Sunday, September 25, 2011
Zultan's Fearless Big Ten Plus Football Predictions: Week 10
Zultan was betrayed by the entire State of Michigan last Saturday.
The mighty seer would have been perfect on the day had it not been for this lowly state. Zultan has requested that Canada annex Michigan as a new province because both Michigan and Michigan State are now banished from Zultan’s kingdom. Maybe the Wolverine State needs a Big Blues Clue! Let them flounder in the Northern Regions.
This week, despite the record number of challengers who sensed the mighty one was vulnerable, only two surpassed the peerless Zultan, going 9-for-10. Zultan, because of Michigan and Michigan State, stood at 8-for-10, or 80 percent. On the season, Zultan simmers at 77 percent picking 62-of-81 through Oct. 31.
The most inscrutable contest on Saturday in the Big Ten takes place in Beaver Stadium, where Ohio State comes calling in a place only the locals think of as “happy.” Another impossible call presents itself when LSU arrives in Tuscaloosa to play Alabama. These are just two of the many difficult challenges ahead for the all-seeing seer of seers.
Is this the week when you are finally going to stand up and be counted among Zultan’s peers? The challenge is yours—the question remains: Do you feel lucky? Because keep in mind that Zultan has more than luck on his side—a warning for the faint at heart...
(1) Western Michigan at Michigan State
Zultan recalls that Western Michigan lost to Michigan by a 31-7 score on Sept. 5; then they lost to Indiana the next weekend, 23-19. This is the Broncos' third Big Ten opponent. If they require lunch money, at least the Broncos reside in the same, soon-to-be-exiled state—if Zultan has his say. The Spartans need two more wins to become bowl-eligible. Michigan State will win this game—out of pride and to regain its footing down the stretch.
(2) Illinois at Minnesota
Illinois has regained its belief after upsetting Michigan at home last week. A few preseason critics, as you may recall, picked Illinois to win the Big Ten title this season. It did not happen.
Winning on the road at Minnesota would go a long way to adding real bite to the Illinois comeback. But Zultan fears it is not going to happen. Illinois will not be able find redemption back-to-back. Expect Minnesota to win this one at home.
(3) Northwestern at No. 4 Iowa
Northwestern usually proves to be a thorn in the side of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Wildcats will come into Iowa City with nothing at all to lose and everything to gain. They will tease and torment the Iowa faithful. In the end, however, Iowa will win this contest at home in the same inimitable fashion it has used all season.
The Hawkeyes would not wish to disappoint their legion of critics by winning comfortably. That is not their way, because they are fated to win by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin.
(4) Purdue at Michigan
The Purdue Boilermakers limp into Ann Arbor after being shut out by the Badgers in Madison while the Michigan Wolverines stagger back home after being blistered by the Illini in Champaign. Both teams are stunned after playing subpar football.
The question is—who will bounce back far enough to win this game? As reluctant as Zultan remains after being sorely disappointed by this team last week, the mighty seer must pick Michigan to win at home.
(5) No. 21 Wisconsin at Indiana
Wisconsin shut out Purdue last weekend and Iowa shut down Indiana. Wisconsin took a giant step back into the heart of the Big Ten race after losing two previous games to Ohio State and Iowa. Indiana played superlative football in the first half and hung with the Hawkeyes during the third quarter as Iowa continued to give the Hoosiers the ball.
Even though Indiana will be at home, Wisconsin should win this contest. Zultan picks the Badgers to gnaw the fighting fiber out of the Hoosiers.
(6) No. 16 Ohio State at No. 11 Penn State
This game will ultimately decide who has a legitimate shot at the Big Ten championship. If Ohio State wins, all the Buckeyes must do is beat Iowa at home and Michigan on the road to win outright. If Penn State wins, Iowa may still lose to one opponent in their upcoming schedule. If Iowa suffer two losses, Penn State will be in the driver’s seat to win the conference title.
Penn State next hosts Indiana and finishes the season at Michigan State. The team that loses at Penn State next weekend will have two Big Ten losses. Zultan picks Penn State to win this game at home and to free up the Buckeyes’ traditional hold on the Big Ten Conference championship.
(7) No. 19 Oklahoma State at Iowa State
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were embarrassed by their loss to the Texas Longhorns last Saturday. It was a prime-time smackdown.
This week they travel to Ames to face the wounded Iowa State Cyclones, who appear to be pasting together the remnants of their team. Quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson are supposed to be back in the lineup. Granted, the Cyclones surprised the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but they will not be able to sneak up on the Cowboys. Expect Oklahoma State to return to form and let the air out of the Cyclone offense. Zultan expects the Cowboys to the rope the Clones in on Saturday.
(8) No. 9 LSU at No. 3 Alabama
This is the key contest in the SEC West. The winner of this game will undoubtedly meet Florida for the SEC championship game. A win might also boost No. 3 Alabama to the top of the heap in the BCS. Sometimes those conference championship games are criminal.
But before all the SEC tears start flowing, Alabama must defeat LSU to establish such a scenario. The outcome is no certainty. The unease surrounding the Tide’s perfect season remains a mystery. Still, Zultan favors Alabama at home to take care of the Tigers, sweeping them aside until next year.
(9) No. 24 Oklahoma at Nebraska
In years past, this matchup used to be the college game of the season. Barry Switzer against Tom Osborne—always a nail-biter and often well worth all the hype. Those were the days of the Big Eight and the Orange Bowl.
These days Nebraska is a member of the Big 12 North and Oklahoma similarly a member of the Big 12 South. While Oklahoma has retained its solidarity and its national prominence, Nebraska has been floundering since the retirement of Osborne.
This year Big Red fans should be very nervous with a realistic Oklahoma Sooner team on a mission to salvage their year. Zultan expects the Sooners to reduce the Nebraska defense to compost and their offense to tackle bait...
(10) No. 8 Oregon at Stanford
No. 8 Oregon set the Pac-10 on its ear last week by emphatically upending the USC Trojans in Eugene. It was another disproportionate win by an underdog. Most experts predicted a USC win—though Zultan the magnificent got it right. The Mighty Ducks are swimming through the undertow of the Pac-10 Conference.
But the Stanford Cardinal have won eight of their last nine games at home. They rank 20th in the nation in total offense and 16th in rushing. True, they are not quite at the caliber of the Ducks, but then the Ducks are flying high on adrenaline after the stunning victory last week, and it is never easy to win at Stanford.
Will they be able to land and play the fastidious game they need in order to defeat the Cardinal at home? Zultan calls this one a tossup and picks the home team Stanford Cardinal to win in an upset.
Only two bested the mighty Zultan this past week: Bruce Plett from Wilton, Iowa, and Rick from Lake Park, Fla. They are to be congratulated for their wisdom for bypassing the State of Michigan, unlike the erudite but misguided prognosticator.
Time grows short for you to challenge the wisdom of the all-seeing seer. Zultan urges you to click here to enter your own predictions for the games detailed above. See if you have the right stuff to outwit the mighty Zultan. The choice is yours—suffer in silence or be applauded for your football savvy.
Published on Bleacher Report on November 3, 2009 by JA Allen. This series is also published and promoted on Sports Then and Now: http://sportsthenandnow.com