Big Ten picks rewind: Week 2

Week 2 in the Big Ten went mostly according to plan, although there were a few surprises (hello, Illini). The season standings don't change as Brian and I picked the same winners and both finished 10-2. Expect some shuffling this week as the matchups get much more interesting.


Brian Bennett: 10-2, 22-2 (.917)

Adam Rittenberg: 10-2, 21-3 (.875)

Let's look back at the predictions made by us and by guest picker Nick Schmit from West Des Moines, Iowa.

Rewind time …

Eastern Michigan at Penn State

  • Bennett's pick: Penn State 35, Eastern Michigan 9

  • Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 31, Eastern Michigan 10

  • Actual score: Penn State 45, Eastern Michigan 7

  • 20-20 hindsight: A pretty strong start as we both came relatively close on the final score. Penn State exceeded my rush yards prediction of 175, ending up with 251. Christian Hackenberg had only one passing touchdown, not three, as Brian had predicted, while Lions wideout Allen Robinson had the lone touchdown grab, not two.

Indiana State at Purdue

  • Bennett's pick: Purdue 45, Indiana State 17

  • Rittenberg's pick: Purdue 38, Indiana State 14

  • Actual score: Purdue 20, Indiana State 14

  • 20-20 hindsight: We both came close on Indiana State's score but expected much more from Purdue's offense against an FCS foe. Akeem Hunt had one return touchdown, one shy of my total touchdowns prediction for him. Boilers defensive tackle Bruce Gaston had a big game with two sacks, but not the forced fumble I had predicted.

Missouri State at Iowa

  • Bennett's pick: Iowa 31, Missouri State 13

  • Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 38, Missouri State 10

  • Actual score: Iowa 28, Missouri State 14

  • 20-20 hindsight: Not bad on the score predictions, especially Brian's. Iowa eclipsed Brian's forecast of 200 rush yards with 296. Quarterback Jake Rudock had two touchdowns, as I predicted, but they came on the ground, not through the air.

Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin

  • Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 56, Tennessee Tech 7

  • Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 63, Tennessee Tech 3

  • Actual score: Wisconsin 48, Tennessee Tech 0

  • 20-20 hindsight: Another predictable result, although neither of us is giving Dave Aranda's defense enough credit, as Wisconsin posted its second consecutive shutout. As I predicted, the Badgers sent running backs James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement into the end zone all afternoon. They combined for four rushing touchdowns.

South Florida at Michigan State

  • Bennett's pick: Michigan State 30, South Florida 10

  • Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 34, South Florida 3

  • Actual score: Michigan State 21, South Florida 6

  • 20-20 hindsight: We clearly overestimated Michigan State's offense, which continues to sputter at an alarming rate. Three quarterbacks played for the Spartans, as Brian predicted, but none threw for touchdowns. Jeremy Langford made me look good with a touchdown run, but Riley Bullough didn't get there. And no, neither of us pegged defensive end Shilique Calhoun for two more scores.

Cincinnati at Illinois

  • Bennett's pick: Cincinnati 42, Illinois 27

  • Rittenberg's pick: Cincinnati 28, Illinois 17

  • Actual score: Illinois 45, Cincinnati 17

  • 20-20 hindsight: A big swing in a miss here as Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illini made us look really dumb (it's not that hard). At least I had Scheelhaase for a first-quarter touchdown pass to Josh Ferguson (48-yarder), and Brian had him eclipsing 300 pass yards (he finished with 312).

San Diego State at Ohio State

  • Bennett's pick: Ohio State 45, San Diego State 20

  • Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 41, San Diego State 13

  • Actual score: Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7

  • 20-20 hindsight: I'll take a bow for the score prediction, although we both underestimated Ohio State's defense in Week 2 with cornerback Bradley Roby back in the fold. Roby didn't have an interception as Brian thought, as two other cornerbacks (Armani Reeves and Doran Grant) collected picks. Dontre Wilson scored his first touchdown as a Buckeye, making my prediction come true, but Braxton Miller went down early with a knee injury.

Southern Miss at Nebraska

  • Bennett's pick: Nebraska 49, Southern Miss 24

  • Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 42, Southern Miss 17

  • Actual score: Nebraska 56, Southern Miss 13

  • 20-20 hindsight: A decent set of score predictions, although we both expected Nebraska to have more problems on defense. Taylor Martinez came two touchdowns shy of Brian's prediction (5), while Ameer Abdullah finished 86 yards and one touchdown shy of my forecast for him (200 yards, three touchdowns).

Navy at Indiana

  • Bennett's pick: Indiana 28, Navy 20

  • Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 34, Navy 23

  • Actual score: Navy 41, Indiana 35

  • 20-20 hindsight: Our faith in Indiana's supposedly improved defense cost both of us, as the Hoosiers' offseason prep for Navy's tricky offense didn't translate to the game field. Nate Sudfeld found Kofi Hughes for a touchdown pass, as Brian predicted, but it came in the second quarter, not the fourth. Hoosiers running back Tevin Coleman had only one touchdown run, not two.

Syracuse at Northwestern

  • Bennett's pick: Northwestern 31, Syracuse 23

  • Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 28, Syracuse 20

  • Actual score: Northwestern 48, Syracuse 27

  • 20-20 hindsight: Our predictions likely would have been different if we knew Kain Colter had been cleared to play. Colter shredded Syracuse early on and Trevor Siemian fired three touchdown passes but only one to Dan Vitale, not two as I predicted. Northwestern had two fourth-quarter takeaways, but the game was already over by then.

Minnesota at New Mexico State

  • Bennett's pick: Minnesota 37, New Mexico State 20

  • Rittenberg's pick: Minnesota 34, New Mexico State 21

  • Actual score: Minnesota 44, New Mexico State 21

  • 20-20 hindsight: Neither of us pegged Aggie Vision to be such a delightful experience (Casa de Autos? Yes, please), as the game's outcome never was really in doubt. Brian correctly predicted Minnesota would score a defensive touchdown, as linebacker Aaron Hill returned a fumble 50 yards in the fourth quarter. I had Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson for two passing touchdowns, but his only score came on the ground.

Notre Dame at Michigan

  • Bennett's pick: Michigan 27, Notre Dame 24

  • Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 21

  • Actual score: Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30

  • 20-20 hindsight: Both of us expected a lower-scoring game, although Brian's prediction of a Blake Countess interception against Tommy Rees in the fourth quarter turned out to be spot on. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon connected for three touchdowns, not the two that both Brian and I forecast.

Finally, let's see how our guest picker performed …

Penn State 28, Eastern Michigan 13

Purdue 28, Indiana State 21

Iowa 34, Missouri State 10

Wisconsin 70, Tennessee Tech 3

Michigan State 35, South Florida 10

Cincinnati 31, Illinois 21

Ohio State 42, San Diego State 6

Nebraska 51, Southern Miss 17

Indiana 41, Navy 31

Northwestern 42, Syracuse 20

Minnesota 33, New Mexico State 21

Notre Dame 27, Michigan 24

Not bad overall, as Nick missed on the same two games we did, in addition to the Notre Dame-Michigan contest. He had strong score predictions like Ohio State-San Diego State, Nebraska-Southern Miss and Minnesota-New Mexico State. Nick underestimated Penn State's offense and, like most of us, overestimated Michigan State's ability to score points.

Who's next?