Week 11 brought some more surprises, none bigger than Purdue's second straight home victory against Ohio State. Neither of us saw that one coming.
Both Bennett and I went 4-2 in the Week 11 predictions. Not a great week, but not a horrible one either.
Brian Bennett: 4-2
Adam Rittenberg: 4-2
Rittenberg: 63-22 (.741)
Bennett: 62-23 (.729)
Now it's rewind time ...
Rice at Northwestern
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 41, Rice 27
Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 38, Rice 28
Actual score: Northwestern 28, Rice 6
20-20 hindsight: We both expected a shootout, but Northwestern's suddenly energized defense had other ideas and turned in a second straight solid performance. My prediction for three Kain Colter touchdowns fell short (he had none), and neither of us forecast a career performance from Wildcats WR Jeremy Ebert (7 receptions, 208 yards, 2 TDs)
Nebraska at Penn State
Bennett's pick: Nebraska 21, Penn State 14
Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 20, Penn State 17
Actual score: Nebraska 17, Penn State 14
20-20 hindsight: This game produced our best predictions of the week, by far. Bennett nailed Penn State's score, while I had Nebraska's margin of victory pegged. Penn State seemed to play with good focus and rallied late, but Nebraska had the edge at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Michigan State at Iowa
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 23, Iowa 17
Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 27, Michigan State 24
Actual score: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21
20-20 hindsight: A big swing and miss here for me, as I had serious doubts about Michigan State on the road and expected much more from Iowa on its home field. Bennett correctly pegged Spartans RB Le'Veon Bell for his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season (he had 112 on 20 carries). The balanced offense I expected from Iowa never materialized, as Michigan State held Marcus Coker, the Big Ten's leading rusher, to 57 yards on 21 carries.
Purdue at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 27, Purdue 17
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 24, Purdue 10
Actual score: Purdue 26, Ohio State 23 (OT)
20-20 hindsight: Our profound apologies to the Boilermakers, who ended a two-game slide with a strong performance in all three phases against the surging Buckeyes. Purdue slowed down Dan Herron and Braxton Miller and held Ohio State to 163 rush yards on 47 carries -- hardly the explosive performance we both expected from the Buckeyes' ground game.
Wisconsin at Minnesota
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 20
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 34, Minnesota 21
Actual score: Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 13
20-20 hindsight: Kudos to Bennett for nailing Wisconsin's score. He also pegged Badgers RB Montee Ball to record three touchdowns and break the Big Ten single-season touchdown record, although "Moneyball" needed the fourth quarter to score his final TD. Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray (6-for-14 passing, 68 rush yards) didn't come through for me.
Michigan at Illinois
Bennett's pick: Illinois 21, Michigan 17
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 28, Illinois 24
Actual score: Michigan 31, Illinois 14
20-20 hindsight: We both expected more from Illinois, and my prediction of a fast start for the Illini fizzled as they failed to score in the first half for the fourth consecutive game. Still, Bennett paid the price for his faith in the Orange and Blue, although he correctly predicted Michigan QB Denard Robinson to leave the game in the second half.