What You Need to Know

"Every week during football season I go into short trances that allow me to see the final score on each football scoreboard across the nation. I try to enlighten the masses about who will win each week. They try to outguess me."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mighty Zultan Predicts Winners in the 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Bonanza

Zultan is back by popular demand to make his annual bowl predictions after ending his 2011 prognosticating season in spectacular fashion—almost perfect in week 13.

No one did better than Zultan who went 9-1 during the final regular season weekend. Admittedly, there were a couple who tied the All-Seeing Seer—pure luck on their part.

The Big Z’s only loss came as Nebraska skinned the Iowa Hawkeyes, stomping the sinew out the seemingly lifeless birds.

Ah, well—time to look forward to the 2011 post season bowl games in all their stupefyingly meaningless splendor.

As Zultan surveyed the Big Ten and the other BCS and post New Year’s Day’s Bowl, this much was obvious—the only game that really means anything is the one on January 9 between LSU and Alabama. Yet even that one is not a perfect match-up in many people’s eyes.

But the hoopla is worth the price of entry. So join in the fun and click here. Make your own selections and see if you can top Zultan as he makes his Bowl Bonanza picks for selected bowl games.

This will be the last time you see the Mighty Zultan until the 2012 season rolls around again.

Dec. 27 Little Caesars: Western Michigan (MAC) vs. Purdue (Big Ten)

Purdue (6-6) made it back into post-season play for the first time since 2007 after overcoming Indiana in the Boilers last regular season game. The win over the Hoosiers made Purdue bowl eligible. While the December 27 bowl date may have saved Danny Hope’s job, a win in Detroit would secure that permanent step up—out of the Big Ten cellar for Purdue.

Who wants to go to Detroit in December? The Boilers are mighty happy to be there. Once there, Purdue will have to work very hard to contain the passing attack of Western Michigan (7-5). Passing is the Broncos’ game. Therefore, Purdue’s only chance at winning this bowl game hinges on the Boilers’ secondary.

Pick Purdue.

Dec. 30 Insight: Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Iowa (Big Ten)

Mom went into anaphylactic shock upon hearing that her beloved Iowa Hawkeyes would be playing the Oklahoma Sooners in the Insight Bowl!

What about Missouri or Texas?” she wailed. “They would have been better choices!”

Regardless, like all Hawkeye fans, she has now convinced herself that Iowa can win the game. Iowa over Oklahoma?

The Sooners were pre-season favorites to be fighting for the National Championship on January 9. They remain one of  the premiere teams  in the country. Despite the warm and fuzzy feelings Iowa fans have for Bobby Stoops, the former Hawkeye will not relent once the game is underway.

Stoops will have his Sooners ready to stomp in the Insight Bowl. After the dust has settled, Mom will suffer through a very long off-season.  Sorry Mom.

Pick Oklahoma.

Dec. 31 Meineke Texas: Northwestern (Big Ten) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12)

This is a tough one. A&M looked to be in great shape. But the Aggies lost a couple of tough games in overtime and ended the season losing four of their last five games. All of A&M’s losses were to to ranked teams, except their overtime loss to Missouri.

Still, in their infinite wisdom, A&M fired coach Mike Sherman. Both teams field exciting quarterbacks with Ryan Tannehill leading the Aggies while Dan Persa occupies the pocket for the Northwestern Wildcats.

Sporting identical records with often ineffective defenses, the real question becomes—how will A&M do without Sherman? This one is being played in Texas. Northwestern will have it together better.

Pick Northwestern

Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger: UCLA (Pac-12) vs. Illinois (Big Ten)

Talk about mirror images.  Here you have two teams with high profile coaches recently fired by their respective universities. UCLA gave Rick Neuheisel his walking papers while Ron Zook finally got the ax in Illinois.

Illinois started the year winning their first six games and ended the year losing their last six. It was a misfired rocket shot that climbed halfway, then plummeted to the earth caught in an inescapable death spiral. Illinois has already hired their new coach who will find some real talent on this team. UCLA is in deeper distress with less talent and less hope.

Pick Illinois

Jan. 2 TicketCity: Penn State (Big Ten) vs. Houston (C-USA)

Who could have believed the off-field destruction of a football team, a coaching legend and a major university in such a short time. Penn State had scratched their way to the top of the Big Ten Leaders Division, thanks to the off-season collapse of Ohio State and a stiff defense—when the Sandusky scandal blew the team out of the water.

Penn State should be no match for the high flying Houston team led by premiere quarterback Case Keenum. Houston had their eye on a much bigger prized than this bowl: but, the Cougars let up and lost their C-USA championship game. Will their hearts be into winning this one? Can Penn State get up off the floor to win this one? No, probably not.

Pick Houston

Jan. 2 Capital One: South Carolina (SEC) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten)

Ah, a Big Ten vs. SEC matchup—the unbeatable conference against the unable-to-win conference from America’s heartland. But Nebraska is new to the Big Ten and the Huskers have something to prove after their lackluster performance last year against Washington in San Diego.

The Gamecocks have had a great season, going 10-2, including a win over then ranked No. 17 Clemson. But this one will turn on the offensive running skills of Rex Burkhead and quarterback Taylor Martinez. South Carolina and Steve Spurrier do not do “bowls” well and this one will be no exception.

Pick Nebraska

Jan. 2 Outback: Michigan State (Big Ten) vs. Georgia (SEC)

At least, Michigan State does not have to play Alabama.  Instead, they face the Georgia Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl—again, an SEC team—but certainly no Alabama. Michigan State lost the inaugural Big Ten Championship game to Wisconsin, who moves on to the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row.

Georgia, on the other hand, faced LSU for the SEC Championship. The Bulldogs played well for the first half but LSU wore them down and out. Essentially, Michigan State has more to prove in this game and more impetus to win it. The Spartans never get the respect they deserve and they will not quit until they are accorded the BCS red carpet.  Georgia had a yeoman-like season but they will not overcome the Spartans in the end.

Pick Michigan State 

Jan. 2 Gator: Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. Florida (SEC)

Ohio State, usually battling to get into the BCS Championship game, was busy this year battling just to become bowl eligible. Both high profile teams from Columbus and Gainesville went 6-6 in a 50/50 sort of year.
2011 was a transition year—it turns out from Urban Meyer to Will Muschamp and then from Jim Tressel to Urban Meyer when the former Floridan coach was hired to take over the reins for the Buckeyes. Pundits love this kind of sledgehammer irony.

Ohio State almost got their foot loose from the muck and mire when they moved Braxton Miller to their starting quarterback but the Buckeye inconsistency kept them in the middle of the Big Ten pack.

Muschamp, even with the help of Charlie Weis, could not get the Florida offense on track. There is nothing really to separate these two teams. Ohio State probably has more talent but Florida more focus.

Pick Ohio State

Jan. 2 Fiesta: Oklahoma State (Big 12) vs. Stanford (PAC 12)

Oklahoma State could still finish No. 2 even being denied the privilege of playing in the BCS Championship game. If LSU beats Alabama again then the Crimson Tide will fall in the final polls and Oklahoma State will rise—assuming, of course, that the Cowboys can stop Stanford.

The same argument might apply to Stanford—although the PAC 12 was considerably weaker than the Big 12 this year. Stanford brings Andrew Luck, probably the best quarterback in college football, who only has to get by a Cowboy defense that ranks 100th in the nation against a passing attack. It could be one of Luck’s best bowls ever.

The Cardinal defense, on the other hand, must find a way to stifle the team with second highest scoring offense this season. There is just no way to stop the Cowboys from reaching the end zone unless you are Iowa State. It should be the best bowl game of the lot.

Pick Oklahoma State.

Jan. 2 Rose: Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. Oregon (Pac-12)

Wisconsin finds themselves in the Rose Bowl for the second consecutive year. Last year the Badgers lost to TCU. This year Wisconsin has their hearts and minds set on winning the title. But to do so, the Badgers must get by Oregon. That is no easy task. The speed of Oregon is unlike anything the Badgers have faced this year and we all know that "speed kills."

