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."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Big Ten Plus College Football Predictions: Week 2 of Zultan's Fearless Forecast

September 7, 2010

Zultan should be very humble after Week 1 of his vaunted football predictions.

He was tempted to supersede his All-Seeing Powers and was punished for his arrogance. He became human, sad to say...

The NCAA football gods, therefore, struck him down. Hordes of you outguessed Zultan, who quivers in shame and humiliation with a mere 10-4 record in Week 1.

The mighty one has learned two valuable lessons in predicting the outcome of football contests.
(1) When in doubt in projected close contests, always pick the home team. For example, do not pick Connecticut to overcome Michigan in Big Blue’s house, or Purdue to get the best of the Irish in South Bend no matter how much the crystal ball tempts you.
    (2) Also always make sure that the team you select is going to be playing––Zultan did not realize that half of the North Carolina team would be sitting on the sidelines when he made his ill-fated prediction
    that NC would win this contest.

    Besides that, the Gophers have always been a thorn in the side of the all-seeing one.

    So now you think Zultan is an easy mark. If so, try him again this week and learn your lesson as Zultan did––the hard way!

    Zultan senses redemption coming his way this week big time.  Pit your puny powers of prognostication against the mighty Zultan for a chance to win a prize.

    See the end of this prediction for a comprehensive list of all of you who smote the Zultan, scorched his crystal ball in Week 1. 

    Do the hokey-pokey one time around the room and come back for Week 2!

    Game 1: Illinois State Redbirds at Northwestern Wildcats

    The Northwestern Wildcats shot out to a 10-0 lead in a game of fumbles, miscues, and botched kicks, and managed to hang on to win their opener against Vanderbilt, escaping with a 23-21 advantage.

    It was a physical tussle, as Big Ten contests often are, with the Wildcats grabbing the win and heading quickly out of Nashville.

    This week, Northwestern gets to play Illinois State, who won their opening shootout in “Normal” against Central Missouri 55-54.

    This game was an offensive free-for-all, with the Redbirds scoring on a two-point conversion during the last two minutes of the game, giving them the win.

    So will the Redbirds be able to transfer their high-scoring offense when they travel to Northwestern this Saturday?

    Perhaps. But Zultan doubts the Northwestern defense is quite as porous as Central Missouri’s.

    Zultan says that Northwestern wins this one AT HOME.

    Game 2: South Dakota Coyotes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

    South Dakota traveled to Orlando to play the University of Central Florida for its opener last Saturday, where they lost 38-7.

    The Coyotes were not able to keep pace with the speed of their opponents, and never really threatened.
    The Minnesota Golden Gophers, however, managed to win their road contest against Middle Tennessee
    State 24-17––even though Zultan did not pick them to win.

    Wouldn't you know!

    Reviving their running game and bolstering their defense, the Gophers started their season with a big win on the road.

    By the end of Week 2, the Gophers will be 2-0 because they will knock off the South Dakota Coyotes at home.

    Game 3: San Jose State Spartans at (12) Wisconsin Badgers

    The University of Wisconsin Badgers took a trip to Las Vegas, but did not gamble away their opening salvo.

    With a persistent defense and a deadly running attack, the Badgers dominated the UNLV Running Rebels 41-21 during their opener last Saturday night.

    The defense, which was of concern before the game, came together and stifled the offensive efforts of the Rebels all night.

    For San Jose, playing in Madison could be a reprieve after facing the No. 1 ranked team in the nation during Week 1––Alabama. The Spartans of San Jose, behind new head coach Mike MacIntyre lost 48-3 in Tuscaloosa.

    Unfortunately for this San Jose team, who must be gluttons for punishment, they will suffer a similar fate in Madison, losing big as the Badgers return home to Camp Randall. where they seldom lose.

    Wisconsin wins this one at home.

    Game 4: Florida Atlantic Owls Vs. Michigan State Spartans @ Ford Field in Detroit

    Michigan State defeated Western Michigan last Saturday––as they should have.

    Kirk Cousins, however, appeared mediocre at 13-for-21 with 186 yards and one touchdown against less than stellar opposition.

    Nothing to shout about, except that a win is always a big plus.

    This week, the Spartans play Florida Atlantic at Ford Field in Detroit, where strangely enough, Michigan State is listed as the “visiting team.”

    Florida Atlantic started their season with an exciting win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    The Owls blocked a field goal on the last play of the game to secure a win over UAB, 32-31. Florida Atlantic trailed throughout most of the game but rallied for a win.

    They will not, however, do so next weekend facing the Spartans.

    Hopefully Cousins will be awake for this game, ready to live up to his expectations––which include
    Zultan’s nod in their direction.

    The Spartans win this one.

    Game 5: Western Illinois Leathernecks at Purdue Boilermakers

    Purdue played the mighty Irish last week, where Zultan predicted they would win.

