Fearless Friday Forecasts — Bye Week Saturday

Brian Arnfelt @SYR holds helmet with DL

I am not going to lie. I am feeling a bit lazy this week. Maybe that explains the frequency of posts and why Fearless Friday Forecasts are going up so late. And why LTP is not in them. It is not that LTP is lazy, he had something that kept him away from his computer all day.

I didn’t, I am just lazy.

But, hey, that is the great thing about the bye week. There are no worries. The defribrilators can collect dust this week as there is no reason to fret and no reason to worry. No reason to bite our nails and no reason to be concerned. Saturday, we can relax. So go out in the yard, complete that honey-do list, watch some football with no rooting interest — except for Nebraska… go Spartans.

So kick back, relax and enjoy these picks.

LTP is out this week — he may pop in with his picks later. So, it is just me.

Last week, I went a pedestrian 3-3 to bring my overall record to 57-17. LTP also went 3-3 to bring his record to 54-20. Let’s see how I fare, at least, with this week’s games:

Michigan (5-3, 3-1) vs. Minnesota (5-3, 1-3) — 11 a.m. CT/BTN

PRR: The Wolverines will be playing without Denard Robinson and that raises a lot of questions for this team. Last week, Russell Bellomy struggled against the Nebraska defense when he came in and there is talk that wide receiver and former quarterback Devon Gardner could get the call at quarterback. That uncertainty is going to have an effect on this game. As we saw when NU played Minnesota, you can run against this defense. Fitzgerald Toussaint will take on more of the rushing load and Gardner runs some option to help Michigan get the Little Brown Jug.

Michigan 14, Minnesota 13

Iowa (4-4, 2-2) vs. Indiana (3-5, 1-3) — 2:30 p.m. CT/BTN

PRR: Here are two teams that are seemingly impossible to peg. Every time you think the Hoosiers are going to turn the corner and live up to the potential and offense we have seen so far, they fall flat. Iowa has talent but is struggling to put it all together. Something has to give right? The Hawkeyes are struggling to get a consistent passing attack and that is important to defeat this Hoosiers team, particularly on the road. James Vandenberg will likely put in a game like he did last week against Northwestern. If Iowa struggles to score, then that spells trouble. Indiana has no problems scoring.

Indiana 31, Iowa 21

No. 21 Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) vs. Michigan State (5-4, 2-3) — 2:30 p.m. CT/ABC

PRR: This is a big game for the Legends Division with the Cornhuskers controlling their destiny. They might be facing the Spartans at the wrong time. Michigan State had 277 total yards and 216 passing yards getting a touchdown pass from Andrew Maxwell to Bennie Fowler to secure the win. Michigan State’s defense is still very strong and deserves respect. Any offense has to be wary. Nebraska’s defense though will do a good job stopping the Michigan State offense. And, of course, the Huskers offense is much more potent than the Badgers.

Nebraska 24, Michigan State 17

Illinois (2-6, 0-4) vs. No. 8 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) — 2:30 p.m. CT/ESPN

PRR: Illinois is the worst team in the Big Ten. I just like typing that, saying it out loud and stating it as fact. The Illini do not seem to have much of a chance stopping quarterback Braxton Miller and this Ohio State offense. So I won’t give them any.

Ohio State 42, Illinois 13

Penn State (5-3, 3-1) vs. Purdue (3-5, 0-4) — 2:30 p.m. CT/ESPNU

PRR: Purdue is the most confusing team in the Big Ten. The strong start and hopeful play early on have given way to questions and injuries at quarterback and a team that is surprisingly winless in the conference. Purdue is better than its record indicates. And a home game against Penn State might be a chance to turn things around. But those questions are too much. Penn State’s defense will be looking to rebound after losing to Ohio State last week and will be refocused to get a win.

Penn State 24, Purdue 21

Other Games to Watch

Syracuse (4-4) visits Cincinnati at 11 a.m. CT/Big East Network. Syracuse went down to Tampa and snuck out with a 37-36 win last week as Ryan Nassib found Alex Lemon with three seconds left. Nassib continues to tear up the Big East with 328 passing yards and four touchdowns. Marcus Sales caught nine of those passes for 125 yards and two of those touchdowns.

Vanderbilt (4-4) visits Kentucky at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU. Vanderbilt took a non-conference detour with a 49-7 win over Massachusetts last week. The Commodores scored the first 49 points of this game and then took the fourth quarter off.

Boston College (2-6) visits Wake Forest at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN3. Boston College kept its slim bowl dreams alive with a 20-17 win over Maryland. Boston College got a touchdown pass from Chase Rettig to Jonathan Coleman with 52 seconds left to pull ahead and get the win. BC remains a dangerous team if you let Rettig pass the ball around.

South Dakota (1-7) visits Youngstown State at 1 p.m. CT. South Dakota fell to Indiana State 45-14 last week. Indiana State scored 28 unanswered points in the first half.

