Week 6 Predictions – 2021
Last Week: OSU has been into the pits a few times this year and the Buckeyemobile is now almost working perfectly. The Buckeyes handled Rutgers 52-13 but they still have a few tune-ups to make them unbeatable. Fortunately it does appear the car is back on the road to the playoffs. For our Buckeye50 staff picks, Joe, Steven, Cory and Trout all went 5-1 to pace the weekly performance. This moved Steven and Joe in a tie with Josh for the top spot on the leaderboard as we approach the midway point of the season. But everyone is still withing 5 games of the lead so let’s brace for a fun October slate of games.
This Week’s Games: The Buckeyes return home for Homecoming weekend to face-off with Maryland. Both teams are 4-1 but might be going in different directions. Which is the real Terp team, the one that start 4-0 or the one that was dismantled by Iowa last week? …. The biggest game in the B1G and all the nation this week will be Penn State at Iowa. The Lions have been solid all year and Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country. Which team will win and put themselves on a fast track to Indy? …. Michigan and Nebraska will also meet in a key cross-over game in the Big Ten. Are the Wolverines for real or do the Huskers have a chance to pull the upset? …. Nationally, one of the biggest rivalry’s in college football is Texas vs Oklahoma. Between them they have almost all the Big 8/Big 12 conference championships but now they are about to transfer to a new conference. Can the Sooners find some answers on offense and stay on pace with the top teams in the country? …. Speaking of top teams in the country, Georgia will have another big test this week against Auburn. The Tigers find themselves in the role of spoiler.
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 seventh straight year.
Here we go with our Week 6 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
Maryland @ (7)Ohio State
Andy: A week ago, this game looked like it could be one of the tougher ones on the schedule. Maryland beat up on their first three opponents before losing to Iowa last week. Talia Tagovailoa looked like a potential heisman dark horse until he ran into the fierce Hawkeye defense. Throwing 3 picks and just 2 touchdowns it was a rough day for the Terrapins offense. Although the Ohio State defense played up to their potential last week, it is going to take a few more games of proving it before I believe they’re back to being the silver bullets. I don’t have any questions about OSU if they get into an offensive shootout with Maryland, but if it is a game where weird things happen this could be a weird game to watch. Iowa was able to disrupt Talia with a tireless pash rush, this coming after OSU’s defensive line had its second best outing of the season, that will be key this week against Maryland. Ohio State 45 Maryland 24
Coach Rick: Ohio State is coming together. I have them winning by 24.
Cory: In hindsight we probably should not have expected a close game with Rutgers. The talent level between the two teams is still pretty large. Nonetheless, it was good to see the Buckeyes come out strong early and fire on all cylinders. Quarterback C.J. Stroud looking much better after a week off, and we’re starting to see a young defense grow, as well. Maryland should provide a different test than Rutgers did. The Terrapins are an improved team, though as we saw in their loss to Iowa last week, still a flawed one. Maryland lost 51-14 and if you need a good laugh just go watch the second quarter of that game. Absolutely atrocious stuff by Maryland there. Still, Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is the type of player that gives Ohio State trouble. If Maryland can limit the mistakes the game will likely be a bit close than it was for them against Iowa. Ohio State 42, Maryland 20
Dave: Ohio State 48 Maryland 21
Gregg: The Buckeyes really looked the part of a national competitor last week against Rutgers. I realize it was only Rutgers but they dispatched them like they needed to do. This week it should not be any different against Maryland. CJ Stroud looked strong so I still question if it was truly a serious injury, or did Coach Day think he maybe needed to watch a game from the sideline to help him when he was on the field next. And even without Henderson carrying the rock, Ohio State put up massive numbers on offense. If the defense makes the same level of improvement this week, you will certainly see a domination in the ‘shoe’. The Buckeyes are still perfect against Maryland since they joined the Big Ten. Ohio State 59 Maryland 10
