Zultan's Fearless College Football Forecast: Big Ten Plus Five in Week 8
Upcoming Week 8 is a nightmare for college football prognosticators—as was the previous week. No team can claim invincibility.
Upsets abounded in Week 7 as ranked teams tumbled and fell.
Nebraska stumbled and died at home. Ohio State blundered on the road.
The Big 12 teams rolled over Mighty Zultan en masse, crushing his chances to come out on top in Week 7.
Hordes of you  out-guessed Zultan who may have to go in for rehab very soon. Be sure to click here to make your selections for Week 8 against your weakened Master Soothsayer.
Zultan shall be seeking one of you to fill in for him in Week 10. Details of this aberration as well as a list of those who outguessed the Mighty One will follow at the end of this forecast.
Game No. 1: (7) Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats
Michigan State, (7-0, 3-0, Big 10) facing Illinois last week, did not swoon after their big upset in Ann Arbor of instate rival Michigan during Week 6.
Early on, it looked like Illinois might have the Spartan’s number, but the Michigan State squad regained their equilibrium and came back strong in the second half to seize the victory 26-6.
Next Saturday No. 7 Michigan State travels to Northwestern (5-1, 1-1, Big 10).
Make no mistake, the Wildcats love to upset highly ranked teams and they are capable of rising up to do just that. Coming off a bye week Northwestern last lost to Purdue 20-17 at home.
Can the Cats do it on Saturday?
No way. The Spartans will continue to climb, remaining undefeated going into Week 9.
Game No. 2: Penn State Nittany Lions at Minnesota Gophers
The “old” coach faces the team with “no” coach as Penn State (3-3, 0-2, Big 10) travels to Minnesota (1-6, 0-3, Big 10) on Saturday.
Minnesota fired Coach Tim Brewster after the Gophers lost to Purdue 28-17 last Saturday.
Everyone knew it would happen. Perhaps, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy since all knew going into the game that either Brewster deliver a win or he would pack his bags. He is packing.
On Saturday the Gophers face Penn State who is also teetering so far this season as they struggle with new players adjusting to the front lines in the Big Ten.
Even though there is always the prospect of a backlash, the Nittany Lions will get a little stronger as they come home with a win over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Game No. 3: Purdue Boilermakers at (10) Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State (6-1, 2-1, Big 10) suffered an upset by Wisconsin on Saturday. You might just say the Badgers outplayed the Buckeyes from start to finish in that game.
Therefore, you must feel sorry for Purdue (4-2, 2-0, Big 10) as they head into the unlucky (for Purdue) horseshoe on Saturday. The Buckeyes will be an angry mob to face.
Ohio State must try to salvage their season by winning at home on Saturday.
It is remarkable that Purdue, having lost their running back, their wide receiver and their quarterback, like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps coming and what is more, winning.
The Boilermakers upset the Buckeyes last year but, that will not happen on Saturday when they face the incensed Buckeyes in Columbus. Ohio State wins at home.
Game No. 4: Indiana Hoosiers at Illinois Fighting Illini
Indiana (4-2, 0-2, Big 10) held on to defeat a determined Arkansas State team with the victory never assured until the last moment.
The Hoosiers need to notch a Big Ten win at this juncture to continue hope of establishing bowl eligibility.
Illinois (3-3, 1-2, Big 10) played an excellent first half against the Spartans but Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase could not keep pace in the second half as the Michigan State defense took control with the Spartan offense breathing pure oxygen at last.
With the Hoosiers traveling to Champaign and Illinois playing much better defense, expect the Illini to win this one at home.
Game No. 5: (13) Wisconsin Badgers at (15) Iowa Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1, 2-0, Big 10) welcome the Wisconsin Badgers (6-1, 2-1 Big 10) into the friendly confines of Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City this Saturday.
Isn’t it remarkable in headlines and blogs that the Iowa team “escaped” Michigan since they only won by 10 points—but Wisconsin definitively stunned the Ohio State Buckeyes, winning by 13.
Do you see the discrepancy? Iowa has hovered under that proverbial cloud of doubt since the days of Beano Cook!
Last year it was the game against Northern Iowa and Ricky Stanzi’s interceptions that gave the media pause. This year the hesitancy is more subtle, but it is still there.
Zultan will hop down off his soapbox now and proclaim loudly that the Iowa Hawkeyes will defeat the Badgers at home because they have the determination and the talent to do so.
Game No. 6: (16) Nebraska Cornhuskers at (14) Oklahoma State Cowboys
Nebraska (5-1, 1-1, Big 12) is on the road this week after a disastrous stay at home.
Texas fielded a top-ranked defense that stymied Nebraska freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez who found no answers against the Longhorns.
This was the same Martinez who shredded Bill Snyder’s Kansas State defense, rushing for 241 yards in Week 6.
Oklahoma State (6-0, 2-0, Big 12), undefeated on the season, managed to contain the offensive power of Texas Tech by smart, aggressive play on defense.
The Red Raiders high flying offense faded under the containment employed by the Cowboys.
