November 2, 2010
So far in two seasons Zultan has never achieved perfection - but at times the All-Seeing one has picked 90 percent.
The MAD Man filling in for Zultan in Week 9 did his best to bring ignominy to the Mighty One by hauling in a perfect score.
So close, MAD, and yet so far. Maybe next time!
The key event this past weekend, however, was the Hawkeyes' BIG victory over the Michigan State Spartans, leaving a trail of carnage and mayhem in the Big Ten for all the pundits to ponder and pontificate about for the next week.
Way to go Hawks!
Only two people did better than guest prognosticator MAD in Week 9 and those perfect folks will be toasted at the end of this article. We will also announce the next guest prognosticator for Week 11––as the season winds down, leaning toward another dramatic Bowl extravaganza.
Make your choices for Week 10 to see it you can outguess rookie Phillip Murphy sitting in Zultan’s hot-seat this week.
Wannabe Prognosticator Murphy has managed to outguess the surly seer five times this season––but more on that at the end of the article as well as the true identity of MAD.
Big Ten Game 1: (16) Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-1) at Indiana Hoosiers (4-4, 0-4)
Iowa romped and stomped over a seemingly listless Michigan State team who will have a bye week after the Spartan's game this Saturday against Minnesota.
It was Michigan State's first loss of the season but more importantly, the win kept the Hawkeyes alive and kicking in the Big Ten Conference race, creating a potential four-way tie for first place.
For Indiana the outcome of their game against Northwestern last weekend was not good as they lost their fourth straight game and remain winless in the Big Ten.
Playing host to Iowa this weekend does not bring much hope that a win will be coming soon. The following week after playing the Hawkeyes, the Hoosiers must journey to Wisconsin. Ouch
Big Ten Game 2: Minnesota (1-8, 0-5) at (14) Michigan State (8-1, 4-1)
After losing their first game of the season in such dramatic fashion last week in Iowa City, the Spartans will attempt to stop the grumbling by playing out the rest of the season without turmoil.
It looks as though no more bumps in the road will appear to flatten the Spartans.
Minnesota was no match for Ohio State last weekend and they will be no match for Michigan State in Week 10.
Pick: Michigan State
Big Ten Game 3: Illinois (5-3, 3-2) at Michigan (5-3, 1-3)
Rich Rodriguez and Ron Zook sat on the proverbial “hot seat” coming into the 2010 football season.
While Michigan seemed to shoot out of the gate, Zook’s Illinois team suffered losses to Missouri, Ohio State and Michigan State––all road games against ranked opponents.
In the process, however, Illinois has developed a good defense while Freshman Nathan Scheelhaase became ingrained in the role of a Big Ten quarterback. Illinois has improved throughout the campaign.
Michigan, however, seems headed in the other direction.
After winning their first five games behind the play of their quarterback Denard Robinson, Michigan has lost three in row.
The last one against Penn State exposed the true weakness of the Michigan defense and the holes in their offense.
With one more win, Michigan becomes bowl eligible. Is this the week? Murphy says - no!
Big Ten Game 4: Northwestern (6-2, 2-2) at Penn State (5-3, 2-2)
Their win against Indiana last week stopped the skid.
This week they travel to Penn State, already bowl eligible, perhaps a bit more relaxed.
Penn State definitely benefitted from their bye week followed by a solid victory at Minnesota. The win over Michigan was a must-win to stop the slide.
The Nittany Lions need another win to become bowl eligible. Will they get it?
Big Ten Game 5: (9) Wisconsin (7-1, 3-1) at Purdue (4-4, 2-2)
It was a long afternoon last weekend against Illinois as Purdue lost 44-10.
With depleted forces, it does not bode well for the Boilermakers against Big Ten power Wisconsin this coming Saturday.
Purdue’s only hope is that the Wisconsin team is over-confident after escaping Iowa City with a 1-point win and maybe a bit rusty after their bye week.
But I wouldn’t count on it. Unless Wisconsin forgets to pack their uniforms or gets barricaded in their locker room, they will win.
MWC Game 6: (3) TCU (9-0, 5-0) at (5) Utah (8-0, 5-0)
The Mountain West remains an interloper to traditional conference powerhouses like the SEC, Big Ten, or Big 12.
Regardless the BCS likes them.
