Turns out, my Week 9 disaster was an aberration, a speed bump on my path to take some of Brian Bennett's money in Indianapolis.
The predictions race returned to normal in Week 10, as I put up a perfect mark for the second time in three weeks and extended my lead against Bennett to four games in the season standings. Bennett did well, too, going 4-1, but his lack of faith in Indiana cost him dearly. Must be that University of Kentucky degree or growing up in Louisville. He actually fared better on score predictions, but the Iowa-IU pick cost him.
He needs a major turnaround in the final two weeks of the regular season, or he's buying dinner in Indy.
WEEK 10/SEASON RECORDS
Adam Rittenberg: 5-0, 61-18 (.772)
Brian Bennett: 4-1, 57-22 (.722)
Rewind time ...
Michigan at Minnesota
Bennett's pick: Michigan 31, Minnesota 17
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 24, Minnesota 16
Actual score: Michigan 35, Minnesota 13
20-20 hindsight: Bennett came pretty close on the score, but both of us expected Michigan QB Denard Robinson to play (he obviously didn't). I correctly predicted that Minnesota would jump ahead early -- although it was a Philip Nelson touchdown pass, not touchdown run -- and that Michigan RB Fitz Toussaint would record a second-half touchdown run (41 yards in the closing minutes). Also it was K.J. Maye, not Nelson, who had a second-half turnover for the Gophers.
Iowa at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Iowa 28, Indiana 25
Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 31, Iowa 27
Actual score: Indiana 24, Iowa 21
20-20 hindsight: We both came fairly close on the score predictions, but not much else. Cameron Coffman stepped up for Indiana at QB, not Nate Sudfeld, as I had predicted. Iowa RB Damon Bullock had a rushing touchdown, but he fell short of our yards predictions (I had him for 125, Bennett had him for 150). I also had Indiana CB Greg Heban intercepting James Vandenberg, when it turned out to be CB Antonio Marshall. Bennett simply had the wrong team winning.
Nebraska at Michigan State
Bennett's pick: Nebraska 23, Michigan State 16
Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 19, Michigan State 17
Actual score: Nebraska 28, Michigan State 24
20-20 hindsight: Bennett had the best line of the entire predictions post, when he wrote, "[Taylor] Martinez overcomes a couple of turnovers and leads a patented Nebraska comeback win." Martinez indeed overcame three interceptions and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives to erase a 10-point deficit. Nebraska WR Kenny Bell (5 catches, 31 yards) dropped the touchdown pass I thought he'd have in the game, while my prediction for Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell (30-plus carries, 100-plus rush yards) came true (36 carries, 188 rush yards). I also had Nebraska K Brett Maher going 4-for-4 on field goal attempts (he missed his only attempt).
Illinois at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 38, Illinois 7
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 45, Illinois 23
Actual score: Ohio State 52, Illinois 22
20-20 hindsight: If not for Bri'onte Dunn's touchdown with 1:26 left, my score prediction would have been nearly dead-on. Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde fell 90 yards and one touchdown shy of my rushing prediction (300 rush yards, 5 TDs), while backup QB Kenny Guiton didn't do much despite the game being out of reach. I correctly pegged Illinois for some garbage-time touchdowns. Bennett correctly had Miller throwing two touchdown passes for the Buckeyes, but he fell 27 yards shy of the 100-yard mark.
Penn State at Purdue
Bennett's pick: Penn State 31, Purdue 14
Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 28, Purdue 21
Actual score: Penn State 34, Purdue 9
20-20 hindsight: Bennett once again came much closer on the score prediction, as my belief that Purdue had anything left turned out to be false. Bennett correctly pegged Purdue to have its typical fast start and typical fade after the first series, although Boilers QB Robert Marve avoided an interception (Bennett predicted he'd have two). I correctly had Penn State QB Matt McGloin for two touchdown passes, but neither of them went to top WR Allen Robinson. Lions LB Gerald Hodges had a big game, but not the fumble return for a touchdown that I thought he would.