I haven't taken much time this fall, because, well, studying law will do that (especially to a married man). Thus, I haven't made pre-game picks, but will still claim I did have Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue and Northwestern as undefeated teams.
That's right, I picked Michigan to win the last two weeks. That's because I knew Denard Robinson was the QB Rich Rodriguez's offense would flourish under. Especially since I have an intense dislike for Tate Forcier - but I'm sure he could care less what this guy has to say.
That also means I had Notre Dame 0-2 (because I picked Purdue to beat them as well, which did almost happen).
Consequently, I didn't get Minnesota's loss and win against the appropriate teams (but knowledge of their futility has to count for something, right?); meanwhile, Illinois' and Penn State's losses were quite predictable.
So I'll credit myself eight correct picks out of the 17 that I claim I had right (since I didn't actually post them) and also dock myself all of my missed calls - three.
So my record stands at 8-3 on the season. Here's what I see happening by season's end (regular season, that is).
1. Iowa, 12-0, 8-0 (two straight years I've tried this, let's see how my luck is with it). OSU doesn't even scare me the most, nor does Wisconsin - my biggest fear for the hometown Hawkeyes lies at Arizona and Ann Arbor... but Ferentz will ensure his players are ready.
T-2. Michigan, 10-2, 6-2. I know it sounds crazy, but this should show how much faith I have in Robinson vs. Forcier. And if you recall Rich Rod's time at West Virginia, his offense is very much of potent design. Also, Michigan is never lacking athletes, and as my dad once told me, never doubt the amazing ability of a program like Michigan with the athletes it always has, to turn around very quickly. Oh, and this includes losses at home vs. Iowa and Wisconsin... that means, oh boy, Tressel loses to the Maize and Blue.
T-2. Wisconsin, 10-2, 6-2. This is a little strange, I'll admit, but the Badgers haven't looked this good yet, but I expect they will by the time the big games roll around the schedule. It's at Iowa and vs. the Buckeyes catching Bret Bielema's squad off guard this season. John Clay is bear in pads, and that's why it gets this good in Madison.
T-2. Ohio State, 10-2, 6-2. Yeah, so the Buckeyes not showing in the first three teams had to make you wonder, but it's really not that far down. Ohio State loses to Iowa and finally drops the gold pant charms to the Wolverines. Otherwise, expect another very strong season from the Scarlet and Grey. But please, by all means, put all the blame you want on Terrelle Pryor, I plan to join you.
5. Michigan State, 9-3, 5-3. Unless they lose one in Big Ten play to somebody below them (by my predictions), the Spartans should have their way with teams less-able. If they do trip up, they'll likely be the best 8-4 team in the nation (think Iowa, 2008); if they avoid that, they'll be probably right about where they belong at 9-3. Gotta love those young RBs in East Lansing...
Northwestern, 8-4, 4-4. They only lose to better teams... and, well, Purdue. That said, Dan Persa is an excellent quarterback, and any year Penn State is behind the Wildcats in the standings, they've done something special (by Evanston's football metrics and expectations).
Penn State, 6-6, 3-5. The Lions lose to all of the above (and don't play Wisconsin), and also drop the home game to Northwestern.
Purdue, 6-6, 3-5. Well, the Boilers can always hang their hats on the big Purdue upset of 2010... Northwestern?
Indiana, 5-7, 1-7. It really is too bad the Hoosiers don't know what a defense is. And it's even more disappointing the only team in the conference who has less of a clue as to stopping teams isn't on their schedule... No Minnesota, no partner in the 'W' column in conference play.
Illinois, 4-8, 1-7. I'm giving the Illini credit they may not deserve. Then again, with Ron Zook, there's always room for presumed failure. Do I really think the Zooker can beat Northern Illinois or Fresno State? No... but I can't find wins anywhere in conference play beyond Minnesota and there are too many former prized recruits to lose 9 games in a season.
... I think.
Minnesota, 1-11, 0-8. I really, and I mean really struggled to put this in writing, but the Gophers, yikes, used to schedule pre-Big Ten season cupcakes under two ideas:
1. They needed more wins to make postseason play (which was true), and
2. That the cupcakes wouldn't beat them.
Scheduling USC? That was just a terrible idea.
But you know what isn't a terrible idea?
...Tim Brewster leaving his time at Minnesota off his resume.