Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Zultan's Fearless Football Forecast, Week 11
Mom’s beloved Hawkeyes waited until the fourth quarter to give up the ghost. She has taken up volleyball.
Michigan State looked great, right up until the end when Nebraska rose up and stole the game in the blink of an eye. Those Cornhuskers give the All-Seeing Seer an unending headache, blurring his vision at critical junctures.
Outside the Big Ten, wouldn’t you just know Texas would show up with a complete game on both sides of the ball?? Plus, Zultan heard that the Mississippi State Bulldogs forgot to show up for the game, filling in with locals from the stands.
Now heading down the final stretch, the picks get harder deep into conference competition. Zultan seems to be teetering—not quite as cocky as he was during his “hot streak.” Now is the time to make your picks and grab a little glory of your own.
Those who outguessed Zultan last week will be listed at the end of this article with tons of kudos for those souls bright enough to surpass the Mighty Zultan.
Game 1: Wisconsin at Indiana
Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten), who should win the Leaders Division in the Big Ten by default, travels to Bloomington to play Indiana (4-5, 2-3). The Badgers must win in order to hold onto their lead—allowing them to play in the Big Ten Championship game. You cannot, however, overlook the fact that the Badgers are breaking in a new quarterback this week.
Indiana’s offense has managed to win games this season. In this strangest of years in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers might actually hold the reins in the Leaders Division if they can get past Wisconsin.
The Hoosiers need two more wins to become bowl eligible—assuming anybody wants to play host to the Big Ten this year. Not quite...
Pick Wisconsin to win on the road.
Game 2: (24) Northwestern at Michigan
Northwestern (6-3, 4-1 Big Ten) has a shot at winning the Legends Division if they can win this game on the road at Michigan (6-3, 4-1) who has similar ambitions.
The question of the week may be—will Denard Robinson be in the pocket his week? But the real question is: does it matter if he is there or not?
Last week Devin Gardner did just fine taking over the quarterback spot for Michigan.
Northwestern has had a bye week to get ready for this game, pondering the inevitable quandary of whether the Wildcats can put up more offense than the Wolverines in Week 11 because they certainly cannot stop Michigan with their defense.
Not an enviable spot to be in.
Pick Michigan to win at home.
Game 3: Purdue at Iowa
Buck up you downtrodden Iowa fans.
If you think this season is bad—harken back to those years between Forest Evashevski and Hayden Fry! Iowa (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) has a real opportunity here. If they can win the game against Purdue (3-6, 0-5) and draw even in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes only need one more win to reach bowl eligibility.
That will free the Hawks to play spoiler when the Great Huskers come to town. Nothing would make an Iowa fan happier.
Purdue has not managed a win in a long time, although they have played tough and come close on several occasions. Yet they remain winless in the Big Ten.
The Boilers will remain winless after Week 11 concludes.
Pick Iowa to win at home.
Game 4: Penn State at (16) Nebraska
Sneaky good. That is Nebraska (7-2, 4-1, Big Ten).
The Huskers lull you into believing they are mediocre, middle of the pack. Then they sneak up on you—kick your backside at the end of the game, pushing your nose in the mud as they trample over you on their way to the end zone.
They have become Big Ten bullies.
Penn State (6-3, 4-1) fields an awesome defense and an ever-improving offense.
The Lions have surprised everyone, escaping the shadow of the Sandusky horror-fest.
But they are playing in Lincoln where better teams have come to suffer bitter disappointment.
Pick Nebraska to win at home.
Game 5: Minnesota at Illinois
Minnesota (5-4, 1-4, Big Ten) will make their way to Champaign to face the Fighting Illini of Illinois (2-7, 0-5). The Gophers only need one more game to become bowl eligible in 2012.
It would be the first time since 2009 that Minnesota has gained post-season eligibility.
Illinois has huge problems at this stage.
They have lost 11 straight Big Ten games going back to last season. Hopefully they can salvage some building blocks from this year to begin building for success next year.
Pick Minnesota to win on the road.
Game 6: (15) Texas A&M at (1) Alabama
Newly transplanted Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC) took apart then-ranked No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville last Saturday.
It wasn’t even close. Led by the Aggies star Johnny Manziel, A&M closed the door fast on this game—more than doubling the offense the Bulldogs could muster.
Meantime, Alabama (9-0, 6-0) was also on the road in their biggest game of the season to date—facing LSU in Baton Rouge. The Tide's season was on the line.
