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."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zultan's Fearless College Football Predictions: Week 13

Chaos reigned over college football this past weekend as top-ranked and favored teams crashed and burned on surreal Saturday. Yet, in the midst of such upheaval, a pattern emerged. All of the “O” teams lost, as in Oh, No—not Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Ohio State—all losers in week 12.

This scenario would have revealed itself early if Zultan’s Mom had not dropped-kicked his crystal ball into the Iowa River after the Hawkeyes lost to Minnesota in week nine. The subtle floating clue remained hidden since the Big Z had no crystal ball to gaze into, granting him gridiron visions of the future. 

As it turned out, none of you detected this slight tilt in the prognosticating wheel of fortune either because not one of you out-guessed the all-seeing seer in week 12. Zultan went 7-3 and no one who entered the contest did better.  

Unfortunately for all of you, this is Zultan’s last regular season forecast—so make sure you click here to enter your guesses in dreaded and decidedly wicked week 13. Zultan shudders at the prospect of selecting winners in such a cursed week.  

This is your very last chance to better the Mighty Zultan in 2011—so take a spin.

Week 13 this marks the end of the schedule for several conferences. Now teams scurry to become bowl eligible—which forces respective athletic directors to sit by the phone, praying for a call from the selection committee inviting their team to the “bowl.”  

Zultan expects his fans will demand a special “bowl selection” prognostication from the all-seeing seer—which he will do if demand is high enough.  Let Zultan hear from you if you wish to challenge him in picking the winners of the ten biggest bowl games!

Game 1: Iowa Hawkeyes at (21) Nebraska Cornhuskers [Friday]

Well here it is at long last. Iowa (7-4, 4-3) must travel into desolate Lincoln Land to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-3, 4-3). This game has loomed large on the Hawkeye horizon even before the season began. The Iowa-Nebraska Big Ten border battle begins—this time west of the rambling Missouri River.

For 2011, the Cornhuskers are shucked and settled in the corn bin, awaiting spring and another season. Nebraska lost to Michigan last weekend, after squeaking by a demoralized Penn State Squad the weekend before. Plus, the Cornhuskers gave away a home game to the Northwestern Wildcats in week ten. Iowa, of course, is not faring much better, losing to pesky Iowa State, Penn State and Minnesota on the road and to a determined Michigan State squad at home on senior day. 

But this will be a battle to the death - right, Mom?  Mom agrees and decrees that Iowa will win.

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 2: (3) Arkansas Razorbacks at (1) LSU Tigers [Friday]

What is there to say about this game except that it is critically important in determining the SEC Champion as well as who will play in the BCS title game on January 9 in New Orleans?  Who will win between these two top-five ranked teams? Arkansas (10-1, 6-1) has lost only to then No. 3-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

This Razorback team looks even better than the Arkansas team of a year ago. The Hogs, however, play the LSU Tigers (11-0, 7-0) who are ranked No. 1 and remain undefeated. It is hard to bet against LSU, especially with Arkansas once again on the road.

Pick LSU to win at home.

Game 3: (8) Houston Cougars at Tulsa Golden Hurricane [Friday]

Who are these red-hot Houston Cougars who have risen into the BCS top ten?  Yes, they are undefeated, standing (11-0, 7-0) in Conference USA play. But, really—the only team of note Houston has played and defeated this year is UCLA 38-34 in the first game of the season.

The Cougars are led by their star quarterback Case Keenum who has accumulated Heisman-like numbers in this 2011 season. Houston is playing for perfection against the unheralded Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-3, 7-0). Zultan thinks Tulsa, even as a force of nature, will not be able to blow the Cougars down.

Pick Houston to win on the road.

Game 4: (14) Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats [Saturday]

If I were Michigan State (9-2, 6-1), I would be very worried about this game. After being declared the winner of the Legends Division and a lock to play for the first Big Ten Divisional Championship game, it would be a disaster to take this Northwestern team (6-5, 3-4) for granted. Just ask Nebraska.

The Wildcats still have sharp teeth and they can rip a complacent defense apart. The Spartans need to continue winning to increase their chances of placing big when it comes to post-season play. Zultan sees a “Rose” in their future. Northwestern, on the other hand, could really increase their attractiveness by winning this game against Michigan State.  

Pick Michigan State to win on the road.

Game 5: Ohio State Buckeyes at (15) Michigan Wolverines [Saturday]

This is what Michigan (9-2, 5-2) has lived for since Lloyd Carr retired in 2007—redemption and a win against perennial rival Ohio State (6-5, 3-4). The last time Michigan won a game against Ohio State was in 2003 in Ann Arbor. 