This could prove to be an epic foot race as Badger Montee Ball and Duck LaMichael James try to out gain each other for yardage on the day. Wisconsin won the first Big Ten title game against Michigan State while Oregon State defeated UCLA for the PAC 12 championship. Both teams hoped for more but two losses doomed them to the “also ran” status for the BCS Championship game.  The Ducks will prevail in Pasadena.

Pick Oregon.

Jan. 3 Sugar: Michigan (Big Ten) vs. Virginia Tech (ACC)

One of the reasons that Michigan is playing in a BCS Bowl game is that the Wolverines are the luckiest team in college football, going 10-2. They played only four road games, losing at Iowa and at Michigan State but defeating both Northwestern and Illinois on the road. Otherwise the boys in blue got to stay home.

The schedule was to their advantage. True, Michigan’s defense has improved exponentially over last year and their offense is definitely more balanced. The true workhorse, however, is the quarterback Denard Robinson and he continues to be the reason Michigan wins. Now they get to play the ACC runner-up in the Sugar Bowl, mind you. The ACC is one of the weakest of the major conferences in the nation and Michigan only has to defeat their No. 2.

Pick Michigan

Jan. 4 Orange: Clemson (ACC) vs. West Virginia (Big East)

The Orange Bowl hosts the winners of the ACC, Clemson (10-3, 6-2)) against the winners of the Big East, West Virginia (9-3, 5-2). It marks the first time in 30 years that the Tigers have appeared in the Orange Bowl and their fans are loving it.

Suffering through growing pains, Clemson stumbled a couple of times during the season after winning eight straight—but righted themselves at the end of year defeating Virginia Tech for the conference title.

The Tigers are led by quarterback Tajh Boyd while Geno Smith leads the Mountaineer attack. West Virginia offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen will, without doubt, have the Mountaineers ready to roll on January 4. But expect Clemson to be ready with their own explosive offense.

Pick Clemson.

Jan. 6 Cotton: Kansas State (Big 12 ) vs. Arkansas (SEC)

The last time Kansas State (10-2) faced Arkansas (10-2) on the gridiron was 1967—a few decades ago. Today, Arkansas continues to play their “also-ran” role behind the SEC curtain as backup to LSU and Alabama.

Kansas State, in the meantime, almost managed to upstage the more prestigious stars, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the Big 12. Losing twice to the Oklahoma teams, however, Kansas State failed to overtake Oklahoma State and ended up in second place in the conference.

Still the Cotton Bowl has been a good venue for the Wildcats but has never been a good environment for the Razorbacks who have compiled a 3-7-1 all-time record there. Will this year give the Hogs another win? Yes.

Pick Arkansas.

Jan. 9 BCS national championship: LSU (SEC) vs. Alabama (SEC)

Five field goals and a cloud of rust—so much for the BCS finale, Part 2 of the SEC Championship. Everyone says these are the two best teams in the country but will they say that after the game is over and if they do, who cares?

Zultan remains disappointed that all we get after a whole meaningless season is a replay of the LSU vs Alabama game. Ah well...when you have a imperfect system, you get imperfect results.

It would have been great to see how the Big 12 best did against the SEC best. Most agree these are the two top conferences in the nation. These are the two winners of their respective conference titles. Zultan agrees with Lou Holtz who said that in order to play for the national championship, you, at least, had to win your conference championship title.

Pick LSU

It has been a great season for Zultan, another inspiring performance by college football's best prognosticator. See you in 2012!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zultan's Fearless College Football Predictions: Week 13

Chaos reigned over college football this past weekend as top-ranked and favored teams crashed and burned on surreal Saturday. Yet, in the midst of such upheaval, a pattern emerged. All of the “O” teams lost, as in Oh, No—not Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Ohio State—all losers in week 12.

This scenario would have revealed itself early if Zultan’s Mom had not dropped-kicked his crystal ball into the Iowa River after the Hawkeyes lost to Minnesota in week nine. The subtle floating clue remained hidden since the Big Z had no crystal ball to gaze into, granting him gridiron visions of the future. 

As it turned out, none of you detected this slight tilt in the prognosticating wheel of fortune either because not one of you out-guessed the all-seeing seer in week 12. Zultan went 7-3 and no one who entered the contest did better.  

Unfortunately for all of you, this is Zultan’s last regular season forecast—so make sure you click here to enter your guesses in dreaded and decidedly wicked week 13. Zultan shudders at the prospect of selecting winners in such a cursed week.  

This is your very last chance to better the Mighty Zultan in 2011—so take a spin.

Week 13 this marks the end of the schedule for several conferences. Now teams scurry to become bowl eligible—which forces respective athletic directors to sit by the phone, praying for a call from the selection committee inviting their team to the “bowl.”  

Zultan expects his fans will demand a special “bowl selection” prognostication from the all-seeing seer—which he will do if demand is high enough.  Let Zultan hear from you if you wish to challenge him in picking the winners of the ten biggest bowl games!

Game 1: Iowa Hawkeyes at (21) Nebraska Cornhuskers [Friday]

Well here it is at long last. Iowa (7-4, 4-3) must travel into desolate Lincoln Land to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-3, 4-3). This game has loomed large on the Hawkeye horizon even before the season began. The Iowa-Nebraska Big Ten border battle begins—this time west of the rambling Missouri River.

For 2011, the Cornhuskers are shucked and settled in the corn bin, awaiting spring and another season. Nebraska lost to Michigan last weekend, after squeaking by a demoralized Penn State Squad the weekend before. Plus, the Cornhuskers gave away a home game to the Northwestern Wildcats in week ten. Iowa, of course, is not faring much better, losing to pesky Iowa State, Penn State and Minnesota on the road and to a determined Michigan State squad at home on senior day. 

But this will be a battle to the death - right, Mom?  Mom agrees and decrees that Iowa will win.

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 2: (3) Arkansas Razorbacks at (1) LSU Tigers [Friday]

What is there to say about this game except that it is critically important in determining the SEC Champion as well as who will play in the BCS title game on January 9 in New Orleans?  Who will win between these two top-five ranked teams? Arkansas (10-1, 6-1) has lost only to then No. 3-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

This Razorback team looks even better than the Arkansas team of a year ago. The Hogs, however, play the LSU Tigers (11-0, 7-0) who are ranked No. 1 and remain undefeated. It is hard to bet against LSU, especially with Arkansas once again on the road.

Pick LSU to win at home.

Game 3: (8) Houston Cougars at Tulsa Golden Hurricane [Friday]

Who are these red-hot Houston Cougars who have risen into the BCS top ten?  Yes, they are undefeated, standing (11-0, 7-0) in Conference USA play. But, really—the only team of note Houston has played and defeated this year is UCLA 38-34 in the first game of the season.

The Cougars are led by their star quarterback Case Keenum who has accumulated Heisman-like numbers in this 2011 season. Houston is playing for perfection against the unheralded Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-3, 7-0). Zultan thinks Tulsa, even as a force of nature, will not be able to blow the Cougars down.

Pick Houston to win on the road.

Game 4: (14) Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats [Saturday]

If I were Michigan State (9-2, 6-1), I would be very worried about this game. After being declared the winner of the Legends Division and a lock to play for the first Big Ten Divisional Championship game, it would be a disaster to take this Northwestern team (6-5, 3-4) for granted. Just ask Nebraska.

The Wildcats still have sharp teeth and they can rip a complacent defense apart. The Spartans need to continue winning to increase their chances of placing big when it comes to post-season play. Zultan sees a “Rose” in their future. Northwestern, on the other hand, could really increase their attractiveness by winning this game against Michigan State.  

Pick Michigan State to win on the road.

Game 5: Ohio State Buckeyes at (15) Michigan Wolverines [Saturday]

This is what Michigan (9-2, 5-2) has lived for since Lloyd Carr retired in 2007—redemption and a win against perennial rival Ohio State (6-5, 3-4). The last time Michigan won a game against Ohio State was in 2003 in Ann Arbor. 

