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."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Predictions: Week 9

When the sun finally set last Saturday, a couple of towering BCS Top Ten gridiron stars crashed and burned while entering the oh-no-zone of the once-beaten.

The Michigan State Spartans blew Wisconsin’s national championship chances  out of the water while Texas Tech did the same thing to Oklahoma.

Zultan who had picked Wisconsin to defeat the Spartans found himself facing loss number two last weekend as the “Hail Mary” pass by Cousins ricocheted the quarterback into unending Spartan glory.

Earlier in the day came loss number one. The all-seeing seer also failed to realize that Illinois would arrive in West Lafayette without any clout—with barely a smidgeon of stuffing left after being run over by the Buckeyes the week before. The Illini managed some scoring in the fourth quarter but it was too little too late, trailing 21-0.  Purdue hammered home some pride, winning this game for the home crowd.

As Zultan stirs from his weekly trance, he finds the Big Ten settled firmly in the middle of the pack in BCS rankings with only five of the 12 teams ranked.  Illinois fell out of the top 25 after suffering two losses in a row. The overachieving SEC takes over the top two spots until LSU and Alabama meet on November 5.

Only two brave souls scored better than Zultan in week eight. This week the all-seeing Zultan has more tough contests to predict as he stares into his crystal ball, awaiting clarity. Reaching for perfection, this may be the week for you to finally outguess the Mighty Zultan. Click here to make your choices and see if your prognosticating powers are greater than Zultan’s.

Game 1: (11) Michigan State Spartans at (14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten)

Can the Michigan State Spartans (6-1, 3-0) continue their gridiron surge and sweep away the dusty Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1) in Lincoln? Or will their octane levels dip below sea-level when their “Hail Mary” win over Wisconsin overrides adequate preparation for a determined Nebraska squad?

Zultan says that this is the ultimate Big Ten matchup in Week 9. It will give the winner a leg up in the race to win the “Legends” Division. While Nebraska is favored at home, you have to look at the bottom line in this contest. Here you have two teams with crushing defenses and often mediocre offenses. If the same Michigan State shows up in Lincoln as the one that played at home in East Lansing last weekend against the Wisconsin Badgers, the Cornhuskers will be shucked, ground underfoot and sent back down to make silage.  The question is—which Michigan State team will appear?

Pick Michigan State on the road.

Game 2: Northwestern Wildcats at Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten)

The winless Big Ten Northwestern Wildcats (2-5, 0-4) travel to Bloomington to face a fellow bottom-dweller—the Indiana Hoosiers (1-7, 0-4).

Earlier this year Zultan saw great things for the Northwestern team with the return of Dan Persa at quarterback; but, the Wildcat defense has proven too porous and opposing defenses have shut down the Northwestern offense in the second half. It is suggested that Persa may be sidelined this coming week. That is not a good prospect especially in the Hoosiers’ backyard.

Indiana seems to be improving. The Hoosiers start out well but also tend to fade in the second half. Kevin Wilson, however, has created an offense that is beginning to click. This may be an opportunity for the Hoosiers to get their first Big Ten win. Close but no cigar!

Pick Northwestern to win on the road.  

Game 3: Purdue Boilermakers at (18)Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten)

Did Danny Hope and the Boilermakers (4-3, 2-1) make a statement in week eight of the gridiron season or what? That course correction may have salvaged Purdue’s season and Hope’s career in West Lafayette. This week, however, the Boilers travel to well-rested Michigan (6-1, 2-1) with the hope of continuing their new winning ways.

Michigan had a bye week which was needed to regroup after losing to Michigan State 28-14 in week seven. Normally, the Wolverines would welcome Purdue in, licking their chops, ready to roll. But this Purdue team is coming off a big upset and they will face Michigan with renewed vigor. Still, the Wolverines should prevail.

Pick Michigan to win at home.

Game 4: Illinois Fighting Illini at (19) Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten)

Whew! What happened to the Illini (6-2, 2-2), losing two in a row after such a sterling start of the season? Life will not improve as Illinois travels to Happy Valley to face Big Ten perfect Penn State (7-1, 4-0).

While the Nittany Lions continue to win ugly—nonetheless, Penn State wins. That said—the Lions will add to the Illini woes by defeating them in Happy Valley.  Legendary Coach Paterno will lead his team onto the gridiron once again, adding to his legacy and improving the fortunes of the Lions in the tightly contested “Leaders” division.

Pick Penn State to win at home.

Game 5: Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Gophers (Big Ten)

The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2, 2-1) take a ride up Interstate 35 to meet the practically winless Minnesota Gophers (1-6, 0-3) in Minneapolis.

Last year, of course, Iowa lost to the Gophers in Minneapolis—the finale of the Black and Gold Swoon Song. The Hawkeyes faded gracelessly out of the 2010 regular season.

There is, however, no way the Hawkeyes will be taking the Gophers for granted this year. The “darkhorse” Hawkeyes will be looking to win back the Floyd of Rosedale trophy Minnesota took away last year.  Iowa will return the bronze pig to Iowa City in 2011.