This year Brady Hoke has engineered magic with the Michigan squad by keeping the defense humming once again—a hallmark of great Wolverine football. Ohio State, reeling and trying to regain their equilibrium after the Tressel-scandal, is improving. The Buckeyes, however, will not be ready to stop the Denard Robinson-led Michigan offense.  

Pick Michigan to win at home.

Game 6: Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers [Saturday]

One more win for Purdue (5-6, 3-4) will make the Boilermakers bowl eligible—but Purdue waited until the last regular season game before this urgency seemed to set it. While Indiana (1-10, 0-7) is “the doormat” of the Big Ten in 2011, the Hoosiers have shown some spark on offense—enough so to make some of their opponents sweat a bit before clamping down.

The Boilermakers must go to Indiana to win their shot at post-season play and Purdue has not won on the road this year. Admittedly, Purdue has the better all-around team compared to the Hoosiers but will the good Purdue show up on Saturday?  

Pick Purdue to win on the road.

Game 7: Illinois Fighting Illini at Minnesota Gophers [Saturday]

Zultan predicts that Ron Zook will be history after this season—most assuredly if the Fighting Illini (6-5, 2-5) lose their final game on the road to Minnesota (2-9, 1-6). The Golden Gophers will be seeking to equal their win-loss record of 2010 by getting at least three wins. Jerry Kill has his team on the right path, attacking and believing.

You have to like the Gophers chances of winning this last home game of the season. Illinois, who began the year winning six games, will end the year losing six consecutive games. This is a good Illinois squad with lots of talent. They should be winning. Their losses must be blamed, therefore, on a lack of direction—of good, solid coaching.  

Pick Minnesota to win at home.

Game 8: (19) Penn State Nittany Lions at (16) Wisconsin Badgers (Saturday]

This game will determine which Leaders Division team will play Michigan State for the Big Ten Championship game. Penn State (9-2, 6-1) made that possible by defeating Ohio State in Columbus last Saturday. The Nittany Lions have not won in Ohio very often. The last two times were 1978 and 2008. Ohio State is not a very generous host when it comes to giving up games to opponents. 

This coming weekend, however, Penn State must travel to Camp Randall to face the Wisconsin Badgers (9-2, 5-2). The winner will move on to Indianapolis to play Michigan State on December 3 for the inaugural Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions showed real aggression, moving the ball while employing their typical stingy defense. But, the Lions will not be able to overcome the Badgers.

Pick Wisconsin to win at home.

Game 9: (2) Alabama Crimson Tide at (24) Auburn Tigers [Saturday]

Another SEC barnburner will be played on Saturday as the Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1) visit Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn to play the Tigers (7-4, 4-3). Gene Chizik’s Auburn team is hardly the same team that won the national championship in 2010. Auburn, however, is playing decently, perhaps better than most expected after the loss of legendary Cam Newton at quarterback.

Still this Tiger team will be no match for the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.  Alabama is trying desperately to work their way back into the conversation about playing LSU again in the BCS title game on January 9 in New Orleans. They cannot afford to lose to Auburn at this year’s Iron Bowl.

Pick Alabama to win on the road.

Game 10: (17) Clemson Tigers at (12) South Carolina Gamecocks [Saturday]

No other team reflects the mindset of college football in 2011 more than the Clemson Tigers (9-2, 6-2) whose recent losses seem without merit—unpredictable and unexplainable. This once-top-ten-team flew high for an extended time, then hit a brick wall. First Clemson was 8-0 before they gave up the ghost against Georgia Tech—a team Clemson should have beaten.

The Tigers seemed to right themselves but then flew into another wall against North Carolina State last weekend. The Wolfpack had not defeated this Clemson team in seven years.  Let us just admit that Clemson did not focus on NC State, with their minds focused perhaps on this week’s contest against instate rivals, the South Carolina Gamecocks (9-2, 6-2). Although Clemson leads in this perennial slugfest, South Carolina has won the last two encounters. It is one nasty rivalry.  

Pick South Carolina to win at home.

The Results from Week 12

No one did better than Zultan this past week. It marks the first time all season that the all-seeing one reigned supreme. Of course, admittedly, Zultan had some problems during the year, specifically, when he lost his crystal ball.

The 2011 season has been very challenging—not a remarkable one for the Big Ten—in fact, rather a down year on and off the field for the esteemed conference. The SEC did predictably well again. As the conferences all realign, expect a whole new world in college football in 2012. 

Until then, may the force improve your prognosticating abilities. Enroll in Zultan’s Forecasting Academy for six weeks of intense meditation training. You, too, can become the greatest college football prognosticator living outside of Iowa. 

