Maggiore’s Big 10 Football Picks – Week # 3: YTD 4-2
Play of the Week
Michigan State (-5.5) over Notre Dame
For the 2nd time in 3 weeks I am taking Michigan State as my play of the week. The Spartans have been as advertised on defense. The only two touchdowns given up by MSU have been via interception returns. So, the defense is yet to surrender a score and has only given up 225 yards per game. Michigan State will rely on that great defense again this week against the Irish. Notre Dame comes in at 2-0, but they have a slight quarterback controversy on their hands. In last week’s late game win over Purdue, Tommy Rees came off the bench and took the team down the field to set up the game winning field goal. It was Rees’ only drive of the game. East Lansing, against this defense, at night is not where you want to figure out a quarterback situation. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio will rely on Le’Veon Bell and the running game to move the ball and wear down the ND defense. The Spartans will pressure whoever Notre Dame plays at quarterback into a couple of game changing turnovers and Michigan State comes away with a double digit win at home. This is a 2 unit play.
Penn State (-7) over Navy
Navy has had 2 weeks to recover from a week one drubbing by Notre Dame but another big physical team awaits in Happy Valley. Penn State is still looking for their first win of 2012, but if they had any semblance of a kicking game they would have pulled off an outright win as a 10 point dog at Virginia last week. The Nittany Lions missed 4 field goals and an extra point in the 1 point loss. PSU held the Cavs to only 32 yards rushing on 25 carries. The ability to stop the run is a huge factor in beating Navy. The Middies, on the other hand, gave up nearly 300 yards on the ground to Notre Dame and will have issues with the big offensive line of Penn State. I look for PSU to finish drives with touchdowns this week, but the fear of the kicking game is the only thing keeping this a 1 unit play.
Wisconsin/Utah State over 51
The Badgers’ offense has struggled mightily the first 2 weeks of the season. There is too much talent and pride for this to continue all season. Wisconsin has a fairly solid history of going to the West coast and playing terrible football so last week was not completely unbelievable. Utah State is coming off a huge win over rival Utah last week, and now must get ready to face an upset team on the road. The Aggies are more than capable of putting up points with their multiple formation offense. I look for the Badgers to work out the kinks on offense this week, but Utah State will do their part as well to get this total. 1 unit on this total.
Opinions: 3-1 YTD
Ball State (+2.5) over Indiana
Nebraska (-23) over Arkansas State
Gun to my head
These were terrible last week, so as Marv Martin commented, I am taking the gun away from my head. Thanks Marv.