Week 9 Predictions – 2019
Last Week: New game night, same result. OSU rolled into Evanston Friday night and rolled out with a convincing 52-3 victory. Anyone watching the game would probably tell you it was not as close as the score might indicate. The win pushes the Buckeyes to 7-0 and moved them to #3 in the AP poll. We are two weeks away from the first College Playoff Poll and you have to think the Buckeyes have earned top 4 placement if they can win the next two weeks. PJSBuck and Steven continue to roll on our staff picks and both are 35-6 on top the standings. But almost everyone is three games or less behind them so it should make for a fun race to watch during November.
This Week’s Games: Everyone seems to think that OSU has developed a rivalry with Wisconsin. In reality, the Bucks traveled to Madison in 2009 and lost to the Badgers thanks to failures in special tams. The loss ruined a perfect season and a chance to play for the national championship. Since then the Buckeyes are 9-1 over Wisconsin including that 59-0 pounding in Indy. Yet here we are once again and the road to the playoffs goes through Bucky. Will the Bucks win yet again? …. Big game of the week not including a Big Ten school is Auburn and LSU. LSU seems to be for real, but will they expose Auburn as paper ‘Tigers’? …. Penn State has just played two emotional games in a row, do they have enough in the tank to defeat a desperate Spartan team in East Lansing? …. As Notre Dame comes calling in Ann Arbor, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is feeling the temperature rise. Who are the Buckeye fans rooting for in this one? …. The Pac-12 is still putting hope that Oregon can get to the playoffs. Can the Ducks keep their thin post season hopes alive against Washington State?
Buckeye Greats: As with the past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax back with us as a regular participant for the fifth straight year.
Here we go with our Week 9 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
(13)Wisconsin @ (3)Ohio State
Andy: This is one of the biggest games of the year for the entirety of the Big Ten conference. The best team from the West division, and the top team from the East division before a championship game. Not only are these two of the best teams in the country, but we’ll get to see two top 5 defenses this Saturday on the same field. Wisconsin’s defense is about as legit as they come, they’re ranked first or second in darn near every category or any analytical stat you choose to look at. The Buckeye defense has climbed to be ranked closely to the top in nearly every category as well. In a game with two elite defenses what can we expect? Wisconsin will need to take risks on offense, they’re going to need production out of their quarterback Jack Coan so the Buckeye defense doesn’t key in on their tail back Jonathan Taylor who is the best running back in the country. On offense Ohio State is going to need to hit more deep balls with their receivers, so far the Buckeyes have used their running attack (ranked the 3rd best rushing offense overall in CFB) to set up their passing game. I am here to say the front seven of Wisconsin is legit, lead by two linebackers Chris Orr and Zack Baun are a big part of the reason Wisconsin is one of the best tackling defenses in the country. I do think Ohio State’s defense is every bit as good as Wisconsin or better, Ohio State happens to be the top tackling defense in the country and the secondary is a huge mismatch against the Badgers receivers. I believe this game won’t be a big blow out for either team, but I think Ohio State’s offense is much more balanced and can match up against Wisconsin’s defense, particularly Justin Fields and the OSU receivers should be able to beat the tough Badger secondary. This should be a close game, but look for Ohio State to win by two scores or more. Ohio State 28 – Wisconsin 14
Bbaver: Pick: Ohio State – I think Ohio St was going to get Wisconsin’s “A” game no matter what. Good teams play to their level of competition fairly often, but they usually still win those games. Losing as a 30½ point favorite is jaw dropping. So, I don’t think as highly of Wisconsin as I did a week ago. Still, they are capable of upsetting the Bucks in the ‘Shoe. OSU has faced the Badgers 7 times since 2010, winning 6 of them. And that included the beatdown that Cardale Jones led in the 2014 B10 title game. The other 5 Buckeye wins have all been by 7 pts or less. Jonathan Taylor may be in a small slump by his standards, but if I am Badger HC Paul Chryst, I’m still running Taylor early and often. That’s a better choice than dealing with OSU’s pass rush. If the UW offense has success against the Buckeye D early, that would give the Badgers a much-needed boost of confidence. MSU held Taylor to 3.1 yds per carry, but Wisconsin hurt Sparty’s D in several of other ways, one of which was with Jack Coan’s efficiency through the air, completing 18 of 21. But, if the Bucks hold Taylor to 3 yds per carry, the Badgers are in a world of hurt. The Badger D will be the best Ohio St has faced so far this year. Still, the Illinois tailback duo of Reggie Corbin & Dre Brown combined for 168 yds against the Badgers at 6 yards a pop. I think Wisconsin provides OSU with its biggest test yet. I expect a tight game at halftime with Ohio St taking a bit longer to make adjustments against UW on both sides of the ball. Eventually, I think OSU makes the necessary adjustments and wear the Badgers down. I like OSU pulling away late….I’ve got it Ohio St 34 Wisc 17.
Coach Rick: This was gearing up to be a great match up and then Illinois catches Wisconsin sleeping. I know that the Wisconsin will not be sleeping this week and will give OSU their best game of the season. I still think that we can call this the their 1st meeting of the season and we will see a 2nd game between these two. I have OSU winning 31 to 21.
