The Tip Sheet - B1G Edition

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Last updated: 09/19/2013 5:11 PM
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Football
The Tip Sheet – Big Ten Edition
By Tony Gerdeman

It wasn't a great week for the Big Ten last week, which still made it their best week in the last eight seasons. They'll have the chance for a few more marquee wins on Saturday as MSU travels to South Bend, Indiana takes on the SEC, Michigan plays on the road in prime time, and Ohio State hosts a team known for its band.

The conference certainly has the potential to win their biggest challenges this weekend, as they do most weeks. The problem comes with the execution. It all really comes down to Indiana and Michigan State holding up their ends of the bargain.
(We're all gonna die.)

Saturday September 21

Teams: San Jose State (1-1) at Minnesota (3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Minnesota
This is the best team Minnesota will have played this season, which is the saddest thing in the world. Sarah McLachlan should sing the play by play. Minnesota 34 – San Jose State 20

Teams: Western Michigan (0-3) at Iowa (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Iowa
If Iowa loses this game, they'll be in last place of the MAC West. If they win, they'll be like tied for third or something. Iowa 34 – Western Michigan 17

Teams: Michigan State (3-0) at #22 Notre Dame (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (NBC)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Michigan State

Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry has to stop dating a girl because he found out that Newman once dumped her? If Michigan State beats Notre Dame, Michigan fans will have to view their own win over Notre Dame the way that Jerry felt about his girlfriend. Basically, if Michigan State can beat the Irish, then there must be something terribly wrong with them and UM can no longer associate themselves with their victory over Notre Dame. The Irish defense isn't very good right now, which may not be much of an issue against Michigan State's offense. However, quarterback Connor Cook can move around a bit and perhaps help with some of the running game that the Spartans have struggled with. I would like to take Michigan State here because of their defense and Cook's potential, but the Sparty curse wins out in this one. Notre Dame 20 – Michigan State 16

Teams: Purdue (1-2) at #24 Wisconsin (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Wisconsin

I would expect the Badgers to come into this game rather upset for the way they were treated last week in Tempe. I would also expect the Boilermakers to come into this game rather upset because they are Purdue and being Purdue pretty much sucks. Wisconsin 38 – Purdue 17

Teams: Arkansas (3-0) at Rutgers (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Rutgers

Bret Bielema returns to the future Big Ten eight months or so after leaving it. Life has been good in Arkansas. The cholesterol is undoubtedly lower, as are the academic and moral standards. This could be a bit of a shootout, as both Arkansas and Rutgers can move the ball. Rutgers opened as a touchdown favorite but now that line is all the way down to Rutgers by just a point. Arkansas hasn't played anybody yet, and while Rutgers isn't necessarily somebody, they're not just nobody. They're like the guy you know of, but don't care about. That doesn't mean he can't screw up your day, though. I'd like to take Rutgers here, and I think that Gary Nova and running back Paul James can find the endzone, but it's just easier to pick an SEC team and be fine with being wrong. Arkansas 31 – Rutgers 27

Teams: West Virginia (2-1) vs Maryland (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: West Virginia

Until Maryland is in the Big Ten, there's really no reason to root for them. And honestly, even when they are in the Big Ten, rooting for them will be pretty pointless. This will be a high-scoring game, at least for Maryland. West Virginia is pretty average right now, which is surprising considering how much of a genius Dana Holgorsen was a year ago at this time. Terps quarterback C.J. Brown is one of the better players you may have never heard about. He's basically putting up the numbers that you wish Braxton Miller was. Maryland 38 – West Virginia 27

Teams: Kent State (1-2) at Penn State (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Penn State

Nice job by Penn State last week losing to a non-BCS team at home. The metamorphosis into Iowa is happening sooner than I expected. A close win here should seal the deal. Penn State 31 – Kent State 10

Teams: South Dakota State (3-0) at Nebraska (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Nebraska

It's been a rough week for Bo Pelini, as the nation was shocked to learn of his terrible temper. All of the years of being led to believe that he was a peaceful fellow who went door to door singing show tunes on random Thursdays has now been wiped away. And you know this is going to kill the charitable donations to “Bo's Peeps”, which was an outreach program for at-risk sheep in rural communities (and there are a LOT of them). He'll still have his blog where he writes about places he'd rather be coaching, however. Nebraska 51 – South Dakota State 20

Teams: Maine (3-0) at #18 Northwestern (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Northwestern

This is Northwestern's last tuneup before they host the Buckeyes in two weeks. That's like preparing for a guitar solo by sitting on both of your hands for an hour, then putting those hands in a blender and drinking them. Northwestern 48 – Maine 17

Teams: #15 Michigan (3-0) at Connecticut (0-2)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Michigan

I guess when you consider what happened last week against Akron, anything can happen this week. Connecticut opened their season with a 33-18 loss to Towson, but bounced back last week to lose a much closer game to Maryland (32-21). If all goes as planned, this could be the Huskies' closest loss yet! And if there's anything that Michigan is good at, it's giving an inferior opponent a close loss. Michigan 38 – Connecticut 16

Teams: Missouri (2-0) at Indiana (2-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Indiana

Missouri has had a week off to prepare for Indiana's offense. They'll prepare for Indiana's defense on the way over from the hotel. I'm pretty excited to watch this game because the Hoosiers need this win if they are going to go bowling this year. Missouri's offense has looked good this season, so I'm expecting a shoot out. The Tigers beat Toledo by 15 points two weeks ago, while the Hoosiers handled a similar opponent – Bowling Green – by 32 points. I like Indiana in this game, but I've probably been overconfident of their offense since last year. They won't be able to stop Missouri's offense, but they should at least get enough breaks at home to get the win. I don't feel good at all about this pick. Indiana 38 – Missouri 37

Teams: Florida A&M (1-2) at #4 Ohio State (3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

People talk about this being the biggest mismatch in recent Ohio State football history, but I'm here to tell you that Florida A&M can absolutely win this game. This is not a perfect Buckeye team, and if they don't take this game seriously they will lose. In fact, they are likely to lose. And the more I think about it, I'm not sure how the Buckeyes can even win. Ohio State is just 3-4 against teams from Florida since 1997, and Florida A&M is a team from Florida, so you do the math. This game will eventually be known as “Gene's Folly”. HBO will produce a documentary detailing the game. It will win an Emmy for best documentary. It will eventually find its way to Broadway as a musical where an actor who portrays Gene Smith sings about his simple desire to see “The Most Wanted Damn Band in the Land” and how it all fell apart one Saturday afternoon. That actor will win a Tony Award for his performance. The musical will then be made into a movie called “Gene's Folly” that will star Forest Whitaker. Whitaker will be slighted in the Oscar balloting, merely earning a nomination. He will appear on talk shows explaining why his performance deserved to win, going into minute details about this particular game and how it came about. This game will become such a part of popular culture that it will be taught in text books. Saturday is going to be Ohio State's second-darkest day in school history. The first darkest will be when CBS turns the movie into a sitcom starring LL Cool J and Ted Danson as E. Gordon Gee for some reason. Ohio State 66 – Florida A&M 0

Tip Sheet - National Edition

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