Week Four: Sept. 26, 2009
Last week, Zultan was 8-for-10, or 80 percent, in predicting winners in Big Ten football contests on Saturday, Sept. 19. The misses were Northern Illinois’ upset of Purdue and Indiana’s road win over Akron. Otherwise, Zultan was perfect again...total tallies of 18-for-21, or 86 percent, for the last two weeks.
As the Big Ten season opens this weekend, the number of contests decreases and the complexity of selection increases. In order to keep the minimum number of picks at 10, Zultan has added some other football games of interest to fans and prognosticators.
1. Indiana at Michigan
The Indiana Hoosiers and the Michigan Wolverines are both 3-0 going into Big 10 play on Saturday, Sept. 26. But there all similarities end. Indiana has enjoyed being Cinderella long enough. Off they go back to the pumpkin patch. Michigan is going to win this one going away.
2. Michigan State at Wisconsin
Michigan State must travel to Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday to face the Badgers. The Spartans were upset in Week Two by Central Michigan. Then last week, the Michigan State team lost a heart-breaker against Notre Dame, 33-30. They have two losses in a row.
The Spartans have more to offer on both sides of the ball than Wisconsin, who stands undefeated after three patsies in a row at home. The questions remain—does Michigan State have the determination to overcome Wisconsin? Will Wisconsin have enough confidence to put together a winning game at home?
It’s a toss-up, but Zultan says, “When in doubt, pick Wisconsin at home!”
3. Minnesota at Northwestern
The Gophers held tight until the fourth quarter against the No. 8-ranked Golden Bears, but could not sustain their intensity. Minnesota finally faded against Cal, ending two touchdowns short, 35-21.
Northwestern lost on the road to Syracuse as the Orange kicked a field goal in the closing seconds to slam the door shut on the Wildcats. As the Cats lick their wounds at home, the Gophers will have to travel to unfriendly fields. Minnesota will make it close again, but no cigar. Northwestern will take this one at home.
4. Illinois at Ohio State
With the worst pass defense in the league and the most penalty yardage—Illinois has its work cut out for them on Saturday in trying to defeat Ohio State at home. It would be ludicrous to think the Illini could pull it off. Ohio State plays a brand of football the Illini cannot equal or surpass.
Illinois is going down to another defeat on the road.
5. Notre Dame at Purdue
Purdue strives to be the “Cardiac Kids” of the Big Ten. Unfortunately, they never seem to end up with the elusive prize—rather with egged faces. At 1-2 going into Saturday’s contest against Notre Dame, the impetus should be with the Boilers, but you know they will somehow lose this contest against the Irish foe at home.
While we wish the Big Ten team would prevail, we pick Notre Dame to win on the road.
6. Iowa at Penn State
Zultan loves the Iowa team, but he cannot ignore the oddsmakers who pick Penn State as a 10-point favorite. To date, Penn State has played Akron, Syracuse, and Temple, hardly competition for the Nittany Lions. No wonder they are 3-0.
Iowa, on the other hand, has played Northern Iowa, Iowa State, and Arizona—all offered a bit more competition.
The Hawkeyes are also 3-0. While both teams are improving, Iowa has grown greater faster. The edge, however, goes to Penn State only because it is in Happy Valley. While Zultan’s heart belongs to the Hawkeyes, his pocketbook dictates that Penn State will win in a close one at home.
7. California at Oregon
This opener in the Pac-10 is worthy of attention. The California Golden Bears traveled to Minnesota to defeat the Gophers on the road. Road tests proved difficult for the Bears in the past.
But now that they have figured out how to win on the road, they will continue this week and drown the Oregon Ducks. The Bears' season will continue to be “golden.”
8. Miami at Virginia Tech
This is a big contest in the ACC. The Hurricanes are back in the top 10 with a balanced offensive attack and a dynamic defense. Virginia Tech looked shaky in the their last minute victory over Nebraska last week. Miami is the real deal. The Hurricanes will win this one on the road by blowing the Hokies off track.
9. Washington at Stanford
At home the Huskies upset the USC Trojans. They catapulted into the top 25 as the No. 24 team in the nation. They are jubilant, ecstatic, and ready to roll. The question is, are they ready to face a solid Stanford team at home and set their giddiness aside?
The Stanford Cardinal are a dynamic, well-coached Pac-10 Team. The oddsmakers like them. It is a tough call, but Zultan picks the home team again. The Cardinal win a close one as the Huskies plummet back to earth.
10. Army at Iowa State
There is no such thing as a no-brainer in picking winners. College football is no exception. But the Iowa State Cyclones should win this home contest. Wins will be few and far between for new Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads.
The Clones had their first road victory last week and coming home should give them an added incentive to continue the streak. The Cyclone running game will be too much for Army on Saturday.
If you wish to challenge Zultan and see if you are better at picking winners and at the same time be rewarded for your efforts, click here for details. Last week, some equaled but no one surpassed the mighty seer. Zultan sees all and knows all...