Jason: Maryland is coming off a disastrous performance in a 51-14 shellacking at the hands of Iowa. The Terps turned the ball over 7 times along with 10 penalties which doesn’t represent the true Maryland football team. QB Taulia Tagovailoa threw 5 picks a week ago under little to no pressure, but he faces a resurgent Buckeye defense who can get after the QB so Tagovailoa may have to use his escapability to elude the rush. If Ohio State can get consistent pressure, one of the nation’s best defense’s at creating TD’s off of TO’s will have a field day. On the other side of the ball, the country’s top offense can score and score a lot. If Maryland struggles turning the ball over, which they have had their troubles in nearly every game, the Buckeyes could run away with it. Buckeye QB C.J. Stroud looks healthy for the first time this season after a separated shoulder cost him a little efficiency early and he’s coming off a 330 yard 5 TD performance against a decent Rutgers defense. Maryland will take their shots, but Ohio State has too much and with the Terps top receiver out for the year, the Buckeyes will roll for a second straight week. Ohio State 52 Maryland 17
Joe-S-U: Ohio State
John: Both teams have quarterbacks that are still somewhat of an enigma. Which Taulia Tagovailoa shows up, the one that threw for 332 yds and 3 TDs against West Virginia or the one that threw 5 picks against Iowa? Which C.J. Stroud is the real one – the one that looked like I seasoned veteran carving up a Rutgers D that gave Michigan fits, or the one that looked tentative and lost against Oregon? My guess is that last week’s performance from both is more the norm, especially with Maryland wideout Dontay Demus out with a knee injury. While it won’t surprise me to see the Terps have some success moving the ball against this Buckeye defense, I don’t see Maryland shutting down Ohio States three-headed monster of an offense. Ohio State 49 Maryland 17
Josh: The defense for Ohio State is making strides with disguising a bit more their coverages, and letting the players fly around to the ball. Maryland will be trying to regroup after getting handled at home against Iowa, and will have to face an Ohio State team that also has the ability to force turnovers. If Stroud continues his performance from last week, and is able to make the throws, this game should be over by halftime. This should be another statement win for the Buckeyes as they head into the bye week and prepare to finish their last half of the regular season. Ohio State 56 – Maryland 10
Steven: Despite the dominating performance in Piscataway against Rutgers, I’m not yet ready to anoint the Buckeyes as the Favorites in the Big Ten. They’re close, but I want to see consistency. This week will be a good test, but without Senior receiver Dontay Demus, the Terps will be even more behind the sticks. OSU is now top in the country in totay offense and 4th in scoring. They have so many weapons it is difficult to imagine them losing to a depleted Maryland team. If the defense continues to improve, this team could be monster by the end of the year. OSU 49-17.
Trout: If the Buckeyes played like they did last week, this should be an easy game for them. They will win this game, however, the big question is how big the points margin will be. Ohio State has been up and down to say the least. However, they have looked like they have figured things out against Rutgers. I am going with the assumption that they will continue this upwards trajectory. I think Maryland will be a tougher going for the Buckeyes, but I still think they win comfortably. Tagovailoa has shown flashes of being a good quarterback, but has not been consistent. I see Henderson and Stroud moving the football down the field with little to no resistance. The defense is another big question, but maybe with the boost of confidence from last week, they will continue to get better. The Terrapins will score some points, but it will pale in comparison to what the Buckeyes offense will do. Ohio State wins this game by a few touchdowns. (Ohio State, 45-21)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Maryland was quickly stifled by Iowa’s stingy and opportunistic defense this past weekend and provided some additional offense to seal the deal. Iowa’s defense showed what a defense can do even when not comprised of 4 and 5 star players. OSU take note. Last week the Buckeyes showed what happens when all cylinders are burning high octane gas. The Buckeyes showed they can score at will and they will need it this weekend. It was 3 years ago when Maryland decided not to go to overtime and go for two. OSU escaped with a victory and showed it’s defense had flaws. This year’s defense has made early season adjustments that appear to be working. Maryland will find ways to score, but the Buckeyes beat the Terps 48-21.