This year Brady Hoke has engineered magic with the Michigan squad by keeping the defense humming once again—a hallmark of great Wolverine football. Ohio State, reeling and trying to regain their equilibrium after the Tressel-scandal, is improving. The Buckeyes, however, will not be ready to stop the Denard Robinson-led Michigan offense.  

Pick Michigan to win at home.

Game 6: Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers [Saturday]

One more win for Purdue (5-6, 3-4) will make the Boilermakers bowl eligible—but Purdue waited until the last regular season game before this urgency seemed to set it. While Indiana (1-10, 0-7) is “the doormat” of the Big Ten in 2011, the Hoosiers have shown some spark on offense—enough so to make some of their opponents sweat a bit before clamping down.

The Boilermakers must go to Indiana to win their shot at post-season play and Purdue has not won on the road this year. Admittedly, Purdue has the better all-around team compared to the Hoosiers but will the good Purdue show up on Saturday?  

Pick Purdue to win on the road.

Game 7: Illinois Fighting Illini at Minnesota Gophers [Saturday]

Zultan predicts that Ron Zook will be history after this season—most assuredly if the Fighting Illini (6-5, 2-5) lose their final game on the road to Minnesota (2-9, 1-6). The Golden Gophers will be seeking to equal their win-loss record of 2010 by getting at least three wins. Jerry Kill has his team on the right path, attacking and believing.

You have to like the Gophers chances of winning this last home game of the season. Illinois, who began the year winning six games, will end the year losing six consecutive games. This is a good Illinois squad with lots of talent. They should be winning. Their losses must be blamed, therefore, on a lack of direction—of good, solid coaching.  

Pick Minnesota to win at home.

Game 8: (19) Penn State Nittany Lions at (16) Wisconsin Badgers (Saturday]

This game will determine which Leaders Division team will play Michigan State for the Big Ten Championship game. Penn State (9-2, 6-1) made that possible by defeating Ohio State in Columbus last Saturday. The Nittany Lions have not won in Ohio very often. The last two times were 1978 and 2008. Ohio State is not a very generous host when it comes to giving up games to opponents. 

This coming weekend, however, Penn State must travel to Camp Randall to face the Wisconsin Badgers (9-2, 5-2). The winner will move on to Indianapolis to play Michigan State on December 3 for the inaugural Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions showed real aggression, moving the ball while employing their typical stingy defense. But, the Lions will not be able to overcome the Badgers.

Pick Wisconsin to win at home.

Game 9: (2) Alabama Crimson Tide at (24) Auburn Tigers [Saturday]

Another SEC barnburner will be played on Saturday as the Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1) visit Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn to play the Tigers (7-4, 4-3). Gene Chizik’s Auburn team is hardly the same team that won the national championship in 2010. Auburn, however, is playing decently, perhaps better than most expected after the loss of legendary Cam Newton at quarterback.

Still this Tiger team will be no match for the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.  Alabama is trying desperately to work their way back into the conversation about playing LSU again in the BCS title game on January 9 in New Orleans. They cannot afford to lose to Auburn at this year’s Iron Bowl.

Pick Alabama to win on the road.

Game 10: (17) Clemson Tigers at (12) South Carolina Gamecocks [Saturday]

No other team reflects the mindset of college football in 2011 more than the Clemson Tigers (9-2, 6-2) whose recent losses seem without merit—unpredictable and unexplainable. This once-top-ten-team flew high for an extended time, then hit a brick wall. First Clemson was 8-0 before they gave up the ghost against Georgia Tech—a team Clemson should have beaten.

The Tigers seemed to right themselves but then flew into another wall against North Carolina State last weekend. The Wolfpack had not defeated this Clemson team in seven years.  Let us just admit that Clemson did not focus on NC State, with their minds focused perhaps on this week’s contest against instate rivals, the South Carolina Gamecocks (9-2, 6-2). Although Clemson leads in this perennial slugfest, South Carolina has won the last two encounters. It is one nasty rivalry.  

Pick South Carolina to win at home.

The Results from Week 12

No one did better than Zultan this past week. It marks the first time all season that the all-seeing one reigned supreme. Of course, admittedly, Zultan had some problems during the year, specifically, when he lost his crystal ball.

The 2011 season has been very challenging—not a remarkable one for the Big Ten—in fact, rather a down year on and off the field for the esteemed conference. The SEC did predictably well again. As the conferences all realign, expect a whole new world in college football in 2012. 

Until then, may the force improve your prognosticating abilities. Enroll in Zultan’s Forecasting Academy for six weeks of intense meditation training. You, too, can become the greatest college football prognosticator living outside of Iowa. 

Sayonara, gridiron gurus....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

College Football Predictions Week 12: Zultan’s Fearless Forecast

This past Saturday the Big Z suffered the most humiliating defeat in the famed prognosticator’s history, going 5-5.  But many of you went right along with the all-seeing seer during the fiasco known as Week Eleven Upsets Galore.

Zultan packed up his new crystal ball along with a sassy assessment, returning both to the Overlook Brothers—demanding a full refund.

It was bad, very bad. Oregon unceremoniously threw Stanford down the Cardinal stairway to BCS heaven while Boise State succumbed to TCU in their own blue, blue haven. Both teams were favored, both played at home and both lost.

This was after the Big Ten self-destructed.

Zultan was reeling like a drunken sailor clinging to the mast during a hurricane. Purdue upset Ohio State, Penn State, of course, fell to Nebraska—the piece de resistance, however, was Iowa’s fall to Michigan State at home.

Mom is still in full denial, pretending that the game has not started. She sits in her little chair in front of the television watching the test pattern. It is an old, old TV. Sad, very sad.

So are you ready for week 12?  There are only a couple of weeks left in the regular season, so click here to make your picks.  A word of caution—whatever team you think is going to win in the Big Ten—pick the opposite.

Game 1: Minnesota Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten)

Northwestern (5-5, 2-4) needs one more win to become “bowl eligible.” You can bet the Wildcats believe that this game against Minnesota (2-8, 1-5) will give them that final push over the top. At this point in the season, Minnesota is just playing for pride and progress. Although the Gophers are improving, they will not overcome Northwestern in Evanston.

Pick Northwestern to win at home.

Game 2: Indiana Hoosiers at (15) Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten)

After defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium, all Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) has to do is win out to find themselves in the first Big Ten Championship game on December 3. That means no let down when Indiana (1-9, 0-6) comes calling on Saturday in East Lansing. To say Indiana is struggling this year is a vast understatement. The Spartans should handle the Hoosiers handily. But then—will they?

Pick Michigan State to win at home.

Game 3: (16) Nebraska Cornhuskers at (18) Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten)

After escaping Penn State last Saturday, Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) must travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan (8-2, 5-1). While the Cornhuskers got a good bounce last weekend, they probably will not be so lucky in week twelve.

Michigan has improved exponentially on defense over last season—meaning that the Wolverines should be able to contain the Nebraska running game. Zultan going without the crystal ball crutch, feels strongly that the Wolverines will bite the Cornhuskers hard.

Pick Michigan to win at home.

Game 4: (17) Wisconsin Badgers at Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten)

Wisconsin (8-2, 4-2) seems to have righted their ship—which slipped off course during weeks eight and nine when the Badgers lost consecutively to Michigan State and Ohio State on the road.  Both were final-second losses. But last week, Wisconsin settled into their familiar scoring routine against Minnesota, winning easily 42-13. This week the Badgers travel to Illinois to face the Fighting Illini (6-4, 2-4). Illinois is smarting after losing at home last weekend to Michigan 31-14. The Illini started the season undefeated ranked in the top 15 in the nation, but Illinois has lost their last four games and it looks like they will lose one more.

Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.

Game 5: Iowa Hawkeyes at Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten)

Wouldn’t you know it? Iowa (6-4, 3-3) must travel to Purdue (5-5, 3-3) to play the Boilermakers on their home field just when Purdue is peaking. The Boilermakers upset Ohio State last weekend 26-23 in overtime. Who knew?