Cory: The schedule continues to get tougher for the Buckeyes, and despite Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois last weekend there will be a lot of eyes on this game. Getting Wisconsin at home is huge, however, now that the Badgers are coming off a disappointing loss they have nothing to lose and will be coming in hot. Everybody knows about Jonathan Taylor, but one player that doesn’t get much attention is quarterback Jack Coan. Coan does not make a ton of big plays, mostly because he is not asked to. For Coan, the name of the game is efficiency and he’s been terrific at it by completing 76 percent of his passes and throwing just two interceptions. Ultimately the key to this game will be if Ohio State can move the ball with consistency on Wisconsin. The Badgers are not a team that is great at playing from behind, so a few early scores would go a long way for the Buckeyes. That said, it’s hard to see either team running away with a win here. Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 21
Dr. Mark: OSU 27-17 I think WISC D will get some three and outs but Buckeye O will have some big plays to open it up. Remain concerned about OSU D giving up plays up the middle. Punter may make a difference in this one- Can Jonathan Taylor win the game by himself?
Gregg: Even the AP voters realize that Ohio State has done everything they can possibly do this season to prove they are deserving a top ranking. After drubbing the Wildcats last week in the tall grass of Evanston, they moved up to #3 in the polls. This places them one spot over defending champion Clemson. The Illini upset last week over Wisconsin takes a bit of the shine off this game, but the bottom line is the stakes are still the same. The winner puts themselves in the the driver set for their respective divisions. The weather may play a factor Saturday but I still see Ohio State in control for a solid win. Here is hoping Dobbins outgains Taylor to show once and for all who the better back is. Ohio State 40 Wisconsin 24
Jason: The Buckeyes continue to roll, and Wisconsin enters Ohio Stadium, limping, after seeing their playoff hopes dashed in shocking fashion at Illinois a week ago. Now the Badgers face by far their stiffest challenge to date. They face a team in Ohio State who is faster and more athletic at nearly every position. Illini QB Brandon Peters carved up the Badger secondary a week ago and now enter Justin Fields who is completing over 70% of his balls and averaging over 9 yards per throw. And if you can slow the pass game down, enter JK Dobbins, who is an NFL caliber back and trails Jonathan Taylor by just 10 yards for the Big Ten lead, yet with 23 fewer carries. If you slow down Dobbins and keep Fields in the pocket, the receiving corps is ridiculously deep. OSU has too many big play threats and too many playmakers. If Fields gets time throw, look out and take care now, bye bye Wisconsin. Working in Wisconsin’s favor is the fact that the Buckeyes have yet to be challenged. If the Badgers can play keep away and move the sticks to control the time of possession, they can get into the fourth quarter with a chance. With the Badgers pass rush, a four quarter game could get dicey as Fields has yet to prove he can perform with the game on the line late. The Badgers might have got caught looking ahead last week but the bottom line is, they have flaws. Flaws that are exposed by good teams and exploited by great teams. Make no mistake, Ohio State is a great team and will prove it again Saturday. The ultra talented Buckeye D will have a couple takeaways early and Ohio State jumps out to a big halftime lead and cruises yet again, rolling over a mismatched Badger team that just doesn’t have the athletes and depth to compete. Wisconsin will have a couple drives early behind Taylor, and prove they are a good football team, but Ohio State will show that it really is elite. Ohio State 38 Wisconsin 10
Joe-S-U: Ohio State
John: Ohio State pounding Northwestern last week wasn’t much of a surprise. Wisconsin spitting the bit at Illinois, however was a huge surprise in the moment, and everyone jumped on the “Badger’s got caught looking ahead” bandwagon. However, upon reflection, we may have to just accept the fact that UW may just not be that good. Yes, they torched a MSU team that limped into their game after being physically beat up by OSU the week before, and they destroyed what I believe to be a vastly overrated Michigan team. However, they struggled to put 24 up on a Northwestern defense that OSU hung 52 on, and it could have been worse – OSU called off the dogs in the fourth quarter. The Badger’s are one dimensional on offense and slow on defense. The only thing that keeps this one close is the weather. Forecast is for heavy rain, which plays into the Badger’s hands. Either way, Ohio State is the better team in every facet of the game. Bucks win, but the rain keeps it close. Ohio State 24 Wisconsin 14
Josh: Both teams rank in the top 2 defensively, and offensively have similar styles by building off of their run game. Ohio State has the advantage with this game being at home, and having scored almost 50 points a game, while holding opponents to only 8 points. The key in this one will be how well will the defense be able to slow down and contain Taylor, and then on the flip side, put pressure on Coan to make mistakes in the passing game. Northwestern was able to find some holes in the Buckeye defense in the run game in the first quarter, but then were shutdown the rest of the game. Wisconsin runs a similar offense of playing keep away, but has done it better. Unfortunately this will not be a clash of undefeated teams, however a win for either team keeps their post season goals alive. I like Justin Fields against this defense, and with the threat of the run, we will open up the passing game which will in turn all Dobbins to break free. Let’s see if the Buckeyes can have another dominant second quarter and put this game away by halftime. Ohio State 45 – Wisconsin 14.