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 6: (15) Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)

Hmmm. How will the mighty Badgers (6-1, 2-1) react to defeat? Will the improving Buckeyes (4-3, 1-2) be able to capitalize at home? This is, perhaps, the most interesting contest of week nine in the Big Ten. Under normal circumstances it would have been “The Contest” of the season.  Even now, it is a puzzler.

Will the Badgers find a way back into the winners circle? Wisconsin must be wounded, especially considering their special teams play last weekend. On the other hand, the Buckeyes have not performed up to par on offense and this state of affairs remains unacceptable to the Buckeye faithful. Even with Dan Herron back, the offense will sputter.  Zultan sees the Badgers righting their ship and continuing on their quest to capture the helm in the “Leaders” Division race.

Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.

Game 7: (9)Oklahoma Sooners at (8) Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12)

Will the newly “whopped” Sooners (6-1, 3-1) be able to bounce back and trounce Kansas State (7-0, 4-0) in Manhattan (Kansas)?  The crystal ball reveals to Zultan that the Sooners will be smarting from their defeat at the hands of Texas Tech in Norman.  The next man standing in their way is Bill Snyder leading the undefeated Kansas State Wildcats onto the gridiron.

Nobody, including the Mighty Seer, predicted the return to glory of Kansas State, whose stingy defense and competent offense have kept them in the ranks of the undefeated so far in 2011. That has been a huge surprise. Which team has the most potential and talent? Without a doubt, it is Oklahoma. But will they rise to the occasion in Week 9?  Zultan says yes.

Pick Oklahoma to win on the road.

Game 8: (6) Stanford Cardinal at USC Trojans (PAC 12)

The lowly downtrodden but potent USC Trojans (6-1, 3-1) will welcome in the saintly Stanford Cardinal (7-0, 5-0) who are lording it over the rest of the PAC 12. Stanford, led by Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck, has been winning big all season long and even though the Trojans may wish to knock them off at home, the task will be well-nigh impossible.

Although, after this past weekend, we have all learned that you must win on field and not just in the press.  This is why we play the game.  Even though Southern Cal has a lot to prove, the Trojans will not prove it against the Cardinal.

Pick Stanford to win on the road.

Game 9: (5) Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Bulldogs (ACC)

Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2) will host the red hot Clemson Tigers (8-0, 5-0) out of the ACC, a conference whose rebirth out of obscurity is still being questioned. Georgia Tech, who won their first six games out of the block, stumbled the last two weeks against Virginia and then against Miami at home. The future, according to the all-seeing one, does not look promising for the Yellow Jackets.

The triple option is being dissected and absorbed by opposing defenses as the season wears on. Expect the Tigers to figure that out very fast, remaining firmly ensconced in the ranks of the undefeated.

Pick Clemson to win on the road.

Game 10: Baylor Bears at (3) Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12)

Baylor (4-2, 1-2 ) will travel to Stillwater to face Big 12 foe Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0). Many expected Missouri to give the Cowboys more of a struggle during week eight. But the Tigers barely slowed down Oklahoma State on their way to the goal line.

Baylor’s problems lie not with their offense, led by former Heisman hopeful Robert Griffin, but with their defense which has not been able to keep pace with the more highly-powered offenses the Bears have faced the past two weeks.  The Bears also will not be able to stop the Cowboys in week nine.

Pick Oklahoma State at home.

The results from week eight:

There were only two who did better than Zultan’s 8-2 last Saturday.  These two gents both hail from out West where the cosmic forces are more potent.  Congrats, guys!


Russell Brown - Henderson, NV

Larry Olsen - Boise, ID

We are coming up on the last weekend in October. The end of the season looms on the horizon.  Don’t miss out on your opportunity to go nose to nose with the mighty Zultan.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Zultan's Fearless College Football Predictions: Week Eight

The planets aligned almost perfectly for the Mighty Zultan this past week as the all-seeing seer did his best prognosticating so far in the 2011 season. Going eight for ten, Zultan was bested by only six who had astrological influences that outweighed Big Z’s crystal ball.
Zultan is pleased to report that Mom is out of the “Home” and back on the front porch after Iowa took care of the always dangerous Northwestern foes. This week Mom is serving hot Hoosier ham, in honor of the Big Game in Iowa City.
It seems that “travel” in the Big Ten is recommended in Week 8 for most teams. Zultan also sees an abundance of Fat Cats skirting the gridirons, waiting for a chance to pounce.
Those who surpassed Zultan in week seven will be listed at the end of the article where the all-seeing seer will sing their praises. 

If you wish to test your prognosticating skills against the mighty Zultan as we head into college football’s week eight, click here  to make your selections. See if you can scale the heights and outguess the Big Z who sees “all” with the aid of his trusty crystal ball.
Game 1: Big Ten Indiana Hoosiers (1-6, 0-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1)
Because Iowa was able to get the “Wildcats” off  their backs, the Hawkeyes will be ready to hunker down and send the Hoosiers home, feeling a bit used and unsettled.  The next few games look very manageable for the high flying Hawks. New Hoosier Head Coach Kevin Wilson will learn that life in the Big Ten can be very cruel and unforgiving. 
Pick Iowa at home.

