College Football Predictions Week 6: Zultan's Fearless Forecast
It was an agonizing week for the all-seeing seer, as four of his 10 picks went South on Oct. 1.
In retrospect, Zultan offers these occult words of wisdom to the Iowa State Cyclones: “In the future, if you are going to shoot yourself in the foot, do not use a sub-machine gun.”
Prior to the Texas vs. Iowa State debacle, Arkansas came back to thwart Texas A&M as the Aggies failed by five points. Zultan could not believe his eyes as he watched A&M’s second collapse in a row. Someone must tell the Aggies that the game lasts 60 minutes, not 45.
Even playing in Columbus, Ohio State could only hold on, losing by three. It could have been even uglier. But MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins spared the Buckeyes abject humiliation by doing his own Spartan version of self-destruction in key moments.
Zultan blames his cloudy crystal ball, which continues to conjure up images from 2010.
But the pigskin prognosticator’s biggest miss was Clemson, who stomped on Virginia Tech 23-3 without mercy. This Tiger is all business and will claim the ACC in 2011. Zultan made a note to himself—C Rules in ACC.
What is more—to heap on massive degradation—almost three score of you recorded better results that the Mighty One. Zultan has barricaded himself in Mom’s garage, pouting and throwing rocks at a poster of Paul Rhoads. Where was the triple overtime win when you really needed it, Coach?
Those surpassing the great one will be listed at the end of this article along with appropriate, if begrudging accolades.
Next up for the all-seeing seer—Week 2 in the Big Ten, Week 6 overall in the college football season.
Zultan offers you another week of difficult picks daring you to try to outguess him again. If you feel lucky, or even if you don’t, click here to make your picks and see if you can surpass the big Z this coming Saturday.
Game 1: Big Ten - Minnesota Gophers (1-4, 0-1) at Purdue Boilermakers (2-2, 0-0)
Oh, this is a tough one. Can the Gophers win a Big Ten game? This might be Minnesota’s only chance to enjoy a Big Ten victory. Too bad the game is on the road for Minny.
Hopefully the Gophers learned that it is advisable to stick to the game plan the coaches established during the week. After losing their Big Ten opener to Michigan 58-0, Minnesota needs to find improvement in every aspect of their game. That rout has to sting coaches and players alike.
Purdue will be looking to begin their Big Ten campaign with a victory at home. After being squashed by Notre Dame last week 38-10, the Boilermakers seek a positive as they begin Big Ten action. Defeating the Minnesota Gophers at home would go along way to making some headway as conference action heats up.
Pick Purdue Boilermakers to win at home.
Game 2: Big Ten - (19) Illinois Illini (5-0, 1-0) at Indiana Hoosiers (1-4, 0-1)
Illinois will finally hit the road to play the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington. It will be their first real road test of the year. The Illini, behind quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, managed to sneak past the Northwestern Wildcats last week 38-35.
Last Saturday, Indiana almost equalled Penn State on the gridiron but fell short in the last quarter, losing 16-10. It was the Hoosiers fourth loss of the young 2011 season. New starting quarterback Dusty Kiel had his hands full trying to gain significant yardage against Penn State.
The Hoosiers are hoping to improve their football fortunes by winning their first Big Ten Contest. Unfortunately, they will fall short again.
Pick Illinois to win on the road.
Game 3: Big Ten - Iowa Hawkeyes (3-10 0-0) at Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-0)
This is a big one for Mom’s team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Traveling to Happy Valley to play the Penn State Nittany Lions is nothing Big Ten teams relish. Lately, however, the Hawkeyes have enjoyed some success against the Lions—winning eight of the last nine games the two have contested. Plus, Iowa is coming off a bye week.
Penn State struggled to get past Indiana last Saturday as the Lion offense once again found it difficult to score. Shuffling quarterbacks in and out of the lineup has not worked well for two seasons now as Penn State has been unable to decide who should stand in the pocket.
Maybe it is time to settle into a one-quarterback system. While the Penn State defense seems solid, their offense has struggled to put points on the board.
Mom insists on this one!
Pick Iowa to win on the road.