This Saturday is “put up or shut up” week for the Cornhuskers. Can they bounce back after the upset at home?
They must or their season is done. Nebraska finds a way to revive their season with a win in Stillwater.
Game No. 7: (1) Oklahoma Sooners at (11) Missouri Tigers
Missouri (6-0, 3-0, Big 12) sits all alone atop the Big 12 North while the State of Oklahoma rules the Big 12 South—so far.
Texas at this point, is just one step behind.
As the newly ensconced BCS No. 1, Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0, Big 12) travels to Columbia’s Faurot Field. Once there the Sooners will sense the weight of expectation settling directly on their offense’s shoulders.
Missouri will host the Sooners this weekend and then travel to Lincoln the following week. The Tigers face the ultimate one-two punch in the Big 12. It will be a battle between two undefeated teams.
Forget the history and the fact that Missouri seldom if ever defeats Oklahoma in big games.
They will be playing in the Tiger’s back yard. The better the opposition, the better these two teams play. This promises to be one long intense battle to the finish.
But Oklahoma will prevail in the end and win this vital contest on the road.
Game No. 8: (6) LSU Tigers at (4) Auburn Tigers
After that major blockbuster game last Saturday against a highly ranked Arkansas team with an amazing final score of 65-43, Auburn (7-0, 4-0, SEC) heads into this week's game with a lot of confidence but also a few question marks.
One of them is Auburn’s freshman running back, Michael Dyer. Even though the freshman can “play with a lot of pain” and wishes to play, the coach needs to make sure that playing Dyer does not further injure his knee and keep the running back out longer than necessary.
The temptation to play him regardless will be there because the game against LSU (7-0, 4-0, SEC) is one key to Auburn’s success. Other Auburn key players also suffered injuries.
For LSU gaining yards on the ground may prove difficult against a stiff Auburn defense. The LSU Tigers will need to rely more upon their passing game.
The problem is—LSU doesn’t have a very potent aerial assault. Could be a long afternoon for LSU. Auburn will win at home.
Game No. 9: (8) Alabama Crimson Tide at Tennessee Volunteers
The Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1, 3-1, SEC) should win this game—especially on paper.
The Crimson Tide ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense, 11th in total defense, 19th in rushing defense and 25th in passing defense while Tennessee (2-4, 0-3, SEC) ranks 75th, 78th, 67th and 81st in those same categories respectively.
The Tide also outranks the Volunteers in key offensive categories.
On paper everything points toward Alabama winning this game.
Tennessee has lost to three ranked teams as well as Georgia on the season. They have not shied away from stiff competition.
But the Volunteers will lose this contest to Alabama on Saturday and continue to haunt the cellar of the SEC East.
Game No. 10: Air Force Falcons at (5) TCU Horned Frogs
Last week Air Force (5-2, 3-1, MWC) was ranked before they played San Diego State. It became another down-to-the-wire finish that overwhelmed viewing audiences—a 27-25 thriller in Qualcomm Stadium.
The end of the game featured a two point conversion by the AF Falcons at the two-minute mark to tie the game.
After reviewing the play, however, the call was overturned leaving the Air Force two points short. The Falcons could never overcome that deficit.
TCU (7-0, 3-0, MWC) has a markedly stingy defense but the Horned Frogs have not faced a potent offense so far. They will on Saturday as Air Force brings in their triple option running attack, averaging 347 yards.
Nonetheless, the Air Force will crash and burn inside Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. TCU wins.
The results from Week 7
As promised, there were 22 of you who proved to be wiser than the Mighty Zultan:
Paul John Arndt – Mason City, IA
Phillip Murphy – Muscatine, IA
Jason Brown – Hampshire, IL
Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI
Rick “Turk” Steffens – Wilton, IA
Brandon Dunny – Saline, MI
Corey Fletcher – Whitesboro, TX
Dallas Palmer – New Virginia, IA
Leroy Watson, Jr. – Memphis, TN
Jerrell Wilson – Lansing, MI
Jake Gronbeck – Kansas City, MO
Siddarth Killekar – Mumbai, India
Rick Evans – Montgomery, AL
Kyle Swingle – Columbus, OH
Fred Brown – Newton, IA
Jeff Harmeyer – Windsor Heights, IA
Ryan Sparrow – Channahon, IL
Dennis Ristau – Eleva, WI
Matthew Strum – Mankato, MN
Craig Bancroft – Coralville, IA
Matt Baker – West Apple Valley, MN
Next week we promise to list those of you who have a better mark on the season than the All-Seeing Seer, through Week 8 along with those who best Zultan next weekend.
Be sure to click here to make your selections for Week 8.
Also, with Zultan needing rest and rehab, we are seeking someone to make the selections for the Mighty One in Week 10. All you must do is make the selections––the write up will be handled by staff.
This is your big chance to pit yourself against the world, to see how it feels to live in Zultan’s silk slippers. Don’t be afraid to step out into the limelight. Say you’ll serve as our “Guest Soothsayer.”
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