Normally, this game would be an easy check mark on the Hawkeyes' schedule—but this is no longer the case because Danny Hope has his Boilers aiming for a bowl game for the first time since 2007. Purdue is good in 2011 and no longer a Big Ten patsy for any team.  Still, Iowa is the better team with more offense to offer up. Mom—this one’s for you.

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 6: (21) Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)

There is not much left to say about Penn State (8-2, 5-1) who lost their first Big Ten game last week to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The road is going to be a painful conclusion to what started as another solid Nittany Lion season.

Ohio State (6-4, 3-3) will not be in a forgiving mood after being outplayed and outscored by the Purdue Boilermakers last Saturday. The Buckeyes went down to defeat 23-26 in overtime. Ohio State will be looking to bounce back this week against a distracted Penn State squad.

Pick Ohio State to win at home.

Game 7: (13) Kansas State at (23) Texas (Big 12)

In this instance, the advantage of the higher ranked team, Kansas State (8-2, 5-2) over Texas (6-3, 3-3) is neutralized on the Longhorn’s home field. Last week, Kansas State hung on to win 53-50 in quadruple overtime in Manhattan. One thing Bill Snyder’s group never lost, however, was their poise.

Texas, on the other hand, was busy losing on the road to Missouri 5-17. The Longhorns did not score a touchdown throughout the game and that has not happened since 2004. But this week the game will be played in Austin, Texas at the Longhorn’s Memorial Stadium—their last home game of the season.  This one looks to be a defensive battle from start to finish and the team with the best offense will win by a touchdown.

Pick Kansas State to win on the road.

Game 8: (5) Oklahoma Sooners at (22) Baylor (Big 12)

Things in the BCS got really interesting after this past weekend. The Big 12 matchup between Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) and Baylor (6-3, 3-3) took on new significance because the Sooners certainly cannot afford another lapse before Oklahoma must face Oklahoma State on December 3.

Baylor will host the Sooners in Waco. The opportunity to knock off the No. 5 team in the nation would take some of the sting of disappointment out of a season which Baylor fans hoped would be considerably better for the Bears. The main problem for Baylor all year has been inconsistent play. The Bears will play well this Saturday—but not well enough to overcome the powerful Sooners.

Pick Oklahoma to win on the road.

Game 9:  USC Trojans at (4) Oregon Ducks (PAC 12)

The Oregon Ducks (9-1, 7-0) took back the bragging rights of the PAC 12 as well as the BCS inside track by upending the Stanford Cardinal inside Stanford Stadium 53-30. This weekend, the Ducks will host USC (8-2, 5-2) at Autzen Stadium in Eugene Oregon. The Trojans are ranked No. 18 by the AP—banned from post-season play.

While Oregon was dismantling Stanford, USC was crushing Washington 40-17. Southern Cal will arrive with only one thought—defeating the Oregon Ducks and they should make it very interesting.  But unless the Duck’s heads won’t fit in their helmets, Oregon should attend to business and keep their BCS Championship hopes alive.

Pick Oregon to win at home.

Game 10: (10) Boise State Broncos at San Diego State Aztecs

As the kick sailed wide right, Boise State (8-1, 3-1) watched their BCS title hopes run inevitably down the drain. The efforts of quarterback Kellen Moore aside, the Broncos lost in the fading moments of the game Saturday, once again victims of an errant kick. Such is life in college football.

This weekend, Boise State travels to San Diego to face the Aztecs (6-3, 3-2) in a Mountain West Conference contest.  Under normal circumstances the Broncos would be sure-footed and determined winners of this game; but, after their loss last weekend, you must wonder how Boise will bounce back after such a loss.

Pick Boise State to win on the road.

The Results from Week 11 (the Doomsday Hurrahs):

Despite his horrendous record in week eleven, only 17 of you did better than the Mighty Zultan. Still, it is hard to imagine anyone guessing that Boise State, Stanford and Ohio State would all lose—so those with only two losses are highly intelligent beings probably beamed in from another solar system.

Welcome to Earth, brothers.

To the rest of you, Kudos!!  You were better than the Big Z in week eleven.  Be sure to take part in week 12 because Zultan is going commando—without a crystal ball to back up his picks.

Scott Suntken – Minneapolis, MN
The Deto – Atlanta, GA

Patrick Elliott – Ottumwa, IA
Ryan Gott – Newton, IA
John Zortman – Phoenix, AZ

Jason Armstrong – Iowa City, IA
Jason Brown – Hampshire, IL
John Darland, Jr. – Cedar Falls, IA
John Fraenkel – San Francisco, CA
Michael Hall – Andrews, TX
Mike Lindsay – Fairfax, VA
John O’Deen – Cedar Rapids, IA
Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI
Chris Seberg – New Brighton, MN
Steve Stalhut – Red Oak, TX
Carl Stine – Kingman, AZ
Brett Wright – Monona, IA

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast for Week 11.

Who knew such an exciting football game could be so boring? When Alabama hosted LSU last Saturday, not one touchdown was scored.  You call that a football game?

It was like watching soccer for the Big Zzzzzz...oops, dozed off again. Just remembering how Zultan tried to stay awake until the last of five “field goals” spiraled through the uprights—whew, a real defensive struggle.

If only Alabama had won the coin toss—now that would have been exciting!

Still Zultan missed the final score and went down to defeat, along with many of you.  And now I hear pundits demanding to see the same game again at the end of the season—or LSU vs. Alabama, Part 2, the BCS Championship Game.

Pah-leeze!  Once is quite enough, thank you very much.

The big shocker of the day was one nobody saw coming—the Northwestern Wildcats defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Who knew?  Certainly no one on this planet.

The only Big Red stampede came at the end of the game when Cornhusker fans stormed the exits. They were not humming “Whatever Bo-Pa Wants,” either as they fumed out with little puffs of smoke coming from their ears.

There were nine who guessed better than Zultan in week ten. Zultan posted an 8-2 record, missing on LSU and Northwestern. This week, however, looks like a supreme test despite the fact that Zultan has received his new crystal ball via the OverLook Brothers.

Click here to make your picks and see if this is finally the week you reign supreme over the the all-seeing seer by outguessing him on the following selected games listed below.  Not much time is left in the regular 2011 season, so join in the fun today.  Zultan will feature you in his next column if you surpass him in picks.

Game 1: Rice Owls at Northwestern Wildcats [Big Ten]

Northwestern (4-5, 2-4) has spent much of this season in planes, trains and on buses. No doubt, the Wildcats are road weary but elated after upsetting the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln last Saturday 28-25. It has to be the pinnacle win of their season—especially after losing five football contests in a row.  Now Northwestern gets to end the season with three home games. Coach Pat Fitzgerald will make sure that the Wildcats do not suffer a letdown, overlooking the Rice Owls (3-6, 2-4) who will invade Evanston on November 12. Rice is a member of Conference USA with a losing record—so Northwestern will be ready to win big.

Pick Northwestern to win at home.

Game 2: Ohio State Buckeyes at Purdue Boilermakers [Big Ten]

The thing about Purdue (4-5, 2-3) is that this year they are pretty good—no longer the doormat of the Big Ten. Purdue has been playing solid football all season and the Boilers have enjoyed some success—including upsetting then-ranked Illinois at West Lafayette in week seven. But last weekend, Purdue was the punching bag for the Wisconsin Badgers who had suffered two-in-a-row last minute losses. The Badgers pummeled the Boilers 62-17. This week, expect Purdue to be competitive but not successful against the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2) in Columbus.

Pick Ohio State to win at home.