Alabama was behind as the clock ticked down but quarterback AJ McCarron used a screen pass when he saw a blitz coming his way. The result was a touchdown—a 28-yard run with less than a minute left on the clock.
What it showed was that Alabama is vulnerable. LSU did everything better but win.
If the Alabama faithful believe Texas A & M will come to Tuscaloosa hat in hand—that is not the case.
The Crimson Tide will have their hands full again this Saturday. But...
Pick Alabama at home
Game 7: (2) Kansas State at TCU
Previously ranked TCU (6-3, 3-3 Big !2) just scored a double overtime win over West Virginia in Morgantown last Saturday—39-38. After a shaky beginning in Big 12 play, TCU is beginning to grow into their offense sporting a legion of very young players.
On Saturday the Horned Frogs welcome No. 2 Kansas State (9-0, 6-0) into Fort Worth for another big conference game.
Kansas State just took care of Oklahoma State 44-30 last Saturday at home but will be traveling this week. It is hard to imagine that the Wildcats will have too many problems with the Horned Frogs.
But Bill Snyder never takes any team for granted which explains why his teams are always ready to compete.
Pick Kansas State to win on the road.
Game 8: (21) Mississippi State at (7) LSU
Here are two sorely disappointed and dejected teams.
LSU (7-2, 3-2, SEC) had the No. 1 team in the nation on the ropes but let them escape in the final moments, ending the Tigers' chances permanently to play in the national championship game once again.
LSU, however, will bounce back this week, hoping for a chance to play in a big BCS Bowl.
This while Mississippi State saw their game plan shredded by Texas A&M, marking the Bulldogs second consecutive loss of the season.
It appears that Mississippi State far exceeded expectations coming into this season. It seems further that the Bulldogs have peaked and may soon find themselves losing three in a row.
Mississippi State, however, still has a good chance to finish strong—by winning their last two games in the SEC. The Bulldogs could end with a 9-3 record. Nonetheless...
Pick LSU to win at home.
Game 9: (9) Louisville at Syracuse
Well finally, Zultan takes a look at the Big East whose teams usually fly ahead of the All-Seeing Seer’s crystal ball radar. The Big East often plays early in the week for the sake of television while Zultan retains his focus on Saturday games.
The Louisville Cardinals are 9-0, 4-0 in Big East play. They have yet to play a ranked team. In fact, they will not play a ranked team until they meet No. 23 Rutgers on November 29—assuming Rutgers is still ranked by then. The Cardinals wins have been modest but they play consistent ball.
Syracuse (4-5, 3-2) has already lost to a couple of ranked teams and will lose to one more on Saturday.
Pick Louisville to win on the road.
Game 10: (11) Oregon State at (14) Stanford
Oregon State (7-1, 5-1, PAC 12) will travel to Stanford to play the Cardinal (7-2, 5-1) on Saturday.
It will be one of the more “watched” games of the weekend with two ranked PAC 12 teams hoping to emerge victorious.
Stanford has two losses on the season—against Notre Dame and against Washington. Their single win over a ranked team came in Week 3 over the USC Trojans.
Oregon State defeated both Wisconsin and UCLA when those teams were ranked prematurely. The Beavers also lost to Washington.
It looks like these two teams are evenly matched. But since they will be playing at home in front of fervent fans...
Pick Stanford to win at home.
The Final Word:
Many of you were sharper than Zultan this past weekend. Kudos!! More than any other week this season—19 in all outguessed the All-Seeing Seer. If this trend does not stop, Zultan will have to reduce the flamboyancy of his prose in order to make room to list his betters.
No one wishes that.
Here they are—the future stars of prognostication!
Bill Colyer - Greenville, SC
Michael Hall - Andrews, TX
John Zortman - Phoenix, AZ
Bill Fredrickson - Vista, CA
Kent Gleichman - West Des Moines, IA
Robert Reihm - Encinitas, CA
Dewey Oxberger - Wakefield, MA
Carl Stine - Kingman, AZ
Craig Bancroft - Coralville, IA
Lenny Cossman, Jr. - Parkersburg, WV
Eric Lawhead - Bolingbrook, IL
John O'Deen - Cedar Rapids, IA
Erick Schmidt - York, PA
Elihu Smails - Wakefield, MA
Rick "Turk" Steffens - Wilton Junction, IA
Eric Stipp - Dublin, OH
Dean Studt - Rockledge, FL
Skipper Woodham - Atlanta, GA
Kenneth Zuerner - Redmond, WA