Wisconsin Thoughts, Prediction Standings, and Michigan State Predictions
Just like Ric Flair put hard times on Dusty Rhodes, the Badgers put hard times on the Illini tonight…
Like last game, this was another one that reminded us that the Illini can’t hang with the big boys yet. Factor in the two fumbles that led to scores and other missed opportunities, and there’s not a whole lot to write home about. And all eyes continue to be on the defense, a unit I think needs to make a quick turnaround if this squad wants to win any more games other than Purdue (sorry Boiler fans).
As you might expect, not a whole lot of good stuff from Coach Beckman in his postgame radio interview. But this soundbite kind of sums things up...
Of the 35 pickers this week, all but four of you put another tally in the win column, with top honors going to ehsfan, Bwp 5P, and DarrenAlman for nailing the margin of victory. I’m not sure if we’ve ever had that many perfect RSDTs in one game before. Overall,walker remains in first place, and DarrenAlman and Bwp 5P’s stellar picks this week vaulted them to the two and three spots. We had three new pickers this week, which puts us at 66 for the year.
Now we go from red and white to green and white…
Quite the odd one today between MSU and Purdue, as it took until the fourth quarter for someone to reach the red zone, and that was the only red zone trip of the game. MSU’s top ranked defense didn’t dominate, but was still solid. And you can’t argue with the season stats: five defensive touchdowns and a three-and-out rate for opponents of nearly 50% among others. So needless to say, points will be at a premium next week. Offensively for MSU, there wasn’t much to write home about to start the season, but things are starting to fall into place, especially on the offensive line, which faced several injuries last year. The unit is led by talented tailback Jeremy Langford, and Coach Mark Dantonio said this week that QB Connor Cook is capable of putting up triple digit rush yards in a game. Although it’s worth noting that he hasn’t come close to that mark so far this year.
Prediction-wise, this one is like Wisconsin in that my pick shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Illini aren’t regressing, but the road team is simply the more talented squad.
My prediction: MSU 24, Illinois 13 (three TDs and a FG for MSU, one TD and two FGs for UI)
A couple other side notes about MSU not related to the game. One: as a radio guy, I found it cool that MSU included radio tenure rankings in their game notes. In case you’re wondering, our Brian Barnhart has been on the job for 12 years. Two: if you ever get a chance to visit MSU’s campus, I’d recommend it. The athletic facilities, the ice arena in particular, are very up to date. Of the 10 Big Ten campuses I’ve been to, I rank MSU number three behind Ohio State and (showing my inner homer) Illinois.
Other random thoughts…
- Lot of chatter on social media today about Lee Corso’s antics at the end of College Gameday. In bad taste, perhaps, but I’m not sure why some of you are bringing the NCAA and Chief Illiniwek into it. This was ESPN and FSU’s doing.
- Since I mentioned game note Easter eggs earlier in this post, I thought I’d throw in this one (see photo below) from the Illini Football media guide. Whoever and wherever you are Eric, I salute you. Although I’m getting quicker at running stats to the DWS radio booth. Perhaps a race is in order?
- Since I’m planning on taking a short break after football season before starting up the basketball blog, I figure now’s a good time to chime in with my preseason thoughts. Although there really aren’t many. With so many newcomers, it’ll be tough to get a handle on this team until it has some games under its belt. If you had to twist my arm, I’d say this is a middle of the pack Big Ten team. Should be fun to watch either way with Coach Groce’s up tempo style.
Coming up next Saturday: MSU thoughts, standings, and Penn State predictions
[Rhodes audio via wwe.com]