Four weeks into the season, and it's still neck and neck. Brian Bennett and I differed on two predictions in Week 3, each getting one right and whiffing on the other. There weren't too many surprises around the conference.
WEEK 4/SEASON RECORD
Adam Rittenberg: 9-1, 40-6 (.870)
Brian Bennett: 9-1, 40-6 (.870)
Here's one last look at the Week 4 predictions made by us and our guest picker, Garret Olsen from Madison, Wis.
It's rewind time ...
San Jose State at Minnesota
Brian Bennett's pick: San Jose State 24, Minnesota 20
Adam Rittenberg's pick: Minnesota 27, San Jose State 24
Actual score: Minnesota 43, San Jose State 24
20-20 hindsight: We both nailed San Jose State's score and underestimated the Gophers' offense, despite the absence of top quarterback Philip Nelson. San Jose State quarterback David Fales (439 pass yards, 3 TDs) performed well, as expected. Minnesota exceeded my prediction of 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns with 353 rushing yards and six scores.
Florida A&M at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 63, FAMU 10
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 59, FAMU 7
Actual score: Ohio State 76, FAMU 0
20-20 hindsight: The mismatch turned out to be even more lopsided than we thought, as Ohio State scored 34 first-quarter points and 55 points in the first half. Buckeyes RBs Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde had only two combined touchdowns, four fewer than my prediction. Quarterback Kenny Guiton fired a team-record six touchdown passes.
Western Michigan at Iowa
Bennett's pick: Iowa 35, Western Michigan 7
Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 31, Western Michigan 10
Actual score: Iowa 59, Western Michigan 3
20-20 hindsight: Thanks to two Kevonte Martin-Manley punt returns and two B.J. Lowery pick-sixes, Iowa blew our score predictions away. Iowa RB Jordan Canzeri reached the end zone, but Damon Bullock didn't. Mark Weisman came up well short (43 rush yards) of Bennett's prediction (150 yards).
Maine at Northwestern
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 45, Maine 17
Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 48, Maine 13
Actual score: Northwestern 35, Maine 21
20-20 hindsight: We expected more from a Northwestern offense that had flexed its muscles in the first three games. Wildcats safety Ibraheim Campbell couldn't continue his streak of interceptions, as Bennett predicted he would. Only two Wildcats rushers reached the end zone, three fewer than my prediction, and freshman RB Warren Long wasn't one of them.
Michigan State at Notre Dame
Bennett's pick: Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 10
Rittenberg's pick: Notre Dame 19, Michigan State 17
Actual score: Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13
20-20 hindsight: One of our better predictions as Bennett nailed Notre Dame's score. The Irish didn't have a special-teams touchdown, as he predicted. I correctly pegged Michigan State to take an early lead, but neither of us forecast the pass-interference fest that took place in South Bend.
South Dakota State at Nebraska
Bennett's pick: Nebraska 38, South Dakota State 10
Rittenberg's pick: South Dakota State 59, South Dakota State 14
Actual score: Nebraska 59, South Dakota State 20
20-20 hindsight: I nailed Nebraska's score and nearly pegged the combined passing touchdowns total for Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III (they had two, one shy of my prediction). Huskers RB Imani Cross did most of his damage in the first quarter, not the second. Nebraska DE Randy Gregory had an interception and two tackles for loss, but no forced fumble, as Brian predicted.
Kent State at Penn State
Bennett's pick: Penn State 28, Kent State 10
Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 31, Kent State 20
Actual score: Penn State 34, Kent State 0
20-20 hindsight: We both came close on Penn State's score but underestimated the ability of the Lions' defense to bounce back from its struggles against UCF. Lions RB Zach Zwinak had three rushing touchdowns, one more than Brian predicted for him. There were no Christian Hackenberg-Allen Robinson scoring connections, as I predicted, but Lions DE Deion Barnes finally showed up a little.
Purdue at Wisconsin
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 42, Purdue 14
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 34, Purdue 21
Actual score: Wisconsin 41, Purdue 10
20-20 hindsight: A strong score prediction from Brian, who also correctly pegged Badgers RBs James White and Melvin Gordon both to eclipse 100 rush yards. Gordon (16 carries, 147 yards) came up four carries and 33 yards shy of my predicted totals for him.
Michigan at Connecticut
Bennett's pick: Michigan 38, Connecticut 9
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 35, Connecticut 17
Actual score: Michigan 24, Connecticut 21
20-20 hindsight: Like the Wolverines and their fans, neither of us saw another near disaster coming as Michigan invaded venerable Rentschler Field on Saturday night. Michigan QB Devin Gardner had three more turnovers, one of which Connecticut returned for a touchdown, and only one score of his own, falling well shy of Brian's prediction (4 TDs, 1 turnover). I had Gardner for no turnovers, but RB Fitz Toussaint (120 rush yards, 2 TDs) came close to my prediction (130 rush yards, 2 TDs).
Missouri at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Missouri 48, Indiana 42
Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 41, Missouri 37
Actual score: Missouri 45, Indiana 28
20-20 hindsight: Brian had the correct winner and came close on Missouri's score, correctly forecasting a big game for Tigers QB James Franklin (343 pass yards). Indiana RB Tevin Coleman rushed for one touchdown, not the two I had predicted, and the Hoosiers' offense struggled much more than I thought it would.
You've seen how we performed. Now it's time to check on our guest picker, Garret.
San Jose State 35, Minnesota 34
Ohio State 45, Florida A&M 7
Iowa 28, Western Michigan 14
Northwestern 55, Maine 10
Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 10
Nebraska 42, South Dakota State 21
Penn State 33, Kent State 24
Wisconsin 49, Purdue 17
Michigan 34, Connecticut 13
Missouri 42, Indiana 38
Garret's picks mirrored Brian's, so he also finished at 9-1. He had some good score predictions like Purdue-Wisconsin and Notre Dame-Michigan State and, like us, whiffed on others like Michigan-Connecticut and Maine-Northwestern. A strong effort in a relatively easy week. Wonder if Garret really is Brian? Hmmm ...