. #6 Ohio State (-27.5) - 3:30 EST - ESPN
I remember standing in the northwest corner (I think it was section 11) of Ohio Stadium with Luke back in 2007 and watching Illinois come in and ruin (at least that's how we thought of it at the time) Ohio State's BCSNCG hopes. 5 years later Illinois comes in The Shoe to face an undefeated Buckeye team, but that is about the only thing that is the same between these 2 games. Obviously a BCSNCG berth isn't on the line here and Illinois doesn't have a QB like Juice Williams to throw 4 TDs. The Buckeyes have their bye week on tap next week to get healthy before closing the season out against Wisconsin and Michigan. Some have argued that a game against Illinois is as good as bye week, but we thought games against Indiana and Purdue were gonna be cakewalks. I really don't see Illinois putting a scare into the Buckeyes like the Hoosiers and Boilers but I think that a 28+ point victory might be asking a little too much. Urban and Tim Beckman are friends so you might see Urban start to ease the foot off the accelerator a little earlier than normal on Saturday. Here's just hoping that the Buckeyes have the game well in hand by the time that Chip heads off to the wedding he is attending on Saturday.
Ohio State 38 Illinois 17