Pia Pete: Buckeyes face their first real test of the season. Can Wisconsin overcome last week’s brainfart? OSU 27 – UW 20
PJSBuck: So, which mindset will Wiscy come in here with? They can be beaten or something to prove? That will determine the flow of the game but the outcome will be the same: Bucks win and possibly Big. Wiscy is often a serious pretender and this year is no exception. I expect OSU to win by 21 or more. Just how the entire game flows will be a mystery until they play.
Steven: Stat to ponder: Wisconsin running back has just 10 fewer attempts than QB Jack Coan. Coan averages only 24 attempts per game to Taylor’s 22 In this day and age of high flying offenses, Wisconsin is content to turn back the clock 50 years or more and lean on their Taylor. The fact is the Badgers haven’t been put in a situation where Coan needs to win a game. This may provide insight into last week’s loss to Illinois. The Badgers defense played lights out so much that the offense basically sleepwalked through their first six games. They were scoring so much with Taylor that Coan wasn’t asked to do too much. That pattern came back to haunt them in Champaign. Likewise, Ohio State’s defense has played lights out for the first six games of the year. With the Buckeyes though, their offense has been more QB oriented. Justin Fields is an emerging all-star point guard. He distributes the ball to talented backs and receivers and when he steps aside he has Dobbins and Teague to carry the load. The depth of skill players is what makes Ohio State special. If the Bucks can limit Taylor and bring pressure on Coan they will dominate the game. Gap integrity, that will be the name of the game. Maintain it on defense, break it on offense. Look for Teague to become an earlier option to punish the Badger D. OSU bludgeons the Badgers 49-24.
Trout: I think this will be the Buckeyes toughest test of the season. Granted, the Badgers suffered a really bad loss against Illinois last week. But I think they are so much better than what the showed last week. However, I still think the Buckeyes are better team and they should win this game. All the Buckeyes have to do is contain Taylor, and from there, the Wisconsin offense becomes stagnant. Coan is not reliable enough to win a game on his arm. I also think, the Buckeye Office will be able to move the ball well enough against the Badgers defense. They wont put up 40+ points, but they should be able to score a enough to win the game. In the end, I see this game being a hard fought battle between the best 2 teams in the Big Ten, but Ohio State superior talent will shine through and they will win this game game. (Ohio State, 28-20)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): I am going to be blunt. If Bryant Browning is not ready to play this weekend it is going to be a long day for the defense. What I have observed over these first seven games is that Jeff Hafley has been brilliant calling the defense and Al Washington Jr has been masterful spelling the linebacking crew as needed. However, after watching Tuf Borland this past Friday, I noticed a significant drop off. While this was supposed to be the offense well suited for Tuf, it exposed his weaknesses. First, he has issues fending off blocks. Second, it appears he overruns plays at the point of attack and we cannot have any of that this Saturday. I don’t know if it’s him trying to get ahead of the ball or bad instincts, but against Jonathan Taylor you cannot overrun anything. He needs to either attack the blockers and stuff them or collide and shed the block to a side. He needs to understand his physical limitations and know his teammates are there with him. When he is in the game look for Wisconsin to both run at him and throw at him via the tight end drag or runningback across the middle. We also need to keep an eye on Springfield’s own Danny Davis. He made some outstanding plays in the B1G Championship game nearly two years ago. He realizes this may be his last shot against the Buckeyes who did not offer him a schollie. Offensively, the Buckeye will need to create mismatches early. My hope is that they utilize the tight end to throw Wiscy’s defense off balance. That help open both the passing game and running game. Justin Fields needs to listen to that clock in his head and learn how to throw the ball away. We cannot afford avoidable negative plays. With that said, I am going big with the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes say, “we don’t need no stinking Badgers” and win 45-21.
Final Score: Ohio State 38 Wisconsin 7
(9)Auburn @ (2)LSU
Bbaver: Pick: LSU – Could be interesting, but I’m not going against Coach Mushmouth and QB Joe Burrow.
Coach Rick: Not sure I think LSU is for real this year, but they are playing great. I am giving the edge to the home team in this game as the crowd will make the difference. I have LSU winning because of the passing stats. Auburn is to much of a one dimensional team. I have LSU winning by the score of 35 to 17.
Cory: As an outside observer to this game, I hope it is a game. I hope Auburn can hang with LSU, and make it interesting. Logically, I am not sure Auburn has it in them to compete with LSU. Florida and Auburn are pretty comparable teams this year, and Florida controlled Auburn in a win a few weeks ago, and that was with a backup quarterback. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is tearing up opposing defenses and making it look easy – 79.4 completion percentage, 29 passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. Auburn may be able to hang with LSU for a quarter or two, but ultimately we’re going to see LSU notch another impressive victory to an already impressive resume. LSU 35, Auburn 20
Dr. Mark: LSU 38-24 – Would not surprise me if Auburn leads early but LSU wins the Tiger battle.