Game 4: Big Ten - (12) Michigan Wolverines (5-0, 1-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-2, 0-1)
Dan Persa’s early departure during last week’s contest against Illinois caused some concern about a re-injury to his tendon. But Persa will back in full force as the Wildcats welcome Michigan into Evanston.
Last week, Northwestern came up a little short against Illinois, losing 38-35. The Wildcats fell to 2-2 overall, losing their first Big Ten conference game.
Michigan, on the other hand ran roughshod over the lowly gophers who were powerless to stop the Wolverine assault. But this is also Michigan’s first authentic road game of the season, plus, they will be playing under the lights in a hostile environment— so there is room for some nerves on the field. Michigan enters the game undefeated so far in 2011.
Because they game is highly significant and much anticipated, Northwestern will attack it with a vengeance. They like nothing better than upsetting favorites.
The real crux of the contest will come down to defense. Which defense can more easily shut down the other team’s offense. Although you love a never-say-die guy like Persa, you gotta give the nod to Michigan’s defense in this game being better able to shut down the Wildcats on offense than vice-versa.
This is one of those dart-board choices the Big Z has to make once in a great while.
Pick Northwestern to win at home.
Game 5: Big Ten - Ohio State Buckeyes (3-2, 0-1) at (14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1, 0-1)
The Cornhuskers will be stewing over their loss in Madison last Saturday, ready to do battle against Ohio State. Nebraska came out strong last Saturday, scoring first while stemming the tide of the Wisconsin Badger running game.
Then came the second quarter. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez seemed to fall apart, losing his way, trying to force the issue. That is when the spate of turnovers began. The Badgers went on to win this contest going away, 48-17.
Ohio State managed to hold back the Michigan State Spartans defensively. The Buckeyes allowed MSU only 10 points in four quarters but could not score themselves against the potent Spartan defense. A touchdown scored as time expired were the only points for the once-vaunted Ohio State team.
Some of the suspended players expected to return this week for OSU are facing further sanctions and will not be making the trip to Lincoln.
Pick Nebraska to win at home.
Game 6: SEC - (17) Florida Gators (4-1, 2-1) at (1) LSU Tigers (5-0, 2-0)
You just gotta like a team whose home field lies in “Death Valley.” The Florida Gators must go to Death Valley to play the LSU Tigers one week after being humiliated at home by Alabama, 38-10.
Life does not get any easier for the Gators who must travel to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge without their starting quarterback John Brantley. Starting in his place will be freshman Jeff Driskel who will need more than a hope and a prayer to get through the rigors of playing LSU in Tiger Stadium.
LSU on the other hand has an abundance of quarterbacks as the Tigers welcomed back former suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson who joined starter Jarrett Lee as part of a potent offense with speed so indicative of SEC teams.
LSU remains undefeated and looks to stay that way until they meet Alabama in Tuscaloosa on November 5. That will be the critical match-up of the season.
Pick LSU to win at home.
Game 7: Big 12 - (3) Oklahoma Sooners (4-0, 1-0) at (11) Texas Longhorns (4-0, 1-0)
So begins another Red River Rivalry. The annual contest will be held inside the Cotton Bowl as both Oklahoma and Texas arrive undefeated, 4-0 on the season.
Oklahoma has lost their No. 1 ranking without losing a game. But such is the fortune of college football today with the current ranking systems. Right now the Sooners are content to take care each obstacle as it arrives on the schedule. So far, Oklahoma has done just that under the leadership of Bobby Stoops with Landry Jones in the pocket.
Texas, meanwhile, is attempting to recreate a Longhorn legend as Case McCoy takes over the quarterbacking duties leading the Longhorns just as his brother Colt McCoy did. But the younger McCoy is not alone in pocket. He shares duties with David Ash as Mack Brown shuttles the two quarterbacks in and out of games. When will these head coaches ever learn? “Less is more!”
Oklahoma has the more complete package on offense and defense.
Pick Oklahoma to win at the Cotton Bowl.
Game 8: ACC - Miami Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1) at (21) Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, 0-1)
You have to wonder what happened to the Virginia Tech Hokies last week as they faced the Clemson Tigers at home. The Hokies displayed an anemic offense that sputtered, often shutting down or died trying to make up for miscues with long third down attempts.
