Only Ohio State makes 42.5 points seem like a few leisurely trips down the field. Bet your buckeye that Chase Young made a difference. In what was a 73-14 win over Maryland last Saturday would have been a 73-7 win if Young was able to play. He would have sacked Josh Jackson before Zach Harrison got to him and fielded an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which in turn let the drive continue and led to a Maryland score. If only things were to get less, well, lopsided.
If you’re Rutgers you can hold, eye gouge, pull, twist, poke,or punch. Do anything. The Scarlet Knights enter the home game against Ohio State as underdogs of epic proportions. I live just as dangerous as the next guy who likes a cup of chamomile tea before bed, but any number north of 50 is too much for my blood. I’ll hitch my enthusiasm to smaller numbers.
Stickler’s note: All lines taken from mybookie.ag. Lines may have shifted from the column’s inception. Oh, the other people in your car are the different voices in your head. Go ahead and use the carpool lane.
Game: Indiana vs. Penn State -14 o/u 54.5
The pick: Penn State
The logic: Penn State celebrated its appearance in the first week of the College Football Playoff rankings by losing on the road. Guess it’s good to have been invited and leave early than to have never been invited at all.
Even with the poor performance from quarterback Sean Clifford the Nittany Lions had a chance to steal one against Minnesota. Clifford tried to do too much on the day which amounted to three interceptions, two of which were daring throws in the vicinity of Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr.
There is enough of a speed gap between the Indiana defense and Penn State offense, most notably wide receiver KJ Hamler, for the Nittany Lions to cover the number. Fourteen might seem a little high, but the road loss with a few questionable calls will bring out the ultra saltiest James Franklin and a willingness for a late an unnecessary Penn State score.
Game: Minnesota vs. Iowa -3 o/u 44
The pick: Minnesota
The logic: Iowa is prime for the big home win this season and with only Minnesota and Illinois left on the Kinnick schedule, options are limited. Had Minnesota found a spot in the College Football Playoff, that beautiful arbitrary talking point that leads to anger in a way only professional wrestling and political discussions do, I would feel a little hesitant to take them in any sort of short-sided capacity. However, their absence and the growing respect I have for PJ Fleck and what he does to employ all the motivational gadgets imaginable is enough for me to take the Gophers on the road. Expect Iowa’s offense to stall on third down and settle for field goals for the better part of the game and a Gophers cover.
Michigan State vs. Michigan -13.5
The play: Michigan
The logic: You can try to convince me that Michigan State is a program refocused and dedicated to playing winning football with the onus of a rivalry game weighing on them, but I can’t buy it, especially after last week’s comeback from Illinois.
I see a program in duress, a coach playing out the line, and an offense that generates a paltry 4.4 yards per play in its last three games. I cannot, in good faith and with the use of the eye test that once evaluated Chris Redman as a legitimate, borderline Pro Bowl NFL Quarterback, put any money on Michigan State.
Jim Harbaugh, a robotic football mind who sees slights and digs only on the field and fails to understand them in societal settings, looks to do whatever he can to tack on a few late scores against his program’s 1A rival.
Last week’s record: 2-1
Overall record: 18-14-1
Status on the card: After a winning week I took advantage of the momentum and worked my way up the card against a flurry of competition, winning the tag belts with Jimmy Garvin. Unfortunately, I mistook “Freebird Rules” to mean dressing up as Ronnie Van Zandt for the match. My large stage hat was caught on the top rope which slowed my efforts to break up the pin by Paul Roma