Gregg: OK, everyone is going to use this joke right? “I have the Tiger’s winning this one” At the beginning of the year, this was supposed to be a game with a great team versus an elite team. However, during the summer the narrative was Auburn would be the one that could run the table , upset ‘Bama and go to the playoffs. This season has been the opposite. LSU has been playing lights out offense and really good defense. I win for Coach O this weekend and it will be LSU that will be looking to looking to knock the Tide off their SEC perch and put themselves in the driver set to play for the title. This will be a battle of LSU’s great offense against the Auburn defensive line and I think LSU comes out on top. LSU 27 Auburn 24
Jason: Yet another big game in the Bayou as LSU once again attempts to make a statement to the college football world that they are for real. Joe Burrow and Co. continue to put up massive numbers, but they will be facing their stiffest challenge to date in the Auburn defense. The Tigers have an NFL front 4 and can get to the quarterback as well as almost anyone in college football. Burrow will have to get the ball out quick to negate the pressure he’s about to face. On the other side, LSU has a porous secondary so Tiger QB Bo Nix will need to take advantage. Nix struggled badly against the Florida defense, but he has completed 70% of his throws or more in three of the last five games, hitting the deep ball and is getting time to make the throws he needs to. On the other hand, Nix has played against two good defenses in Oregon and Florida and threw 5 picks combined in those games andd failed to hit 42% of his passes in both games. The Tigers defense has struggled to defend the pass and if Burrow gets time, he will carve them up. Burrow is connecting on a remarkable 80% of his passes and nearing that number on deep throws as well. Auburn is very good offensively, but it doesn’t have the explosiveness to keep up with that Burrow led LSU outfit. Auburn will try to grind this game out, shorten the game and keep the ball out of Burrow’s hands. They will do a good job for awhile and Burrow will struggle a bit but LSU will ultimately come out on top, although it will take a late stand by the Tiger defense to get it done.
LSU 27 Auburn 20
John: There are certain givens in life: The sun will always rise in the east, no one likes paying taxes, and E$PN will shill for two SEC teams to make the four team college football playoff. One would think an LSU loss would help quiet that some, but I’m sure that somewhere in Bristol they are inventing yet another statistic to prove that a multi loss Auburn is head and shoulders above any Big Ten, Pac 12 of Big 12 team. Won’t matter much, as I think LSU may just be the best team in the SEC this year. Let Bama lose to LSU in a couple of weeks though, and two from the SEC is all you’ll hear from the World Wide Leader. LSU 27 Auburn 10
Josh: Auburn is slowly gaining confidence, and with only one loss still, this game will be a defining one for their season. if they win, then they put themselves in the drivers seat with Alabama going to Auburn this year, and a chance to claim the SEC West title since 2017. Bo Nix will need to attack the LSU secondary and keep up with the LSU offense to stand a chance. LSU might have been looking ahead to this one, knowing they are leading up to a bye week before the clash with Alabama. Mississippi State could only contain Burrow for so long before he threw for 4 touchdowns and put the game away. With this game being at home, I like the Tigers of the Bayou in this one, and LSU knocks off Auburn. LSU 41 – Auburn 24.
Pia Pete: LSU at home. Money in the bank. LSU 37 – Auburn 20
PJSBuck: LSU and their Buckeye QB are for real. I expect a close first half but the Tigers pull away in the 3rd quarter and win by 17 or more.
Steven: Joe polishes his Heisman resume. Purple Tigers 35-28.
Trout: I think LSU wins big here. I just don’t think Auburn is that good. Their one good win is because of a fluky last second play against an overrated Oregon team. I see Joe Burrow continuing to put up video game numbers, and having very little trouble with the Auburn defense. This game may solidify him as the Heisman front runner, especially with Tua being out for the next 2 week. The Auburn Tigers might keep it competitive early, because their team is not with talent, but I just think LSU will be just too much for them. In this battle between the Tiger, I see LSU having little trouble putting up points and winning this game. (LSU, 45-17).
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Joe Burrow has come of age with the LSU Tigers and I am amazed that records he is setting. When I hear about all of the prowess of the SEC it certainly wasn’t from the offensive side of the ball, except for Florida. Bo Nix will be facing a real defense for the first time and I suspect he will be confused at times. Burrow will continue burrowing SEC defenses and the LSU Tigers will beat the Auburn Tigers 42-14.
Final Score: LSU 23 Auburn 20
(6)Penn State @ Michigan State
Andy: After coming off a huge win in Happy Valley against the Wolverines last saturday, the Nittany Lions travel to East Lansing to take on a struggling Michigan State team. The Spartans have the 22nd overall defense in the country this season, but they also have the 100th ranked offense in the country out of 130 teams. And that is exactly where the problem lies with Sparty in this matchup. Penn State is currently ranked the 12th overall defense in the country and has a freaky front seven. On offense Penn State has been efficient, but not elite.. passing for over 1,800 yards and rushing for over 1,200 yards. Sean Clifford the Penn State quarterback will have to the difference maker in this game, if Michigan State can slow him down they have a chance as Penn State has struggled at time this season running the football. Look for Penn State to come away with a solid road win. Penn State 28 – Michigan State 7
Bbaver: Pick: Penn State – Won’t surprise me at all if Sparty wins this, and I at least think they keep it close. MSU has had the Nits number as of late, but still hard for me to get behind Jim Bollman and the Sparty offense right now. PSU wins a very tight one.