Game 3: (19) Nebraska Cornhuskers at (12) Penn State Nittany Lions [Big Ten]

Nebraska will be reeling after losing at home to the Northwestern Wildcats. Probably the worst place for the Huskers to be playing on Saturday will be in Happy Valley, facing a Penn State team under siege. The Nittany Lions are dealing with a tidal wave sexual abuse scandal about to engulf Joe Paterno. The question remains—how will Paterno and his coaching staff deflect the anger and outrage directed at the Penn State coaching staff over actions committed by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky?  For the Cornhuskers, their task will be to focus on the game, on moving the ball against one of the stingiest defenses they will face all season. This one is tough even without the distractions.  Will Penn State stand up and fight back or will they just fade away...

Pick Penn State to win at home.

Game 4: (17) Michigan State Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes [Big Ten]

Last year Iowa played their best game of the season against Michigan State in Iowa City. Through a lucky happenstance, Iowa once again faces the Spartans at home in Kinnick Stadium. Last week the Hawkeyes upended the Michigan Wolverines in Kinnick, glad to be back in front of the rollicking home crowd. At the same time, Michigan State barely managed to put down a pesky Minnesota squad in East Lansing.  Zultan acknowledges that the Big Ten is the most schizophrenic conference in the country. Who knows what will lurk in the hearts of the Hawkeyes on Saturday?  Mom says—go with the Hawkeyes—or else!

Pick the Hawkeyes to win at home.

Game 5: (24) Michigan Wolverines at Illinois Fighting Illini [Big Ten]

Michigan (7-2, 3-2) will be trying to snap back after a mammoth road loss in Iowa City last Saturday.  Meanwhile the Fighting Illini (6-3, 2-3) had the weekend off to prepare for the Wolverines who must travel to Champaign this coming weekend. No doubt, Illinois will be seeking revenge for their triple overtime loss 65-67 in Ann Arbor in 2010. Both teams field outstanding quarterbacks with Denard Robinson in the pocket for Michigan and Nathan Scheelhaase leading the Illini attack. Zultan feels that Illinois will go tit for tat—winning their first six games, then losing their next five—maybe six— depending on the growth of Minnesota over their last three games.

Pick Michigan to win on the road.

Game 6: (18) Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers [Big Ten]

This will not be the tea party that the Badgers (7-2, 3-2) envisioned at the beginning of the Big Ten season when they looked ahead at playing Minnesota (2-7, 1-4) in November. That is because Minnesota has grown a backbone and injected some real starch in their defense. This is, however, Wisconsin and even though the Badgers lost two games in a row on last second heroics by Michigan State and Nebraska—Wisconsin is the best team in the Big Ten. (Okay, Mom. Yes, Iowa is better - (rolls eyes). 

Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.

Game 7: (16) Texas Longhorns at  Missouri Tigers [Big 12]

So far Texas (6-2, 3-2) has lost to the state of Oklahoma in their drive back to the top of the Big 12 rankings. In the conference, the Longhorns have defeated Iowa State, Kansas and Texas Tech. Mack Brown has Texas playing improved ball in 2011. In the meantime, while Texas might have the pollsters buffaloed, Zultan does not believe that Gary Pinkel and the Missouri Tigers (4-5, 2-4) are fooled.  Mizzou likes the home fires and they love the challenge.

Pick Missouri to win at home.

Game 8:(7) Oregon Ducks at (4) Stanford Cardinal [PAC 12]

This is the Big Game in week eleven of the college football season. The top two teams in the PAC 12 head into Stanford to fight it out for PAC 12 North honors. Stanford (9-0, 7-0) play hosts to the Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0) on Saturday night. While the game may not live up to the intensity of the LSU vs Alabama game of last weekend—you can bet that you will at least see some touchdowns scored in this one!  Stanford, unbeaten, needs to stay that way for a chance to play in the BCS title game. Oregon has already played LSU and lost in convincing fashion. This game is for all the PAC 12 marbles and West Coast respect. Too bad Jim Harbaugh is coaching the 49ers. The Cardinal could use him this week. Regardless...

Pick Stanford to win at home.

Game 9: TCU at (5) Boise State [Mountain West Conference]

It is hard to get a read on Boise State (8-0, 3-0) because the Broncos are not a member of a major conference. Most of their season finds Boise pitted against mediocre talent at best. But TCU (7-2, 4-0), who played in the Rose Bowl last season and defeated the Wisconsin Badgers will prove to be one of the tougher tests for Blue Boise. Both teams hail out of the Mountain West Conference with both yearning to escape to bigger conference settings, offering more opportunity to rise in the polls and be recognized. Boise started the year by defeating No. 19 Georgia out of the SEC. Since then, the Broncos have not been tested. TCU lost to both Baylor and SMU, proving they are not quite the team they were a year ago.

Pick Boise State to win at home.

Game 10: (20) Auburn at (15) Georgia [SEC]

Georgia (7-2, 5-1) has won their last seven games in a row after losing the first two against Boise State and South Carolina—but none of their wins have been against ranked teams. Auburn (6-3, 4-2), on the other hand, has played much better at home than on the road. The Tigers did, however, beat South Carolina on the road while Georgia lost to Gamecocks at home. Confusing teams to analyze. Zultan, in consulting his new crystal ball, however, sees victory for the Bulldogs.

Pick Georgia to win at home.

The Results from week ten:

So a handful of you managed to pick LSU; but Zultan bets his old Mom that none of you picked Northwestern over Nebraska!  Ah, well. You live by the sword and you die by the sword in the prognosticating game.

There were nine who stood above the rest, almost perfect, but not quite.  Hip, hip hooray!  Let’s give it up for the nine who knew!

Next week, Zultan feels a shift in the force. Perhaps it is the new crystal ball or perhaps it has to do with an injustice in Happy Valley. Zultan awaits word, praying that his new crystal ball did not give him false images of winners of upcoming football contests.

In the meantime, join in the fun.  The season is almost over.

9-1 Winners:
Larry Cossman Jr. – Parkersburg, WV
Guy Davis – Iowa City, IA
Ken Gleichman – West Des Moines, IA
J.A. Greer – Boulder, CO
Brandon Heitsch – Columbus, OH
Ken Light – Des Moines, IA
Carl Paisley – Roland, IA
Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI
Dean Studt – Melbourne, FL

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Predictions: Week 10

When Mom and her Harley-biker buddies returned from their road trip to Minneapolis last Saturday, she drop kicked Zultan’s crystal ball into the Iowa River, cursing his “so-called psychic abilities.”

Mom takes these Hawkeye defeats very hard. She has refused to fix lunch for the all-seeing one for the two past days.

The truth is that an enormous cosmic upheaval wreaked havoc in the Big Ten where it became impossible to win on the road unless you wore the imprint of a wildcat on your helmet. Most of Zultan’s Big Ten predictions went haywire caused by churning cosmic forces ruling gridirons last Saturday.

That is my story. I am sticking to it. You cannot prove otherwise.

In the meantime hordes of you (24) took this opportunity to pile on the Zultan while he was down. It was that Nebraska game that did Zultan in. Zultan has decided that the Cornhuskers will be his biggest trial in 2011 just like Auburn was in 2010.

Zultan has ordered a new crystal ball from Forecasters Anonymous, Inc. but it will not arrive in time for him to make this week’s prognostications. It is conceivable, therefore, that you may have your best opportunity to outguess the all-seeing seer. He is just like you this week—a mere mortal with limited mental capacity.

So click here to make your picks and we will see mano a mano who is the best at predicting winners in upcoming week No. 10 in college football.

Game 1: [Big Ten] Minnesota Gophers at (17) Michigan State Spartans

Now that the Gophers [2-6, 1-3] have ruined the 2011 season for the Iowa Hawkeyes (see, Mom, I do care), Minnesota may have enough confidence to win another game—but probably not at home against a smarting Michigan State team [6-2, 3-1] playing after a lackluster exhibition in Lincoln last Saturday.

Michigan State saw their chances for the Big Ten championship game shot to smithereens by the Nebraska Cornhuskers as Kirk Cousins was bound, tied and gagged in the pocket. Zultan is sure that the Spartans will not be happy hosts when the happy Gophers show up to play ball next Saturday.

Pick: Michigan State to win at home.