Looking Ahead to 2013

California (3-7) lost to Washington last night 21-13.

Western Michigan (3-6) travels to Central Michigan at 12 p.m. CT. Western Michigan fell to Northern Illinois 48-34 last week. Tyler van Tubbergen threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns and one pick. The Chippewas gave up four passing touchdowns.

Maine (3-5) hosts James Madison at 2:30 p.m. CT. Maine defeated William & Mary last week 24-10.

  • David

    NU will most likely be ranked in the BCS after today.

  • nwujames

    So I KNOW I’m getting ahead of myself, but I have an interesting hypothetical rolling around in my head. Let’s say Michigan State beats Nebraska today, and we are able to win out the rest of our season and end up in a situation where there’s a 3 or 4-way tie for conference records. If it were just UNL and NU tied, UNL wins the tie. However, if MSU were to beat UNL, and we were to beat MSU, then I believe it would go back to overall record – in which case NU wins (I believe). Is this right?

    • CM

      I was just going to post about this! We NEED Michigan to win today. If NU can win out, that leaves us with 2 B1G losses. If Nebraska loses 1 of their last 4, then they have 2 B1G losses. If Michigan wins out with the exception of our game next week, then they have 2 B1G losses. If that 3-way tie materializes, NU wins it based on overall record. Because we can’t win a head-to-head tiebreak with Nebraska, and because Nebraska losing 2 of 4 is very unlikely, we should all be cheering for this 3-way tie!! Shouldn’t we?

      • nwujames

        I don’t think that’s right. UNL beat both NU and Michigan, so wouldn’t that mean they win a 3-way tie in that case?

        • Webster

          http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/archive/081011aaa.html

          I *think* this says that if 3+ teams tie, the first tiebreaker is overall record.

          • nwujames

            Interesting! I’ve been cheering for the Gophers for the game that’s on now, but am now much happier Michigan is leading. Thanks for the clarification.

          • CM

            I feel like this fact has gone under the radar! Everybody thinks we need Nebraska to lose twice. But really, we just need Nebraska to lose once and a 3-way tie, because we’ll win the tiebreaker on overall record.

          • Richard

            ??? Overall record is way, way down on the list of tiebreakers.

          • AK

            Agreed, if its a 3 way tie, its just head to head. UNL has beaten us and Mich, so they win.

          • Richard

            I don’t know where you get that.

            The way I read it, the first tiebreaker are the 3 head-to-heads. Then it’s divisional record. Then it’s record vs. 4th place team in division, etc.

          • Webster

            Ok, I think you’re right. The following sentence had me confused: “The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other.”

      • CMF

        I don’t think we want Michigan winning today for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t think we can assume that UM will win at OSU – so if NU can win next week, Michigan will probably end up with 3 conference losses anyway. Additionally, I think we want any team ahead of us to lose in the standings to help our bowl positioning for other bowls assuming we don’t end up in the B1G Championship. I will admit that I am going to have a close on UNL/MSU later and definitely cheering for Sparty, but if we can focus on NU coming up with 2 big wins in the state of Michigan the next couple of weeks, we can then see where the chips fall.

    • http://twitter.com/RiseNU Philip R-R

      Three-way tiebreakers are determined by BCS ranking I believe. Which might put Northwestern in good position should they win out.

      • Guest

        Not according to the B1G. With two teams, the tiebreak is head to head. With 3 or more teams, the tiebreak is overall record, followed by divisional record. NU would win the overall record tiebreak.

        • Richard

          That’s actually not correct.

          Overall ranking is 6th.
          The BCS tie_breaker is 5th.

          The first tie-breaker is the record against each other.

          The confusion is due to the writer of the tiebreakers being an idiot. If the “will be compared” part was put at the end, there would be no confusion.

  • Richard

    BTW, folks, our best chance of getting to the title game (besides UNL losing twice) is Iowa winning out (not extremely improbable).

    • nwujames

      Now it is. Good ol’ Io_a. :)

  • DT

    Michigan looks vulnerable to intermediate routes and quick slants over the middle… Also, I’m reminded by watching Texas A&M with a great running QB in Manziel, that NU’s tempo no needs to be quicker to make this “O” work in optimum fashion.. For whatever reason, not keeping the pace and tempo up this year as has been the case in previous years when it was successful on a more regular basis…

    • DT

      no DOUBT needs to be quicker.. My bad..

      • zeek

        @Michigan scares me though.

        There’s just something about playing there that seems to make a mess of things (similar to playing against Penn State in general).

        At this point, I’m hoping we split the two games in Michigan and then beat Illinois.

        9-3 would be an optimal conclusion to this season at this point.