Sayonara, gridiron gurus....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

College Football Predictions Week 12: Zultan’s Fearless Forecast

This past Saturday the Big Z suffered the most humiliating defeat in the famed prognosticator’s history, going 5-5.  But many of you went right along with the all-seeing seer during the fiasco known as Week Eleven Upsets Galore.

Zultan packed up his new crystal ball along with a sassy assessment, returning both to the Overlook Brothers—demanding a full refund.

It was bad, very bad. Oregon unceremoniously threw Stanford down the Cardinal stairway to BCS heaven while Boise State succumbed to TCU in their own blue, blue haven. Both teams were favored, both played at home and both lost.

This was after the Big Ten self-destructed.

Zultan was reeling like a drunken sailor clinging to the mast during a hurricane. Purdue upset Ohio State, Penn State, of course, fell to Nebraska—the piece de resistance, however, was Iowa’s fall to Michigan State at home.

Mom is still in full denial, pretending that the game has not started. She sits in her little chair in front of the television watching the test pattern. It is an old, old TV. Sad, very sad.

So are you ready for week 12?  There are only a couple of weeks left in the regular season, so click here to make your picks.  A word of caution—whatever team you think is going to win in the Big Ten—pick the opposite.

Game 1: Minnesota Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten)

Northwestern (5-5, 2-4) needs one more win to become “bowl eligible.” You can bet the Wildcats believe that this game against Minnesota (2-8, 1-5) will give them that final push over the top. At this point in the season, Minnesota is just playing for pride and progress. Although the Gophers are improving, they will not overcome Northwestern in Evanston.

Pick Northwestern to win at home.

Game 2: Indiana Hoosiers at (15) Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten)

After defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium, all Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) has to do is win out to find themselves in the first Big Ten Championship game on December 3. That means no let down when Indiana (1-9, 0-6) comes calling on Saturday in East Lansing. To say Indiana is struggling this year is a vast understatement. The Spartans should handle the Hoosiers handily. But then—will they?

Pick Michigan State to win at home.

Game 3: (16) Nebraska Cornhuskers at (18) Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten)

After escaping Penn State last Saturday, Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) must travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan (8-2, 5-1). While the Cornhuskers got a good bounce last weekend, they probably will not be so lucky in week twelve.

Michigan has improved exponentially on defense over last season—meaning that the Wolverines should be able to contain the Nebraska running game. Zultan going without the crystal ball crutch, feels strongly that the Wolverines will bite the Cornhuskers hard.

Pick Michigan to win at home.

Game 4: (17) Wisconsin Badgers at Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten)

Wisconsin (8-2, 4-2) seems to have righted their ship—which slipped off course during weeks eight and nine when the Badgers lost consecutively to Michigan State and Ohio State on the road.  Both were final-second losses. But last week, Wisconsin settled into their familiar scoring routine against Minnesota, winning easily 42-13. This week the Badgers travel to Illinois to face the Fighting Illini (6-4, 2-4). Illinois is smarting after losing at home last weekend to Michigan 31-14. The Illini started the season undefeated ranked in the top 15 in the nation, but Illinois has lost their last four games and it looks like they will lose one more.

Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.

Game 5: Iowa Hawkeyes at Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten)

Wouldn’t you know it? Iowa (6-4, 3-3) must travel to Purdue (5-5, 3-3) to play the Boilermakers on their home field just when Purdue is peaking. The Boilermakers upset Ohio State last weekend 26-23 in overtime. Who knew?

Normally, this game would be an easy check mark on the Hawkeyes' schedule—but this is no longer the case because Danny Hope has his Boilers aiming for a bowl game for the first time since 2007. Purdue is good in 2011 and no longer a Big Ten patsy for any team.  Still, Iowa is the better team with more offense to offer up. Mom—this one’s for you.

Pick Iowa to win on the road.

Game 6: (21) Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)

There is not much left to say about Penn State (8-2, 5-1) who lost their first Big Ten game last week to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The road is going to be a painful conclusion to what started as another solid Nittany Lion season.

Ohio State (6-4, 3-3) will not be in a forgiving mood after being outplayed and outscored by the Purdue Boilermakers last Saturday. The Buckeyes went down to defeat 23-26 in overtime. Ohio State will be looking to bounce back this week against a distracted Penn State squad.

Pick Ohio State to win at home.

Game 7: (13) Kansas State at (23) Texas (Big 12)

In this instance, the advantage of the higher ranked team, Kansas State (8-2, 5-2) over Texas (6-3, 3-3) is neutralized on the Longhorn’s home field. Last week, Kansas State hung on to win 53-50 in quadruple overtime in Manhattan. One thing Bill Snyder’s group never lost, however, was their poise.

