Doc's Big Ten News and Notes
The Big Ten season opened up this past Saturday and the chalk came out victorious (straight up) in every game. Betting the favorites in every game would have allowed you a handsome profit as they wound up 3-1-1 ATS. This does not often happen because of the public's desire to play favorites and the oddsmakers knowledge of this trend. Unfortunately for us, the only side we took in the Big Ten ended up being a push. Nonetheless, it was another solid weekend for us as we went 4-2-1 and hit our, "College Game of the Year" late Saturday night. The following will discuss the highlights of the previous week in the Big Ten Conference.
The only game where the favorite did not cover took place early morning in Champaign. Purdue entered the game as a three touchdown favorite and appeared to be well on their way to a victory with a touchdown strike to Taylor Stubblefield fifty-five seconds into the game. But the Boilermakers could never shake the Illini and QB Jon Beutjer threw for more than 215 yards and had three touchdowns. Purdue had a comfortable lead throughout and it never really seemed like Illinois was going to win the game as they were always two scores away. The one thing that you can take away from this game is that the Purdue defense is not as good as had been advertised in the first two games. The opponent had more to do with those impressive statistics then the defense itself. Purdue can struggle against a solid ball-controlling offense and they will see numerous teams like this in the Big Ten.
Purdue will jump out of conference next week and play intrastate rival Notre Dame in South Bend. The Irish have been on a roll of late and because of that the Boilers have only been installed as a one-point favorite. They are a much better team then Notre Dame but one certainly has to take into consideration where this game is played. We will have a play on this game once all the information is gathered from our scouts. Next up for Illinois is a trip to Madison. The Illini are big dogs in this game mainly because of their struggles on the road. If they can play this well again it should be a low scoring game.
Speaking of Wisconsin, they had another defensive dominated game in which they won 16-3. We had the under in this game and could have cashed our ticket after the first fifteen minutes of play. The big story of they game was Badger full-back Matt Bernstein, who had 127 yards on 27 carries. Bernstein came in with only fifty plus carries in his three-year career, but because of injuries and ineffectiveness, he got his number called and produced a remarkable game.
This time it was not all Coach Joe Paterno's fault for his vanilla offense. Both his first and second strings quarterbacks were knocked out of the game, which left him with third stringer Chris Ganter. Ganter played as expected going only five-for-22 with 21 yards and an interception. The only thing that kept them in the game was their defense that forced three turnovers and held the Badgers under 300 total yards. The outlook for Penn State does not look good and I am very surprised they gave Joe Pa an extension. He has lost the magic touch and his team is playing with no confidence just waiting for a mistake to happen. Next up for Penn State is a game in the Metrodome. The game is being held off the board because of the uncertainly with the Penn State quarterback position. Once that is sorted out, expect a twenty-plus spread.
Another ho-hum victory for Minnesota occurred Saturday night in the dome. The Gophers pounded Northwestern 43-17 and I am disappointed in myself that we did not use them as a selection. Minnesota is 3-1 ATS on the season and that is despite being double-digit favorites in three of those contests. The best offensive player continues to be QB Bryan Cupito. He has thrown seven touchdowns and has yet to be picked off this season. Every other quarterback beside Orton would kill to have those statistics and with two dominating running backs, the Gophers are going to make some noise in the Big Ten. Those of you that got in on our season totals prediction are halfway their to reaching the pot of gold. Minnesota had nearly 2-1 total yardage on the Wildcats. The Cats were never really in this game once the second quarter approached. Cat QB Brett Basanez has came nowhere near the numbers he put up in game one against TCU. He seems to have found his form from last season and that does not look bright for the team. Next up for the Cats in a night game against Ohio State. Ohio State is favored by 11 and I feel this is a pretty solid number.
The spotlight game took place Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor. The Hawkeyes marched down the field and scored a touchdown on an outstanding one-handed grab by Ed Hinkle. This score put them worlds ahead of where they were last week in Tempe and it appeared that they would challenge the Wolverines throughout this game. However, something I never thought could happen occured. Michigan QB Chad Henne made some plays. He hit Braylon Edwards on a beautiful 58-yard touchdown strike early in the second quarter to give the Wolverines the lead for good. Henne finished the game with 236 yards and no interceptions and a performance like this Coach Carr will take every game of the season.
The bad news for us was the Michigan sat on their lead late in the game and allowed the Hawkeyes to get a garbage touchdown. This cut the lead to thirteen points and thus, instead of a victory in the game, we got a push. The line did move beyond this number late Saturday, so again I would like the stress the importance of making your wager early. There is no reason to wait around when value presents itself and often time it means the difference between a win or a tie/loss. Here was a perfect example of that. Next up for the Hawks is a bye then a home date with Michigan State. We will have a strong opinion on the game in two weeks. Michigan will travel to Bloomington this coming Saturday and the early line has them as a nineteen point favorite. As Purdue found out last week giving that many points on the road usually means a loss.
It is coming pretty easy for us as we have yet to have a losing weekend. My Alma Mater, Arizona State came through for us again with our, "College Game of the Year" and we are delighted to have put that in the win column. We certainly would like to thank Oregon State for making two bonehead plays that allowed us to win this game. It seems that wherever Dennis Erickson coaches, his team are full of hoodlums.
Early free pick - N. Texas -3 over M. Tenn St.