Big Ten football predictions: Week 4

Hello everyone. I’m back. I apologize for taking two weeks off. I certainly didn’t plan for it, but that’s the joys of life. The day before Labor Day, my almost 3-year-old was emitted to the children’s hospital for stomach issues. She’s been battling these since last Thanksgiving. It will flare up for two bad days then go away for about a month. No one could figure out what was wrong with her. So after this happened while she was with the babysitter in the Milwaukee area, they called the ambulance. The folks at the children’s hospital finally ran the tests we wanted done months ago and they found gallstones. Yes, gallstones in a child that turns 3 in December.

Between her stomach attack running its course and having to recover from a gallstone operation, I stayed at the hospital for four nights while my fiancé was there for five. The good thing though was that her first good night was Thursday so I got to watch the Packer game. Luckily my other job found replacements for me and I didn’t have to go back until the following Thursday. But man, did it take me forever to get back to everyday life. The first shift at my fine place of business that every Wisconsinite knows as heaven that is Kwik Trip, I was lost. All week I had no motivation and it carried into my work. So that is the explanation for why my sabbatical lasted two weeks and not just one.

I have yet to get back onto Twitter fulltime. I’ve been watching a lot of football and doing research for college basketball. Once I figure out how I’m going to balance work, writing, being a family man and taking a kid to school then I’ll be back. Just bear with me.

Way back before Labor Day, I went 12-3. Let’s just forget about the last two weeks and head right into week 4.

Saturday, September 21

Michigan at Wisconsin

TV Schedule: FOX, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI

Remember the last time Michigan came to Madison for a major sporting event at 11 a.m.? Yes. You’re right. The Badgers men’s basketball team handed the Wolverines its first loss of the season. Both teams are 2-0. Wisconsin played a weak power-conference team and a cupcake. Michigan has played two cupcakes, but needed OT to put away Army. I’m standing by my declaration that Michigan is overrated this year. They lost too much on their defense. Shea Patterson hasn’t taken the next step yet. Their running game is completely new and their veteran receiver is uncertain against Wisconsin. The Badgers on the other hand has outscored opponents 110-0 in two games. That’s impressive no matter who the other teams are. Wisconsin could have its deepest receiving core in recent memory. Jonathan Taylor hasn’t lost a step. And the biggest question mark this season, the defense, looks exciting.

Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 20


Michigan State at Northwestern

TV Schedule: ABC, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL

Michigan State is done with Arizona State. The Spartans lost to them out west last year. Didn’t surprise me. They fall to the Sun Devils in East Lansing. Cut all ties with Pac-12 teams. The offense was brutal last season and it could be even worse. Elijah Collins is a nice reliable back and Darrell Savage is catching a lot of ball in three games, but Brian Lewerke isn’t ever going to make the big play through the air. One of my other statements at the beginning of the season was that Michigan State could have one of the best defenses in the country. That is still a true statement. Northwestern on the other hand is trying to see if Clayton Thorson has anymore eligibility left. They’re lost at the QB position. Isaiah Bowser is still the featured back, but nothing about this game looks pretty.

Prediction: Michigan State 13, Northwestern 7


UConn at Indiana

TV Schedule: BTN, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN

Unfortunately Indiana can’t cut ties with Ohio State. I mean, they could, but that means leaving the Big Ten and it wouldn’t be good for them in the long run. Peyton Ramsey did not play against Ball State. They really didn’t need him vs. Eastern Illinois. He played the entire game against the Buckeyes and it ended up like it normally does. I found out another tidbit about Ramsey during that game. His two brothers names are Montana and Drew. One of the brothers has to live up to those names. Last year, the Huskies won just one game. They have a win vs. Wagner and a loss to Illinois. If UConn can’t beat Illinois, there’s no way they’re getting up on an Indiana that has a bad taste in their mouth.

Prediction: Indiana 31, UConn 21


Boston College at Rutgers

TV Schedule: BTN, 11 a.m. CT

Stadium: Stadium, Piscataway, NJ

I swung and missed on thinking that Rutgers was going to lose to UMass in week 1. Honestly though the only other game I might consider picking the Scarlett Knight here on out is at the end of October vs. Liberty. Rutgers did score 48 on the Minutemen. McLane Carter threw over 300 yards, but did have more interceptions than touchdowns. Then they came back to reality and got blasted by Iowa. The defense also allowed UMass to scored 21. So nothing too impressive. Boston College looked very promising when they knocked off Virginia Tech in week 1. They beat up on an FCS, but gave up 48 points to Kansas. In football. Nothing changed for the Eagles. Anthony Brown has six touchdowns to zero picks. AJ Dillon is a nice running back. But their defense just fell apart. It would be a little embarrassing to lose to Kansas and Rutgers in back-to-back weeks.

Prediction: Boston College 24, Rutgers 13


Nebraska at Illinois

TV Schedule: ABC, 11 a.m.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

This is my second favorite game of the weekend in the Big Ten. I was such a strong supporter of Nebraska when the season started a few weeks ago. The Cornhuskers took care of a cupcake in week 1, but lost a shootout to what we thought was a good Colorado team. But the Bufs went ahead and blew it last week to Air Force. Nebraska beat up on Northern Illinois to give them some momentum heading into conference play. Adrian Martinez has to clean it up a little through the air, but there’s still so much promise. I thought I head during the Illinois-Eastern Michigan game that the Illini were looking to start 3-0 for the first time in a very long time. Illinois blew it though and so it doesn’t matter. But Brandon Peters looks like a very reliable quarterback with a nice weapon in Ricky Smalling. And Oluwole Betiku Jr. has six sacks this year.

Prediction: Nebraska 27, Illinois 21


Miami (OH) at Ohio State

TV Schedule: BTN, 2:30 p.m. CT

Stadium: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH

This irritates me. Ohio State has a non-conference slate of FAU, Cincinnati and Miami. Of Ohio. FAU was intriguing because Lane Kiffin is the coach. But when was the last time Cincinnati was relevant and Miami (OH) is the second in-state team. The Buckeyes should see three ranked teams in conference play. Michigan State and Maryland are still up in the air. Maybe Nebraska too. There’s no way The RedHawks win. They lost 38-14 to Iowa, beat an FCS, but lost to Cincinnati. Ohio State pitched a shutout to the Bearcats while the Hawks gave up 35. The Buckeyes will be 4-0 when conference play resumes for good, but won’t be doing themselves any favors in the polls.

Prediction: Ohio State 45, Miami (OH) 10

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