Unfortunately this week, Zultan, the Great Prognosticator, has locked himself inside his room and refused to come out ever since the Iowa Hawkeyes lost to Arizona last Saturday night in Tucson.
He can still be heard moaning and mumbling into the wee hours of the morning. His crystal ball was finally located in the freezer, wrapped clumsily in a black and gold shroud.
Zultan shoved a scribbled list under his door. No doubt this is the week you should challenge the Big Z, because his powers have been desiccated by western desert winds. Click here to gain the advantage by out-guessing the mighty Zultan as he makes his picks in Week 4.
The Big Ten plays its latest slate of non-conference games in the house by going up against supposed home-baked cupcakes this week. But there might be a couple of genuine upsets in the making.
Central Michigan Chippewas at Northwestern Wildcats
MAC Conference member Central Michigan, 2-1, suffered their only loss to the Temple Owls. Northwestern who has managed to escape Vanderbilt, Illinois State and Rice to remain undefeated should manage to notch another win against the Central Michigan Chippewas. Northwestern bakes another cuppie and wins this one at home.
Northern Colorado Bears at (25) Michigan State Spartans
The Bears, 2-1, out of the Big Sky Conference, suffered their only loss of the season to Weber State. But they will be no match for the Michigan Spartans on Saturday in East Lansing.
Good thing for an exhausted Michigan State team whose coach Mark Dantonio was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack after the Spartans defied God by winning a game in overtime against Notre Dame. The Spartans gambled in the waning moments apparently seeking to tie the Irish with a field goal in the first OT.
But it was a fake and Aaron Bates threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt executing a perfect fake field goal in overtime, giving the Spartans a 34-31 victory over the Irish. Spartans win this one at home over the Bears—for the coach.
Bowling Green Falcons at (21) Michigan Wolverines
Bowling Green (1-2) out of the MAC lost to the Troy Trojans and Tulsa Hurricane so far in 2010. They will lose again at Michigan Stadium against the Wolverines on Saturday.
The Michigan team had their hands full with UMass last weekend, but managed to scramble to another shaky victory behind the outstanding play of their quarterback Denard Robinson, who had to score in bunches—345 yards and three touchdowns—himself to overcome a poor showing by Michigan on defense.
Sooner or later teams are going to figure out all they have to do to stop Michigan is to stop Robinson. Even Zultan’s Mom sees that coming. Who doesn’t? Michigan, however, brings down the Falcons in Week 4.
Austin Peay Governors at (11) Wisconsin Badgers
Talk about “by the hair of your chinny, chin chin!” Wisconsin just barely escaped the Arizona State Sun Devils in Camp Randall. Finally, after almost losing the game for the Badgers, special teams stood up tall to salvage a one-point victory over Arizona State.
Jay Valai blocked a game-tying extra point which would have drawn the Sun Devils even and perhaps would have sent the game into overtime. Next week the Badgers can pretty much coast, as they have for most of their 3-0 season thus far. Wisconsin welcomes the Austin Peay Governors to Camp Randall. Sounds more like a tea party then a football contest.
So far the Governors have lost to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders out of Big Sky Conference while collecting two wins. But Saturday, they will lose again. Badgers sit the Governors down and win this home contest.
Ball State Cardinals at (18) Iowa Hawkeyes
The Ball State Cardinals out of the MAC West have played three games so far this season, winning one but losing to the Liberty Flames out of the Big South and Purdue, out of the Big Ten.
They have the privilege of coming into Kinnick Stadium after the Hawkeyes lost their first game of the season on the road at the home of the Arizona Wildcats. This game featured—a Hawkeye punt blocked, a Hawkeye kickoff returned for a touchdown, 100 yards no less, and a Hawkeye pass intercepted and returned for a score. After shooting themselves in the foot over and over again, the Iowa rushing game had to be set aside.
The Hawkeyes played lackluster, error-prone football. Even so they managed to scrap their way back to a tie in the fourth quarter. But it was not to be—after playing so poorly, the football gods decreed this team was due to lose. Lose, they did.
Ball State will either meet a down and discouraged football team or as Zultan dictates, a team re-dedicated to playing football and not reading their press releases. Hawks resume their winning ways on Saturday.
Toledo Rockets at Purdue Boilermakers
The Toledo Rockets out of the MAC won twice after losing to the Arizona Wildcats in Week 1. They go into West Lafayette to face the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday where the Boilers will be without their No. 1 receiver Keith Smith. Smith is now out for the season after suffering a knee injury.
But another Smith has taken the reins—Cortez Smith who caught two touchdown passes on Saturday as Purdue defeated Ball State 24-13.
Purdue, unfortunately, may be running out out healthy bodies to throw at the opposition as their starting QB Robert Marve suffered a left leg injury on an unsuccessful fourth down try. But the Boilers should hang on long enough to defeat the Toledo Rockets in Week 4 and hope some players mend quickly. Purdue wins at home.
Eastern Michigan Eagles at (2) Ohio State Buckeyes
The 0-3 MAC Eastern Michigan Eagles have lost to Army, Miami (OH) and Central Michigan in their first three starts. Even Zultan’s more conservative aunts predict that the Eagles will be 0-4 after traveling to Columbus on Saturday.
What else can be said about the cream of the "Cupcake Matchups" on Saturday. Ohio State and their marching band win this one going away.
