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Big Ten Week 7 Preview

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Purdue -7 @ Northwestern
12:00, ESPN Plus

Give the 7 points and run. Predictably, NU has never fully recovered from the death of head coach Randy Walker this summer. Offensively, NU is a team in flux. Mike Kafka started the season at quarterback, but when he hasn’t been sidelined with injuries, his play is very inconsistent. Tyrell Sutton, the #1 overall pick in my Big Ten fantasy league and the Big Ten’s leading rusher last season, is losing rushing attempts because both Kafka and backup Andrew Brewer are running quarterbacks. Brewer has been designated the starter for this game with Kafka and C.J. Brewer available backups.

Purdue looks to bounce back from a tough loss to Iowa. With both Ohio State and Michigan off of their schedule, Purdue was set up with an ideal schedule to lay claim to the Big Ten crown. Any chance at claiming at least a share in the Big Ten looks over. It appears almost certain that the Big Ten winner will run the table. The major question with this match up is whether or not PU will approach the game with the proverbial hangover. With NU’s weak defense (allowing 536 Total Net Yards to Wisconsin last weekend), look for PU’s Curtis Painter (QB), Kory Sheets (RB), and Dorien Bryant (WR) to have huge games.

Selwyn Lymon (21 rec, 422 yards, 2 TDs) is questionable for this week’s game. According to Yahoo! Sports, he was involved in an off-field incident, where he was shot in the eye with an air gun when he and his teammates were shooting air guns. According to the report, Lymon was wearing protective goggles.

#25 Wisconsin -10 ½ vs. Minnesota
12:00, ESPN

The Paul Bunyan’s Axe is at stake in this match up. Minnesota has lost three games in a row, including an overtime heartbreaker to Penn State last Saturday. UW rushed for over 300 yards in a rout over NU last weekend. With freshman tailback sensation P.J. Hill Jr. (second in the nation in rushing to Garrett Wolfe) having a remarkable season, look for the Badgers to rout the Gophers. Give the 10 and smile all the way to the bank.

In the "this is why I like sports" department, according to Yahoo! Sports, a life-sized bronze sculpture of Barry Alvarez (current UW Athletic Director and former head coach) was unveiled this Friday. I wonder if Alvarez’s massive stature made it necessary for UW to use bronze instead of gold as a cost cutting measure. Needless to say, I have to get a picture of myself with the sculpted Alvarez.

#15 Iowa -17 @ Indiana
12:00, ESPN 2

Iowa’s starting tailback Albert Young will be back in action after sitting out last week. That’s one more weapon the Hawkeyes have in their arsenal against the overmatched Hoosiers. Young leads a trio of talented tailbacks along with Damien Sims (155 rushing yards against PU last Saturday) and the P.J. Hill-molded like Shonn Greene (23 rush attempts for 168 yards this season and a TD). I still haven’t mentioned the highly touted senior quarterback Drew Tate. While Tate may choke in big games, he’ll feel right at home today in Bloomington. The Hawkeyes can also boast a downfield threat in freshman wide out Dominique Douglas (22 rec. for 348 yrds).

I’d give the Hoosiers 40 points in this potential laugher.

#1 Ohio State -15 ½ @ Michigan State
3:30, ABC

The biggest news surrounding this match up was that Ohio State would not be available on television without a satellite for the first time since my pre-pubes days in next week’s contest against lowly Indiana. ESPNU, typically available only on DirecTV and the Dish Network, is slated to televise the game.

OSU’s fans and media may be overlooking this game but with due cause. After MSU’s colossal choke against Notre Dame three weeks ago, the Spartans have been in an absolute tailspin. Head coach John L. Smith (21-21 record at MSU) finds himself on the hot seat without his best running back, Javon Ringer (knee injury), for the rest of the season. Backup Jehuu Caulcrick rushed 14 times for a measly 29 yards last week against Michigan.

I don’t typically like to give away 15 points on the road, but I think OSU possesses too many offensive weapons to pass this line.

#4 Michigan -7 @ Penn State
8:00, ABC

Michigan will be without star-studded wide receiver Mario Manningham in this affair. Manningham underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee earlier this week.

I like Michigan minus the seven points. PSU is 4-2 after narrowly beating Minnesota in overtime last week. In PSU’s two losses, the Nittany Lions have been blown out by over 20 points. Even without Manningham, UM’s offensive is well-balanced. With quarterback Chad Henne, tailback Mike Hart, and without Manningham, a decent receiving corps (Steve Breaston, Adrian Arrington, and Greg Mathews), UM should have little trouble.

Illinois -6 vs. Ohio
7:00, No TV

With Isiah “Juice” Williams now entrenched in the starting QB role, the Illini is starting to round to form. Against the Bobcats, Juice should pass for well over 200 yards and run for an additional 100. Personally, I’d like to see my starting running back Pierre Thomas run for 80+ and a TD but that’s neither here nor there. Thomas has played well the last 2 games, rushing for over 100 yards in both contests.

I was surprised to see the spread only at -6 with Illinois facing the lowly MAC squad at home. I will gladly take Illinois give up the points.

I don’t know how wise it was for me to give up points in all six games; however, as I’m writing this, I do not reserve the slightest hesitation in doing so.

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About M.D. Sandwasher

  • Uncle Kevin Sandwasher

    I can’t shake the feeling that OSU is going down. Windy day…Tressel will be very conservative for the two quarters going into the wind…I smell a couple of INTs for Troy Smith…Jehuu Caulcrick is going to run over guys…Drew Stanton will be scrambling around like crazy…I’ll be very happy when this game is over.

    I wanted to pick MSU on the ESPN’s College pick ‘em game but I chickened out. I only have a 4 or 5 vote of confidence out of 10 on OSU though. I wanted to use my 1, but I couldn’t get lower that 4 on it.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Ya never know. Sometimes local TV will pick up a game like that. I know they do it with ESPN+ but I don’t know about ESPNU.

    Having said that. Indiana: What … the …

  • http://www.sandwasher.blog.com M.D. Sandwasher

    I don’t think local TV will be allowed to pick up the game. I think ESPN will lock this game onto the ESPNU channel so local television cable companies, like Time Warner and Adephia for example, will pay the extra money to pick up ESPNU.

    The IU game will go down in its football lore for years to come. The last time the Hoosiers beat a ranked team was 1987 against #9 ranked Ohio State.

    When I said Drew Tate only chokes in big games, I was slightly off. He is capable of chocking in any game, big or small.

  • sal m

    ron zook, bringing his magic to champaign….now leave….