Final Score: Ohio State 66 Maryland 17
(6)Oklahoma vs (21)Texas
Andy: The Red River rivalry, the most impactful game of the year for the Big 12 conference. Texas has flashed at times on offense behind running back Bijan Robinsion who is second in the nation in rushing, coach Sarkisian loves to run a physical offense so the Longhorns will look to establish the run against every team they play. Oklahoma has a lot more options on the offensive side of the ball, but how well will it go? Quarterback Spencer Rattler who was almost a lock for the Heisman entering the season has not put up the dazzling performances he did a year ago throwing 10 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. I am really torn on this matchup, I still think Texas is a year away from being on Oklahoma’s level. I also believe it is easier to shut down a running game as opposed to shutting down a passing offense with a mobile quarterback. I like Kennedy Brooks running the ball for Oklahoma, I think the Sooner rushing attack is underrated. I think Oklahoma just has few advantages over Texas, I think next year this game will be even more interesting once Sark gets some of his own guys in there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a game like this come down to a turnover or two. Oklahoma 30 Texas 27
Coach Rick: I am still not a believer in Texas yet. So I have the Sooners by 17.
Cory: So far it has been a struggle for both Oklahoma and Texas this season. Yes, Oklahoma is undefeated but have you seen them play? The Sooners offense cannot move the ball consistently. Quarterback Spencer Rattler was the Heisman favorite entering the season, and he’s got good stats on paper but when you watch this offense something is off. For the most part, Texas hasn’t looked great either, however, nobody expected the Longhorns to be a top 10 team this season. What Texas does have is one of the best running backs in the country in Bijan Robinson. He’s got 652 rushing yards and seven touchdowns already, and if the stats for some reason don’t pop out to you then pull up some highlights on Youtube. The guy is legit. Because Oklahoma’s offense still hasn’t found its footing, I’m calling for the upset in this one. Texas 31, Oklahoma 27
Dave: Oklahoma 32 Texas 21
Gregg: This one could be fun to watch if I was not sitting in the Horseshoe watching Script Ohio for the 811th time. Oklahoma wants the win but Texas needs the win and I think the Longhorn defense finds a way to rattle Rattler and wins on the farigrounds. Texas 42 Oklahoma 35
Jason: The big game in college football this week takes place in Dallas for yet another edition of the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma has been struggling but still comes in unbeaten and averaging 433 yards and 38 points per game. Texas, on the other hand, is finding their stride on offense, coming in No. 1 in the Big 12 in scoring, yards, ruining, and passing efficiency. The Longhorns have found their QB in Casey Thompson and RB Bijan Robinson is one of the top backs in all of college football. Spencer Rattler hasn’t been able to make the big play, but he’s been efficient, hitting 76% of his passes and not turning it over. The defense has been a strength of the Sooners, not allowing a ground game to speak of so it will be a challenge for Robinson to find any running lanes. They will need the defense in a big way in this one if they expect to come away with a win. Oklahoma will make it a four quarter game on the back of their defense, but the lack of big plays will finally catch up to the Sooners as Texas grabs the victory late, in a huge win for Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorn program. Texas 31 Oklahoma 24
John: Neutral site games are always fun to predict, especially this one. The Cotton Bowl is always set up to be 50/50, so there should be no home field advantage for either team. OU is unbeaten coming in, yet has looked very beatable – 4 of their 5 wins are by 7 points or less. Texas is also a bit of an enigma. After getting thumped by what is turning out to be a pretty average Arkansas team, they have bounced back for nice wins. Goings strictly by feel, I think the Longhorns have a slight edge in this one. This should be a good one, and I’d expect a lot of channel surfing between OSU/MD and this one in Buckeye Country if the OSU game plays out as expected. Texas 28 Oklahoma 27
Josh: Oklahoma has not looked like a top 10 team, and the Heisman hype for Spencer Rattler proven to be just that, hype. Oklahoma does have a streak of forcing at least 1 turnover a game for the last 11 games, but this defense is not an elite defense that I think can slow down Texas running back Bijan Robinson. I think Robinson is the difference today, and even though Arkansas was able to bottle him up, but they might be the only team on the Longhorns schedule who was capable of doing that. I am going with the upset here and expect Texas to get the win in a high scoring game. Texas 42 – Oklahoma 35.
