I figured it would be tough. Last week, there just weren’t many games where I liked the underdogs. In fact, the favorite won every game last week except for Illinois beating Minnesota and, let’s be honest, who really saw that coming?

So I cast my lot with the Iowa Hawkeyes against Purdue, and the Boilers, a 3-point favorite, won 38-36 on a last-second field  goal. It was a loss, but a cover, so a trip to the imaginary bank always softens the blow.

Here’s where the Upset Alert genius has placed his lot on the season thus far, with the winning tickets in bold:

  • Week 1: Northern Illinois (plus-10) over Iowa: Loss
  • Week 2: Arizona State (plus-6) vs. Michigan State: Outright winner (ML +193)
  • Week 3: Ball State (plus-13) at Indiana: Loss
  • Week 4: Purdue (plus-6) vs. Boston College: Outright winner (ML +193)
  • Week 5:Penn State (plus-3.5) vs. Ohio State: Loss but covered
  • Week 6:Northwestern (plus-10) at Michigan State: Outright winner (ML +332) 
  • Week 7: Indiana (plus-5) vs. Iowa: Loss
  • Week 8: Purdue (plus-13) over Ohio State: Outright winner (ML +462)
  • Week 9: Purdue (plus-2) over Michigan State: Loss
  • Week 10: Iowa (plus-3) over Purdue: Loss but covered

For fun, want to do a little math? I don’t gamble on sports, but if I did, here’s where the bank account would be: Let’s say every week that I drop $100 on the money line, for my pick to win outright, and I drop another $100 on the point spread, for my pick to cover the number.

  • First, the simple part. I’m 6-4 vs. the spread, so that’s $600 in winning tickets and $440 in losers (got to pay the vig). That’s plus-$160 total.
  • I’m 4-6 with outright winners, but the return has been nice, a total of $1,180. That’s a positive return of $580 on the season.
  • The total ahead so far would be $740. Not bad, minus weekly pain and suffering, of course. (Legal fees for divorces not included)

So can the Upset Alert genius get back on track with a big winner in Week 11?  Here’s what we’re dealing with in the Big Ten this week:

  • Maryland at Indiana (minus-1), Noon ET
  • Ohio State (minus-3.5) at Michigan State, Noon ET
  • Wisconsin at Penn State (minus-9), Noon ET
  • Illinois at Nebraska (minus-17.5), Noon ET
  • Michigan (minus-40) at Rutgers, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Northwestern at Iowa (minus-11), 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Purdue (minus-11) at Minnesota, 3:30p.m. ET

It’s the weirdest week of the year with the numbers. For instance, Big Ten West leader Northwestern is an 11-point underdog at Iowa, which seems like way too much. The Wildcats have beaten Iowa each of the past two years, including as an 11-point dog two years ago in Iowa City. It’s very tempting to take that long number.

Ohio State’s a mess right now, too, and it’s tempting to lean toward the Spartans at home. That’s two leans, but I’m not sold enough to pull the trigger on either one.

So this week I’m going to do something I haven’t done all year — show faith in the Wisconsin Badgers. They are 9-point underdogs at Penn State, and we’ve sort of forgotten about the Badgers lately. But I just have a feeling here, for three reasons. One, I think Jonathan Taylor can run all over the Penn State defense. Two, I think Trace McSorley is more banged up than we know, and, three, I have a feeling he won’t survive the first quarter.

It’s just a gut feeling, and it might make no sense to a lot of people, but I’m taking the Badgers on the road. So let it be written —  Wisconsin 24, Penn State 20.

So let it be done.