Week 8 of Zultan's Fearless Forecast: BCS Evicts Big Ten
Hawkeyes and the Big Ten Set Adrift by the BCS....
Well it was bound to happen. Once the BCS announced itself on Sunday, the Big Ten disappeared from college football polls, as if by magic. Gone. The mighty conference will be whispered about in future recollections about the glory days of the Big Ten—this year being its swan song according to sports pundits everywhere.
The real tragedy of this past weekend, however, was Zultan’s failure to pick the Iowa Hawkeyes to win their game on Saturday. Who wouldn’t have picked the black birds with their highly suspect record, traveling into East Lansing to do battle with a team which was a preseason top 10 team?
Zultan was a fool not to pick the Hawkeyes to upset the Spartans!
No excuses. The all-seeing seer fell down, disappointed Mom and the Hawkeye Nation. Warning: Zultan will be punished by the football gods going forward.
The Big Z had a perfect pick-10 in his hands and he dropped the pass. The shame is monumental.
Except for the Hawkeye stunner, however, Zultan was once again perfect, missing this one shameful call. Only one person guessed them all right—Kent Christen of Shiloh, Ill., gets the big Zultan congrats this week!
Six of you tied Zultan, but did not go that extra step! Better luck next week.
Since the football deities will surely punish Zultan this week, best to get on board and make your picks now for your chance to win fame and glory by outguessing the Mighty Seer in Week 8.
Game 1: Michigan State at Michigan [Big Ten]
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This game will make or break Michigan State (4-3).
The Spartans let one slip away last week in double overtime to the Iowa Hawkeyes. That pushed them to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten.
So far in conference play, the Spartans have lost to Ohio State by one point and suffered a three-point loss to the Hawkeyes, falling 19-16 in overtime.
The Spartans have played close but could not “close the door” on Big Ten opponents.
Meanwhile Michigan (4-2), after being embarrassed by Notre Dame in Week 4, came back to dominate Purdue and Illinois.
The Wolverines' two losses have been to Alabama and Notre Dame. Michigan, now 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten, could cement a top spot in the Legends Division with a win on Saturday.
Denard Robinson and crew will be too much for a tired Spartan defense.
Game 2: Purdue at Ohio State [Big Ten]
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Well, what can you say about the Ohio State Buckeyes?
They have improved to 7-0 on the season and are the best team in the invisible Big Ten.
Braxton Miller and Co. continue on a roll, getting stronger each week. The Buckeyes play, as they should, with a "nothing to lose attitude" in 2012.
While Purdue plays even ball—now 3-3 on the season—the Boilermakers will definitely have to produce an error-free game on the road in the Columbus Horseshoe to win this one.
Talk about your impossible dreams. This windmill will not tilt. Ohio State will not stumble inside their own house.
Pick Ohio State
Game 3: Minnesota Golden Gophers at Wisconsin Badgers [Big Ten]
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Wisconsin (5-2) won their game last weekend against Purdue 38-14.
Running back Montee Ball set a Big Ten record by running for 247 yards and scoring three touchdowns on the afternoon.
With 72 total career touchdowns, Ball broke a Big Ten record formerly held by Ron Dayne, a Heisman winner from Wisconsin.
This weekend, the Badgers welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2) to Camp Randall in Madison.
Minnesota suffered another setback last weekend against Northwestern, coming up short 21-13.
The Gophers, however, had their chances to win this game, but allowed errors and miscues to spoil homecoming in Minneapolis.
Next week on the road, the Gophers will find stopping the Badger rushing offense a whole lot tougher.
Game 4: Nebraska Cornhuskers at Northwestern Wildcats [Big Ten]
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The Nebraska Cornhuskers have had two weeks to mull over their humiliating loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in Week 6—to the tune of 63-38.
Nothing stings a Cornhusker as much as losing—the product of such a beatdown.
No doubt Bo Pelini and the Nebraska defense will be more than ready for the Wildcats' offense.
So far Northwestern stands at 6-1. The Wildcats only loss came at the hands of the Penn State Nittany Lions who managed to shut down Northwestern as the game wore on.
Expect the Huskers to follow suit, and leave Kain Colter and Co. out in the cold.
Saturday, the Cornhuskers try to rebuild their chance to lead the Legends Division into a Big Ten championship game.