Texas, on the other hand, was busy losing on the road to Missouri 5-17. The Longhorns did not score a touchdown throughout the game and that has not happened since 2004. But this week the game will be played in Austin, Texas at the Longhorn’s Memorial Stadium—their last home game of the season.  This one looks to be a defensive battle from start to finish and the team with the best offense will win by a touchdown.

Pick Kansas State to win on the road.

Game 8: (5) Oklahoma Sooners at (22) Baylor (Big 12)

Things in the BCS got really interesting after this past weekend. The Big 12 matchup between Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) and Baylor (6-3, 3-3) took on new significance because the Sooners certainly cannot afford another lapse before Oklahoma must face Oklahoma State on December 3.

Baylor will host the Sooners in Waco. The opportunity to knock off the No. 5 team in the nation would take some of the sting of disappointment out of a season which Baylor fans hoped would be considerably better for the Bears. The main problem for Baylor all year has been inconsistent play. The Bears will play well this Saturday—but not well enough to overcome the powerful Sooners.

Pick Oklahoma to win on the road.

Game 9:  USC Trojans at (4) Oregon Ducks (PAC 12)

The Oregon Ducks (9-1, 7-0) took back the bragging rights of the PAC 12 as well as the BCS inside track by upending the Stanford Cardinal inside Stanford Stadium 53-30. This weekend, the Ducks will host USC (8-2, 5-2) at Autzen Stadium in Eugene Oregon. The Trojans are ranked No. 18 by the AP—banned from post-season play.

While Oregon was dismantling Stanford, USC was crushing Washington 40-17. Southern Cal will arrive with only one thought—defeating the Oregon Ducks and they should make it very interesting.  But unless the Duck’s heads won’t fit in their helmets, Oregon should attend to business and keep their BCS Championship hopes alive.

Pick Oregon to win at home.

Game 10: (10) Boise State Broncos at San Diego State Aztecs

As the kick sailed wide right, Boise State (8-1, 3-1) watched their BCS title hopes run inevitably down the drain. The efforts of quarterback Kellen Moore aside, the Broncos lost in the fading moments of the game Saturday, once again victims of an errant kick. Such is life in college football.

This weekend, Boise State travels to San Diego to face the Aztecs (6-3, 3-2) in a Mountain West Conference contest.  Under normal circumstances the Broncos would be sure-footed and determined winners of this game; but, after their loss last weekend, you must wonder how Boise will bounce back after such a loss.

Pick Boise State to win on the road.

The Results from Week 11 (the Doomsday Hurrahs):

Despite his horrendous record in week eleven, only 17 of you did better than the Mighty Zultan. Still, it is hard to imagine anyone guessing that Boise State, Stanford and Ohio State would all lose—so those with only two losses are highly intelligent beings probably beamed in from another solar system.

Welcome to Earth, brothers.

To the rest of you, Kudos!!  You were better than the Big Z in week eleven.  Be sure to take part in week 12 because Zultan is going commando—without a crystal ball to back up his picks.

Scott Suntken – Minneapolis, MN
The Deto – Atlanta, GA

Patrick Elliott – Ottumwa, IA
Ryan Gott – Newton, IA
John Zortman – Phoenix, AZ

Jason Armstrong – Iowa City, IA
Jason Brown – Hampshire, IL
John Darland, Jr. – Cedar Falls, IA
John Fraenkel – San Francisco, CA
Michael Hall – Andrews, TX
Mike Lindsay – Fairfax, VA
John O’Deen – Cedar Rapids, IA
Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI
Chris Seberg – New Brighton, MN
Steve Stalhut – Red Oak, TX
Carl Stine – Kingman, AZ
Brett Wright – Monona, IA

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast for Week 11.

Who knew such an exciting football game could be so boring? When Alabama hosted LSU last Saturday, not one touchdown was scored.  You call that a football game?

It was like watching soccer for the Big Zzzzzz...oops, dozed off again. Just remembering how Zultan tried to stay awake until the last of five “field goals” spiraled through the uprights—whew, a real defensive struggle.

If only Alabama had won the coin toss—now that would have been exciting!

Still Zultan missed the final score and went down to defeat, along with many of you.  And now I hear pundits demanding to see the same game again at the end of the season—or LSU vs. Alabama, Part 2, the BCS Championship Game.

Pah-leeze!  Once is quite enough, thank you very much.

The big shocker of the day was one nobody saw coming—the Northwestern Wildcats defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Who knew?  Certainly no one on this planet.