Game 2: [Big Ten] Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes

Zultan shudders to think that the Big Bad Buckeyes [5-3, 2-2] are struggling back to life. Ohio State put a muzzle on Wisconsin last Saturday, awarding the Badgers its second consecutive defeat in October. For the season, road trips have not been fun for Wisconsin because facing unpleasant opposing fans sitting in strange stadiums slowed Wisconsin’s trips to the end zone In both East Lansing and Columbus.

It pleases Ohio State fans that the Buckeyes are home again—welcoming in the yet-to-win-a-Big-Ten-game Indiana football team [1-8, 0-5].  Sorry, Hoosiers, you will not win one here. Better luck next week.

Pick Ohio State to win at home.

Game 3: [Big Ten] (15) Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes

Yes—Michigan [7-1, 3-1] has only one loss and that loss came to the only ranked team the Wolverines have faced this year. Michigan State defeated Michigan in a game in East Lansing during week seven of the college football season. Last week Coach Brady Hoke ratcheted up the intensity by urging his team to play old-fashioned Michigan football against Purdue—running the ball for 339 yards and playing stern defense.

Iowa [5-3, 2-2], on the other hand, was bumbling and fumbling the ball away—losing a game they never should have lost. The Hawkeyes won the stat contest but lost the game as they missed two field goals and turned the ball over in the red zone. Iowa’s inability to recover the ball when Minnesota gambled on a onside kick to regain possession after scorning in the fourth quarter was the final and most horrendous error on an afternoon filled with miscues by the Hawkeyes.

This week against Michigan, Mom will only allow the Big Z to pick the Hawkeyes— otherwise Zultan will be launched like the crystal ball into the Iowa River.

Pick Iowa to win at home in a major upset.

Game 4: [Big Ten] Northwestern Wildcats at (10) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Okay—Nebraska [7-1, 3-1] at home against an unranked team.  No problem. But this Northwestern team [3-5, 1-4] has special powers.

When Northwestern traveled to Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers, they were the only Big Ten road team in Week 9 to win. Zultan discovered too late that it was dangerous to travel last Saturday—except if you had nothing to lose and everything to win.

This week, however, the Wildcats have no special dispensation to be spared. Northwestern must travel into Lincoln, the home of the hatchet and Big Red hoopla.

Nebraska survived their horrendous schedule, Part I and now get a brief reprieve before heading out on the road to face Penn State and Michigan. But, Cornhuskers, beware. It would be a mistake to overlook this Northwestern team. They can score fast and furious if you don’t shut them down early.  Still let’s be real about this.

Pick Nebraska to win at home.

Game 5: [Big Ten] Purdue Boilermakers at (20) Wisconsin Badgers

Purdue [4-4, 2-2] has proven itself a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron after upsetting Illinois in West Lafayette in week seven. It was the first loss of the season for the Fighting Illini. Last week the Boilermakers did NOT do the same to Michigan. The Wolverine defense pretty much shut Purdue down while the Michigan offense ran over the Boilers for 535 yards on Saturday.

Wisconsin [6-2, 2-2], on the other hand, suffered its second last-play-of-the-game upset in two consecutive Saturdays as the Badgers fell to the Buckeyes in Columbus. Luck has not been a Badger—at night.  But this week, Wisconsin plays in the full daylight!

Pick Wisconsin to win at home.

Game 6: [SEC] (1) LSU Tigers at (2) Alabama Crimson Tide

The BIG Game. The Game for all the marbles in the SEC—and in the BCS.  The No. 1 ranked LSU Tigers must journey to Tuscaloosa to face their arch rivals the No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The all-important game will be broadcast on CBS at night. Both teams are 8-0, 5-0 in the SEC.

So who will win? Both teams will be primed and pumped, ready to do battle to the death on the fabled gridiron. There is not much to say about this game except - Wow! The advantage must go to Alabama because they will be playing the game on their home field.

Pick Alabama to win at home.

Game 7: [Big 12] (14) Kansas State Wildcats at (3) Oklahoma State Cowboys

Whew, the Oklahoma Sooners put a seismic hex on Kansas State [7-1, 4-1] last weekend. Was it for real? The Wildcats felt every single minute of their defeat up close and personal. losing 58-17 at home—no less.

While the Wildcats have a very good team, they are not on a par with the Sooners nor will they be with the high-scoring Oklahoma State Cowboys [8-0, 5-0] who trounced the Baylor Bears 59-24 last Saturday.

Week 10 will see Kansas State undergo another beating—this time on the road in Stillwater. It would be Bill Snyder’s most magnificent coaching accomplishment if he can contain the Cowboy offense with stingy defense and keep Oklahoma State off the field by running the ball. Can he do it? No.

Pick Oklahoma State to win at home.

Game 8: [Big 12] Texas A&M Aggies at (6) Oklahoma Sooners

After losing in overtime to the unranked Missouri Tigers in College Station last weekend, Texas A&M fell out of the BCS rankings. You had to know that Missouri was going to stand up and beat some top ranked team sooner or later. This happened to be the week Missouri put it all together.

The Oklahoma Sooners [7-1, 4-1], however, were not tested by a higher ranked Kansas State team which proved once again that the whole ranking system is highly subjective and fallible. At best, rankings prove only approximation as to who might be best.

Pick Oklahoma to win at home. 

Game 9: [SEC] (9) South Carolina Gamecocks at (7) Arkansas Razorbacks

While both of these teams have suffered one loss on the season, Arkansas [7-1, 3-1] has faced three ranked teams, losing to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. South Carolina [7-1, 5-1], on the other hand, has not faced any team ranked at the time they played. The Gamecocks single loss came at home against Auburn.

While South Carolina leads the SEC East standings, Arkansas sits in third place in the SEC West. But, the SEC West is the toughest division in all of college football with half of its members in the BCS top ten and four out of six in the BCS top 25.

Pick Arkansas to win at home.

Game 10: [PAC 12] (8) Oregon Ducks at Washington Huskies

Oregon [7-1, 5-0] lost its first game of the year to the LSU Tigers. Since then, the Ducks have met only one other ranked team, Arizona State. The Ducks won that encounter 41-27 in Eugene. By the same token, Washington [6-2, 4-1] has lost to both Nebraska and Stanford on the road—both highly ranked.

This Saturday’s contest in Seattle will pit the No. 2 team in the PAC 12 North against the  team ranked No. 3 in that division. After getting off to a slow start last Saturday against Washington State, Oregon will need to establish their offense much quicker against the Huskies. Shaking off the rest of the rust, the Oregon offense will be too much for Washington to contain.

Pick Oregon to win on the road.

The Results from Week 9:

It was a very bad week for the all-seeing seer, as Michigan State came undone, Iowa tripped over the finish line, the Badgers failed to hold the line and Clemson laid down and died.  Dozens of you did better than the Big Z—so Kudos to the masses!

Jeff Edgar – Grimes, IA

Joel Courtney – Waukon, IA
Todd Melvin – Burlington, IA
John O’Deen – Cedar Rapids, IA
Jeremy Schellpeper – Columbia, SC

Craig Bancroft – Coralville, IA
Russell Brown – Henderson, NV
Craig Fudge – Woodbury, MN
Dave Garvin – Philomath, OR
Roger Gostnell – Rolling Prairie, IN
Ryan Gott – Newton, IA
Chris Humpherys – Tampa, FL
Gary Karr – Noblesville, IN
David Light – Des Moines, IA
Mikey Nezz – Palo Alto, IA
Carl Paisley – Roland, IA
Ryan Sparrow – Channahon, IL
Steve Stahlhut – Glenn Heights, TX
Rick “Turk” Steffens – Wilton, IA
Carl Stine – Kingman, AZ
Eric Stipp – Dublin, OH
Dean Studt – Melbourne, FL
Scott Suntken – Minneapolis, MN
Curtis Thomas – Bloomfield, IA

Without his crystal ball this week (laying at the bottom of the Iowa River) Zultan has been forced to rely on his own puny prognosticating powers.  This is your chance to shine - so join in the fun.  Let Zultan hear from you this week!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Predictions: Week 9

When the sun finally set last Saturday, a couple of towering BCS Top Ten gridiron stars crashed and burned while entering the oh-no-zone of the once-beaten.