Game 2:  Big Ten (23) Illinois Illini (6-1, 2-1) at Purdue Boilermakers ( 3-3, 1-1)
Oops, the Illini got stomped by a herd of Buckeyes last Saturday. The Ohio State game plan harkened back to the days of yore when an angry bespectacled man ran along the Ohio State sidelines urging three yards and a cloud of dust. Ohio State upset formerly undefeated Illinois 17-7. Last weekend, Purdue, too, had to face a suffocating Penn State defense that held the Boilers in check just enough for the Lions to win the game 23-18. It did not help Purdue that their special teams went into a trance and forgot how to perform needed tasks. Illinois will regain their equilibrium in week eight.
Pick Illinois on the road.

Game 3:  Big Ten (13) Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1, 1-1) at Minnesota Gophers (1-5, 0-2)
Both the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Minnesota Gophers had the week off. Nebraska escaped a drubbing by the Ohio State Buckeyes the weekend before while Minnesota continued to be assaulted on the playing field—this time by the Purdue Boilermakers 45-17 on the road. 

There is not much hope to offer the Gophers except maybe a bolt of lightening to strike twice, canceling proceedings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. This season will be pure agony for Minnesota. Zultan sees no end of suffering.
Pick Nebraska on the road.

Game 4: Big Ten (21) Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1, 0-3) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-4, 0-3)

Isn’t it time for the great Cats of Northwestern to sharpen those claws and tear up the opposition?  Zultan sees a large cat flying through the air; but, it could just as well be a Lion. The details are fuzzy. In the meantime, Dan Persa scrambles for his life under attack while the Northwestern defense sits down for a rest in the second half. It could be a very long season for the Wildcats treed this time by the King of the jungle.
Pick Penn State on the road.

Game 5:  Big Ten (6) Wisconsin Badgers (6-0, 2-0) at (16) Michigan State Spartans (5-1, 2-0)
This upcoming contest in East Lansing is for all the marbles in the Big Ten. So far this season Michigan State has embarrassed Nebraska and Michigan with a defense so stingy they make Scrooge look like Santa. To date, however, the Spartan defense has not had to track down and tackle trucks. Such is the power of the Wisconsin running backs. The onus on Saturday will fall to the Michigan State defense to see if they can contain the ground-eating badgers. This is because the Michigan State offense has only managed to score just enough points to win. Kirk Cousins and company has not shined so far this season and in order to win on Saturday, they must sparkle like diamonds.
Pick Wisconsin on the road.

Game 6: SEC (20) Auburn Tigers (5-2, 3-1) at (1) LSU Tigers (7-0, 4-0) 
It is SEC against SEC and tiger versus tiger. But this time for sure, Zultan figures, Auburn cannot win. This time the pin-striped tiger must go down to defeat on the road in Death Valley. The hard cold signs are clear. 

LSU wishes to right the wrong they feel they  endured last season. The only danger is over-confidence. Being ranked No. 1 by the BCS may swell LSU heads but Les Miles and his staff will not allow that to happen. 

There will be plenty of motivation after losing to Auburn last year for this Tiger team to rise up and strike back.
Pick LSU to win at home.

Game 7: PAC 12 (25) Washington Huskies (5-1, 3-0) at (7) Stanford Cardinal (6-0, 4-0)
What is a cardinal, Zultan inquires? Not a bird but a color, he is told How very erudite the Big Z concludes— but what else would you expect from Stanford, after all?  They are scholars and they play great football even though Jim Harbaugh has departed to lead the 49ers. Andrew Luck who may win the coveted Heisman Trophy remains in the pocket for the Cardinal and he has led Stanford to 14 straight college football wins. Despite the success of the Washington Huskies and their rise to be ranked, they will fall on Saturday, giving the Cardinal 15 in a row.
Pick Stanford at home.

Game 8: Big 12 (4) Oklahoma State Cowboys at Missouri Tigers (3-3, 1-2)
If the No. 4-ranked Cowboys are for real, they will win this game on the road at Missouri. But rest assured, this will be no gimme game for Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys have a great offensive show, their defense is lacking and that will come back to bite them when they least wish it. Missouri may not have the weapons to shut down the Oklahoma State offense but the Tigers offense might find some room to run themselves.  Missouri will make it very interesting; but close is no cigar.
Pick Oklahoma State on the road.