Coach Rick: Not sure what is up with MSU this season because I thought they would have a much better year. The biggest bonus for MSU is that fact they are coming off a bye week. Even with the bye week I have PSU winning this game, but a lot closer then people are thinking . I have the outcome at PSU 24 and MSU at 17.
Cory: The biggest challenge for Penn State this week is to avoid a hangover from a tough win over Michigan last week. The Nittany Lions played at night, on national TV with a whiteout and even though they beat the Wolverines it can be hard to carry that momentum and hype over to the following week, especially with a road trip to East Lansing. Michigan State struggles with consistency on both sides of the ball, but they do have some good playmakers on defense. Because of that, and the potential for hangover I think this game will be much closer than people think, but still see Penn State leaving with a win. Penn State 21, Michigan State 17
Dr. Mark: PSU – Spartans can save season with win here but I think PSU is too strong on both sides of the ball.
Gregg: Penn State is riding high after that huge win over the Wolverines last week. But we have seen this before, Coach Franklin is the master of the empty 10-2, 11-1 seasons. They should have no issues defeating Sparty and going 8-0 on the year . But you can expect Michigan State to be ready after a week off to bring the Lions down a notch. If the Spartans can avoid the turnovers, and they play ball control like they are known for, Dantonio will get his first underdog win of the season. It will be low scoring and close but i think MSU pulls it off again and Lions lose to the Spartans once again. Michigan State 17 Penn State 14
Jason: The Lions, coming off an emotional home win over Michigan in the white out, now has to travel to face a physical and rested Michigan State team for the battle of the little known Land Grant Trophy. The Spartan offense has really struggled and now it has to deal with a defense that had struggled in the second half against Michigan, but has made it a habit of getting in opponent’s backfields. 21 Lions have registered at least one tackle for loss and 13 have a sack and they will keep coming after you. The Michigan State offensive line will be in for a major challenge, but it’s nothing it hasn’t seen the past couple ballgames, although they struggled in those games with Wisconsin and Ohio State. Although the Spartans struggled with Ohio State and Wisconsin, two elite defenses, on the road at the end of a run of three road games in four weeks. The offense is much better than it showed in those games and now with the Nits coming to town playing their third road game in five weeks and coming off the emotion of last week, the roles are reversed a bit. The Penn State offense led by QB Sean Clifford, has been an issue, struggling for much of the second half against Michigan and having issues with Iowa and Pitt. Now it goes against probably the best defense it will have faced. Mark Dantonio, who seems to come up with an unexpected win every year, and Michigan State owns Penn State lately. They’ve won the last two seasons and four in the last five. The last time the Spartans lost to the Nittany Lions in East Lansing was in 2009. Penn State is probably the more talented top to bottom of the two teams but the Spartans are the most rested. Make no mistake, that will be a factor. This game will be close and ultimately the Spartans will wear on a tired Penn State, coming up with a late turnover to seal a very close upset win. Michigan State 24 Penn State 21
Joe-S-U: Penn State
John: If MSU is healthy, I think they can hang with the Nit’s. An upset here wouldn’t shock me, as Penn State is coming off an emotional win. However, they didn’t exactly dominate a weak Michigan team, so I’m still not sure just how good Penn State is. However, MSU is still somewhat banged up and that will give Penn State all the edge they will need. Penn State 24 Michigan State 17
Josh: I really like this match up for two reasons. 1. Michigan State is always known to beat a team the have no business beating, and 2. Penn State is coming off of 2 straight night games, and almost let Michigan get back in the game to tie it up if it weren’t for a dropped pass. Michigan State is also coming off a bye week, and will have had 2 weeks to get ready for this game. Do i think the Spartans change up their offense and light up the scoreboard? No, but I think their defense will be enough of a challenge to slow down Penn State, much like Iowa was able to do. For rooting interest, Ohio State needs Penn State to remain undefeated to make the showdown much bigger when they visit Columbus. But I am going to go against the grain, and go with the Spartans in an upset. Vegas has the spread at 6, which really isnt that much of an advantage for Penn State on the road, but Sparty needs to do something to salvage their season after two tough loses to Ohio State and Wisconsin. Michigan State 24 – Penn State 17.
Pia Pete: Penn State continues to roll. PSU 44 – MSU 10
PJSBuck: Lions 10, Christians 0. Here in this game, Nittany Lions will win by 24 and Sparty will have more wounds to lick than the few remaining Christians in the arena (Roman thoughts).
Steven: Everyone seems to be latching onto what the Wolverines might do for an exit strategy with Harbaugh. The more pressing question in my mind is what does Sparty do with Dino? There’s a good chance that coach Mark Dantonio hangs it up after this season. There are strong rumblings that the locker-room divisions are still festering in East Lansing. Losing always magnifies the problem, and the possibility of playing for a lame duck coach just adds to the malaise. Hosting an undefeated Penn State team when relegated to playing spoiler may do little to pump up the home squad. They still have heart, so don’t expect Sparty to fold, but the horses aren’t there. PSU rolls 38-20.
