Week 4: We predict all 10 Big Ten games

Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners. After three weeks, it’s Tom and BTN.com fans on top, at 28-8, while Brent is in the cellar, at 27-9. See our Week 4 predictions and choose your winners in this post.

BTN.com fans: 28-8; .778
Tom: 28-8; .778
Brent: 27-9; .750

[Related: Dienhart’s Big Ten questions for Week 4]

Louisiana Tech (2-0) vs. Illinois (2-1) – 8 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Illinois, 48-38 – This will be like watching a tennis match, with both offenses racing up and down the field. But in the end, the Fighting Illini defense will find a way to make some stops and get some turnovers. Plus, the Bulldog defense is putrid.
Brent’s pick: Louisiana Tech, 37-32 – Sonny Dykes’ team is no slouch. The Bulldogs, who put up 56 points in each of their first two games, can move the ball in a similar fashion to Arizona State, which crushed the Illini 45-14 in Week 2.

Central Michigan (1-1) vs. Iowa (2-1) – noon ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Iowa 24-14 – This will be a methodical victory for the Hawkeyes who like last week will grind out a win. But unlike last week, one of Iowa’s touchdowns will come via a pass—for the first time this season. Feel free to let out a cheer.
Brent’s pick: Iowa, 24-13 – OK, let’s try this again: James Vandenberg will throw his first touchdown pass in a relatively easy wire-to-wire victory.

Michigan (2-1) vs. Notre Dame (3-0) – 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Tom’s pick: Notre Dame, 31-30 – Last team with the ball will win this game. And that team will be the Fighting Irish, which has lots of speed and skill on offense. And ND is just better in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Brent’s pick: Notre Dame, 30-20 – Denard Robinson saves his best for Notre Dame, however this Irish defense is far better than either of the previous two editions.

Eastern Michigan (0-3) vs. Michigan State (2-1) – 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Michigan State, 51-9 – How do you cure a hangover following an ugly loss? Play moribund Eastern Michigan. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell will look like an All-American vs. the Eagle defense. Enjoy this one, Spartans. It will be your easiest victory of the season.
Brent’s pick: Michigan State, 45-7 – Eastern Michigan was just thumped by Purdue, 54-16, and it only gets tougher this week at Spartan Stadium.

Syracuse (1-2) vs. Minnesota (3-0) – 8 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Minnesota, 30-28 – The teams will trade points, as the Golden Gophers offense will look strong with Max Shortell pushing the buttons. The difference between the schools? Defense. Minnesota’s is better, but it will be tested by a strong Orange passing game.
Brent’s pick: Syracuse, 31-27 – Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib is tearing it up, averaging 379.7 passing yards and three touchdowns per game, and he’ll provide Minnesota’s surprising defense its biggest test to date.

[Related: Dienhart’s Q&A with Minnesota’s Derrick Wells]

Idaho State (1-1) vs. Nebraska (2-1) – 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Nebraska, 48-3 – Rex Burkhead or no Rex Burkhead, the Cornhusker will thump an overmatched Idaho State team from the FCS ranks behind the play of an inspired defense.
Brent’s pick: Nebraska, 47-16 – Rex Burkhead is expected back, although the Huskers won’t need him on this day against Idaho State – not with the way Ameer Abdullah is running.

South Dakota (1-1) vs. Northwestern (3-0) – 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Northwestern, 41-9 – After playing three schools from BCS leagues, the Wildcats get a breather. And it’s a well-deserved breather. Take a bow, Northwestern. And kick some butt, too.
Brent’s pick: Northwestern, 35-13 – A week after kicking five field goals, Jeff Budzien will get a nice rest – aside from the five extra point attempts, that is.

UAB (0-2) vs. Ohio State (3-0) – noon ET, BTN/BTN2Go
Tom’s pick: Ohio State, 44-13 – All week, the Buckeye defense heard about how it couldn’t tackle. Well, that won’t be an issue vs. the Blazers. Meanwhile, the Ohio State offense will keep on soaring.
Brent’s pick: Ohio State, 41-10 – Braxton Miller leads the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns (5) and is tied for second in passing touchdowns (7). And now he faces a winless team that is fresh off a 49-6 beating at South Carolina.

Temple (1-1) vs. Penn State (1-2) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2
Tom’s pick: Penn State, 29-21 – This will make it two wins in a row following two gut-wrenching losses for the Nittany Lions. And, just like in last week’s triumph over Navy, Penn State will ride the arm of Matt McGloin to victory.
Brent’s pick: Penn State, 20-17 – The Nittany Lions are 37-3-1 all-time against the Owls and haven’t lost in the series since 1941. Much like last year, though, they’ll need a big effort from the defense to drop its instate foe.