Steven: Oklahoma has been living on borrowed time. Sooner QB Spencer Rattler has been up and down, and booed at home, where some fans have been calling for Rattler to be replaced by Freshman QB Caleb Williams. While the Sooners starting QB has been up and down, the entire Texas team has been inconsistent. The Longhorns have had dominant performances against Texas Tech and Louisiana, but lost to what looks to be a mediocre Arkansas team. If Texas can establish the running game with Bijan Robinson, and control the clock, I like their chances. The close calls have to catch up to the Sooners sooner or later, (see what I did there?), and this week looks as good a time as any. Hook ’em ‘Horns 34-28.
Trout: The Sooners will win this game, but it’ll be close. Not that I think the Longhorns are any good. They are not. They haven’t been consistently good since Colt McCoy left. I just don’t think Oklahoma is that good either. Out of the two teams, they are clearly better, but they have struggled in their recent games. Games against Nebraska, West Virginia, and Kansas State, where they should have dominated, they just barely squeaked by. I see this game being surprisingly low scoring. Most Red River Rivalry games are shootouts, with the teams scoring in the high forties. But I don’t think either team has the firepower to do that. I see it being a slog of a game to get through, with mistakes occurring on both sides. But in the end, Oklahoma’s talent wins out , and they pull away with the victory. (Oklahoma, 24-21)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Oklahoma has “gotten by” so far this year. Texas, on the other hand, has improved after an early stumble to Arkansas. Texas is showing improvement game to game and Oklahoma has not. I am taking Texas with the upset over Oklahoma 31-24.
Final Score: Oklahoma 55 Texas 48
(2)Georgia @ (18)Auburn
Andy: Georgia is likely the best team in the nation. Their defense all around is elite, in particular though their scoring defense is simply scary. Georgia is allowing an average of only 4.6 points per game allowing only 23 points to be scored against them in 5 games and getting two shutouts. Auburn looks revitalized under new head coach Bryan Harsin taking Penn State down to the wire in Happy Valley and going 4-1 so far this season. While there is cause to be encouraged by Auburn this year, overall they’re a few years away from being at Georgia’s level. Georgia has NFL caliber athletes at every position of the field and their biggest question mark has been their quarterback which so far this season has been consistently good with Stetson Bennett and JT Daniels both completing over 70% of their passes on the season. I don’t have any questions about Georgia’s ability to control the line of scrimmage and run the football, they’ve got perhaps the best lines of scrimmage in the country. Georgia 35 Auburn 10
Coach Rick: I think this is going to be closer than some think. I have Georgia winning by 3.