Trout: This game will be close, but Penn State should win. Sparty is terrible offensively, but they have a good defense. They may be able to keep the Nittany Lion offense in check through out the game. Last week, Michigan showed that Penn Sate may not be the powerhouse that we thought they were. If you play good, solid defense against them, you can limit their ability to move the ball. But, Penn State is still the better team, and talent usually wins out. They should be able to get a few scores on Sparty. Also, Lewerke and the Spartan offense are not a threat. They will struggle to put up points, like they have all year. The game will be dangerously close, but in the end, the Nittany Lions’ superior talent will allow them to sneak by with the win. (Penn State, 17-9)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Mark Dantonio is on the proverbial hot seat due to a lot of things but mostly because of his failure to generate an offense. Dantonio is facing many of the same issues Urban Meyer faced last year albeit on the other side of the ball. Michigan State’s offense has been horrendous over the past few years and the only common thread has been the offensive assistants. How offensive are they? Michigan State’s offense ranks amongst the like of Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland. Dantonio also has a lawsuit on his mind. Kids have left the team and their fans are even talking about replacement coaches. Penn State is humming and I expect their offense and defense continue to hum against the Spartans. The Nittany Lions beat the Spartans 35-10.
Final Score: Penn State 28 Michigan State 7
(8)Notre Dame @ (19)Michigan
Andy: This game has become a must win game for Jim Harbaugh. The chatter in Ann Arbor has gone from one saying Harbaugh is the head coach for life, to saying he might be out after this season. Michigan already has two loses and cannot afford anymore this year. I’ve been much more impressed with Notre Dame this year than I was last year. They fixed two of their biggest issues from last year which were, bad pass protection for quarterback Ian Book and poor tackling on defense. That said Notre Dame’s skill position players leave a lot to be desired, particularly at the receiver position. The Fighting Irish did manage to establish Tony Jones as their consistent number one tail back which has improved their offense. Offensively Michigan looked tougher last week against Penn State than we’ve seen all season. Down 21-0, the Wolverines didn’t quit like they did against Wisconsin. They managed to claw back three offensive touchdown drives and get the game within one score. Despite having the ball down inside the Penn State five yard line, Michigan failed to score to tie up the game. That fight back showed a lot of character in this Michigan team we did not see earlier in the year. While the Wolverine defense has not been as elite as they were last season, they still field a very impressive top 15 defense. Notre Dame 21 – Michigan 17
Bbaver: Pick: Michigan – Another tight, low scoring game like PSU-Sparty. I think The UM offense is actually starting to turn a corner a bit, and I think they win a tight one.
Coach Rick: In a game let this I would normally go with the home team, but wow is Michigan under preforming this season. There is a lot of talk this week going on in Michigan and that can lead a team to either play great or fold because they are guessing the outcome of rumors. I am going with Michigan because I think the players and fans with be fired up due to the rumors. I have it Michigan winning 24 to 21.
Cory: It seems very odd to say Michigan will be a three-loss team and still have the calendar read October, but that’s the situation right now. The Wolverines continue to struggle to find an offensive identity, and that’s not a good thing to be struggling with at this point in the season. It’s hard to see the Wolverines figuring things out this weekend against a Notre Dame team that’s already proven itself with a tough schedule that includes wins over USC, Virginia, and an underrated Louisville team, and a close loss to Georgia. The only complain with Notre Dame is that they have trouble putting away games. The Irish were cruising early but had to hold off a late USC charge in the eventual 30-27 win. That said, Notre Dame is coming off a bye so the Irish have had two weeks to prepare for Michigan. Notre Dame 27, Michigan 20
Dr. Mark: Michigan 24-21 – M defense can shut Irish offense down- to me -it all depends on Shea P and if he is ok Shea or bad Shea.
