Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Week 7 of Zultan's Fearless College Football Forecasts
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?
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)
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)
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.
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)
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Ken Ripp (Eau Claire, WI)
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