Zultan's Fearless Forecast: Iowa, the Big Ten Plus the Top 25
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Oh, the humanity! Zultan came within nine points of perfection, deceived by a dyslexic tremor on the crystal ball surface causing the big Z an unfortunate case of number reversal.
The Ohio State Buckeyes won by one slim point, while Arizona missed by three points against visitors Oregon State—at home no less.
Finally, the all-seeing seer failed to unveil the heroic 30-second comeback win for the Longhorns, 41-36, over the hapless Cowboys of Oklahoma State.
Nine points in total for the three losses.
The result was that 18 surpassed Fearless Zultan’s predictions for Week 5.
These special prognosticators will be listed at the end of this article, along with obligatory salutations and appropriate accolades.
The good news, of course, is that the Iowa Hawkeyes won, defeating the Minnesota Gophers at homecoming in Iowa City.
Mom is humming now, baking pumpkin pies and turning cartwheels in the backyard. Iowa is off next week, so there will be at least two weeks of unsullied sanity in the Zultan household.
Other than Iowa and Minnesota, the rest of the Big Ten is in action with Michigan back after their loss at Notre Dame in week 4.
Only three Big Ten teams are now ranked—Ohio State at No. 12, Nebraska at No. 21 with Northwestern moving into the No. 24 spot.
Besides the Big Ten, there are also come compelling SEC, PAC 12 and Big 12 matchups in week 6.
If you want another piece of the action, just make your picks and we will see whether you can outguess the Fearless One with his new and improved crystal ball.
Week 6 is the next installment in Zultan’s 2012 quest for prognosticating perfection.
Game 1: [Big Ten] Michigan State Spartans at Indiana Hoosiers
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Indiana [2-2] came close a couple of times, but could not stop Northwestern [5-0] from gaining a record-breaking 704 yards of offense last Saturday as the Wildcats scooted to an early 5-0 season record.
Indiana fell to 2-2 when it lost its Big Ten opener. While the Hoosiers made a big comeback in the second half, they could not overcome their 27-0 deficit.
On Saturday Indiana plays host a surly Michigan State team reeling from its loss at the hands of Ohio State last weekend.
The Spartans had their chances to win this game against the Buckeyes, but fell short when it mattered most.
Look for the Sparty to take it out on the Hoosiers.
Pick Michigan State to win on the road
Game 2: [Big Ten] Northwestern Wildcats at Penn State Nittany Lions
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Northwestern [5-0] hung on to defeat the Hoosiers last Saturday against a stiff comeback in the second half by Indiana [2-2].
Defense was not the order of the day for the Hoosiers or for the Wildcats, as together, the two teams rolled up 1,129 yards of offense in week 5.
Defense, however, will be the order of the day when Northwestern faces Penn State [3-2] on Saturday.
Since losing their first two games, the Penn State defense has tightened, while the offense has gelled into a cohesive unit able to move the ball.
The Wildcats should get a reality check on Saturday in Happy Valley.
Pick Penn State to win at home.
Game 3: [Big Ten] Illinois ‘Fighting Illini at Wisconsin Badgers
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Talk about unhappy campers at Camp Randall.
After rushing to a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter in their game in Lincoln, plus holding a 20-10 lead at halftime, the Wisconsin Badgers [3-2] could not score after the first three minutes in the second half.
The Nebraska [4-1] defense shut them down hard.
Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers chipped away at the Badger lead, eventually overtaking them in the fourth quarter with a field goal—winning 30-27 in what turned out to be a defensive struggle in the second half.
Illinois [2-3], however, will not hold back the Wisconsin offense, and the Badgers will begin making up some lost ground in Week 6.
Pick Wisconsin to win at home.
Game 4: [Big Ten] Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers
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The Michigan Wolverines [2-2] have had two weeks to mull over their defeat at the hands of the Fighting Irish in Week 4.
Meanwhile, the Purdue Boilermakers have climbed to 3-1 in the Big Ten—also losing to Notre Dame in Week 2.
Last weekend, the Boilers got past the Marshall Thundering Herd in a high-scoring game.
Purdue scored big in the first half, but had to rely on its defense to hold Marshall back as the Herd put up 27 points to Purdue’s nine in the second half.
This weekend, Purdue hosts Michigan in Week 6 as both teams play their conference opener in West Lafayette.
Although Purdue has a better record so far, expect Michigan to wear out the Boilers defense when Denard Robinson and company take the field.
Pick Michigan to win on the road.
Game 5: [Big Ten] Nebraska Cornhuskers (21) at Ohio State Buckeyes (12)
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This is the biggest of the Big Ten games in week 6.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers [4-1] have to travel to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes [5-0], each with a chance to take a big leap in the top 25 poll.
Both teams escaped last week with hard-fought victories over quality opponents.