The only Big Red stampede came at the end of the game when Cornhusker fans stormed the exits. They were not humming “Whatever Bo-Pa Wants,” either as they fumed out with little puffs of smoke coming from their ears.

There were nine who guessed better than Zultan in week ten. Zultan posted an 8-2 record, missing on LSU and Northwestern. This week, however, looks like a supreme test despite the fact that Zultan has received his new crystal ball via the OverLook Brothers.

Click here to make your picks and see if this is finally the week you reign supreme over the the all-seeing seer by outguessing him on the following selected games listed below.  Not much time is left in the regular 2011 season, so join in the fun today.  Zultan will feature you in his next column if you surpass him in picks.

Game 1: Rice Owls at Northwestern Wildcats [Big Ten]

Northwestern (4-5, 2-4) has spent much of this season in planes, trains and on buses. No doubt, the Wildcats are road weary but elated after upsetting the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln last Saturday 28-25. It has to be the pinnacle win of their season—especially after losing five football contests in a row.  Now Northwestern gets to end the season with three home games. Coach Pat Fitzgerald will make sure that the Wildcats do not suffer a letdown, overlooking the Rice Owls (3-6, 2-4) who will invade Evanston on November 12. Rice is a member of Conference USA with a losing record—so Northwestern will be ready to win big.

Pick Northwestern to win at home.

Game 2: Ohio State Buckeyes at Purdue Boilermakers [Big Ten]

The thing about Purdue (4-5, 2-3) is that this year they are pretty good—no longer the doormat of the Big Ten. Purdue has been playing solid football all season and the Boilers have enjoyed some success—including upsetting then-ranked Illinois at West Lafayette in week seven. But last weekend, Purdue was the punching bag for the Wisconsin Badgers who had suffered two-in-a-row last minute losses. The Badgers pummeled the Boilers 62-17. This week, expect Purdue to be competitive but not successful against the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2) in Columbus.

Pick Ohio State to win at home.

Game 3: (19) Nebraska Cornhuskers at (12) Penn State Nittany Lions [Big Ten]

Nebraska will be reeling after losing at home to the Northwestern Wildcats. Probably the worst place for the Huskers to be playing on Saturday will be in Happy Valley, facing a Penn State team under siege. The Nittany Lions are dealing with a tidal wave sexual abuse scandal about to engulf Joe Paterno. The question remains—how will Paterno and his coaching staff deflect the anger and outrage directed at the Penn State coaching staff over actions committed by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky?  For the Cornhuskers, their task will be to focus on the game, on moving the ball against one of the stingiest defenses they will face all season. This one is tough even without the distractions.  Will Penn State stand up and fight back or will they just fade away...

Pick Penn State to win at home.

Game 4: (17) Michigan State Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes [Big Ten]

Last year Iowa played their best game of the season against Michigan State in Iowa City. Through a lucky happenstance, Iowa once again faces the Spartans at home in Kinnick Stadium. Last week the Hawkeyes upended the Michigan Wolverines in Kinnick, glad to be back in front of the rollicking home crowd. At the same time, Michigan State barely managed to put down a pesky Minnesota squad in East Lansing.  Zultan acknowledges that the Big Ten is the most schizophrenic conference in the country. Who knows what will lurk in the hearts of the Hawkeyes on Saturday?  Mom says—go with the Hawkeyes—or else!

Pick the Hawkeyes to win at home.

Game 5: (24) Michigan Wolverines at Illinois Fighting Illini [Big Ten]

Michigan (7-2, 3-2) will be trying to snap back after a mammoth road loss in Iowa City last Saturday.  Meanwhile the Fighting Illini (6-3, 2-3) had the weekend off to prepare for the Wolverines who must travel to Champaign this coming weekend. No doubt, Illinois will be seeking revenge for their triple overtime loss 65-67 in Ann Arbor in 2010. Both teams field outstanding quarterbacks with Denard Robinson in the pocket for Michigan and Nathan Scheelhaase leading the Illini attack. Zultan feels that Illinois will go tit for tat—winning their first six games, then losing their next five—maybe six— depending on the growth of Minnesota over their last three games.

Pick Michigan to win on the road.

Game 6: (18) Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers [Big Ten]

This will not be the tea party that the Badgers (7-2, 3-2) envisioned at the beginning of the Big Ten season when they looked ahead at playing Minnesota (2-7, 1-4) in November. That is because Minnesota has grown a backbone and injected some real starch in their defense. This is, however, Wisconsin and even though the Badgers lost two games in a row on last second heroics by Michigan State and Nebraska—Wisconsin is the best team in the Big Ten. (Okay, Mom. Yes, Iowa is better - (rolls eyes). 

Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.

Game 7: (16) Texas Longhorns at  Missouri Tigers [Big 12]

So far Texas (6-2, 3-2) has lost to the state of Oklahoma in their drive back to the top of the Big 12 rankings. In the conference, the Longhorns have defeated Iowa State, Kansas and Texas Tech. Mack Brown has Texas playing improved ball in 2011. In the meantime, while Texas might have the pollsters buffaloed, Zultan does not believe that Gary Pinkel and the Missouri Tigers (4-5, 2-4) are fooled.  Mizzou likes the home fires and they love the challenge.

Pick Missouri to win at home.

Game 8:(7) Oregon Ducks at (4) Stanford Cardinal [PAC 12]

This is the Big Game in week eleven of the college football season. The top two teams in the PAC 12 head into Stanford to fight it out for PAC 12 North honors. Stanford (9-0, 7-0) play hosts to the Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0) on Saturday night. While the game may not live up to the intensity of the LSU vs Alabama game of last weekend—you can bet that you will at least see some touchdowns scored in this one!  Stanford, unbeaten, needs to stay that way for a chance to play in the BCS title game. Oregon has already played LSU and lost in convincing fashion. This game is for all the PAC 12 marbles and West Coast respect. Too bad Jim Harbaugh is coaching the 49ers. The Cardinal could use him this week. Regardless...

Pick Stanford to win at home.

Game 9: TCU at (5) Boise State [Mountain West Conference]

It is hard to get a read on Boise State (8-0, 3-0) because the Broncos are not a member of a major conference. Most of their season finds Boise pitted against mediocre talent at best. But TCU (7-2, 4-0), who played in the Rose Bowl last season and defeated the Wisconsin Badgers will prove to be one of the tougher tests for Blue Boise. Both teams hail out of the Mountain West Conference with both yearning to escape to bigger conference settings, offering more opportunity to rise in the polls and be recognized. Boise started the year by defeating No. 19 Georgia out of the SEC. Since then, the Broncos have not been tested. TCU lost to both Baylor and SMU, proving they are not quite the team they were a year ago.

Pick Boise State to win at home.

Game 10: (20) Auburn at (15) Georgia [SEC]

Georgia (7-2, 5-1) has won their last seven games in a row after losing the first two against Boise State and South Carolina—but none of their wins have been against ranked teams. Auburn (6-3, 4-2), on the other hand, has played much better at home than on the road. The Tigers did, however, beat South Carolina on the road while Georgia lost to Gamecocks at home. Confusing teams to analyze. Zultan, in consulting his new crystal ball, however, sees victory for the Bulldogs.

Pick Georgia to win at home.

The Results from week ten:

So a handful of you managed to pick LSU; but Zultan bets his old Mom that none of you picked Northwestern over Nebraska!  Ah, well. You live by the sword and you die by the sword in the prognosticating game.

There were nine who stood above the rest, almost perfect, but not quite.  Hip, hip hooray!  Let’s give it up for the nine who knew!

Next week, Zultan feels a shift in the force. Perhaps it is the new crystal ball or perhaps it has to do with an injustice in Happy Valley. Zultan awaits word, praying that his new crystal ball did not give him false images of winners of upcoming football contests.

In the meantime, join in the fun.  The season is almost over.

9-1 Winners:
Larry Cossman Jr. – Parkersburg, WV
Guy Davis – Iowa City, IA
Ken Gleichman – West Des Moines, IA
J.A. Greer – Boulder, CO
Brandon Heitsch – Columbus, OH
Ken Light – Des Moines, IA
Carl Paisley – Roland, IA
Ken Ripp – Eau Claire, WI
Dean Studt – Melbourne, FL

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Predictions: Week 10

When Mom and her Harley-biker buddies returned from their road trip to Minneapolis last Saturday, she drop kicked Zultan’s crystal ball into the Iowa River, cursing his “so-called psychic abilities.”

Mom takes these Hawkeye defeats very hard. She has refused to fix lunch for the all-seeing one for the two past days.

The truth is that an enormous cosmic upheaval wreaked havoc in the Big Ten where it became impossible to win on the road unless you wore the imprint of a wildcat on your helmet. Most of Zultan’s Big Ten predictions went haywire caused by churning cosmic forces ruling gridirons last Saturday.

That is my story. I am sticking to it. You cannot prove otherwise.

In the meantime hordes of you (24) took this opportunity to pile on the Zultan while he was down. It was that Nebraska game that did Zultan in. Zultan has decided that the Cornhuskers will be his biggest trial in 2011 just like Auburn was in 2010.