Cory: Georgia continues to look the part of a national title contender. Faced with another top-10 matchup last week against Arkansas, the Bulldogs looked dominant in a 37-0 win. This defense may be the best in football. Auburn is tough, as well. After losing to Penn State the Tigers were forgotten by some but they pulled out a come-from-behind win over LSU in Death Valley last week. That says a lot. Still, it’s tough to comprehend just how good the Georgia defense is until you play against it. The Bulldogs have forced 10 turnovers already, and have 18 sacks. The Bulldogs remain unbeaten. Georgia 35, Auburn 24
Dave: Georgia 38 Auburn 21
Gregg: I still think that Georgia has looked like the best team in the country so far this year and Kirby Smart deserves a lot of credit. Then again this team also lost to Cincinnati in their bowl game last year. Auburn is a typical middle of the road SEC that will get votes in the polls just because of the name on the jersey but they are not the team that is going to upset the Bulldog season. Georgia keeps on a roll and wins although I do not see another shut out even though my fantasy team needs it. Georgia 35 Auburn 10
Jason: Arguably the nation’s best team, Georgia enters the game, #1 in the nation in total defense and pass defense and allowing next to nothing for opposing offenses. They dominated Arkansas at the line of scrimmage, allowing just 75 yards on the ground and Auburn struggles to run the football. The pressure falls squarely on Tiger QB Bo Nix to move the football against the Dawg defense. He has struggled a bit of late, only hitting on around 50% of his passes in his last 4 ballgames. The Auburn defense is solid as well, 8th in the country in stopping the run. Georgia QB JT Daniels is still not healthy and may not play and backup Stetson Bennett, if he gets the call, will find things difficult against the Auburn defense. If Bennett plays, look for Auburn to try to get after him early and force him into stressful situations in front of a hostile Auburn crowd. The Tigers will jump out to an early lead, but as the game wears on, so will the Georgia D on the Auburn O line. Auburn will keep it close for a half, but after Georgia and Bennett settles in, it will be all Dawgs in the second half and Georgia keeps the freight train rolling as they continue their march to the CFP. Georgia 31 Auburn 17
John: We have reached the part of the season where the SEC starts to eat their own, and ESPN breathlessly proclaims that four SEC teams should be in the CFP. Right now, the SEC is shaping up to be a two pony race – the Dawgs in the East and the Death Star in the West. Anything can happen in college football, and as a fan of a non SEC team I’m hoping that one of those two teams goes to Atlanta in December with a loss and then loses that SEC title game. However, I’m not gonna pick it to happen here. Georgia 31 Auburn 24
Josh: I heard the perfect analysis of Bo Nix, and that his game play is similar to a pendulum. I cant put confidence in Auburn at this point (and the same reason I am noting buying into the Penn State hype) but I do think Georgia’s defense has a scheme that only they can run, and stop just about anyone. Now, Georgia has not had to face an elite offense to this point, but they are stopping who they need while their offense is still figuring itself out. I don’t see this one being close, and this will just be another win for Georgia against an over-ranked opponent. Georgia 35 – Auburn 7.
Steven: Georgia’s defense is elite. Their offense is…not so much. I like Georgia quarterback JT Daniels, but he’s not the reason the Dawgs are ranked number 2 in the country. The guy is averaging 8 yards per completion. That’s JT Barrett territory for anyone who needs a comparison. Georgia backup Stetson Bennett (great name) passed for a whopping 72 yards last week in a dominating win over Arkansas. Auburn is an OK team and should provide a bit more resistance this week, but not much. So far, the Tigers have feasted on lower competition and lost to the only decent team they’ve played, (a pretty decent showing in Happy Valley against Penn State). Georgia really reminds me of the 2002 Buckeyes where an elite defense carried an OK offense, with a great running game, to the Promised Land. I’m not sure Georgia can do the same, as they will have to contend with Alabama at least once, if not twice to win it all. But I digress. Georgia runs all over Auburn 42-10
Trout: I guess I was wrong about Georgia. They might actually be a playoff caliber team. I still think they will “pull a Georgia” and lose a game they should win. Plus lose to Alabama in the SEC championship. However, at this moment they do appear to be a good team, and they shouldn’t have any issues taking care of Auburn. The Tigers have been decent this year, but they clearly aren’t setting the world on fire. I see the game being close for a while, but the Bulldogs pulling away towards the end. It won’t be a complete domination, but it will be clear that Georgia is the better team. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers, and takes them out of the top 25. (Georgia, 27-17)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): The Bulldogs are playing defense at a level that has not been seen in a while. They have a defense that can neutralize Bo Nix and an offense that is capable. Georgia over Auburn 37-13.