Nebraska came back to win over the Wisconsin Badgers, 30-27, while Ohio State fought off the Michigan State Spartans, winning 17-16.
This Saturday, Nebraska must enter the Horseshoe in Columbus, where few have escaped with a victory.
This week will be no exception.
Pick Ohio State to win at home.
Game 6: [SEC] LSU Tigers (4) at Florida Gators (10)
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Both of these SEC teams are unbeaten and both ranked in the Top 10.
Everybody expected LSU [5-0] to be good, but Florida [4-0] has been a surprise.
LSU started out the year as everyone’s favorite, it seemed, but it continues to drop in the polls—even though the Tigers have not yet lost.
It is all a matter of scale.
The goal of college football has become more than winning—now you must dominate opponents.
This imperfect status will remain in effect until the SEC begins taking a toll on itself.
The carnage begins this weekend with this contest.
It should be one of the best games on Saturday.
Pick LSU to win on the road.
Game 7: [Pac-12] Washington Huskies (23) at Oregon Ducks (2)
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This is a crazy year in the Pac-12. Two weeks ago, the Washington Huskies [3-1] were upended by No. 3 LSU, 41-3, in Louisiana.
Last week, the Huskies dispatched No. 8 Stanford, 17-13, in Seattle.
This Washington team has immense capabilities, but the Huskies do not apply their gridiron prowess consistently.
This week, the Huskies must travel to Oregon [5-0], playing in Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
No one should expect the Huskies to win against the Ducks playing at home because no one does.
Oregon has not lost so far in 2012. It has climbed to the No. 2 spot in the polls, trailing Alabama.
While the Ducks have some rough games ahead, this will not rank as one of those.
Expect the Ducks to dominate at home, defeating the Washington Huskies.
Game 8: [Big 12] West Virginia (8) at Texas Longhorns (11)
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You have to wonder if Texas [4-0] has a surprise in store for the transplanted Mountaineers—greenhorn interlopers on the Texas landscape.
It is true that West Virginia [4-0] held back the late-charging Baylor Bears 70-63 in week 5.
Baylor was only outscored by the Mountaineers in the third quarter.
This while Texas was visiting in Stillwater working to demolish the roadblocks the Cowboys tried to throw in their way.
While Oklahoma State gained more yardage, Texas won the war scoring more points.
This will be a big game. But in the final analysis, David Ash is no Geno Smith—at least not yet.
Pick West Virginia to win on the road.
Game 9: [ACC] Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9)
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So far, Notre Dame [4-0], in addition to defeating Navy, has had its way with the Big Ten— defeating Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan—all of which has propelled the Fighting Irish into the top 10.
You have to wonder about the validity of Notre Dame’s ranking at this point.
This coming weekend, Notre Dame welcomes the ACC Miami Hurricanes [4-1] to South Bend to sample the special Irish brand of football.
Miami has secured wins over Boston College, Bethune-Cookman, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State, with one loss to Kansas State out of the Big 12.
Is it enough? No.
Pick the Irish to win at home over the Miami Hurricanes.
Game 10: [SEC] Georgia Bulldogs (5) at South Carolina Gamecocks (6)
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To date, Georgia [5-0] has defeated Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt and Tennessee at home and Missouri on the road.
Only Missouri [3-2] and Tennessee [3-2] have winning records.
South Carolina [5-0], on the other hand, has defeated Vanderbilt, East Carolina, UAB, Missouri and Kentucky with the same Missouri and East Carolina holding winning records, each at 3-2.
Therefore, you can conclude that their spots in the top 10 are based on reputation and consistency in winning games they should be winning—that plus the fact that they both play in the SEC.
The game will be played in Columbia at Williams-Brice Stadium, giving the Gamecocks home field advantage.
Pick South Carolina to win at home.
The 18 Who Bettered Zultan in Week 5
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There were 18 who out-guessed the illustrious all-seeing seer last week.
Bow down before them.
Three had a perfect outing. Nine missed one and five missed two.
Zultan ended week 5 at 7-3.
Here are the more-than-competent 18:
Mark DeKalb – Davenport, IA; Kenneth Zuerner – Redmond, WA; Todd Melvin – Burlington, IA
John Carlson – Ottertail, MN; Kent Christen – Shiloh, IL; Lenny Cossman, Jr., - Parkersburg, WV; Jeff Coffey – Columbus, OH; Kenton Gleichman – West Des Moines, IA; Steve Mullen – Cedar Rapids, IA; Dean Pfeifer – Wolfboro, NH; John Snyder – Huntington Beach, CA; Keverly Swantz – Kalona, IA
Jack Fraenkel – San Francisco, CA; Jim “Boulder Hawk” Greer – Boulder, CO; Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI; Darrel Rohrer – Hebron, OH; Mike Suntken – Wakefield, MA; Skipper Woodham – Atlanta, GA
Come back for a bigger challenge in Week 6.