UTEP (1-2) vs. Wisconsin (2-1) – noon ET, ESPN2
Tom’s pick: Wisconsin, 35-13 – Finally, we will see the Badger offense exert its muscle and mite. Look for a big rushing day from Montee Ball (200 yards?) on a day when I could quarterback Wisconsin to victory.
Brent’s pick: Wisconsin, 27-13 – We still won’t see the dominant Wisconsin offense we’ve all become accustom to in recent years. But it will be enough to beat UTEP.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (11 Comments)
Dave Bartoo (@cfbmatrix) on 9/19/2012 @ 12:49pm EDT Said:

Just another POV on the Big Ten but they are playing exactly to talent, schedule and coaching expectations. Solid start for the conference.

March pre-season predictions for game outcomes are 33-3 to date with 9 of 12 teams exactly where they are supposed to be after 3 weeks. Just something new to consider for CFB fans.


joe on 9/19/2012 @ 3:01pm EDT Said:

GO SPARTANS!!!!! And to mike and lucass go fight irish..

norman wendt on 9/20/2012 @ 11:10am EDT Said:

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    BTN.com staff on 9/20/2012 @ 11:45am EDT Said:

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John Polito on 9/20/2012 @ 2:08pm EDT Said:

Wow thats nice that you deleted my comment about dish. Must be true what i said then.

    BTN.com staff on 9/20/2012 @ 2:21pm EDT Said:

    John, actually, that’s an incorrect assumption. As a web editor, I did forward it to the Customer Service team, as I do all unpublished comments on issues I can’t address. Yours was never published. The Customer Service team is getting plenty of questions and comments on this issue, and they handle them all. That Contact Us page is here: btn.com/contact. If you wish, you can also go to another website for more information: http://www.iwantbtn.com. As web editors of BTN.com, we’re just not using the BTN.com comments section as a place to discuss the issue since there are other outlets available. When I don’t have the suitable answer to a question or comment from a reader (on this issue and often others), we provide the place(s) where the customer can get their query addressed. Hope that helps.

dONALD wILLIAMS on 9/20/2012 @ 2:52pm EDT Said:

Hook em HAWKS. go IOWA!!!

Ryan M on 9/20/2012 @ 8:22pm EDT Said:

Michigan is going to show MSU how to beat ND! GO BLUE!

aroznowski on 9/20/2012 @ 8:25pm EDT Said:

I predict that Big Ten teams will go 9-1 this weekend. After seeing Notre Dame and its defense last weekend, I have to go with the Fighting Irish to defeat Michigan on Saturday night in South Bend. Michigan State’s offense is essentially one player (Le’Veon Bell) and Notre Dame contained it extremely well. Michigan’s offense is also essentially one player (Denard Robinson) although the Wolverines have far more talent and experience at wide receiver than the Spartans. The words “Notre Dame” and “defense” have rarely gone together, but they do so far this season. If Notre Dame had simply had just an average defense a few years ago, Charlie Weis would probably still be in charge. I would also bet that Notre Dame hasn’t forgotten that sour taste from last year’s thriller in Ann Arbor and would like to turn “Hail to the Victors” into “Hail to the Victims” after http://btn.com/2012/09/19/did-you-see-this-michigan-banner-on-notre-dame-stadium/. The two Big Ten teams that I predict will win but by a closer-than-expected margin are Illinois and Wisconsin. Louisiana Tech is one of the favorites to win the WAC and has posted 56 points in each of its first two games. Illinois struggled a couple of Saturdays ago with Arizona State. However, this game is in Champaign so I will still give the Illini the edge. UTEP gave Oklahoma more than the Sooners expected in Week 1 and have allowed no more than 28 points in its first two games against the Sooners and Ole Miss. With all of Wisconsin’s offensive struggles against opponents from the Missouri Valley, WAC, and bottom half of the Pac-12, nothing is a safe bet. However, Wisconsin has the home-field advantage so I will still give the edge to Wisconsin. Michigan State, Nebraska, and Northwestern have the easiest games this weekend.

Doug on 9/21/2012 @ 9:37am EDT Said:

Hey Ryan, it’s a vicious circle, ND seems to beat MSU but lose to M. MSU loses to ND but beats M. M beats ND but loses to MSU. I’ll lose to ND every year as long as we continue to beat M.

Lance on 9/22/2012 @ 9:46am EDT Said:

Is that Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass from Remember the Titans taking the field? Oh. oops. It’s Joel Stave. With Sunshine Bass taking the helm, Bucky is sure to triumph! On Wisconsin.