Game 5: Indiana Hoosiers at Navy Midshipmen
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Indiana (2-4) has one great offense. They put up plenty of points.
The problem for the Hoosiers, however, remains defense.
You simply must be able to stop the other team from scoring if you expect to win. It is an important ingredient—essential in Big Ten football.
Last week, the Hoosiers put up 49 points against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Impressive.
But the problem was that Indiana allowed Ohio State to score 52 points. The result was that Indiana lost for the fourth straight week.
Next weekend, Indiana must travel to Annapolis where the Hoosiers will face Navy (3-3).
It is entirely possible that the Midshipmen’s triple option will leave the Indiana defense dead in their tracks as Navy's aggressive ground game grinds out yardage.
You would love to see Indiana outscore this team, but at home...
Game 6: Penn State Nittany Lions at Iowa Hawkeyes [Big Ten]
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Penn State had a week off to get ready for Iowa (4-2).
But which Iowa team did they prepare to meet? That is the real question.
A couple of Big Ten wins under their belt make the Hawkeyes a whole lot more dangerous.
The Iowa defense has jelled and the offense seems to sputter to life now and again beyond the running attack of Mark Weisman.
Credit Weisman, kicker Mike Meyers and a stiff defense for the win on a sloppy wet afternoon in East Lansing.
Penn State won their last four games after losing their first two.
The Nittany Lions are playing defense as they used to, stopping opponents before they can score. In Week 6, the Lions took care of Northwestern within the confines of Happy Valley.
Iowa has always been a thorn for Penn State. Expect that status to continue. Zultan just must...
Game 7: (4) Kansas State at (13) West Virginia [Big 12]
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This game will be played in Morgantown, which is some distance from the Kansas prairie.
Bill Snyder and his Kansas State Wildcats will make the journey, however, in an effort to hold onto their first-place status in the Big 12.
Last week West Virginia fell hard to Texas Tech, proving that you really need a potent defense to win it all in the Big 12.
The Mountaineers will be reminded of that again this week as Kansas State, with its old-fashioned stance, proves that slow and steady wins the race.
That is not to say that Wildcat football is not exciting because Collin Klein and Co. keep the ball moving on offense—enough so that Kansas State remains undefeated and could well be part of a national championship game if they do not slip and fall on the way to the finish line.
Zultan does not think they will this week.
Pick Kansas State
Game 8: (7) South Carolina at (2) Florida [SEC]
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This is a big game in the SEC and in the BCS.
The South Carolina Gamecocks must step up and win this game if they are to make their case in the SEC East.
Steve Spurrier and Co. came up short last week in their game at LSU and they cannot afford back-to-back losses in Week 8.
Florida is 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC. Their emergence into the upper echelons of the SEC was not expected.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel has been equally surprising, leading the Gators to an undefeated season to date.
The Gamecocks will be seeking to right the ship LSU almost sank last weekend by coming up two points short.
The problem is that South Carolina must journey to Gainesville to try to take down the BCS No. 2-ranked team. Tough assignment.
Game 9: (6) LSU at (18) Texas A&M [SEC]
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Welcome to the SEC, Texas A&M. This week you get to host LSU (6-1) and later you get to travel to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama.
But other than a single loss to the Florida Gators in Week 2, the Aggies (5-1) have managed the transition to the SEC pretty well—much better than the Missouri Tigers, Zultan feels.
Texas A&M just defeated a very competitive Louisiana Tech team 59-57 this past weekend on the road.
But LSU is no Louisiana Tech—not by a long shot.
Even though it is very tough to play in College Station, expect LSU to rise to the occasion after upending South Carolina last weekend.
LSU still has plenty to prove this season, and they can afford no sudden unexpected losses.
Game 10: Virginia Tech at (19) Clemson [ACC]
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Zultan must take a whirl on the ACC merry-go-round during the inaugural BCS week of college football.
Next week he will try his hand at the Big East.
Besides No. 14 Florida State, Clemson (5-1) is the only other ranked football team in the ACC. At least the ACC gets one!
Florida State is also the only team this season to defeat the Clemson Tigers, so far.
On Saturday, Clemson hosts Virginia Tech (4-3). The Hokies overcame a 20-0 deficit by Duke last Saturday to rally to win their game 41-20.
Virginia Tech rushed back with a vengeance. Can they do it again?
The question will be answered once the dust settles on Saturday. In the meantime...