Temple Owls at (23) Penn State Nittany Lions
Yowser! Penn State may have inherited the toughest opponent of all the Big Ten teams on Saturday as they face the MAC leader, the Temple Owls (3-0).
The Owls have beaten Villanova, Central Michigan and Connecticut—not exactly patsy opponents. Still, the great thing about Joe Paterno is that he never underestimates his opposition, and he never allows his teams to look beyond their next opponent.
Therefore, Penn State will be ready to face the Owls and will hand the Owls their first defeat of the season on Saturday.
Akron Zips at Indiana Hoosiers
The Akron Zips out of the MAC seemed to be misnamed. There is little “zip” left in them as they opened their season 0-3 losing to Syracuse, Gardner-Webb and Kentucky. It is more like they have been “zapped” thus far.
On Saturday the Zips travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers, who are 2-0 heading into Saturday’s contest. Zultan picks the Hoosiers to remain perfect heading into the Big Ten season. Indiana wins this one at home.
Northern Illinois Huskies at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Zultan sighs as he ponders the fate of the Golden Gophers who managed to keep it close and give themselves opportunities to win against the USC Trojans last Saturday. The Gophers kept the door open but they lost—again—at home.
A team that continues to lose at home also loses fans and drains away player belief. Northern Illinois comes into TCF Bank Stadium having suffered two losses so far this seasons, to Iowa State and Illinois. This is do or die week for Coach Brewster—either he wins or he suffers an abbreviated season with the Gophers in 2010. Zultan says the Gophers will win this one at home, finally.
(1) Alabama Crimson Tide at (10) Arkansas Razorbacks
The undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide out of the SEC, for those of you who may have spent the football season under a rock, is the No. 1 team in the nation. To date in 2010 the Tide has defeated San Jose State, (18) Penn State and Duke. Alabama wins by dominating the clock and by their defense. But their secondary may prove to be vulnerable as the season wears on.
The equalling undefeated Arkansas Razorbacks of the SEC so far have defeated Tennessee Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, and Georgia with last second heroics last weekend. They have an explosive offense led by an equally explosive quarterback Ryan Mallett. Alabama must travel to Fayetteville where Arkansas has a good chance to upset the Tide if they make no mistakes and score hard and fast.
That said, however, teams rarely go error free and Alabama will take advantage of every mistake. Alabama wins this one on the road on turnovers.
(24) Oregon State Beavers at (3) Boise State Broncos 2-0
Oregon State out of the PAC Ten has spent their first two opportunities defeating Louisville and losing a close one to nationally ranked TCU. Boise State defeated Virginia Tech in an eagerly anticipated opening match up and then the Broncos blew away Wyoming last Saturday.
This will be Boise State’s last real test of the season because when Conference play gets underway, there is no one to test Boise in the WAC. The game is being billed as the “Smurf Turf War” because of Boise’s blue field. No really, blue. ESPN’s game day crew will be on hand to make the proceedings extra special and to unofficially pronounce the Broncos as BCS-worthy contenders.
Boise State will win this at home where they have lost two games since the year 2000. No, really 63-2 at home. This my friends is what you call “home field” advantage. Broncos win this one for sure in a “Smurfy” way.
(12) South Carolina Gamecocks at (17) Auburn Tigers
Another top 20 SEC contest will be savored on Saturday as the South Caroline Gamecocks travel to Auburn to play to the Tigers. Both SEC teams are undefeated. So far this season, the Gamecocks have defeated Southern Miss, Georgia and Furman. Auburn has overcome Arkansas State, Mississippi State and Clemson.
This contest promises to bring out the gamesmanship in both teams. In the end, as is always the case, the team with the strongest defense will win the day. South Carolina has the reputed better defense against the run but this game is at home in Auburn and Zultan, burned so horrendously in Week 1 will take the Auburn Tigers to prevail at home this week when the contest is otherwise—too close to call.
(22) West Virginia Mountaineers at (15) LSU Tigers
Big East member West Virginia ranked No. 22 has defeated Coastal Carolina, Marshall and Maryland in the first three games and go into Saturday’s contest undefeated. LSU out of the SEC is also undefeated having beaten North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State so far in 2010.
Both teams will be looking to make a statement about themselves and their respective conferences but only LSU will be heard over the din of 92 thousand plus fans packing Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. LSU defeats the Mountaineers at home in Week 4.
Zultan pays homage to his betters in Week 3
Seventeen lucky souls actually bested the Mighty One in Week 3—three with perfect scores at 14-0: Mark Thalacker – Ashburn, VA; Jane Littrel – Blue Grass, IA; Gary Doll – Canton, OH.
Thirteen of you went 13-1 to out-guess Big Z: Dan VanHusen – Dowagiac, MI; Craig Bancroft – Coralville, IA; Rick “Turk” Steffens – Wilton, IA; Phillip Murphy – Muscatine, IA; Ryan Burk – Denver, IA; Jason Bangs – Omaha, NE; Alex Kutz – Manhattan, KS; John Crummer – Omaha, NE; Matt McCurdy – Cedar Rapids, IA; Alex Goedken – No City Given; Kaleb Lund – Anita, IA; Kyle Swingle – West Chester, OH; Brandon Heitsch – Kabul, Afghanistan; Michael Rothermel – Lebanon, PA.
Try your hand this week by clicking here to cast your picks, mustering all your mental reserve to defeat Zultan in Week 4. Zultan dares you once again to try to out-guess him and be eligible to win—once you click you will find out the prizes.