Final Score: Gerogia 34 Auburn 10
(9)Michigan @ Nebraska
Andy: Michigan has been a different team this season. All of the coaching changes Jim Harbaugh made in the offseason seem to be paying off for Michigan. They’re running the ball more than ever and have three solid running backs to get the job done for them, with Blake Corum being 14th in the nation in rush yards. Michigan has been getting their quarterbacks into favorable situations and allowing them to make easier passing plays by establishing such a strong run game. How will Nebraska play this week? They are such a bizarre team to watch play. They lose the home opener to Illinois who is the worst team in the conference and then they blow out their next two opponents and play Oklahoma super close and then barely lose in overtime to Michigan State. Adrian Martinez is having a decent season, but Nebraska simply doesn’t have a good supporting cast of guys at the offensive skill positions to help him out. I like Michigan in this game, but I think Nebraska will find a way to keep it close. Michigan 28 Nebraska 24
Coach Rick: I am going with a Nebraska upset and winning by 7.
Cory: Nebraska’s only wins have come over: Fordham, Buffalo, and a rebuilding Northwestern team. The Cornhuskers are not good. Quarterback Adrian Martinez might give Michigan some trouble but relying on him to win the game is too much. The Wolverines are sound defensively, and in last week’s win over Wisconsin they showed a few new tricks on offense. I wouldn’t expect this game to be close. Michigan 38, Nebraska 13
Dave: Michigan 21 Nebraska 14
Gregg: This years Michigan team reminds me of those Glenn Mason coached Gopher teams. You look up in the middle of October and they are 7-0 and you think they might be good but in reality they have simply played the weak part of thsir schedule. The Wolverines have been consistently winning the battle in the trenches but I think Rutgers exposed them a bit two weeks ago and has given a blueprint of how to beat them. I think they are still relying too much on the run and a team that can clog the middle will force Michigan to beat you with the pass. This is what I think Nebraska will try this weekend. The question will be will Martinez be able to make enough plays when the Huskers have the ball to outscore the ugly helmets. Harbaugh and company need to be on upset alert this weekend, but in the end I think they do just enough to sneak out of Lincoln with the win. But it will look so bad that they will actually drop in the polls while moving to 6-0. Michigan 31 Nebraska 20
Jason: The Wolverines have not been flashy but they are doing enough on both sides of the football to sit at 5-0 and up to 9th in the country. The lines have been strong and although they have been struggling to throw the ball, their run game has been solid and they are protecting QB Cade McNamara, 2nd in the country in sacks allowed. However, they haven’t played a gauntlet of a schedule to this point. Nebraska is starting to hit their stride behind the dual threat talent of QB Adrian Martinez, hitting on 67% of his passes for over 200 yards in every game. He is also a major threat with his feet, leading an offense that is averaging over 500 yards per game. It’s strength on strength in this one when Nebraska’s offense is on the field. They will struggle to put up those kinds of numbers against the Wolverine defense, but if they can get a couple score lead, Michigan doesn’t have the explosiveness offensively to catch up. This has the makings of a four quarter game, but in the end, Martinez makes a couple plays with his feet and finds the end zone late as Nebraska pulls the upset in Lincoln for the biggest win in the Scott Frost era. Nebraska 27 Michigan 21
John: In a weekend of really good matchups, this one I find especially interesting, simply because we still have no idea how good Michigan is. Yes, they have beaten some “names” in Washington and Wisconsin. I don’t follow the Pac-12 close enough to know how good the Husky’s are this year, but this is as bad of a Badger’s team as we’ve seen in years. UM struggled at home to beat a Rutgers team that just got destroyed by Ohio State (Bucks could have hung 100 on the Knight’s, but showed mercy). Nebraska has played better competition, losing a couple of close ones to ranked teams (Oklahoma and Michigan State). If the ‘Huskers have any heart and show up in this one, I expect it to be close into the 4th quarter. While I wouldn’t be surprised by an upset, I think Michigan has just enough to get out of Lincoln with the win. Michigan 30 Nebraska 28
Josh: Reading between the lines, the 3.5 point spread tells us that Nebraska has a chance. Nebraska’s biggest flaw this year is a kicking game which is the reason why they have most of the losses they do right now, including a close game against Oklahoma. We saw Michigan fall into a trap against Rutgers, but found a a way to win, and then beat a average Wisconsin team the following week. The only chance Nebraska has in this game is if Martinez has a game without turnovers. I just cant put confidence in that. I think Nebraska could pull the upset, but I think Michigan wins this one in a close defensive battle. Michigan 24 – Nebraska 21.