The defense looked a step slow, caught by surprise on a few occasions. Special teams were really not that special for Virginia Tech. The Hokies lost 23-3. But as Coach Frank Beamer stated—it is only one game. Redemption is still possible.
Miami is coming into Blacksburg hoping to come away with a big win. So far this season Miami has defeated Ohio State and Bethune-Cookman while losing to Maryland on the road and Kansas State.
They have shown moments of excellent speed and powerful running. But they have given up almost as much as they have gained. Most of the suspended Canes will be back on the field this Saturday and that could provide another key for success.
You just have to assume the Hokies will regroup and take the field not allowing two defeats in a row at home. Another dart-boarder.
Pick Virginia Tech to win at home.
Game 9: Big 12 - Missouri Tigers (2-2, 0-1) at (20) Kansas State (4-0, 1-0)
The Missouri Tigers get to travel to Manhattan, Kansas, after a week off. The Tigers have defeated K-State the last five times the teams have met on the football field. The last time they played, the Missouri Tigers lost to the then-No. 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in Norman 38-28. This will be the Tigers second ranked opponent in a row on the road.
Kansas State knocked off the No. 15 ranked Baylor Bears last weekend to earn a spot in the AP top 20 for the first time. Linebacker Arthur Brown intercepted a pass thrown by Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III that set up a field goal, allowing the Wildcats to pull ahead 36-35. It was Griffin’s only interception of the season and ultimately it cost Baylor the game.
Still it is hard to believe in Kansas State this early in the season. Missouri has had an extra week to prepare for this game.
Pick Missouri on the road.
Game 10: SEC - (15) Auburn Tigers (4-1, 2-0) at (10) Arkansas Razorbacks (4-1, 0-1)
Auburn has lost to Clemson so far this season and Arkansas has lost to Alabama.
The Razorbacks also showed the right stuff by battling their way out of a huge hole to Texas A & M last weekend. The Hogs trailed the Aggies by 18 points at half-time and came back to win the game in the closing minutes 42-38. It was an impressive showing for a team that was supposed to be “rebuilding” this year.
Meanwhile, last year’s BCS champs, the Auburn Tigers, were also supposed to be suffering through a “down” year but came back to upset the No. 10-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks on their home field.
These are two teams playing with confidence and poise in the SEC. The game will be played in Fayetteville at night televised on ESPN.
When in doubt, Zultan takes the home team. You see well this logic served him last week.
Pick Arkansas to win at home.
The Results from Oct. 1, 2011:
It was great to see some of the old names back again as you pitted your puny prognosticating skills against the mighty Zultan.
As you know, Zultan has suffered greatly over the summer, being held captive as the Big Ten morphed into these aberrant divisions called “Leaders” and “Legends.” Nebraska joined the Big Ten, crowding Iowa on the West. But now the great one is free, ready to do his football bidding.
Here are the hundreds of you who bested a weakened Zultan last week! This week, the Mighty One feels the force—so be prepared!
Sam Wingo (world traveler)
Tommy Cornelis (Washington, DC), Andrew Dorsey (Anaheim, CA), Daniel Lint (Des Moines, IA), Christian Moellenhoff (Austin, TX), Darrel Rohrer (Hebron, OH)
Craig Bancroft (Coralville, IA), Jeff Coffey (Columbus, OH), Dale Collins (Charleston, SC), Jack Darland Jr. (Cedar Falls, IA), Brandon Heitsch (Columbus, OH), Jason Jobke (Milwaukee, WI), Eric Lawhead (Bolingbrook, IL), Dennis Ristau (Eleva, WI), Kent Seering (Phoenix, AZ), Rick “Turk” Steffens (Wilton, IA), Carl Stine (Kingman, AZ)
Nathan Branch (Thomasville, GA), Dave Eck (Cedar Falls, IA), Craig Fudge (Woodbury, MN), Ryan Gott (Newton, IA), J.A. Greer (Boulder, CO), Trevor Knuth (Iowa City, IA), Matt Myers (Grand Island, NE), Larry Olsen (Boise, ID), Eric Stipp (Dublin, OH), Sports Chump (Tampa, FL), Guy Wohlford (Radford, VA), Skipper Woodham (Atlanta, GA)
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