Game 9:  ACC (22) Georgia Tech Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1) at Miami Hurricanes (3-3, 1-2)
For Miami—when they are good, they are very, very good and when they were bad, they were horrid...at least in the beginning. But the Golden Hurricanes are getting better, it seems, with each and every outing. Last week they choked out a win over North Carolina while the Georgia Tech triple option sputtered and died against Virginia.  A good defense against the running attack of Georgia Tech can render this team one-dimensional.
Pick Miami to win at home.
Game 10 SEC (9) Arkansas Razorbacks (5-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss Rebels (2-4, 0-3)

Even playing the game at home, Ole Miss will not be favored to win. The Rebels are coming off a dismantling by Alabama last week and so far Ole Miss remains winless in SEC play. It has not been a good season so far for the Rebels. The assembly line of quarterbacks who have tried to lead the Rebels have been fairly ineffective so far. Arkansas, ranked in the top ten will not let Ole Miss off the hook in this contest.  Even losing one game to Alabama—the Hogs are ranked in the top ten.
Pick Arkansas to win on the road.

The Results from Week 7:

Then there were six. Six guys who managed to do better than the mighty Zultan in week seven. You have to admit that these are very special football pundits to outwit the mighty Zultan.  Let’s hear it for the guys and see if they are back next week!  
Brandon Heitsch - Columbus, OH
Eric Stipp - Dublin, OH
Ryan Gott - Newton, IA
Ken Ripp - Eau Claire, WI
James Ware - Charlottesville, VA
Jason Brown - Hampshire, IL

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 7 of Zultan's Fearless College Football Forecasts

Zultan is sad to report that after the Iowa Hawkeyes self-destructed in Happy Valley on Saturday, Mom had to be carted off the premises by the guys in the white coats.

Now in rehab, Mom sings the Iowa Fight song from sun up to dusk.  The only thing that can possibly restore her sanity is a win this week over the ever-ruinous Northwestern Wildcats.

After all, Zultan needs Mom to cook his meals.  Come on black birds—win one for the old lady!

The All-Seeing Seer is also forced to report that the “Show-Me” state showed little in the way of winning last Saturday as Missouri failed to upend the Kansas State Wildcats in a Big Z upset.

Okay Bill Snyder, you “showed” up the mighty Zultan in Week No. 6.

The ultimate lesson came from Northwestern and their newly refurbished quarterback who showed all the right signs to upset the Michigan Wolverines making their first road trip—but sadly, Persa failed to deliver and Zultan was saddled with three—count them, three losses.

Still - it was better than four from the previous week.  The dozens of you who outguessed the mighty Zultan will be applauded at the end of this article and given your due respect by the All-Seeing magnanimous one.

It is now time to turn our focus to the crystal ball and week seven.  At the conclusion of this weekend of action, the BCS will unload their ranking for the first time this season.  We are already halfway through the 2011 season.

Click here to enter your picks for this week’s slate of ten games and see if you can surpass the mighty Zultan this week. Zultan feels mighty lucky but that could be from a lack of Mom’s Goodwill brownies.

Game 1: Big 10—(11) Michigan (6-0, 2-0) at (23) Michigan State (4-1, 1-0)

This is gonna be the big game in the Big Ten this weekend as both of these teams are ranked in the top 25.

The problem so far with the Big Ten is that there is no clear picture of who is good and who is pretending. The crystal ball remains fuzzy on that detail. Zultan is hoping that picture comes into focus very soon.

Michigan State had a week off to shore up their offense which has offered nothing to write home about so far in the 2011 season. The Spartans are a cut above on defense but unable to journey often enough to their own end zone.

Michigan on the other hand has done nothing but score. So what will happen this weekend?

Will the Spartan defense be able to contain Denard Robinson’s offense and more importantly—will the Michigan defense be able to shut down the Michigan State offense?

Zultan prays not to be burnt by Michigan two weeks in a row!

Pick Michigan State at home.

Game 2: Big 10—Purdue (3-2, 1-0) at Penn State (5-1, 2-0)

Penn State has got to be feeling mighty fine this week as they host the Purdue Boilers because the Lions got the big Hawkeye monkey off their back, shutting down one of the more prolific Big Ten offenses in week six of the 2011 season.

Iowa had Penn State’s  number in eight of their last nine encounters prior to last Saturday’s contest. But, this time the Penn State defense shot down the high-flying birds, putting salt on their tail and rendering them powerless except for one scrawny field goal in the first quarter.

Purdue, on the other hand, blistered the Minnesota Gophers, who are struggling in every conceivable way a football program can struggle. But traveling to Happy Valley will not bring the same results. Penn State will notch another win in the 2011 Big Ten season. The Lions are in the hunt for the Leaders championship!

Pick Penn State at home.

Game 3: Big 10—Indiana (1-5, 0-2) at (4) Wisconsin (5-0, 1-0)

Wisconsin had a bye last week although they hardly needed it after crushing Nebraska the previous week. The Badgers rolled through the Big Red machine like a US tank through enemy lines in 1944.

Wisconsin made the Cornhuskers look anemic and underfed. It was a substantial beat-down.

Indiana gave the Illinois team a scare in the first quarter, shooting out to a 10-0 lead. The euphoria, however, could not last as Illinois regained their composure and came back to send the Hoosiers crashing to earth.

This week’s contest against the Badgers will not be pretty.

Pick Wisconsin at home.

