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

(Zultan's) Big Ten Football Plus: Fearless Predictions for Week Five

Week Five

Zultan promises to lay off the grain alcohol after tanking last week, scoring only six out of 10, or 60 percent. Overall, Zultan comes in at 77 percent, 24 of 31.

Miami and the Cal Bears cost Zultan mightily while the Iowa win pleased him even though Zultan chickened out and picked favored Penn State. Northwestern also sorely disappointed the soggy seer whose rain-soaked teams seemed to lay down and drown.

This week Zultan finds the road difficult. Home wins are favored. To keep the magic number at 10, Zultan has added four contests outside the Big 10. Join in the fun: Pit your puny predicting powers against Zultan—Big 10 Seer for the ages...

1. Arkansas State at Iowa
This no-brainer is just what Zultan needs after last week. Iowa will win this one at home after drying out the gold and black uniforms and practicing hanging on to those Ricky Stanzi passes.

After upsetting Penn State, 21-10 last week on the road, the Hawkeyes will need to cement their new ranking with a solid win at home. The Iowa faithful will welcome the guys home in grand style and watch the Hawkeyes win their fifth in a row.

2. Michigan at Michigan State
This one gives Zultan a migraine. Michigan remains undefeated after holding off the Indiana Hoosiers and squeaking out a win at home, 36-33. Having defeated a suspect Notre Dame team at home, Michigan has yet to travel into unfriendly territory.

Then too, Michigan State fights hard and comes close—but smokes no cigars. The Spartans succumbed to Notre Dame on the road, 33-30. Last week they self-destructed but still made it close in their road loss to Wisconsin, 38-30. If they score 30 points against Michigan at home, they win.

In the end, it is a toss up. Therefore, Zultan always chooses the home team when everything else is equal. Michigan State Spartans it is in Week Five.

3. Northwestern at Purdue
One of these teams will be down and done at the conclusion of this game. Northwestern lost to the Minnesota Gophers last week in Evanston, 35-24. The week before, they were upset when Syracuse kicked a last-minute field goal to steal the win, 37-34.

Purdue shows promise but loses the close ones like last week, allowing Notre Dame to escape by a 24-21 score with 25 seconds left on the clock. The Boilers played the Oregon Ducks down to the wire, finally losing, 38-36, and then they turn around and lose at home to Northern Illinois. Purdue has potential, but will it step up and claim its season back? Again, Zultan is picking the Boilermakers at home.

4. Wisconsin at Minnesota
Finally the Wisconsin Badgers are packing their bags and leaving Camp Randall to visit their neighbors across the River in Minneapolis. It will not be a pleasant trip.

Reality awaits them as the Gophers prepare to advance their season by gifting the Badgers their first defeat. True, the Badgers have a perfect season to date. But they have survived on luck, turnovers and a soft schedule. That will end next Saturday. Look for the Gophers to win this one at home.

5. Penn State at Illinois
Poor Illinois. Ron Zook keeps saying that Illinois has not played its best. Really? I think we all took that for granted. If they are going to have a chance against an angry Penn State team next Saturday, the Illini had better step up and play their best because that is their only chance to secure a victory.

After Penn State lost at home to Iowa, 21-10, the Nittany Lions have to bounce right back and win this road contest to right the ship. Illinois was shut out in the Horseshoe by the Buckeyes of Ohio State. This game must be the line in the sand for Illinois. Do or die week in the Big 10. We say die—Illinois will lose at home to the Nittany Lions.

6. Ohio State at Indiana
Zultan loves the fire and the fight of the Indiana team but cannot pick them to win, even at home over the Ohio State Buckeyes. While the mighty seer loves a Cinderella story as much as the next guy, prognostication is a science of the highest order and Zultan would anger the football gods by picking this lowly underdog over the media giant—Ohio State.

Look for Indiana to make Ohio State sweat before conceding defeat. This game has the potential for a battle down to the wire, but Ohio State will win in the end. 

7. UCLA at Stanford [Pac-10]
Last week the Stanford Cardinal derailed the Washington Huskies, 34-14, after the Huskies had upset No. 3 USC the previous Saturday. The Stanford team brought the Huskies back to earth after their unexpected victory over USC.

The Cardinal loves to nest at home. They lose infrequently when flying toward their own end zone. UCLA brings an unbeaten record into the contest. Both teams have high expectations, but you must give the edge to the home-based team. The Cardinal will win again this coming Saturday against UCLA.

8. Iowa State at Kansas State [Big 12]
This is a big game for two teams without much respect in the Big 12. Iowa State travels to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to meet Bill Snyder’s Kansas State Wildcats. Iowa State (3-1) comes in after beating Army at home, 31-10, and with one victory on the road. Kansas State sports a 2-2 record, having just blown out Tennessee Tech by a 45-7 margin last weekend.

Both teams have question marks that this contest should put in perspective. Zultan picks the home team Kansas State to come up with the right answers—defeating the Cyclones.

9. USC at CAL [Pac-10]
Last Saturday Cal scored a field goal after the Oregon Ducks fumbled on their opening kickoff. Cal might as well have packed it in at that point because the Golden Bears were done for the day.
Zultan, who had picked the Bears to win on the road, has learned a valuable lesson. Ducks can fly when the sky is free of obstacles. So much for the Bear offense.

The horizon does not improve with the arrival of the USC Trojans—another high-flying offense comes calling. Zultan picks USC on the road in this Pac-10 contest.

10. LSU at Georgia  [SEC]
Zultan decided to throw a dart at the big board to pick this winner. He missed the whole target and had to resort to analysis. Except neither team is consistent enough to promise much more than showing up to play the game on Saturday. Therefore, using his usual intrepid method, Zultan picks the Georgian Bulldogs to win at home.  

Last week three geniuses surpassed Zultan (6-4) in picking winners. Of the three, only one, Jeff Harmeyer from Iowa City, provided his name and contact information, becoming eligible for the season-ending drawing for a $50 Best Buy gift card.

Make sure you test your powers this week to see if you can “Top The Zultan.” Click here to register your picks. Zultan will honor you with praise if you outguess him. Also, please make sure to include your name and contact information so Zultan can announce your superiority and enter your name into the end-of-the-year drawing.

Zultan feels his strength returning after being diluted last week in the never-ending downpour...

Published September 29, 2009 by JA Allen

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