        • DT

          While I choose to remember say, 1995, I agree with all you said…

          • Jpklock

            Certainly, Ann Arbor prides itself on being an intimidating venue for visitors… But of all the perennial top talent teams in the B1G, I feel that Michigan is one of the least in terms of that vague, program history/monkey on your back kind of way. We’ve beaten good Michgan teams, more than once, and even in the big house. I’m not that worried about the psych-out factor next week, and I’m hoping that for Kain, it’ll be like last year in Lincoln, when the locals were noting (with some dismay) how their atmosphere was just pumping him up…

            I think it’ll be a really tough game, whether Denard is back in or not. I think we can win it, if we execute better than we have been. Go ‘Cats.

          • DT

            No doubt, NU has done fine against Michigan in the modern era. That said, sans 95, the “Big” wins, 96, 00, et al were at Ryan.. Michigan was down under Rich Rod the last time we won up there.. Still, a legit shot to beat them.. We shal see..

  • CMF

    It really is stupid to think about all the different scenarios with 3 more games left, but my mind is wandering a bit while MSU goes up 24-14 on UNL. I believe the following is quite possible, assuming MSU hangs…which could cause a 4 way tie in the Legends with a 5-3 record between Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan St, and Northwestern.

    Nebraska: Loses to PSU, defeats Minny and Iowa
    Michigan: Loses to NU, defeats Iowa, loses to OSU
    Michigan St: Defeats NU and Minny
    Northwestern: Defeats Michigan, loses to MSU, defeats Illinois

    I think a lot of us have been looking at the MSU game as being the tougher game – which I believe it will be. However, if NU can beat Michigan and PSU can pull out a win at Nebraska, if I understand all the B1G tie-breakers correctly, we would be in the drivers seat for the B1G Championship game – even if we lose to MSU the following week. We would hold tie-breakers against everyone due to the better overall record. Again – a lot of ‘if’s’ and I would rather focus on winning 1 game at a time and trying to get to 6-2 in the conference, but I thought this was interesting (and possible). Even as I type this, it looks like UNL is going to cut the MSU lead to 1 score shortly. Grrrr.

    • Richard

      Again, best overall record is something like the last tie-breaker (before a coinflip or several). I’ll worry about a 4-way tie if we get there, but the most important tiebreaker is still head-to-head(s). Then divisional record.

      • CMF

        You are right – my fault. I originally thought that was the case, but the way they list the official rules is a bit confusing.

    • CMF

      Ignore above. I read the tie-breaker rules wrong. If anyone actually cares, MSU would have won the scenario above, but it doesn’t matter because UNL just pulled another one out of their a**. Unbelievable. I guess the silver lining is other teams blow 4th quarter leads too.

  • nwujames

    Wow. The refs just stole the game away from MSU. Wonder how much Nebraska had to pay the ref for that last pass interference call.

    • SocalScott

      yup…pretty bad.

    • NorCalCat

      TSISB got a very generous PI call as well that helped them come back. Pitt had numerous chances to win that game and just couldn’t do it. We all complain about NU’s play calling late in games, but PItt getting the ball back with 4:00 left and an 8 point lead and passing it 3 times, really?!?!. It’s not like their running back was averaging 10 yards per carry or anything….

      Not a good afternoon from an NU fan perspective

  • cece

    your numbers are off, but your picks are on, LTP.

  • cece

    Io_a.

    • http://www.northwesternmix.com/ NUMBSpiritLeader

      LOL. I think a lot of Io_a fans are going to go crazy after losing to Indiana. They found out that there *is* something worse than losing to Northwestern.

      • nwujames

        Hey now. Indiana is a solid number two for the race in the Leaders Division. What a joke. :)

        • http://www.northwesternmix.com/ NUMBSpiritLeader

          I desperately want to see Northwestern vs Indiana in the CCG.

  • CMF

    I don’t see how the B1G gets more than 6 teams bowl eligible. Could be 5 if Minny doesn’t beat Illinois next week. Heart of Dallas and Pizza Pizza bowls would have to fill those slots with other teams.

    I also just realized had we hung on to one of those INTs against UNL to win that game, we could have pretty much wrapped up the Legends next week with a win (assuming we would at least beat Illinois). Blah.

    • Richard

      8 B10 bowl teams (10 if there hadn’t been sanctions) is actually still possible:

      MSU beats Minny

      Minny beats Illinois

      Iowa wins 2 against PU, Michigan, and UNL (OK, a tall order).

      IU beats Wisconsin and PU (or PSU) and wins the other division.

      Even if they lose the B10 title game, IU would almost certainly make a bowl due to there not being enough bowl-eligible teams:

      http://www.cbssports.com/general/blog/jerry-palm/19720653/gotta-fill-the-bowls

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Nebraska3000
Minnesota2100
Iowa2100
Illinois2100
Wisconsin1100
Purdue1200
Northwestern 0200

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Penn State3010
Maryland2100
Ohio State2100
Michigan2100
Michigan State2100
Indiana1100
Rutgers2101