The Michigan State Spartans blew Wisconsin’s national championship chances  out of the water while Texas Tech did the same thing to Oklahoma.

Zultan who had picked Wisconsin to defeat the Spartans found himself facing loss number two last weekend as the “Hail Mary” pass by Cousins ricocheted the quarterback into unending Spartan glory.

Earlier in the day came loss number one. The all-seeing seer also failed to realize that Illinois would arrive in West Lafayette without any clout—with barely a smidgeon of stuffing left after being run over by the Buckeyes the week before. The Illini managed some scoring in the fourth quarter but it was too little too late, trailing 21-0.  Purdue hammered home some pride, winning this game for the home crowd.

As Zultan stirs from his weekly trance, he finds the Big Ten settled firmly in the middle of the pack in BCS rankings with only five of the 12 teams ranked.  Illinois fell out of the top 25 after suffering two losses in a row. The overachieving SEC takes over the top two spots until LSU and Alabama meet on November 5.

Only two brave souls scored better than Zultan in week eight. This week the all-seeing Zultan has more tough contests to predict as he stares into his crystal ball, awaiting clarity. Reaching for perfection, this may be the week for you to finally outguess the Mighty Zultan. Click here to make your choices and see if your prognosticating powers are greater than Zultan’s.

Game 1: (11) Michigan State Spartans at (14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten)

Can the Michigan State Spartans (6-1, 3-0) continue their gridiron surge and sweep away the dusty Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1) in Lincoln? Or will their octane levels dip below sea-level when their “Hail Mary” win over Wisconsin overrides adequate preparation for a determined Nebraska squad?

Zultan says that this is the ultimate Big Ten matchup in Week 9. It will give the winner a leg up in the race to win the “Legends” Division. While Nebraska is favored at home, you have to look at the bottom line in this contest. Here you have two teams with crushing defenses and often mediocre offenses. If the same Michigan State shows up in Lincoln as the one that played at home in East Lansing last weekend against the Wisconsin Badgers, the Cornhuskers will be shucked, ground underfoot and sent back down to make silage.  The question is—which Michigan State team will appear?

Pick Michigan State on the road.

Game 2: Northwestern Wildcats at Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten)

The winless Big Ten Northwestern Wildcats (2-5, 0-4) travel to Bloomington to face a fellow bottom-dweller—the Indiana Hoosiers (1-7, 0-4).

Earlier this year Zultan saw great things for the Northwestern team with the return of Dan Persa at quarterback; but, the Wildcat defense has proven too porous and opposing defenses have shut down the Northwestern offense in the second half. It is suggested that Persa may be sidelined this coming week. That is not a good prospect especially in the Hoosiers’ backyard.

Indiana seems to be improving. The Hoosiers start out well but also tend to fade in the second half. Kevin Wilson, however, has created an offense that is beginning to click. This may be an opportunity for the Hoosiers to get their first Big Ten win. Close but no cigar!

Pick Northwestern to win on the road.  

Game 3: Purdue Boilermakers at (18)Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten)

Did Danny Hope and the Boilermakers (4-3, 2-1) make a statement in week eight of the gridiron season or what? That course correction may have salvaged Purdue’s season and Hope’s career in West Lafayette. This week, however, the Boilers travel to well-rested Michigan (6-1, 2-1) with the hope of continuing their new winning ways.

Michigan had a bye week which was needed to regroup after losing to Michigan State 28-14 in week seven. Normally, the Wolverines would welcome Purdue in, licking their chops, ready to roll. But this Purdue team is coming off a big upset and they will face Michigan with renewed vigor. Still, the Wolverines should prevail.

Pick Michigan to win at home.

Game 4: Illinois Fighting Illini at (19) Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten)

Whew! What happened to the Illini (6-2, 2-2), losing two in a row after such a sterling start of the season? Life will not improve as Illinois travels to Happy Valley to face Big Ten perfect Penn State (7-1, 4-0).

While the Nittany Lions continue to win ugly—nonetheless, Penn State wins. That said—the Lions will add to the Illini woes by defeating them in Happy Valley.  Legendary Coach Paterno will lead his team onto the gridiron once again, adding to his legacy and improving the fortunes of the Lions in the tightly contested “Leaders” division.

Pick Penn State to win at home.

Game 5: Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Gophers (Big Ten)

The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2, 2-1) take a ride up Interstate 35 to meet the practically winless Minnesota Gophers (1-6, 0-3) in Minneapolis.

Last year, of course, Iowa lost to the Gophers in Minneapolis—the finale of the Black and Gold Swoon Song. The Hawkeyes faded gracelessly out of the 2010 regular season.

There is, however, no way the Hawkeyes will be taking the Gophers for granted this year. The “darkhorse” Hawkeyes will be looking to win back the Floyd of Rosedale trophy Minnesota took away last year.  Iowa will return the bronze pig to Iowa City in 2011.

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 6: (15) Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)

Hmmm. How will the mighty Badgers (6-1, 2-1) react to defeat? Will the improving Buckeyes (4-3, 1-2) be able to capitalize at home? This is, perhaps, the most interesting contest of week nine in the Big Ten. Under normal circumstances it would have been “The Contest” of the season.  Even now, it is a puzzler.

Will the Badgers find a way back into the winners circle? Wisconsin must be wounded, especially considering their special teams play last weekend. On the other hand, the Buckeyes have not performed up to par on offense and this state of affairs remains unacceptable to the Buckeye faithful. Even with Dan Herron back, the offense will sputter.  Zultan sees the Badgers righting their ship and continuing on their quest to capture the helm in the “Leaders” Division race.

Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.

Game 7: (9)Oklahoma Sooners at (8) Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12)

Will the newly “whopped” Sooners (6-1, 3-1) be able to bounce back and trounce Kansas State (7-0, 4-0) in Manhattan (Kansas)?  The crystal ball reveals to Zultan that the Sooners will be smarting from their defeat at the hands of Texas Tech in Norman.  The next man standing in their way is Bill Snyder leading the undefeated Kansas State Wildcats onto the gridiron.

Nobody, including the Mighty Seer, predicted the return to glory of Kansas State, whose stingy defense and competent offense have kept them in the ranks of the undefeated so far in 2011. That has been a huge surprise. Which team has the most potential and talent? Without a doubt, it is Oklahoma. But will they rise to the occasion in Week 9?  Zultan says yes.

Pick Oklahoma to win on the road.

Game 8: (6) Stanford Cardinal at USC Trojans (PAC 12)

The lowly downtrodden but potent USC Trojans (6-1, 3-1) will welcome in the saintly Stanford Cardinal (7-0, 5-0) who are lording it over the rest of the PAC 12. Stanford, led by Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck, has been winning big all season long and even though the Trojans may wish to knock them off at home, the task will be well-nigh impossible.

Although, after this past weekend, we have all learned that you must win on field and not just in the press.  This is why we play the game.  Even though Southern Cal has a lot to prove, the Trojans will not prove it against the Cardinal.

Pick Stanford to win on the road.

Game 9: (5) Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Bulldogs (ACC)

Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2) will host the red hot Clemson Tigers (8-0, 5-0) out of the ACC, a conference whose rebirth out of obscurity is still being questioned. Georgia Tech, who won their first six games out of the block, stumbled the last two weeks against Virginia and then against Miami at home. The future, according to the all-seeing one, does not look promising for the Yellow Jackets.

The triple option is being dissected and absorbed by opposing defenses as the season wears on. Expect the Tigers to figure that out very fast, remaining firmly ensconced in the ranks of the undefeated.

Pick Clemson to win on the road.

Game 10: Baylor Bears at (3) Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12)

Baylor (4-2, 1-2 ) will travel to Stillwater to face Big 12 foe Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0). Many expected Missouri to give the Cowboys more of a struggle during week eight. But the Tigers barely slowed down Oklahoma State on their way to the goal line.

