Perfection, at last.
After four weeks of falling short, Bennett and I both achieved perfection on the first Saturday of Big Ten play. Unfortunately for me, I didn't pick up any ground on Mr. Bennett as we had identical selections.
Before getting to the picks, let's take a look at the standings.
Adam Rittenberg: 6-0
Brian Bennett: 6-0
Rittenberg: 39-13 (.750)
Bennett: 42-10 (.808)
Time to rewind ...
Penn State at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Penn State 31, Indiana 13
Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 34, Indiana 10
Actual score: Penn State 16, Indiana 10
20-20 hindsight: While I nailed Indiana's score, we both once again overestimated the Penn State offense to finally get things together. The Lions didn't reach the end zone until the third quarter and committed two turnovers the red zone. Silas Redd, my pick to click, had 129 yards but fumbled inside the 5-yard line.
Minnesota at Michigan
Bennett's pick: Michigan 35, Minnesota 14
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 33, Minnesota 17
Actual score: Michigan 58, Minnesota 0
20-20 hindsight: We both felt Michigan would win comfortably, but we also thought Minnesota would at least show up and compete. My forecast of a big passing day for Denard Robinson came true as "Shoelace" completed 15 of 19 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Northwestern at Illinois
Bennett's pick: Illinois 24, Northwestern 21
Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 28, Northwestern 24
Actual score: Illinois 38, Northwestern 35
20-20 hindsight: We both correctly forecast a close one in Champaign, but we didn't see all the twists and turns that Saturday's game brought us. Dan Persa looked rusty at first but recovered to fire four touchdown passes before tweaking his Achilles' and leaving the game. Illinois' passing combination of Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins made the difference against a bad Wildcats defense.
Michigan State at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 16, Ohio State 14
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 23, Ohio State 21
Actual score: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7
20-20 hindsight: Bennett correctly pegged this as a defensive struggle, but even he didn't expect to see such anemic performances from both offenses in Columbus. As we predicted, Michigan State's defense caused all sorts of problems for Ohio State QB Braxton Miller, and Bennett was right about the Buckeyes stifling Michigan State's rush attack (71 yards on 31 attempts).
Notre Dame at Purdue
Bennett's pick: Notre Dame 27, Purdue 17
Rittenberg's pick: Notre Dame 30, Purdue 24
Actual score: Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10
20-20 hindsight: We both expected Notre Dame to win, but we also expected a lot more from Purdue following a bye week. Bennett correctly predicted a big night for Irish receiver Michael Floyd (12 receptions, 137 yards, TD). I was dead wrong about Purdue's run game, which racked up just 84 yards on 27 carries against Notre Dame's stout defense.
Nebraska at Wisconsin
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 28
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 31, Nebraska 26
Actual score: Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17
20-20 hindsight: We both expected a more competitive game, but Russell Wilson and the Badgers pulled away late in the first half and never looked back. Bennett was right about Nebraska's defense struggling at the point of attack, and the Huskers' speed seemed to give Wisconsin problems until they mysteriously abandoned the run game with Taylor Martinez.