Tip Sheet - B1G Edition

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Last updated: 11/29/2013 1:47 AM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet – Big Ten Edition
By Tony Gerdeman

Contrary to popular belief, there is actually more than just one Big Ten game this week. Iowa and Nebraska are playing for some type of corn trophy or something I think. Minnesota and Michigan State are playing for bragging rights – because there's nothing more eavesdrop-worthy than listening to Minnesota and Michigan State fans bragging about beating each other.

Northwestern and Illinois play for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Coincidentally, it's been four score and seven years since this rivalry has meant anything. And speaking of meaningless, Purdue and Indiana also play. Try not to get any on ya.

Friday November 29

Teams: Iowa (7-4) at Nebraska (8-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Iowa

We know that Nebraska is only going to win one of their final two games this year because Bo Pelini has lost exactly four games every year he has been a head coach. I'm not sure how the Huskers have gone 3-1 over their last four games, but I'd say it has more to do with their opponents' shortfalls than Nebraska's talent. Iowa isn't great, but they don't have to be in order to beat the Huskers, they just need to not be bad. I think they can be not bad for long enough to get this win, provided Nebraska plays less than okay, which is right in their sweet spot. Iowa 24 – Nebraska 20

Saturday November 30

Teams: Rutgers (5-5) at Connecticut (1-9)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Rutgers

I'm interested to see how Rutgers does against a team that very nearly beat Michigan two months ago. It will give us a good idea just how far behind Rutgers the Wolverines may actually be. Rutgers 33 – Connecticut 17

Teams: Minnesota (8-3) at #11 Michigan State (10-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Michigan State

While your focus will understandably be on the Michigan game, you might want to have your second TV tuned to the Big Ten Network. If you're a Buckeye fan, you are also a Michigan State fan. Your prison tats are probably still sore, so be mindful of them while celebrating any big plays. Wisconsin held the Gopher offense scoreless last week, so there will be no shock if the Spartans do the same. I see no possible way Minnesota wins this game, which is no different than probably five of their wins this season. Michigan State 31 – Minnesota 7

Teams: Maryland (6-5) at North Carolina State (3-8)
Time (TV): 12:30 pm (ESPN3)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Maryland

While people are dismissing the additions of Rutgers and Maryland, the Big Ten is on the verge of adding two bowl teams, and that's not a small thing. [I'll be honest. I wrote that last sentence yesterday and totally forgot to add anything else. I just caught this while I was proofreading. I'm telling you this because this is actually more interesting than talking about the game. Plus, I needed to add more words. I still do. Earlier tonight, I had a small glass of milk and a cookie. Yesterday I had a Fruit Roll Up. Tomorrow I will have leftovers.] Maryland 28 – North Carolina State 21

Teams: Penn State (6-5) at #15 Wisconsin (9-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Wisconsin

The Badgers have adjusted extremely well to life without Bret Bielema, but that's probably not difficult to do. Bielema seems like the kind of guy who would take up both spots in a two-car driveway at his own house. Wisconsin 34 – Penn State 17

Teams: Purdue (1-10) at Indiana (4-7)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Purdue

You're cheering for Purdue because you're not a monster. The Boilermakers lost to Illinois last week, giving the Illini their first Big Ten win since 2011. Purdue is fragile right now, and they need you. For just 50 cents a day, the price of 10 Bazooka Joes, you can help give Purdue a chance at a better life. But if you really need those Bazooka Joes, I'd go with that because it's a better investment. Indiana 41 – Purdue 24

Teams: Northwestern (4-7) at Illinois (4-7)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Illinois

You can cheer for whomever you want in this one, but I think it would be pretty amazing for Northwestern to go 0-8 in conference play. There is no good way to spin it for Pat Fitzgerald, but there will certainly be people out there who will. This would be a huge win for Illinois, and right now they have the momentum. Imagine being a program who has less momentum than Illinois – that's where Northwestern is. That's like Eeyore telling you to cheer up. The Illini have won two of the last three in this series, but got blown out 50-14 last season. I just can't see Northwestern going 0-8 in Big Ten play, and I can't see Illinois winning two conference games in a row. Not yet. Northwestern 31 – Illinois 30

Teams: #3 Ohio State (11-0) at Michigan (7-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

There is nothing like it. The unsurety of a sure thing. That's what we have here. There is no possible way that Michigan can win this game, except for that slight possible way that tends to happen in rivalry games. The cliches about records being thrown out are accurate and overused, but they're overused because they are accurate. If they weren't accurate, people wouldn't use them. There's a reason people don't say, “Don't throw the records out!” There isn't an area to this game that doesn't point to an Ohio State advantage. Michigan shouldn't be able to run the ball, and I'm not sure how well they'll be able to throw it. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have the Big Ten's best rushing attack, and a passing game that puts pressure on an entire football field. If this game was in Columbus, the Buckeyes might be a 20-point favorite. As it is, the line is moving all the way up to 17 points at some places. For Buckeye fans, I think this is a little bit too good to be true. Ohio State wins, but Michigan gets a late score to make it closer than it ever was. Ohio State 31 – Michigan 20

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