Game 4: Big 10—Ohio State (3-3, 0-2) at (16) Illinois (6-0, 2-0)

Ohio State was so close to defeating Nebraska in Lincoln that Big Z was sweating bullets by the end of the game.

But once the Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was injured in the third quarter, leaving the game, the Ohio State team fizzled on offense and the Buckeye defense shuddered and died as well in the fourth quarter, no longer able to hold their own.

It was an ugly loss for Ohio State after look so good in the first half—like the Ohio State teams we are used to seeing on the gridiron. Illinois also stumbled coming out of the gate, but in the end, regained their feet and rumbled to a win over the Indiana Hoosiers.  This week will be a different matter. Ohio State has many more weapons including a couple more more suspended players back in action.

Still the game is at home for the Illini and even though Miller is coming back, you have to wonder about his effectiveness nursing a sprained ankle.

Pick Illinois at home.

Game 5: Big 10—Northwestern (2-3, 0-2) at Iowa (3-2, 0-1)

This is a pivotal game for both middle of the pack squads. A loss for either will leave that team winless in the Big Ten and nobody in their right mind wants that.  No, Mom!  I was not making fun of you!  Jeez, she is so sensitive these days.

Iowa looked completely undone against Penn State last week. Vandenberg’s inability to move the ball, drove him to try to force the action which led to ultimate disaster as he tossed up two interceptions and amassed only 169 yards.  Without the passing threat, the Iowa running game stalled and died like an engine without gas.

Northwestern looked very impressive in the first half but were completely shut down in the second as they fell to the Wolverines at home despite the return of their vaunted quarterback Dan Persa.  This is the same Dan Persa who last year threw the winning touchdown pass to seal Iowa’s defeat on the road and end the Hawkeyes’ conference title hopes.

You think the black birds have forgotten that.  Hardly.

Pick Iowa at home.

Game 6: Big 12—(6) Oklahoma State (5-0, 2-0) at (22) Texas (4-1, 1-1)

Well the good news is that Texas is playing at home this weekend and that they are not facing Oklahoma again but only the No. 6 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys who barely broke a sweat last weekend running over the Kansas Jayhawks 70-28.

The bad news is that the Cowboys are undefeated and have a massive propensity to score at will.  Granted, Texas will slow them down and maybe grind the Okie State offense to a halt a few times; but the state of Oklahoma looks like a lethal combination for the Longhorns who suffer in the pocket without tested, experienced leadership.

Pick Oklahoma State

Game 7: PAC 12—(18) Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) at (9) Oregon (4-1, 2-0)

So what happened to the Oregon Ducks in 2011?  Probably nothing. They lost their opener to LSU in week one; but since that loss, the Ducks have strutted their way back into top ten contention.

In their game last week, running back LaMichael James dislocated his right elbow and may not be playing this weekend against the Sun Devils. The Ducks started slow and trailed early but soon caught up and passed the California Golden Bears winning the game 43-15.

Arizona State’s defense put Utah on hold most their game, winning 35-14. The Sun Devil’s defense was stifling. Their only loss this season came at Illinois 17-14, otherwise the Devils are undefeated in the PAC 12 and a definite favorite to capture the PAC South.

But the Oregon offense will be a step above any offense Arizona State has encountered this year.  In their own backyard, you just have to favor the Ducks.

Pick Oregon at home

Game 8: Big 12—(20) Baylor (4-1, 1-1) at (21) Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1)

After Baylor broke open and took command of their game against Iowa State last weekend, the Bears rose to No. 20 in the AP rankings with one loss to date in Big 12 play.

Baylor lost their league opener to Kansas State  36-35.

After a slow start allowing the Cyclones to hang around as the score remained tied 14-14 midway through the second quarter, Baylor finally reeled off 21 unanswered points as part of their 49-26 win in Waco.

Texas A & M could not seem to shake Texas Tech in their contest last week. This pattern seems to part of the Aggies “MO” as they play week after week. Sometimes the inability to put a team away has cost them big time. After leading at half-time against Oklahoma State and Arkansas, Texas A & M folded in the fourth quarter to let double digit leads fade away.  But they Aggies held on to finish the job, winning 45-40 against the Red Raiders.

This one is almost too close to call; but playing at home Zultan favors the home team.

Pick Texas A & M at home

Game 9: SEC—Florida (4-2, 2-2) at (24) Auburn (4-2, 2-1)

So far this season, the Florida Gators have lost to No. 1 ranked LSU and No. 3 ranked Alabama.  Next week the Gators must face No. 24 ranked Auburn, last year’s national champion.  Life is hard in the SEC.

Auburn, which expected a drop-off after losing Cam Newton plus a number of starters from last year’s championship team, has been doing a little better than expected. The Tigers have lost to a surprising Clemson team plus a resurgent Arkansas team.

Of the two teams, Florida, with weapons like Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps in the backfield along with a fully-healed quarterback John Brantley, has the most talent. While Auburn has put up some points on the board, their defense remains too porous against the more talented offenses in the SEC.

Once again, Zultan must bet against the Tigers.

