Indiana at Illinois (-7 ½)
Brad: This one is all about momentum. The Illini have it and the Hoosiers do not. The Juice Williams era began in earnest last week with his first career win. A stingy defense, a commitment to run the football, and the ability to respond to adversity propelled the Illini to a 23-20 victory which spoiled Michigan State's Homecoming and – to the relief of thousands of Spatan alumni – virtually punched John L. Smith's ticket out of town. The key for the Illini this week is to not spend too much time reveling in the past. The Hoosiers aren't good, but one win does not a dynasty make. Illinois 23, Indiana 13.
Brumby: It feels good to head into a game on a Homecoming Saturday and be confident that the Illini are going to win the game. I know last week after the stunning victory in East Lansing, I figured that a three game winning streak was not out of the realm of possibility with two home games coming up. The Illini have confidence, something an Illinois team hasn't had since, well, 2001? Confidence is contagious on both sides of the ball, and I would bet the team thinks Juice Williams can lead them anywhere. I think the Illini will make their Homecoming crowd happier than they expected with a mini-offensive explosion. Illinois 34, Indiana 12.
Purdue at Iowa (-11)
Brad: The Curse of Lee Corso struck the Hawkeyes last week as they never had a chance. Corso donned the Hawkeye head and predicted an Iowa victory on College Game Day Saturday morning. Despite Corso's prediction, talent eventually won out as the Hawks dropped a 38-17 decision to the top-ranked Buckeyes. Purdue had no chance either as they dropped a 35-21 decision to God's favorite team (and coach). Kirk Ferentz won't let the Hawkeyes drown in their sorrows and, despite a green receiving corps, Drew Tate will find a way to eke out a win. Iowa 27, Purdue 21.
Brumby: As expected, Iowa lost their Saturday night game against The Ohio State University. Now, they are welcoming the Purdue Boilermakers, aka the team Illinois is most likely to upset in the Big Ten Conference season. I don't think the Boilers have much of a chance on the road. Iowa 27, Purdue 10.
Michigan State at Michigan (-16)
Brad: The last five quarters have been exceedingly unkind to the Spartans and no one is happier about it than Notre Dame and Illinois fans, although one could argue that Spartan fans are quietly rejoicing as well. John L. Smith's job lies perilously in the balance after Sparty's annual collapse arrived a few weeks earlier than normal. Smith has few fans in Champaign and South Bend, and those in East Lansing appear to be dwindling as well. After losing to the Irish, Spartan players seemed more concerned with protecting their turf from an Irish flag plant than with why they blew a double digit fourth quarter lead. Then last week a loss to a perennial conference doormat raised the ire of Spartan faithful. Making matters worse is the fact that RB Javon Ringer is out for the year with a knee injury and QB Drew Stanton is questionable after hurting his shoulder a week ago. With all these forces working against them, can they rebound against their intrastate rival? The bet here is a resounding no. The real question is will they win another game this year? Michigan 41, Michigan State 14.
Brumby: So the Michigan State traditional end of the season slide has started already. Two straight losses, and now they travel to the Big House for what will most likely be a beat down. I mean if you can't beat Illinois at home, why would any one expect you to go into Ann Arbor and knock off the Wolverines? No one does. Maybe that is what John L. Smith was looking for, the possibility of surprise when the Spartans travel to their in-state rivals. It won't happen, but maybe John L will do something crazy again. Michigan 48, Michigan State 7
Penn State at Minnesota (+3)
Brad: Minnesota has played five games. Against ‘real' teams they are 0-3 (0-2 in Big 10 play) and have been outscored by 45 points. Against the cupcakes, they are 2-0 with a point differential of 106-0. Rumor has it Glen Mason was last seen lobbying Big 10 commissioner Jim Delaney regarding letting either Temple or Kent State join the league as its 12th team. Many Illini fans advocate the cupcake method of scheduling to help teach a young team how to win. This has been successful in Minneapolis as the Gophers are a perennial bowl contender. This year, however, the story may not have a happy ending. Stud RB Laurence Maroney is off starring for the New England Patriots and his understudy, the bruising Gary Russell, let his classroom lapses end his promising UM career. Add to a string of losses along the offensive line and you have a team in transition. Penn State lost plenty themselves, but the defense is still plenty stout and WRs Deon Butler and Derrick Williams provide QB Anthony Morelli two very dangerous weapons. The Gophers will keep it close, but the Lions will prevail. Penn State 24, Minnesota 20.
Brumby: Minnesota is bad when it comes to playing real teams, and even Purdue. Penn State is not that great, but they are good enough to knock off the Gophers. Penn State 31, Minnesota 17.
LSU at Florida (+2)
Brad: Some folks think the Gators have the talent to win it all. Same with LSU, although a loss to Auburn has at least temporarily shelved any national championship dreams in Baton Rouge. This game is a prime example of why the SEC is the best conference in the land every year. Talent oozes off of both rosters with both defenses among the best around. Throw in two of the top QBs in Chris Leak and JaMarcus Russell and this has the makings of an instant classic. Leak has struggled with Urban Meyer's spread option attack, but looks very comfortable in his senior year and is a favorite to have a seat in NYC as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Russell's arm is unrivaled and has a virtual track team running under his laser-like passes. LSU will not be intimidated in The Swamp, but expect the Gators to win a tense, low-scoring affair. Florida 17, LSU 16.
Brumby: The Florida Gators need to win this to stay in the National Championship hunt. The Tigers are a little down after their loss to Auburn, and the rest of the SEC coaches are starting to beg for a playoff because their conference is "too hard". Well, they are right, it is the best conference in college football, but whining about a playoff is not going to do any good. This is the type of game that the Florida fans now expect to win, and is why Ron Zook was run out of town and Urban Meyer is now manning the sidelines. Luckily, Meyer has a veteran Chris Leak on his roster, and the home field advantage in the Swamp. Florida 24, LSU 17.
Week 6: Pick'Em
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