    The All-Seeing One was dead wrong on this one.
    The Irish were ready for the Boilers and treated them to a big slap upside their collective helmets.

    New coach Brian Kelly tightened up the ND defense, and added punch and power to the running game.

    Purdue simply could not move the ball or stop the Armando Allen and Cierre Wood combo in the ND backfield.

    This week, however, the Boilers are back home playing Western Illinois, who ended a six-game losing skid by overcoming the Valparaiso Crusaders 45-0.  That is how you apply the brakes big time.

    The Western Illinois Leathernecks, however, will dip back into the losing column this coming weekend, taking a bath in West Lafayette.

    Boilers will win this one at home.

    Game 6: Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Both of these teams did in Zultan last week because the Mighty Seer was not in full cognition after months of hibernation.

    Cobwebs ruled the day.

    Michigan knocked off Connecticut, a team that was supposed to rule the day at least in the Big East.
    At the same time, the Irish shut down the Purdue Boilermakers.

    But now Zultan understands that it all depends––mostly––on home field advantage.

    The Notre Dame defense will zero in on Denard Robinson and stop the Michigan running game, while Armando Allen tests the Big Blue defense in South Bend.

    That is not to say that Michigan will not torture Notre Dame––especially their secondary.

    Zultan sees a real struggle for both defenses and it is defense that will win the game for Notre Dame.
    Even though his heart screams Blue––Zultan takes the Irish to win at home.

    Game 7: Iowa State Cyclones at (9) Iowa Hawkeyes

    Iowa State opened its season with a win over the Northern Illinois Huskies 27-10 last Thursday.

    Led by senior quarterback Austen Arnaud, who threw for 265 yards while senior running back Alexander Robinson rushed for 97 yards, Iowa State was pleased to win its opener easily without suffering injury.

    Like Iowa, who won its opener at home against Eastern Illinois 37-7, the game helped the players and the coaches assess their strengths and expose their weaknesses.

    This is all part of opening game strategy.

    When Iowa meets Iowa State on Saturday for their annual in-state rivalry game, much more will be riding on the outcome and much more will be revealed.

    Is Iowa really that good?

    Has Iowa State improved upon their surprising 500 season from last year?

    All will be revealed on Saturday.

    Zultan picks the Hawkeyes to rise above the Cyclones in Game 2.

    Game 8: (13) Miami Hurricanes at (2) Ohio State Buckeyes

    In Week 1, the Miami Hurricanes blanked Florida A & M 45-0.

    Zultan should have picked this contest to predict instead of UNC vs. LSU!

    No surprises, as the Hurricanes rode roughshod over their unequal opponent in this opener. QB Jacory Harris did all of his damage in the first half, completing 12-of-15 passes for 210 yards, resulting in three touchdowns.

    But in Week 2, they head to Columbus, Ohio to meet the No. 2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

    The Thundering Herd from Marshall, unlike their counterparts the A&M Rattlers, managed to score against Ohio State. The final score was 45-7.

    As expected, QB Terrelle Pryor was superlative in moving the offense, while the Buckeye defense made life miserable for the Thundering Herd.

    But this coming Saturday, the Buckeyes will not have a patsy to play against––they will meet the Miami Hurricanes in a season-defining contest.

    Zultan picks the Buckeyes to win this contest at home within the safety of their lucky Horseshoe, where the Hurricane winds will die before reaching victory!

    Game 9: (19) Penn State Nittany Lions at (1) Alabama Crimson Tide

    Normally the Penn State Nittany Lions schedule patsies for all their non-conference opponents––who show up year after year to pad their respective athletic budget coffers.

    PSU is not alone in this respect.

    Last week the Lions pounded the Youngstown State Penguins 44-14. They sound too cute––the Penguins, please!

    No disrespect to the Penguins intended, understand.

    But in Week 2, on national television, the Penn State team faces the No. 1-ranked team in the nation—the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

    Quite a change in scheduling strategy for Penn State, as they head into the heart of the SEC against a solid Nick Saban team.

    Last week Alabama took care of San Jose State with equal aplomb, winning 48-3.

    Look for both teams to be nervous, especially Penn State, with a true freshman at QB. Penn State has nothing to lose in this contest, but everything to win because no one expects them to win, right?

    But, Penn State will return home sadder, but wiser, and without an upset.

    Alabama will win this one at home.

    Game 10: Southern Illinois Salukis at Illinois Fighting Illini

    Zultan was impressed with the play of Illinois against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, as the Illini went down to defeat 23-13 on the road.

    Illinois led early in the contest, as the Illini defense stepped up to shut down the Tigers for almost the entire first half.

    This was a surprise since the Illinois defense in 2009 was a disaster.

    The Illinois team was led by redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

    As far as head coach Ron Zook is concerned, Scheelhaase is the future of Illini football.