Pick Florida on the road

Game 10: ACC—(19) Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1) at Wake Forest (4-1, 3-0)

As long as the Virginia Tech Hokies take care of the ball, they should prevail over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  To date, you have to admit that Wake Forest has been the big surprise out of the ACC, winning four in a row after losing their opener to Syracuse.

The Hokies struggled on defense trying to contain Miami on the ground but should have an easier time with Wake Forest’s running game.  If quarterback Logan Thomas plays as well as he did against Miami, Virginia Tech’s offense should be in good hands. The Hokies must believe this was the birth of another first-rate Virginia Tech quarterback as well as a harbinger of things to come.

On the other hand, the Hokies suffered some injuries on defense as some key players were led or carried off the field early in the game. There is no indication yet whether they will be returning to action.

For Wake Forest who just defeated Florida State in a minor upset, the prospect of hosting the Hokies who defeated them by 31 points a year ago is sobering.  Winning this game would extend the Demon Deacons win streak to five games.

This is a tough one. It is giving Zultan a headache!

Pick Virginia Tech on the road.  

The Results

As usual, Zultan was bested by the most brilliant football minds in the nation, listed below. These Saturday geniuses lay in wait for the All-Seeing Seer to make his humble predictions consulting their own measure of charts and stars for superior insights.

But this week, it will be difficult for many to surpass the mighty Zultan because Mom has guaranteed perfection, if the Hawkeyes finally defeat the Wildcats on Saturday.

Still—you must try.  It is understandable. We shall see.

Jack Darland, Jr. (Cedar Falls, IA)
Erik Lawhead (Bolingbrook, IL)
Ken Ripp (Eau Claire, WI)

Craig Bancroft (Coralville, IA)
Jeff Coffey (Columbus, OH)
Tom Phillips (St. Petersburg, FL)
Pete Pluckenbaum (no city given)
Sports Chump (Tampa, FL)
Glenn Seiler (Midlothian, VA)
Rick “Turk” Steffens (Wilton, IA)
Carl Stine (Kingman, AZ) 9-1
Eric Stipp (Dublin, OH)
Joe (State College, PA)
Betty (no city given)

Dale Collins (Charleston, SC)
Roger Gostnell (Rolling Prairie, IN)
Brandon Heitsch (Columbus, OH)
Michael Lindsay (Fairfax, VA)
Larry Olsen (Boise, ID)
Dean Pfeifer (Wolfeboro, NH)
Josh Shrable (Ocala, FL)
Dean Studt (Melbourne, FL)
Skipper Woodham (Atlanta, GA)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Predictions for October 8

It was an agonizing week for the all-seeing seer as four of his ten picks went South on October 1. In retrospect, Zultan offers these occult words of wisdom to the Iowa State Cyclones, “In the future, if you are going to shoot yourself in the foot, do not use a sub machine gun.” 

Prior to the Texas vs. Iowa State debacle, Arkansas came back to thwart Texas A & M as the Aggies failed by five points. Zultan could not believe his eyes as he watched A&M’s second collapse in a row. Someone must tell the Aggies that the game lasts 60 minutes, not 45.

Even playing in Columbus, Ohio State could only hold on, losing by three. It could have been even uglier. But MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins spared the Buckeyes abject humiliation by doing his own Spartan version of self-destruction in key moments.

Zultan blames his cloudy crystal ball which continues to conjure up images from 2010.

But the pigskin prognosticator’s biggest miss was Clemson who stomped on Virginia Tech 23-3 without mercy. This Tiger is all business and will claim the ACC in 2011.  Zultan made a note to himself—C Rules in ACC.

What is more—to heap on massive degradation— almost three score of you recorded better results that the Mighty One. Zultan has barricaded himself in Mom’s garage, pouting and throwing rocks at a poster of Paul Rhoads.  Where was the triple overtime win when you really needed it, Coach?

Those surpassing the great one will be listed at the end of this article along with appropriate, if begrudging accolades. 

Next up for the all-seeing seer—Week 2 in the Big Ten, Week 6 overall in the college football season. 

Zultan offers you another week of difficult picks daring you to try to outguess him again.  If you feel lucky, or even if you don’t, click here to make your picks and see if you can surpass the big Z this coming Saturday.

Game 1: Big Ten - Minnesota Gophers (1-4, 0-1) at Purdue Boilermakers (2-2, 0-0)

Oh, this is a tough one. Can the Gophers win a Big Ten game?  This might be Minnesota’s only chance to enjoy a Big Ten victory. Too bad the game is on the road for Minny. 

Hopefully the Gophers learned that it is advisable to stick to the game plan the coaches established during the week.  After losing their Big Ten opener to Michigan 58-0, Minnesota needs to find improvement in every aspect of their game. That rout has to sting coaches and players alike.

Purdue will be looking to begin their Big Ten campaign with a victory at home. After being squashed by Notre Dame last week 38-10, the Boilermakers seek a positive as they begin Big Ten action. Defeating the Minnesota Gophers at home would go along way to making some headway as conference action heats up.

Pick Purdue Boilermakers to win at home.

