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Big Ten Football Picks, Week 5: Where the Games Finally Get Interesting

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Not the best week spreadwise; I only managed to go 3-5.  However, I did predict the Northern Illinois-Minnesota game correctly on the way to a 9-1 straight up record.  From here on out I'll keep track of the straight up picks on Big Ten games as a subsection, because almost anyone can predict Big Ten nonconference games straight-up with at least an 80% success rate.  On to the games!

NORTHWESTERN at MINNESOTA (+5)

Northwestern seems like the obvious choice. However, both times I made Northwestern my lock of the week (against Vanderbilt and Central Michigan) they've won just barely, ruining my spread picks. Even though the game's in Minneapolis, keep in mind that Minnesota has lost TO AN FCS AND A MAC TEAM AT HOME.  If the Golden Gophers can't keep within single digits of Northern Illinois, I don't now how they're going to handle Northwestern's uberefficient offense.  Maybe the reasoning here is a bit simple, but when a team has sucked as hard as Minnesota has this season, there's no need to get complex.  However, I'm not making Northwestern the lock of the week - I'm feeling a tad snakebit by the Wildcats in that regard.

Straight and Spread Picks: Northwestern

 

#2 OHIO STATE at ILLINOIS (+17.5)

Illinois has exceeded expectations this season, mainly because other teams (hello Minnesota and Purdue!) have failed thoroughly.  Still, the Illini defense hasn't looked like a complete disaster this season, and might be able to put up a bit of a fight.  

/realizes Ron Zook coaches Illinois

//knows OSU has a great defense

///wonders what opposing defenses will do now that Terrelle Pryor has, like SKYNET, become self-aware

////comes to the only logical conclusion

Straight and Spread Picks: Ohio State

#19 MICHIGAN at INDIANA (+10)

This game starts at 3:30 and might not be done until midnight considering the amount of points that could be scored.  I don't see how Michigan's secondary is going to stop Indiana's defense; likewise, I don't know how Indiana's defense stops Michigan's anything on offense.  This pick all comes down to certainty - I'm somewhat certain that Michigan is a decent team, and no proof yet exists to Indiana's quality.  The Wolverines score a couple more touchdowns than the Hoosiers and cover the spread, thus concluding THE MOST IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF THIS GAME YOU'LL READ THIS WEEK OR EVER.

Straight and Spread Picks: Michigan

#11 WISCONSIN at #24 MICHIGAN STATE (+1.5) - MISS OF THE WEEK

Wisconsin's looked less than impressive for two and a half games this season, and utterly impressive otherwise.  Two of those three halves came against Austin Peay though.  LVS will have more about this game in the preview tomorrow, but I think Wisconsin's defensive line slows down the run just enough to pull this game out.

Straight and Spread Picks: Wisconsin

#22 PENN STATE at #17 IOWA (-7) - LOCK OF THE WEEK

What are the current knocks against the Hawkeyes?  A lack of stability at running back is one, rocky special teams play (mainly at kicker and kick coverage) is another...but that's about it.  Iowa's defensive line has morphed into a veritable hydra - just when you think you've severed one head (Adrian Clayborn), another grows and severs your jugular (Mike Daniels).  As for Penn State's offense, the good news is that Evan Royster finally had a good game last week against Temple, but Robert Bolden still looks a bit raw.  After Ricky Stanzi's 30-day stint in rehab this summer for his interception addiction, I think Iowa wins this night game decisively.

Straight and Spread Picks: Iowa

YEAR TO DATE:

STRAIGHT UP PICKS: 38-3

SPREAD PICKS: 13-16-1

LOCK OF THE WEEK: 4-0 straight up, 1-3 spread

MISS OF THE WEEK: 2-2 straight up, 1-3 spread