Zultan the magnificent almost achieved nirvana this past weekend, only missing the objective because the Aggies failed to live up to their promise to shoot down the Cowboys.
Texas A&M came so close—but failed in the end. The Oklahoma State Cowboys managed to circle the wagons and hold off the ensuing attack by the retro rural ones...Zultan never forgives these disappointments.
I was told by my exalted group leader that two persons actually achieved perfection on the day, picking them all right. They must have offered more than the penny-pinching Zultan can afford. Such is the fate of poverty-stricken fortune tellers—no grease for the wheel when you need it.
Zultan was 9-for-10, or 90 percent if you failed math. On the season, the all-seeing one climbs to 40-of-51, or 78 percent, to date.
This week is the real test—the extreme challenge—the "make 'em or break 'em" Saturday. Is this the week you feel lucky? Well do ya? Lucky enough to pit your puny predicting powers against Zultan—Big Ten Seer for the Ages?
Time to step up and take a whirl...
(1) Delaware State at Michigan
Does anyone besides Zultan wonder at the wisdom of this matchup? What can be gained by either team by playing this game?
The Wolverines would be as severely taxed playing their "B" squad. The perplexed seer means nothing disrespectful to the Delaware State Hornets, but they currently stand 1-3 with their only win to date against the Hampton Pirates.
This may be a very fine football team—but their only reason to take on the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor is financial. The Wolverines can pad their stats by playing this game, much as Penn State does, and all the Big Ten, for that matter.
Ah, Zultan must get off his soap box and deal with harsh realities—the Wolverines squash the Hornets without getting stung once in the process!
(2) No. 11 Iowa at Wisconsin
Zultan was cursed and spat upon for picking Penn State over Iowa—and this was by his dear mother!
This week, the mighty one knows better than to incur the wrath of almighty Mom by picking the Badgers. Wisconsin tends to eek by in its backyard, counting on the home field aura to carry the team over the top. The high-flying Hawkeyes, however, should fear the Badgers because knocking off Iowa would make their season.
Iowa is the first Big Ten team to become bowl eligible and it remains among a handful of undefeated teams in the nation. In the final analysis, Hawkeyes soar even higher than buck-toothed lumber jacks.
Iowa will stay undefeated on the road by beating the Wisconsin Badgers in Camp Randall.
(3) Northwestern at Michigan State
Northwestern hung on to defeat Miami of Ohio at home last weekend, 16-6. This Wildcat team exemplifies inconsistency from game to game—and even within games.
They appeared a bit bored with their competition last Saturday and didn't sustain many lasting drives on offense. Michigan State, on the other hand, has won its last two conference games, including an overtime victory over archrival Michigan as well as ruining Illinois’ homecoming by defeating the Illini, 24-14.
The Spartans are rising from the ashes after suffering defeats early in the season. Expect the Spartans to win this one at home.
(4) No. 7 Ohio State at Purdue
Zultan likes this Purdue team even though it cannot win a football game to save its soul. The Boilermakers make good—even great—plays, then throw it all away on turnovers and miscues. It is a painful team to watch. Zultan does expect it to grow and mature into the talent it has.
Ohio State looked awful last week but it seems the press was not looking. The Badgers gifted the Buckeyes the win on Saturday, and who would not accept such a gift! Purdue will not wrap this one in foil—but the Boilermakers will find a way to lose the game at home to the Buckeyes.
(5) Minnesota at No. 14 Penn State
Penn State should beat the Gophers at home in Happy Valley. The Gophers have suffered with inconsistent play this season; they have looked good and they have looked abysmal on the year.
The lack of defense will really hurt the Gophers this week, and the Minnesota offense will be contained by the Penn State defense. While Penn State has not proven itself yet this season, the Nittany Lions will win this one at home and send the Gophers back to Minnesota empty-handed.
(6) Illinois at Indiana
Wow—what can the soothsayer say about this contest for the bottom-dwellers?
Indiana has shown more football prowess this season than Illinois. But Zultan keeps expecting Illinois to stand up and be counted. When will it do this, or has it gone into an inevitable downward spiral?
Zultan senses a desperate attempt from the Illinois coaching staff to save its jobs. Zultan shrugs but must go with the Hoosiers to upend the Illini again this coming weekend.
(7) No. 20 Oklahoma at No. 3 Texas
They call this one the Red River Shootout, and no one is willing to lay his life on the line as the reward for picking a winner in this contest. Zultan, however, is not afraid of making his selection in this game of all games in the Big 12 South.
The oddsmakers point out that this game will be held on a neutral field in Dallas—site of the Cotton Bowl. Zultan says phooey to this—it will still be played in Texas, right?
The Longhorns only managed 46 rushing yards against Colorado—that means a lot of pressure to pass on Colt McCoy. Do you think the Sooners will figure that out?
Zultan does—he picks the Oklahoma Sooners to begin their climb back by taking out the Texas Longhorns on Saturday. Oh, Momma—did you like that one?!
(8) No. 6 USC at No. 25 Notre Dame
Let us pray and remember that to forgive is divine—all you Charlie Weis haters, give it up.
So Notre Dame has lost seven in a row to USC; so Notre Dame has not lived up to its promise; has ever a team been held to such high expectations? Zultan advises you Notre Dame fans to be prepared to be sorry on Sunday. Notre Dame loses again at home in South Bend.
(9) No. 22 South Carolina at No. 2 Alabama
Roll Tide! They will do that for sure as they face a very good South Carolina Gamecock team on Saturday. Not only are the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide a better team, they are meeting the No. 22-ranked Gamecocks on their home field as this week the Tide return to the confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Why does Zultan keep visualizing a “bear” in the crystal ball? Alabama will win this one at home.
(10) No. 4 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Georgia Tech
The last time Zultan considered the Virginia Tech Hokies, he picked the Miami Hurricanes to beat them at home. Zultan was disappointed in the Canes, who could not take a little rain!
Picking against the at-home team always makes the all-seeing one nervous, edgy...suicidal, even! But, Zultan will not bet against the Hokies this week—he picks Virginia Tech to edge the Yellow Jackets and win on the road.
Last week two football fanatics were better than Zultan—picking 10 for 10: Craig Bancroft from Coralville, Iowa, and Ryan Tyas, who chose not to share his whereabouts with the bonded seer. Should Ryan wish to be eligible for the Best Buy gift card, he might reconsider his silence.
This week may seem to offer many opportunities to “Top Zultan.” Click here if you feel inspired to try to outguess the clairvoyant one.
Ah, Zultan feels sensation returning to his extremities as he awakens from his mid-afternoon trance...he has spoken his last until next week...
[This article featured on Sports Then and Now]
Published on Bleacher Reports October 13, 2009 by JA Allen