Game 2: Big Ten - (19) Illinois Illini (5-0, 1-0) at Indiana Hoosiers (1-4, 0-1)

Illinois will finally hit the road to play the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington. It will be their first real road test of the year. The Illini, behind quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, managed to sneak past the Northwestern Wildcats last week 38-35.

Last Saturday, Indiana almost equalled Penn State on the gridiron but fell short in the last quarter, losing 16-10. It was the Hoosiers fourth loss of the young 2011 season. New starting quarterback Dusty Kiel had his hands full trying to gain significant yardage against Penn State. The Hoosiers are hoping to improve their football fortunes by winning their first Big Ten Contest. Unfortunately, they will fall short again. 

Pick Illinois to win on the road.

Game 3: Big Ten - Iowa Hawkeyes (3-10 0-0) at Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-0)

This is a big one for Mom’s team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Traveling to Happy Valley to play the Penn State Nittany Lions is nothing Big Ten teams relish. Lately, however, the Hawkeyes have enjoyed some success against the Lions—winning eight of the last nine games the two have contested. Plus, Iowa is coming off a bye week.

Penn State struggled to get past Indiana last Saturday as the Lion offense once again found it difficult to score. Shuffling quarterbacks in and out of the lineup has not worked well for two seasons now as Penn State has been unable to decide who should stand in the pocket. Maybe it is time to settle into a one-quarterback system. While the Penn State defense seems solid, their offense has struggled to put points on the board. 

Mom insists on this one!

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 4: Big Ten - (12) Michigan Wolverines (5-0, 1-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-2, 0-1)

Dan Persa’s early departure during last week’s contest against Illinois caused some concern about a re-injury to his tendon. But Persa will back in full force as the Wildcats welcome Michigan into Evanston. Last week, Northwestern came up a little short against Illinois, losing 38-35. The Wildcats fell to 2-2 overall, losing their first Big Ten conference game.

Michigan, on the other hand ran roughshod over the lowly gophers who were powerless to stop the Wolverine assault. But this is also Michigan’s first authentic road game of the season, plus, they will be playing under the lights in a hostile environment— so there is room for some nerves on the field.  Michigan enters the game undefeated so far in 2011.

Because they game is highly significant and much anticipated, Northwestern will attack it with a vengeance.  They like nothing better than upsetting favorites. The real crux of the contest will come down to defense. Which defense can more easily shut down the other team’s offense.  Although you love a never-say-die guy like Persa, you gotta give the nod to Michigan’s defense in this game being better able to shut down the Wildcats on offense than vice-versa.

This is one of those dart-board choices the Big Z has to make once in a while!

Pick Northwestern to win at home.

Game 5: Big Ten - Ohio State Buckeyes (3-2, 0-1) at (14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1, 0-1)

The Cornhuskers will be stewing over their loss in Madison last Saturday, ready to do battle against Ohio State. Nebraska came out strong last Saturday, scoring first while stemming the tide of the Wisconsin Badger running game. Then came the second quarter. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez seemed to fall apart, losing his way, trying to force the issue. That is when the spate of turnovers began.  The Badgers went on to win this contest going away,  48-17.

Ohio State managed to hold back the Michigan State Spartans defensively. The Buckeyes allowed MSU only 10 points in four quarters but could not score themselves against the potent Spartan defense. A touchdown scored as time expired were the only points for the once-vaunted Ohio State team.

Some of the suspended players expected to return this week for OSU are facing further sanctions and will not be making the trip to Lincoln.

Pick Nebraska to win at home.

Game 6: SEC - (17) Florida Gators (4-1, 2-1) at (1) LSU Tigers (5-0, 2-0)

You just gotta like a team whose home field lies in “Death Valley.” The Florida Gators must go to Death Valley to play the LSU Tigers one week after being humiliated at home by Alabama 38-10.  Life does not get any easier for the Gators who must travel to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge without their starting quarterback John Brantley. Starting in his place will be freshman Jeff Driskel who will need more than a hope and a prayer to get through the rigors of playing LSU in Tiger Stadium.

LSU on the other hand has an abundance of quarterbacks as the Tigers welcomed back former suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson who joined starter Jarrett Lee as part of a potent offense with speed so indicative of SEC teams.  LSU remains undefeated and looks to stay that way until they meet Alabama in Tuscaloosa on November 5.  That will be the critical match-up of the season.

Pick LSU to win at home.

Game 7: Big 12 - (3) Oklahoma Sooners (4-0, 1-0) at (11) Texas Longhorns (4-0, 1-0)

So begins another Red River Rivalry. The annual contest will be held inside the Cotton Bowl as both Oklahoma and Texas arrive undefeated, 4-0 on the season. Oklahoma has lost their No. 1 ranking without losing a game. But such is the fortune of college football today with the current ranking systems.  Right now the Sooners are content to take care each obstacle as it arrives on the schedule.  So far, Oklahoma has done just that under the leadership of Bobby Stoops with Landry Jones in the pocket.