Steven: Michigan is better than Nebraska, but not really by that much.Both teams have good defenses and Nebraska is actually passing more, giving them over 50 yards pergame of total offense over the Wolverines. Michigan is much more balanced, though. While QB Cade McNamara will not excite you in any way, he’s a smart, efficient game manager who generally hands off a lot and lets the run game do its thing. The Huskers on the other hand, really rely on Martinez to be Mr. Everything. He is an integral part of the run game, in addition to passing already for 1,463 yards, good for 15th in the nation. I get the feeling the Wolverines will do everything to bottle him up, control the clock, and make this as low scoring a contest as possible. It should work, because if this thing gets to be a shootout, McNamara probably will be out of his element. If Nebraska can stop the run, they have a shot. This one’s gonna be close. Going with the crowd, but not overwhelmingly so. UM 31-27.
Trout: The Cornhuskers were surprisingly able to hang with Oklahoma a few weeks back. But I don’t see that being the case against Michigan. Michigan is playing better football right now. Granted, they have not played anyone of note, but besides Rutgers, they have dominated in every game. I just don’t believe that Scott Frost and his team would be able to compete with the Wolverines for all four quarters. Nebraska is just not good enough. Michigan should be able to get up by a few scores and maintain that lead. Wolverines win this game in a comfortable fashion, and make Scott Frost seat that much hotter. (Michigan 35-14)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Are the Wolverweasles for real? Will we find out if Scott Frost has turned the corner at Nebraska? I don’t know, but I will err on the side of caution and take TTUN over Nebraska 31-17.
Final Score: Michigan 32 Nebraska 29
(4)Penn State @ (3)Iowa
Andy: Two of the best teams in the Big Ten and the whole country. Iowa’s defense this year is for real, currently they’re the 7th best total defense in the country and the 2nd best scoring defense in the country. Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz has always prided his teams on being physical, tough and nasty on defense. On offense the Hawkeyes have been getting it done throwing the ball and running it, with quarterback Spencer Petras improving week to week throwing 7 touchdowns to 1 interception and make no bones about it though running back Tyler Goodson is averaging almost 100 yards per game and 1 rushing touchdown per game. Not the freakiest stats, but that is how Iowa’s offense operates, they just chip away at opposing defenses. Penn State’s offense this year is almost the polar opposite of Iowa’s they’ve had a hard time establishing a consistent running game, however quarterback Sean Clifford has really elevated his game to a new level this season, throwing for nearly 1,400 yards already this season with 11 touchdowns. I just love the balance Iowa has on offense combined with their fierce defense. I think it is going to be hard for Penn State to win this game. Iowa 27 Penn State 14
Coach Rick: I am not sure these are 2 of the top 5 teams in the country, but I am not a poll voter. I cannot believe how well Iowa is playing. I have the Hawkeyes winning by 7.