Zultan has ordered a new crystal ball from Forecasters Anonymous, Inc. but it will not arrive in time for him to make this week’s prognostications. It is conceivable, therefore, that you may have your best opportunity to outguess the all-seeing seer. He is just like you this week—a mere mortal with limited mental capacity.

So click here to make your picks and we will see mano a mano who is the best at predicting winners in upcoming week No. 10 in college football.

Game 1: [Big Ten] Minnesota Gophers at (17) Michigan State Spartans

Now that the Gophers [2-6, 1-3] have ruined the 2011 season for the Iowa Hawkeyes (see, Mom, I do care), Minnesota may have enough confidence to win another game—but probably not at home against a smarting Michigan State team [6-2, 3-1] playing after a lackluster exhibition in Lincoln last Saturday.

Michigan State saw their chances for the Big Ten championship game shot to smithereens by the Nebraska Cornhuskers as Kirk Cousins was bound, tied and gagged in the pocket. Zultan is sure that the Spartans will not be happy hosts when the happy Gophers show up to play ball next Saturday.

Pick: Michigan State to win at home.

Game 2: [Big Ten] Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes

Zultan shudders to think that the Big Bad Buckeyes [5-3, 2-2] are struggling back to life. Ohio State put a muzzle on Wisconsin last Saturday, awarding the Badgers its second consecutive defeat in October. For the season, road trips have not been fun for Wisconsin because facing unpleasant opposing fans sitting in strange stadiums slowed Wisconsin’s trips to the end zone In both East Lansing and Columbus.

It pleases Ohio State fans that the Buckeyes are home again—welcoming in the yet-to-win-a-Big-Ten-game Indiana football team [1-8, 0-5].  Sorry, Hoosiers, you will not win one here. Better luck next week.

Pick Ohio State to win at home.

Game 3: [Big Ten] (15) Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes

Yes—Michigan [7-1, 3-1] has only one loss and that loss came to the only ranked team the Wolverines have faced this year. Michigan State defeated Michigan in a game in East Lansing during week seven of the college football season. Last week Coach Brady Hoke ratcheted up the intensity by urging his team to play old-fashioned Michigan football against Purdue—running the ball for 339 yards and playing stern defense.

Iowa [5-3, 2-2], on the other hand, was bumbling and fumbling the ball away—losing a game they never should have lost. The Hawkeyes won the stat contest but lost the game as they missed two field goals and turned the ball over in the red zone. Iowa’s inability to recover the ball when Minnesota gambled on a onside kick to regain possession after scorning in the fourth quarter was the final and most horrendous error on an afternoon filled with miscues by the Hawkeyes.

This week against Michigan, Mom will only allow the Big Z to pick the Hawkeyes— otherwise Zultan will be launched like the crystal ball into the Iowa River.

Pick Iowa to win at home in a major upset.

Game 4: [Big Ten] Northwestern Wildcats at (10) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Okay—Nebraska [7-1, 3-1] at home against an unranked team.  No problem. But this Northwestern team [3-5, 1-4] has special powers.

When Northwestern traveled to Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers, they were the only Big Ten road team in Week 9 to win. Zultan discovered too late that it was dangerous to travel last Saturday—except if you had nothing to lose and everything to win.

This week, however, the Wildcats have no special dispensation to be spared. Northwestern must travel into Lincoln, the home of the hatchet and Big Red hoopla.

Nebraska survived their horrendous schedule, Part I and now get a brief reprieve before heading out on the road to face Penn State and Michigan. But, Cornhuskers, beware. It would be a mistake to overlook this Northwestern team. They can score fast and furious if you don’t shut them down early.  Still let’s be real about this.

Pick Nebraska to win at home.

Game 5: [Big Ten] Purdue Boilermakers at (20) Wisconsin Badgers

Purdue [4-4, 2-2] has proven itself a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron after upsetting Illinois in West Lafayette in week seven. It was the first loss of the season for the Fighting Illini. Last week the Boilermakers did NOT do the same to Michigan. The Wolverine defense pretty much shut Purdue down while the Michigan offense ran over the Boilers for 535 yards on Saturday.

Wisconsin [6-2, 2-2], on the other hand, suffered its second last-play-of-the-game upset in two consecutive Saturdays as the Badgers fell to the Buckeyes in Columbus. Luck has not been a Badger—at night.  But this week, Wisconsin plays in the full daylight!

Pick Wisconsin to win at home.

Game 6: [SEC] (1) LSU Tigers at (2) Alabama Crimson Tide

The BIG Game. The Game for all the marbles in the SEC—and in the BCS.  The No. 1 ranked LSU Tigers must journey to Tuscaloosa to face their arch rivals the No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The all-important game will be broadcast on CBS at night. Both teams are 8-0, 5-0 in the SEC.