    Next week, the Illini play Southern Illinois at home in Champaign.

    The Salukis are expected to win the Missouri Valley Conference title in 2010. They shellacked Quincy 70-7 in their opener.

    But can they outgun the Illinois team?

    If they can, then Zook should pack his bags, or at least put his house on the market.

    But Zultan gives the nod to the Illini, praying their defense rises to the occasion to shut down the Salukis.

    Game 11: (20) Florida State Seminoles at (7) Oklahoma Sooners

    Last week the Oklahoma Sooners had their hands full with an energized Utah State football team, finally securing the win 31-24.

    Even though DeMarco Murray ran for 207 yards and scored two touchdowns, the win was never assured until the game clock stopped ticking.

    It did not help matters that Utah’s Diondre Borel took full advantage of the Sooners inexperienced secondary to pass for 341 yards and two touchdowns.

    Needless to say, Bobby Stoops and his Sooners have plenty to think about for Week 2, as Florida State comes to Norman.

    Florida State arrives without long-time head coach Bobby Bowden, who was set aside after the 2009 season.

    Florida State had a much easier time in its opener against Samford 59-6. The Seminoles should be fresh and rested after their rout of the Bulldogs.

    But they were hardly tested––which they will be next week against the Sooners.

    The Sooners sense some vulnerability against the Seminoles coming into Norman, so they will fine tune and play up to their ranking in Week 2.

    Zultan takes the Sooners to win this contest at home.

    Game 12: Idaho Vandals at (8) Nebraska Cornhuskers

    No. 8 Nebraska, soon to be a member of the Big 10, had its way with Western Kentucky in an opening 49-10 win over the Hilltoppers.

    This seems to be the year for freshmen quarterbacks, and Nebraska offered up its own version of the breed with Taylor Martinez.

    The freshman ran for 127 yards and scored three touchdowns, as well as passing for 136 yards, becoming his own one-man wrecking crew.

    Western Kentucky did not win a game last year. In fact, the Hilltoppers have lost 21 straight contests so perhaps the Cornhuskers should tone down the celebrating until next week, when they meet Idaho in Lincoln.

    The Idaho Vandals come calling with a potent offense, which should test the Nebraska secondary.

    Nate Enderle threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns against North Dakota, as the Vandals shut out the Fighting Sioux 45-0 in Moscow.

    But Moscow is nothing compared to the home field advantage in Big Red City––Lincoln, Nebraska.

    The Cornhuskers will stifle the Fighting Sioux next Saturday.

    Zultan Ponders His Record in Week One, Promising Retribution for Week 2...

    Here is the list of all those who defeated the Mighty Zultan in Week 1––who have a chance to out-guess him for the entire season––who will no doubt rub it in now that they have bested the All-Seeing Seer of Seers!

    Andrew Smith (no town given); Brandon Heitsch – Kabul, Afghanistan; Ryan Sparrow – Channahon, IL; Alex Johnson – Iowa City, IA; Dale Cobb – Baton Rogue, LA; Levi Hofeldt – Tyndall, SD; Mike Rothermel – Lebanon, PA; Okey Robinson – Beaver, WV; Ed – Riverside, CA; Paul Bayless – U.S. Miliary; Michael Mills – Coker, AL; Zay Smith – Oak Park, IL––(12) in total.

    Matthew Douragh – Boise, ID; Eric Lawlfad – Bolingbrook, IL; Dennis Ristau – Eleva, WI; Ryan Burk – Denver, IA; Mike Zrostlik – U.S. Military; Erick Schmidt – York, PA; Kenneth Zuerner –Iowa City, IA; Amit Sabharwal – Brooklyn, NY; Mark Dooley – Dallas, GA; Craig Bancroft – Coralville, IA; Jason Knowles – Dallas, GA; Joe Klundt (no city given); Darrel Rohrer – Hebron, OH; Dan Alexandre – Harrisburg, PA; Matt Seiler – Columbus, NE––(15) in total.

    Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI; Jerry Lanham – Spring, TX; Kenneth Notturno – Naples, FL; Chris Parrish – Gig Harbor, WA; Phillip Murphy – Muscatine, IA; Logan Zugay – State College, PA; Jon Dominguez – Fresno, CA; Eric Stipp – Dublin, OH; Paul Burnett – Eden Prairie, MN; Andis Kaulins – Traben-Trarbach, Germany––(10) in total.

    82 entered our contest, with 37 of you doing better than the mighty Zultan in Week 1!  This week, the All-Seeing One has shined up his crystal ball and has redoubled his prognostication powers. You will be hard pressed to best Zultan in Week 2.

    But the Mighty One invites you try! Click here to enter. Following the link will enter you in the contest, plus enable you to be eligible for season-ending prizes!  Zultan dares you to try to outdo him again!

    Published in Bleacher Report and Sports Now & Then by JA Allen

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