Cory: I have been highly critical of Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford in the past, and now it’s time to give him his due. Clifford is playing well this season as he’s thrown for 1,336 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s been a big part of the reason why Penn State is undefeated, and the Nittany Lions will need him at his absolute best to win this game. Iowa’s offense isn’t as potent, however, quarterback Spencer Petras is talented and efficient – he’s got just one interception this season. Defensively, Iowa has forced 12 interceptions and three fumbles. The Hawkeyes are incredibly tough to move the ball on. Still, they haven’t faced an offense quite like that of Penn State’s. I see the Nittany Lions pulling out a close one. Penn State 27, Iowa 24
Dave: Iowa 36 Penn State 24
Gregg: Imagine a world where Iowa is ranked #3 in the nation and Clemson is unranked. We have that now, and it is about time the college football world realizes how weak the ACC is, and when the Tigers are done as they are this year they only look worse. Iowa has been living on great defense and winning the turnover battle. Last week, their offense finally showed signs of a championship contender. If they can keep playing at that level, they will be a top 10 team this year and challenge for a playoff spot. I actually heard two different sports talk shows talking about having two SEC and two Big Ten teams in the Final Four. Would be great to see. For this week, Penn State has been consistent all year long and is also playing like a top ten team. This should be the best game of the weekend and in the end, I think Iowa does just enough to secure that home victory. Give those kids in the hospital a wave for me! Iowa 24 Penn State 22
Jason: Neither team has a dynamic offense, but both squads come in with defenses that can turn games in a flash. The Hawkeye D is forcing turnovers at a record pace, but PSU doesn’t turn it over. The Hawkeye offense is virtually non-existent, in the bottom of the Big Ten in passing efficiency and only averaging 126 yards per game on the ground. On the flip side, Penn State has a defense that is 3rd in the country in scoring and second in the red zone. Penn State’s offense hasn’t done much either and things won’t be easier against a defense that allows nothing. This game has the makings of an old school, Big Ten slogfest, and it will be a relatively clean game in terms of turnovers. Expect the punters to get a lot of work. In the end, Iowa will create the one key turnover they need and flip the field for a late score to pull out the win at home. Iowa 24 Penn State 17
John: This is undoubtedly the game of the week. This one really feels like a pick-em game, and should go down to the wire. I’m going with Iowa, simply because they are at home. Iowa 24 Penn St 21
Josh: Penn State has not won a game against a top 10 team on the road since the Nixon Administration. When you look at this game, you looks at the analytics of the offense and defense. Iowa is playing fundamental defense and rarely misses tackles. Penn State has a solid defense, with a better than average offense, which Sean Clifford looking closer to his 2019 self than he did in 2020. I think this will be a tight game, and in order for Penn State to win, Clifford has to play mistake free, and it is hard for me to see that against this Iowa defense. With this also being at Iowa and that crowd, that to me gives the Hawkeyes the edge. Iowa 21 – Penn State 17.
Steven: Can Sean Clifford continue his amazing 2021 season? He has improved his completion percentage almost 7% from last season, and the Nittany Lions have been riding his hot hand. If this was a White Out in Happy Valley I’d be all in on the Lions, but this being on the road I’ll go with the Hawkeyes. Ferentz is a better coach and I think he turns this into a grind it out game. Iowa has been winning close ones this year and this one should be no different. If this one becomes a track meet, Penn State may be much better prepared, but this seems like it will be a low-scoring affair. Iowa squeaks it out at home 28-24.
Trout: This should be a close game, but I’m giving the edge to the Hawkeyes. I truly believe their defense is one of the best in the country. And Although Penn State has been playing better from their disastrous 2020 season, I still don’t believe they have what it takes to win this game. It will be a low scoring game. ALthough Iowa has a top defense, their offense is just average. They are not going to wow anyone with their play, but it should be enough to get a few scores on the board. And their defense is good enough to stop whatever Clifford and the Nittany Lion offense cooks up. I see this game going into the fourth quarter with the Hawkeyes pulling away late. Iowa wins, and remains the team to beat in the Big Ten West. (Iowa, 21-17)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Whatever happens between Penn State and Iowa it is going to benefit the Buckeyes. I am going to root for Penn State so a showdown can occur on October 30th at the Horseshoe. I am going with Penn State to slightly upset Iowa 21-17.