So who will win? Both teams will be primed and pumped, ready to do battle to the death on the fabled gridiron. There is not much to say about this game except - Wow! The advantage must go to Alabama because they will be playing the game on their home field.

Pick Alabama to win at home.

Game 7: [Big 12] (14) Kansas State Wildcats at (3) Oklahoma State Cowboys

Whew, the Oklahoma Sooners put a seismic hex on Kansas State [7-1, 4-1] last weekend. Was it for real? The Wildcats felt every single minute of their defeat up close and personal. losing 58-17 at home—no less.

While the Wildcats have a very good team, they are not on a par with the Sooners nor will they be with the high-scoring Oklahoma State Cowboys [8-0, 5-0] who trounced the Baylor Bears 59-24 last Saturday.

Week 10 will see Kansas State undergo another beating—this time on the road in Stillwater. It would be Bill Snyder’s most magnificent coaching accomplishment if he can contain the Cowboy offense with stingy defense and keep Oklahoma State off the field by running the ball. Can he do it? No.

Pick Oklahoma State to win at home.

Game 8: [Big 12] Texas A&M Aggies at (6) Oklahoma Sooners

After losing in overtime to the unranked Missouri Tigers in College Station last weekend, Texas A&M fell out of the BCS rankings. You had to know that Missouri was going to stand up and beat some top ranked team sooner or later. This happened to be the week Missouri put it all together.

The Oklahoma Sooners [7-1, 4-1], however, were not tested by a higher ranked Kansas State team which proved once again that the whole ranking system is highly subjective and fallible. At best, rankings prove only approximation as to who might be best.

Pick Oklahoma to win at home. 

Game 9: [SEC] (9) South Carolina Gamecocks at (7) Arkansas Razorbacks

While both of these teams have suffered one loss on the season, Arkansas [7-1, 3-1] has faced three ranked teams, losing to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. South Carolina [7-1, 5-1], on the other hand, has not faced any team ranked at the time they played. The Gamecocks single loss came at home against Auburn.

While South Carolina leads the SEC East standings, Arkansas sits in third place in the SEC West. But, the SEC West is the toughest division in all of college football with half of its members in the BCS top ten and four out of six in the BCS top 25.

Pick Arkansas to win at home.

Game 10: [PAC 12] (8) Oregon Ducks at Washington Huskies

Oregon [7-1, 5-0] lost its first game of the year to the LSU Tigers. Since then, the Ducks have met only one other ranked team, Arizona State. The Ducks won that encounter 41-27 in Eugene. By the same token, Washington [6-2, 4-1] has lost to both Nebraska and Stanford on the road—both highly ranked.

This Saturday’s contest in Seattle will pit the No. 2 team in the PAC 12 North against the  team ranked No. 3 in that division. After getting off to a slow start last Saturday against Washington State, Oregon will need to establish their offense much quicker against the Huskies. Shaking off the rest of the rust, the Oregon offense will be too much for Washington to contain.

Pick Oregon to win on the road.

The Results from Week 9:

It was a very bad week for the all-seeing seer, as Michigan State came undone, Iowa tripped over the finish line, the Badgers failed to hold the line and Clemson laid down and died.  Dozens of you did better than the Big Z—so Kudos to the masses!

Jeff Edgar – Grimes, IA

Joel Courtney – Waukon, IA
Todd Melvin – Burlington, IA
John O’Deen – Cedar Rapids, IA
Jeremy Schellpeper – Columbia, SC

Craig Bancroft – Coralville, IA
Russell Brown – Henderson, NV
Craig Fudge – Woodbury, MN
Dave Garvin – Philomath, OR
Roger Gostnell – Rolling Prairie, IN
Ryan Gott – Newton, IA
Chris Humpherys – Tampa, FL
Gary Karr – Noblesville, IN
David Light – Des Moines, IA
Mikey Nezz – Palo Alto, IA
Carl Paisley – Roland, IA
Ryan Sparrow – Channahon, IL
Steve Stahlhut – Glenn Heights, TX
Rick “Turk” Steffens – Wilton, IA
Carl Stine – Kingman, AZ
Eric Stipp – Dublin, OH
Dean Studt – Melbourne, FL
Scott Suntken – Minneapolis, MN
Curtis Thomas – Bloomfield, IA

Without his crystal ball this week (laying at the bottom of the Iowa River) Zultan has been forced to rely on his own puny prognosticating powers.  This is your chance to shine - so join in the fun.  Let Zultan hear from you this week!!