The 2012 Big Ten football season kicks off with Minnesota visiting UNLV late Thursday night. The Week 1 slate continues Friday, as Michigan State takes on always dangerous Boise State, and wraps up Saturday with the conference’s remaining 10 games, including Michigan battling reigning national champ Alabama.
BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) love to kick around a little football talk. They’ll be doing the heavy lifting each week (yes, we’ll keep track of their records), but you’re welcome to vote and sound off here, too. See our predictions for all 12 games and choose your winners.
Minnesota at UNLV
Tom’s pick: Minnesota, 29-27 – The Gophers will use a strong ground game to build an early lead–and then hold on.
Brent’s pick: Minnesota, 34-20 – UNLV has gone 16-45 since 2007, including 4-21 the last two seasons. Enough said.
Boise State at Michigan State
Tom’s pick: Michigan State, 27-13 – The Spartans will ride RB Le’Veon Bell and its strong defense to a workmanlike victory.
Brent’s pick: Michigan State, 23-17 – As if replacing Kellen Moore wasn’t hard enough, Joe Southwick debuts against an intimidating Michigan State defense.
Western Michigan at Illinois
Tom’s pick: Illinois, 27-20 – Yes, the Broncos have a nice offense led by QB Alex Carder, but the Illini defense will be too much.
Brent’s pick: Illinois, 30-20 – Defense rallies Illinois from early deficit, sends Tim Beckman to win in debut.
Indiana State at Indiana
Tom’s pick: Indiana, 31-21 – This is just what the doctor ordered for an ailing Hoosier team.
Brent’s pick: Indiana, 37-24 – Indiana wants to throw the ball a lot and its defense is far from stellar, so expect points to be scored.
Northern Illinois vs. Iowa (at Chicago)
Tom’s pick: Iowa 24-21 – The Hawkeyes will need a late field goal to pull this one out vs. the MAC’s top team.
Brent’s pick: Iowa, 30-23 – Iowa comes up with a late stop to hold off one of the nation’s more underrated programs.
Alabama vs. Michigan (at Arlington, Texas)
Tom’s pick: Alabama, 24-10 – Bama will win this one in the trenches, out physicaling a young Wolverine team that isn’t ready for this.
Brent’s pick: Alabama, 27-17 – Alabama bottles up Michigan’s run game and forces Denard Robinson into costly turnovers.
Southern Miss at Nebraska
Tom’s pick: Nebraska, 30-17 – Offensive balance along with a quick and deep defense will overwhelm the Golden Eagles.
Brent’s pick: Nebraska, 41-20 – Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead run away with this one early.
Northwestern at Syracuse
Tom’s pick: Northwestern, 24-21 – The defense–yes, the defense–will make a late stand to preserve victory.
Brent’s pick: Northwestern, 28-24 – Kain Colter has a hand in all four Wildcat touchdowns.
Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State
Tom’s pick: Ohio State, 31-7 – Amid a carnival-like atmosphere, the wraps will be taken off the Urban Meyer era. And the offense will shine.
Brent’s pick: Ohio State, 43-10 – Ohio State never loses to instate foes, and it certainly won’t happen in Urban Meyer’s debut.
Ohio at Penn State
Tom’s pick: Penn State, 27-24 – The Nittany Lions ride a wave of emotion and the passing—yes, passing—of Matt McGloin to victory.
Brent’s pick: Penn State, 17-13 – Some have Ohio pegged as a BCS buster, but Penn State’s defense is too strong to allow the upset.
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue
Tom’s pick: Purdue, 28-17 – Danny Hope’s alma mater is gonna stay in this one for three quarters, as the Boiler offense takes time to get on track.
Brent’s pick: Purdue, 33-13 – Raheem Mostert starts this one with a big return, and the Boilers never look back.
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin
Tom’s pick: Wisconsin, 55-14 – This will be one of those classic Bret Bielema romps that scoreboard light salesmen love.
Brent’s pick: Wisconsin, 51-17 – This one’s over so early, Montee Ball doesn’t even get a carry in the second half.
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