BTN.com staff, September 19, 2012
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.
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.