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Big Ten Football, Week 1: Hits and Misses

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Welcome to the first edition of Around the Big Ten.  In this section I review all the Big Ten football games, and since failure is an inherent part of the human condition, make picks on each game straight up and against the spread.  This feature comes with not only my lock of the week, but my miss of the week as well - a game I am absolutely guaranteed to get wrong.  Note: I made the Thursday picks on Monday, but not against the spread.

THURSDAY:

Indiana v. Towson

You know it's college football season when Indiana takes on a massively outmatched 1-AA opponent.  Hey, at least they got the game in Bloomington. PICK: INDIANA

Ohio State v. Marshall

At the time I'm writing this, OSU's up 41-7.  In a massive upset, Terrelle Pryor is in the double digits for pass attempts.  PICK: the OHIO STATE

Minnesota v.  Middle Tennessee State

I picked Minnesota, and MTSU is up by 3 currently.  The Tim Brewster farewell tour is coming soon to your town!  PICK: MINNESOTA (which I'll soon regret)

SATURDAY:

Western Michigan @ Michigan State (-24)

Common theme I've heard among some State fans this week -- " I hope this isn't like Central".  I understand the trepidation, but MSU beat Western 49-13 and that's when they had Tim Hiller, who put the Broncos passing offense in the top 25 in the nation. Freshman quarterback for Western + mostly same MSU offense = domination. STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS:  MSU

Illinois v. Missouri (-13) in St. Louis

Question: can redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase be any worse than Juice Williams and Eddie McGee were last season?  Probably not, but that won't help Illinois's defense against Blaine Gabbert. STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS: MISSOURI

Youngstown State at Penn State (No Line)

True freshman Robert Bolden is getting the start at quarterback, but Joe Paterno could start under center for the Nittany Lions in this game and Penn State would still win by at least two touchdowns.  PICK: PENN SCHTATE

Iowa at Eastern Illinois (No Line)

Cutting to the chase -- Stanzi throws more than two interceptions, Iowa still wins by at least seven.  I expect this to occur at least twice more during the Hawkeyes' season.  PICK: IOWA

Purdue at Notre Dame (-10)

Three certainties in life: death, taxes, and that the new football coach in South Bend will win his first couple games to instill a false sense of hope in the fan base.   STRAIGHT UP PICK:  NOTRE DAME  SPREAD PICK: PURDUE

Connecticut at Michigan (-3) - PETE'S MISS OF THE WEEK

Toughest game of the week to pick.  I know the Wolverines will be amped...but giving three quarterbacks significant minutes in the game seems like a basis for disaster, and combine that with a secondary where "porous" would be considered a compliment, and I think Michigan loses this one.  STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS: UCONN

Northwestern (-3) at Vanderbilt - PETE'S LOCK OF THE WEEK

Robbie Caldwell's tales of turkey insemination must have charmed the bookies, because there's no conceivable way a team that lost to Army last season should only get three points against a decent Wildcat team, even at home.  Laugh all the way to the bank on this one.  STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS: NORTHWESTERN

Wisconsin (-17) at UNLV

The Big Ten's first week closes with a game the Badgers should win. 17 points seems like a bit much though based on inside information I've received from my friends vodka and Sprite.  STRAIGHT UP PICK: WISCONSIN SPREAD PICK: UNLV

Records to date: Sweet, sweet 0-0.