Gregg: Buckeye fans can’t loss here, doesn’t matter which team wins. I think the Wolverines outplayed the Lions last week after the first quarter and they continue that momentum against Notre Dame. the win over the Irish might just save Harbaugh his job for another season. And the loss will official knock the Irish out of the playoff picture. Michigan 31 Notre Dame 27
Jason: Michigan is also coming off an emotional game where they had a missed opportunity but showed some grit coming back. They will go against a rested Notre Dame team and although it’s at home, will be challenging a week after a physical and emotional game. Michigan will need the offense that got into a bit of a groove both throwing behind Shea Patterson, and running with Zach Charbonnet, in the second half last week and not the one that has been struggling the majority of the season. The Wolverines are having a hard time getting ahead of the chains and really struggling to throw the football outside of a stretch last week. If they can give Shea Patterson time to throw, he has shown capability of getting the ball to a nice stable of wide receivers and that will be imperative on Saturday. On the other side, the Irish have been running the ball with more effectiveness and QB Ian Book has been exceptional. He has the ability to stretch plays with his legs and not allow the Wolverines to pin their ears back. Unfortunately for Michigan, Jim Harbaugh has failed to win big games, but this is another chance to change that narrative. Like Penn State and Michigan State, one team is coming off a tough, physical football game and one is rested. That will make a difference here as well. The Irish will move the sticks and control the football for much of the game and Michigan will make their fair share of mistakes as they have done all year. They now have to go up against an Irish team that leads the nation in turnover margin. It will be close, but a couple of Wolverine turnovers will ultimately be the difference as Notre Dame comes away from Ann Arbor with a win. Notre Dame 31 Michigan 24
Joe-S-U: Notre Dame
John: As much as I hate to see Notre Dame keep their fading playoff hopes alive, Michigan is just bad. Sorry, no way they are the 19th best team in college football this week. I can’t believe that UM opened as a four point favorite, although now Vegas has this as basically a pick-em game. I just don’t see it. Patterson had actually regressed playing for the QB whisperer, and UM’s stubborn insistence on playing straight man in the secondary with this group of DB’s is just dumb. While this isn’t the late 80’s/early 90’s Notre Dame of Lou Holtz, they are still better that this current UM squad. Look for the Domer’s win convincingly. Notre Dame 31 Michigan 10
Josh: I think this is another toss up matchup. What Michigan showed against Penn State last week is that they wont give up, even after trailing 21-0. Notre Dame had a bye week before this one, so they will be a little more rested up. Both teams are looking for statement wins after losing their toughest games so far this season. Harbaugh has to be feeling the hot seat, and is 1-10 in AP top 10 opponents since becoming the head coach at Michigan. Brian Kelly is trying to position Notre Dame back into a playoff spot, but with a lot to happen with the power 5 conferences, they have a very slim chance at the moment. Maybe it is the Big Ten fan in me, but I think Michigan finds a way to win this one at home in a close one. if they can keep from turning the ball over, they have a real good chance to pull off the upset. Michigan 28 – Notre Dame 21.
Pia Pete: I’m not convinced Notre Dame is any good. I am convinced they’re better than Meatchicken. ND 17 – UM 13
PJSBuck: I am going with an upset here: Bad guys by 5 in a classic (Hairball avoids the guillotine by a whisker, again. Bring on TBGUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Steven: The head says Notre Dame, but something about the end of the Michigan-Penn State game shows the Wolverines haven’t hung it up. They are not where they want to be, but there are signs of hope. Going with the gut and says the pressure spurs on the Michigan defense to play lights out. If you watched the Irish loss to Georgia you saw how a defense could rattle and defeat the Irish. While I’m not a fan of Michigan defensive coordinator’s blitz on (nearly) every down philosophy, against the Irish it might just work. This is a team that has not encountered anything close to what Michigan can bring since Georgia. If Shea Patterson can limit the ill-timed interception and if the Wolverines could find a running game, they can win. Going with the gut here… Skunkweasels 31-28. Coach Khaki survives to fight another day.
Trout: The Wolverines will put up a fight. Just like last week with Penn State, they should give the Irish all they have, and at least make it a competitive game. But, they still will lose. Michigan, especially on the offensive side is not a good team. Shea Patterson has not been the Heisman caliber quarterback that he was advertised to be. Although I am very skeptical on how good Notre Dame really is, I still think they are the better team in this match up. It will be a close, low scoring game. But Michigan will make a mistake that they’ve be known to do, and the Irish will capitalize. Notre Dame wins this low scoring rivalry game and Jim Harbaugh’s seat gets a little warmer. (Notre Dame, 20-14)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Notre Dame is at Michigan and Michigan fans are hoping this is the game Jim Harbaugh gets that “I’ve never won a game as an underdog at Michigan” monkey off his back. Is it wrong for me to root for Michigan to beat Notre Dame? Well, if it is wrong I don’t want to be right. A victory by the boreal weasels would bode well for not only the Buckeyes but for the B1G as a whole. But common sense tells me that’s a pipe dream. The Irish beat the Wolverines in their own big house 31-21.
Final Score: Michigan 45 Notre Dame 14
Washington State @ (11)Oregon
Andy: If the Pac 12 has any chance at a team making the playoffs, it has to be an Oregon team with 1 loss. The Ducks currently have one loss at the hands of Auburn in their first game this season. If you’ve watched Oregon this year you would realize this is a different team than the Ducks of the Chip Kelly era. Current head coach Mario Cristobal has built this team on having tough and physical offensive and defensive lines. While I think quarterback Justin Herbert is a good quarterback, I don’t think he is as elite as most people believe he is. He is however one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country right now, completing just under 70% of his passes and a TD-INT ratio of 21-1. Overall this is going to be a fun game to watch mostly due to the fact that right now Washington State has the 4th overall offense in the country and Oregon has the 15th best overall defense in the country. Like most Pac 12 games, expect this to be a high scoring affair. Oregon 35 – Washington State 28
Bbaver: Pick: Oregon – Starting to think Mike Leach is running out of gas in Pullman. And this is a good looking Oregon team.
Coach Rick: Washington State is a one sided team with one of the best passing games this season. I think this game will be a lot closer as Oregon is a passing team as well, but has the edge in the running game. Due to the 3 TD’s Oregon gets on the ground, they will win 35 to 28.