Texas, meanwhile, is attempting to recreate a Longhorn legend as Case McCoy takes over the quarterbacking duties leading the Longhorns just as his brother Colt McCoy did. But the younger McCoy is not alone in pocket. He shares duties with David Ash as Mack Brown shuttles the two quarterbacks in and out of games.  When will these head coaches ever learn?  “Less is more!”

Oklahoma has the more complete package on offense and defense.

Pick Oklahoma to win at the Cotton Bowl.

Game 8: ACC - Miami Hurricanes  (2-2, 0-1) at (21) Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, 0-1)

You have to wonder what happened to the Virginia Tech Hokies last week as they faced the Clemson Tigers at home. The Hokies displayed an anemic offense that sputtered, often shutting down or died trying to make up for miscues with long third down attempts.  The defense looked a step slow, caught by surprise on a few occasions. Special teams were really not that special for Virginia Tech.  The Hokies lost 23-3.  But as Coach  Frank Beamer stated—it is only one game.  Redemption is still possible.

Miami is coming into Blacksburg hoping to come away with a big win.  So far this season Miami has defeated Ohio State and Bethune-Cookman while losing to Maryland on the road and Kansas State. They have shown moments of excellent speed and powerful running.  But they have given up almost as much as they have gained. Most of the suspended Canes will be back on the field this Saturday and that could provide another key for success. 

You just have to assume the Hokies will regroup and take the field not allowing two defeats in a row at home. Another dartboarder!

Pick Virginia Tech to win at home.

Game 9: Big 12: Missouri Tigers (2-2, 0-1) at (20) Kansas State (4-0, 1-0)

The Missouri Tigers get to travel to Manhattan, Kansas after a week off.  The Tigers have defeated K-State the last five times the teams have met on the football field. The last time they played, the Missouri Tigers lost to the then No. 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in Norman 38-28.  This will be the Tigers second ranked opponent in a row on the road.

Kansas State knocked off the No. 15 ranked Baylor Bears last weekend to earn a spot in the AP top 20 for the first time.  Linebacker Arthur Brown intercepted a pass thrown by Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III that set up a field goal, allowing the Wildcats to pull ahead 36-35. It was Griffin’s only interception of the season and ultimately it cost Baylor the game.

Still it is hard to believe in Kansas State this early in the season.  Missouri has had an extra week to prepare for this game.

Pick Missouri on the road.

Game 10: SEC - (15) Auburn Tigers (4-1, 2-0) at (10) Arkansas Razorbacks (4-1, 0-1)

Auburn has lost to Clemson so far this season and Arkansas has lost to Alabama. 

The Razorbacks also showed the right stuff by battling their way out of a huge hole to Texas A & M last weekend. The Hogs trailed the Aggies by 18 points at half-time and came back to win the game in the closing minutes 42-38.  It was an impressive showing for a team that was supposed to be “rebuilding” this year.

Meanwhile, last year’s BCS champs, the Auburn Tigers, were also supposed to be suffering through a “down” year but came back to upset the No. 10-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks on their home field.

These are two teams playing with confidence and poise in the SEC.  The game will be played in Fayetteville at night televised on ESPN. 

When in doubt, Zultan takes the home team.  You see well this logic served him last week. 

Pick Arkansas to win at home.

The Results from October 1, 2011:

It was great to see some of the old names back again as you pitted your puny prognosticating skills against the mighty Zultan.  As you know, Zultan has suffered greatly over the summer being held captive as the Big Ten morphed into these aberrant divisions called “Leaders” and “Legends.” Nebraska joined the Big Ten, crowding Iowa on the West. But, now the great one is free, ready to do his football bidding.

Here are the hundreds of you who bested a weakened Zultan last week!  This week, the Mighty One feels the force—so be prepared!  Congratulations to:

Sam Wingo (world traveler)

Tommy Cornelis (Washington, DC), Andrew Dorsey (Anaheim, CA), Daniel Lint (Des Moines, IA), Christian Moellenhoff (Austin, TX), Darrel Rohrer (Hebron, OH)

Craig Bancroft (Coralville, IA), Jeff Coffey (Columbus, OH), Dale Collins (Charleston, SC), Jack Darland Jr. (Cedar Falls, IA), Brandon Heitsch (Columbus, OH), Jason Jobke (Milwaukee, WI), Eric Lawhead (Bolingbrook, IL), Dennis Ristau (Eleva, WI), Kent Seering (Phoenix, AZ), Rick “Turk” Steffens (Wilton, IA), Carl Stine (Kingman, AZ)

Nathan Branch (Thomasville, GA), Dave Eck (Cedar Falls, IA), Craig Fudge (Woodbury, MN), Ryan Gott (Newton, IA), J.A. Greer (Boulder, CO), Trevor Knuth (Iowa City, IA), Matt Myers (Grand Island, NE), Larry Olsen (Boise, ID), Eric Stipp (Dublin, OH), Sports Chump (Tampa, FL), Guy Wohlford (Radford, VA), Skipper Woodham (Atlanta, GA)