TCU is undefeated but has met only one ranked team. The Horned Frogs played then #24 ranked Oregon State during the opening week. TCU has also beaten Baylor in Week 3––unranked then––but now No. 21.
Utah is also undefeated heading into the showdown this weekend. This game will serve as the "determinator," deciding which team stays ranked in the Top Ten.
Last year the Horned Frogs destroyed the Utes 55-28 and this year again the edge must go to TCU.
PAC Ten Game 7: (15) Arizona (7-1, 4-1) at (13) Stanford (7-1, 4-1)
Arizona and Stanford are in a dead heat with identical records heading into this contest on Saturday––tied for the No. 2 spot in PAC Ten behind Oregon.
Arizona has a hat-full of headaches awaiting them as they try to hang onto their spot in the top three of the PAC Ten plus their BCS ranking down the stretch.
The Wildcats have Stanford, USC, Oregon and Arizona State in the wings.
Stanford’s only loss has been to the No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks.
The rest of the Cardinal season is not quite so daunting once the team gets past Arizona. Starting in Week 11, Stanford faces Arizona State and California on the road, finishing with Oregon State at home. This week’s contest will determine who remains in the driver’s seat right behind the Ducks.
Big 12 Game 8: (21) Baylor (7-2, 4-1) at (17) Oklahoma State (7-1, 3-1)
The Baylor Bears, long perennial cellar dwellers in the Big 12 South, are not only ranked ahead of the Texas Longhorns, they beat them last week in the Longhorn’s house.
This is the "year of the unexpected" in this normally powerful division. The Baylor Bears have never played in a bowl game since entering the Big 12 in 1996.
The winner of this game will own at least a share of first place in the standings going into Week 11.
Oklahoma State was also expected to be in bottom of the Big 12 South.
Already bowl eligible, the Cowboys only loss came at the hands of a furious Nebraska team upset at home by Texas. Go figure.
Even in defeat the Cowboys kept it close. Outside of Nebraska, Oklahoma State has a perfect record.
You have to lean toward home field advantage.
Pick Oklahoma State.
SEC Game 9: (6) Alabama (7-1, 4-1) at (10) LSU (7-1, 4-1)
Alabama has one blemish on their record so far this season––a loss to Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks 35-21 in Week 6.
The Crimson Tide are not quite as dominant as expected but they still possess a powerful arsenal of great players who get the job done week after week.
LSU also has one loss, suffered in Week 8 at the hands of Auburn who upended them 24-17.
Both these teams as part of the loaded SEC West have little or no wiggle room as they struggle to stay relevant in the chase for the SEC Championship game.
Even playing, at home, however, LSU will not be able to hang with the Crimson Tide.
SEC Game 10: (18) Arkansas (6-2, 3-2) at (19) South Carolina (6-2, 4-2)
At this time of the season when two ranked teams meet to play, it has obvious consequences.
This is especially true in the SEC where the bottlenecks never end until the last whistle of the season blows and contact ends for good.
Both teams have question marks coming into Saturday’s contest.
South Carolina’s come mostly on pass defense and offensive decision-making.
Arkansas’s quandary has more to do with the availability of some key players who may not see action in the game, like running back Greg Childs.
Regardless Ryan Mallett continues to fire down field. Even though the oddsmakers favor the Gamecocks, Mr. Murphy does not.
Two fans were perfect, going 10-0 in Week 9: Ryan Burk - Denver, IA and Matt Barker - Apple Valley, MN.
They beat guest prognosticator MAD who missed the game between Michigan and Penn State. We thank MAD (Leroy Watson, Jr.) for all his hard work in Week 9. Leroy is a Bleacher Sr. Writer on temporary leave due to family illness as well as the Managing Editor for memphis.rivals.com.
It is not as easy as it looks, right, MAD Man?
This week’s guest prognosticator is Phillip Murphy of Muscatine, IA who utilizes his free time doing free-lance blogging. He founded the “Tiger Hawk” Blog - www.tigerhawkblog.com which delves into Iowa Hawkeye sports. He remains a diehard Hawkeye fan.
Be sure to match wits with Mr. Murphy, the latest guest seer for Zultan and be ready to trade blows next week with Ryan Sparrow of Illinois.
Published on Bleacher Report and Sports Then & Now by JA Allen.