Cory: It’s odd to think of Oregon having a good defense, however, if you haven’t been paying attention to the PAC 12 this season (admit it – you haven’t) then you’ve missed out on Oregon playing some really good defense. The Ducks have held five teams to single-digit points, and are giving up an average of just 11.9 points per game. Also impressive is that Oregon finally showed the ability to win a tight game as the Ducks had to come from behind to beat Washington 35-31 last week. Unlike Oregon, Washington State has not found a defense yet. The Cougars gave up 63 points to offensively-challenged UCLA, and 34 points to a mediocre offense in Arizona State. Oregon 38, Washington State 28
Dr. Mark: Oregon 40-27 Ducks on a role lately QB playing well – also -Ducks have a lot to play for for potential playoff spots if ACC falters.
Gregg: Cal it the video game curse, but I think you can stick a fork in Wazzu because they are done. How many times have we seen a player featured on the cover of the EA Sports football game only to get injured that season? Well it just seems like every time ESPN or some other media outlet comes poking on to campus to feature a sports team, said team seems to fall on there face. The Cougars have never really recovered from the UCLA game when they gave up video game like points to the Bruins to lose a huge lead and the game. Oregon is playing well and they play very well at home. The Ducks are about two weeks away from clinching the PAC-12 North and giving the playoff committee something to think about come December 8th. If the Oregon Knight’s win out and have a convincing victory in the conference championship game, they might not get in the playoffs but they will ensure that Notre Dame and a second SEC squad will be outside looking in. And that will make all of college football nation happy outside SEC-land. Oregon 41 Washington State 31
Jason: It’s another must win for Oregon and quite possibly the Pac 12 for it’s chances at the College Football Playoff. The Autzen Zoo in Eugene will play host to the Washington State Huskies and their high flying offense. The Duck secondary will be challenged but outside of Washington’s Jacob Eason who threw for 289 yards and three scores in Washington’s loss to the Ducks last week, nobody else has had much success against Oregon throwing the football. Washington State is about to test that theory. QB, Anthony Gordon has been great throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns. The Wazzu defense has been gaining their share of turnovers and when they don’t, they struggle. The bad news for the Cougs, Justin Herbert rarely throws one. In fact he has thrown one all year. Herbert is truly an elite QB and is about to expose the Huskie D. Oregon will have to fend off some early momentum from Washington State, but ultimately behind Herbert and a defense that will get to Gordon and force him into some mistakes, the Ducks pull away and get the win at home. Oregon 41 Washington State 24
John: It’s looking more and more likely that a one loss Pac 12 champ will once again be on the outside looking in on the CFP. Oregon’s biggest asset is that their one loss is a “good” loss to current #16 Auburn. How good will that loss be after Auburn absorbs three more losses (LSU, UGa, & Bama still on the schedule)? With Clemson, Ohio State, Pen State, Oklahoma, Baylor, LSU and Alabama all still unbeaten, it is highly unlikely that the B1G, Pac-12 and Big XII champs all end up with one loss. Even if they did, then assuming the winner of unbeaten LSU and unbeaten Alabama win the SEC the loser of that game would probably also make the playoff as a second team out of the SEC. Barring football Armageddon, it looks like any Pac-12 champ will be headed to the Rose Bowl, at least as things stand in week 9. As to dog of a this game, Ducks roll. Oregon 31 Washington State 10
Josh: This will be the toughest challenge left remaining for the Ducks before a potential showdown with Utah in the PAC-12 Championship Game. Washington State still has Mike Leach on the other side, and you know this will be a game of who can outlast the other. I expect this to be a standard #PAC12AfterDark game with both teams lighting up the scoreboard. If you want to listen to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, he feels that if Oregon wins out, they have a real shot of making the playoff over a potential 1 loss ACC or Big12 team. I think Oregon is better than year than expected, and it shows that Herbert staying back another year has helped with his development. Oregon 48 – Washington State 42.
Pia Pete: The Ducks continue their winning ways. Ducks 33 – Cougars 21
PJSBuck: No real game here – Ducks trample the Cougars by 14 or more – should be a fun first half though
Steven: Not buying that Wazzu can overcome the Duck Defense. Oregon is giving up only 12 points a game. Conversely, the Cougars are giving up 439 yards and 29 points/game. Ducks will run, (or fly, I guess) all over the Cougar D. Ducks 41-33.
Trout: The Ducks should win this game, but I have a feeling that the Cougars will pull the upset. In this topsy-turvy year in the PAC-12, any team can beat any one. No team in the conference has been able to separate themselves from the pack. Also, I just don’t think Oregon is as good as their record indicates. Not to mention, Washington State can score a lot of points. Mike Leach’s offenses are always high powered. But The Ducks are slouches either. They have an ability to score a lot as well. I see this game becoming a shoot out with very little defense. The Cougars score just a little more and pull off the upset. (Washington State, 42-35)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Oregon was able to come back on Washington this past weekend and showed the ability to make halftime adjustments. If Washington State was playing at home I might have given them the edge. They’re not so I am going with a shootout and Oregon beating Washington State 45-38.