Baylor’s problems lie not with their offense, led by former Heisman hopeful Robert Griffin, but with their defense which has not been able to keep pace with the more highly-powered offenses the Bears have faced the past two weeks.  The Bears also will not be able to stop the Cowboys in week nine.

Pick Oklahoma State at home.

The results from week eight:

There were only two who did better than Zultan’s 8-2 last Saturday.  These two gents both hail from out West where the cosmic forces are more potent.  Congrats, guys!


Russell Brown - Henderson, NV

Larry Olsen - Boise, ID

We are coming up on the last weekend in October. The end of the season looms on the horizon.  Don’t miss out on your opportunity to go nose to nose with the mighty Zultan.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Zultan's Fearless College Football Predictions: Week Eight

The planets aligned almost perfectly for the Mighty Zultan this past week as the all-seeing seer did his best prognosticating so far in the 2011 season. Going eight for ten, Zultan was bested by only six who had astrological influences that outweighed Big Z’s crystal ball.
Zultan is pleased to report that Mom is out of the “Home” and back on the front porch after Iowa took care of the always dangerous Northwestern foes. This week Mom is serving hot Hoosier ham, in honor of the Big Game in Iowa City.
It seems that “travel” in the Big Ten is recommended in Week 8 for most teams. Zultan also sees an abundance of Fat Cats skirting the gridirons, waiting for a chance to pounce.
Those who surpassed Zultan in week seven will be listed at the end of the article where the all-seeing seer will sing their praises. 

If you wish to test your prognosticating skills against the mighty Zultan as we head into college football’s week eight, click here  to make your selections. See if you can scale the heights and outguess the Big Z who sees “all” with the aid of his trusty crystal ball.
Game 1: Big Ten Indiana Hoosiers (1-6, 0-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1)
Because Iowa was able to get the “Wildcats” off  their backs, the Hawkeyes will be ready to hunker down and send the Hoosiers home, feeling a bit used and unsettled.  The next few games look very manageable for the high flying Hawks. New Hoosier Head Coach Kevin Wilson will learn that life in the Big Ten can be very cruel and unforgiving. 
Pick Iowa at home.

Game 2:  Big Ten (23) Illinois Illini (6-1, 2-1) at Purdue Boilermakers ( 3-3, 1-1)
Oops, the Illini got stomped by a herd of Buckeyes last Saturday. The Ohio State game plan harkened back to the days of yore when an angry bespectacled man ran along the Ohio State sidelines urging three yards and a cloud of dust. Ohio State upset formerly undefeated Illinois 17-7. Last weekend, Purdue, too, had to face a suffocating Penn State defense that held the Boilers in check just enough for the Lions to win the game 23-18. It did not help Purdue that their special teams went into a trance and forgot how to perform needed tasks. Illinois will regain their equilibrium in week eight.
Pick Illinois on the road.

Game 3:  Big Ten (13) Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1, 1-1) at Minnesota Gophers (1-5, 0-2)
Both the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Minnesota Gophers had the week off. Nebraska escaped a drubbing by the Ohio State Buckeyes the weekend before while Minnesota continued to be assaulted on the playing field—this time by the Purdue Boilermakers 45-17 on the road. 

There is not much hope to offer the Gophers except maybe a bolt of lightening to strike twice, canceling proceedings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. This season will be pure agony for Minnesota. Zultan sees no end of suffering.
Pick Nebraska on the road.

Game 4: Big Ten (21) Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1, 0-3) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-4, 0-3)

Isn’t it time for the great Cats of Northwestern to sharpen those claws and tear up the opposition?  Zultan sees a large cat flying through the air; but, it could just as well be a Lion. The details are fuzzy. In the meantime, Dan Persa scrambles for his life under attack while the Northwestern defense sits down for a rest in the second half. It could be a very long season for the Wildcats treed this time by the King of the jungle.
Pick Penn State on the road.

Game 5:  Big Ten (6) Wisconsin Badgers (6-0, 2-0) at (16) Michigan State Spartans (5-1, 2-0)
This upcoming contest in East Lansing is for all the marbles in the Big Ten. So far this season Michigan State has embarrassed Nebraska and Michigan with a defense so stingy they make Scrooge look like Santa. To date, however, the Spartan defense has not had to track down and tackle trucks. Such is the power of the Wisconsin running backs. The onus on Saturday will fall to the Michigan State defense to see if they can contain the ground-eating badgers. This is because the Michigan State offense has only managed to score just enough points to win. Kirk Cousins and company has not shined so far this season and in order to win on Saturday, they must sparkle like diamonds.
Pick Wisconsin on the road.

Game 6: SEC (20) Auburn Tigers (5-2, 3-1) at (1) LSU Tigers (7-0, 4-0) 
It is SEC against SEC and tiger versus tiger. But this time for sure, Zultan figures, Auburn cannot win. This time the pin-striped tiger must go down to defeat on the road in Death Valley. The hard cold signs are clear. 

LSU wishes to right the wrong they feel they  endured last season. The only danger is over-confidence. Being ranked No. 1 by the BCS may swell LSU heads but Les Miles and his staff will not allow that to happen. 

There will be plenty of motivation after losing to Auburn last year for this Tiger team to rise up and strike back.
Pick LSU to win at home.

Game 7: PAC 12 (25) Washington Huskies (5-1, 3-0) at (7) Stanford Cardinal (6-0, 4-0)
What is a cardinal, Zultan inquires? Not a bird but a color, he is told How very erudite the Big Z concludes— but what else would you expect from Stanford, after all?  They are scholars and they play great football even though Jim Harbaugh has departed to lead the 49ers. Andrew Luck who may win the coveted Heisman Trophy remains in the pocket for the Cardinal and he has led Stanford to 14 straight college football wins. Despite the success of the Washington Huskies and their rise to be ranked, they will fall on Saturday, giving the Cardinal 15 in a row.
Pick Stanford at home.

Game 8: Big 12 (4) Oklahoma State Cowboys at Missouri Tigers (3-3, 1-2)
If the No. 4-ranked Cowboys are for real, they will win this game on the road at Missouri. But rest assured, this will be no gimme game for Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys have a great offensive show, their defense is lacking and that will come back to bite them when they least wish it. Missouri may not have the weapons to shut down the Oklahoma State offense but the Tigers offense might find some room to run themselves.  Missouri will make it very interesting; but close is no cigar.
Pick Oklahoma State on the road.

Game 9:  ACC (22) Georgia Tech Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1) at Miami Hurricanes (3-3, 1-2)
For Miami—when they are good, they are very, very good and when they were bad, they were horrid...at least in the beginning. But the Golden Hurricanes are getting better, it seems, with each and every outing. Last week they choked out a win over North Carolina while the Georgia Tech triple option sputtered and died against Virginia.  A good defense against the running attack of Georgia Tech can render this team one-dimensional.
Pick Miami to win at home.
Game 10 SEC (9) Arkansas Razorbacks (5-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss Rebels (2-4, 0-3)

Even playing the game at home, Ole Miss will not be favored to win. The Rebels are coming off a dismantling by Alabama last week and so far Ole Miss remains winless in SEC play. It has not been a good season so far for the Rebels. The assembly line of quarterbacks who have tried to lead the Rebels have been fairly ineffective so far. Arkansas, ranked in the top ten will not let Ole Miss off the hook in this contest.  Even losing one game to Alabama—the Hogs are ranked in the top ten.
Pick Arkansas to win on the road.

The Results from Week 7:

Then there were six. Six guys who managed to do better than the mighty Zultan in week seven. You have to admit that these are very special football pundits to outwit the mighty Zultan.  Let’s hear it for the guys and see if they are back next week!  
Brandon Heitsch - Columbus, OH
Eric Stipp - Dublin, OH
Ryan Gott - Newton, IA
Ken Ripp - Eau Claire, WI
James Ware - Charlottesville, VA
Jason Brown - Hampshire, IL