The Way We Watch B1G (Mis)takes
Two dynamic powers are combining forces unseen in these here parts for the first time since the annual Boomer Bowl. The Chicagoland tradition on Thanksgiving began as Katie-bar-the-door honest-to-goodness tackle football and regressed to two hand shove about five years later when the paragons of physical fitness would rather not make direct contact with Mother Earth’s battle-tested surface at Gladstone Park. Sometimes the two best high school football players ended up on the same team only to see their efforts thwarted by the sandlot football pros who only understood “get open,” failing to cede to the peskiness of route running. We’re in for a similar situation in the final week of the regular season. Hopefully the sandlot pros win out.
We’re in it for the financial risk and ramifications for the Big Ten title.
The spirits aligned. The most intriguing games are the ones with potential monetary gains. It’s not that we’ll ignore Illinois and Northwestern, we just won’t need either of their company until the Fighting Illini make a bowl.
Sticker’s note: All lines taken from mybookie.ag. Lines may have shifted since column’s inception. You always mark your child’s growth chart when they’re wearing Reebok Pumps?
Game #3: Indiana vs. Purdue +6.5 o/u 56.5
The pick: Over
The Logic: We all want Indiana to be good, there’s a feistiness to the Hoosiers that Michigan choked out early on last Saturday. The fervor and excitement they generated this season speaks to the possibility that a sleeping giant lurks in Bloomington. I don’t know the ceiling for Indiana football. I know excitement is there. For it to flourish the Hoosiers need to stick an arrow in Purdue’s plans for a five-win season.
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With little to play for except budding enthusiasm for next season, expect Jeff Brohm to ladle on the gimmickry and trickeration in the season’s final home game. Both teams are fun to watch if only for their version of offense. Pack a poncho for the expected rain and downpour of points.
Game #2: Wisconsin vs. Minnesota +2.5 o/u 46
The pick: Minnesota
The Logic: There’s more than a little hope-upon-hope for this pick that Minnesota wins the game to set up a matchup against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
I try to save a little bit of reason when it comes to any sort of pick, but Minnesota getting points at home is too good to pass up. The Golden Gophers seek a healthy amount of balance in their offense, ranked in the top five in both passing and rushing offense in conference. Minnesota’s talented group of receivers will get some separation on the outside to spring some big plays for the Golden Gophers.
As much as I trusted Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan at the start of the year, I haven’t seen the sort of progressive riskiness that you expect from teams that want more balance on its offense at the end of the year as opposed to the start. Expect the Golden Gophers to sell out to stop running back Jonathan Taylor as Coan fails to beat them.
Game#1: Ohio State vs. Michigan +8.5 o/u 49
The pick: Ohio State
The Logic: I wanted to take Michigan with points, I really did. When two or even three powerhouse program trade off years as conference champion it generates a little more excitement for fans.
I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve watched Ohio State and saw them do very un-Ohio State things last weekend. Three fumbles? Three? Maybe over the course of two games, not in the course of one game.
One of the more appealing parts of Ohio State is its inability to beat itself. The efficiency and speed in which it gains chunks of yardage is an eye-pleasing sort of experience, rivaled by LSU’s offense and that’s about it.
As well as Michigan played since the first half of the Penn State game and the growing confidence of quarterback Shea Patterson, there’s still too much of a difference between the two teams. Michigan keeps it to two touchdowns, but Ohio State covers the number even with the injury quarterback Justin Fields suffered last week.
Last week’s record: 1-2
Overall record: 20-18-1
Status on the card: Last time I ever share a thanksgiving meal with Bastian Booger. I was so loaded up on turkey and stuffing they practically had to roll me out to the ring against Boris Zukov.