Photo finish may be needed

When you are as intelligent as Neil Ament, things usually come quite naturally. This week's installment of his Big Ten picks take a new direction. StBucky is all part of the fun. Take a look.

This week two of St. Bucky's three college football coach idols not named Bielema faceoff against each other in Austin, TX. Thus, in St. Bucky-Tucker Maxian fashion my picks are not really my picks this week. Like St. Bucky's infamous proxy drinking contest with the putz Max, I have enlisted an expert to fill in for me. 3SportSeason ticket holder drives a Caddy because of his gambling prowess. I tried to get Bob Stoops to make these picks, but as soon as I mentioned St. Bucky's name his cell phone dropped the call.

CMU @ Michigan

When is vanilla more vanilla than normal? When Lloyd Carr is involved and nothing is on the line. Last week, the Wolves sleepwalked to a win over a rebuilding Vanderbilt team at home, lead by QB Chad Henne's outstanding 10 of 22 performance. Central really wanted the win over BC and after coming so close, one has to wonder where their heads are in a game they know they can't win. Look for another boring, vanilla victory at home for Big Blue. Michigan 31-10

Illinois @ Rutgers

Illinois had 345 yards rushing in last week's display vs. 1-AA foe Eastern Illinois while Rutgers was busy using last year's bowl momentum to score the upset in North Carolina. The Scarlet Knights are playing with confidence and also have the revenge factor after last year's OT loss in Champaign. Only 2 teams gave up more rushing yards last year than the Fighting Zooks and unless that changes, Rutgers will take this one handily at home. Rutgers 35-24

Miami (OH) @ Purdue What's not to like about Purdue here? Miami is off a disappointing home opener where they showed little to no offense against defensive powerhouse (?) Northwestern while Purdue tuned up with a 500 yard display vs. 1-AA Indian State. The Boiler "D" is the scary part here, as they gave up nearly 400 yards to said 1-AA team, but Miami has proven it has problems in the scoring department. Joe Tiller feasts on a down MAC team at home. Purdue 49-18

New Hampshire @ Northwestern

Is this hockey? No? Then we aren't going to waste much time here, as only on the ice would New Hampshire have a chance. Coach Fitzgerald gets a nice, comfy victory in his home debut. Northwestern 55-10

PSU @ Notre Dame

We all love the Domers here in Madison, right? PSU QB Anthony Morelli looked mighty good in his debut for the Lions as they eased by Akron last week. The young WR core each caught TD's and their speed and relationship with Morelli is the key here. ND has the tough task of scheming for a running QB last week (Ball with Georgia Tech) and now a big armed, drop back passer in Morelli. However, if you believe the media, Notre Dame will blind Penn State with their new found defensive speed (because they are the ONLY team in the country that was looking for more speed on defense) and PSU won't have a shot. Thankfully, we take the ESPN talking heads with a grain of salt. This will be an excellent contest that could come down to special teams. ND's kicker missed 2 field goals last week….could it haunt them this week? Perhaps. Penn State 31-28

EMU @ Michigan State

Boy, what a sharp, crisp effort by John L. Smith's boys last week, eh? Stumbling out of the gate at home vs. Idaho is hardly the way to start off a new campaign, but that's exactly what Sparty did, holding on to a 7 point victory. However, State will hardly need its "A" game here as Eastern Michigan is off a tough conference opener and has to travel again. The Eagles are improving, but not enough to battle the Green and White at home. MSU won the last meeting 56-7 in 2002…Michigan State 49-14

Iowa @ Syracuse Here we go…..Badger fans new favorite team to hate (Iowa) vs. Badger fans favorite former o-coordinator to hate (Brian White). Honestly, you'd think White was still the coordinator at Wisconsin given all the threads about him on Badger message boards. Regardless, he's now out east and in charge of one of the worst offenses units in the country, which does not bode well for this contest with the Hawks. Coach Ferentz has put a fast start as a top priority in Iowa City and there will be very little in the form of resistance from the Orange. For those that like to play the numbers, this could be the easiest cover of the week.Iowa 52-3

Indiana @ Ball State

Ball State is fresh off a nice win that many Badger faithful predicted last week while Indiana looked fairly impressive in their season opener as well. However, Hoosier QB Blake Powers was injured and is questionable for this contest. I'm not really sure what to make of this game because not much is known about Indiana. Sure, they sound like a team on the rise. They have an energetic coach that is saying all the right things. But do they have the talent to win these types of games, on the road, against hungry, Mid-Major teams? That remains to be seen. We liked what we saw from the Cardinals last week and will go with them in the small upset at home. Ball State 28-24

Minnesota @ Cal

Scary game for our Gopher friends to the Nort. Not much was proven last week as Minny dismantled a bad Kent State team and now face a second straight road contest against a very wounded Cal Bears squad. Cal had National Title hopes destroyed in Knoxville and there are not only QB questions, but team psyche questions as well. Many teams with high goals for the year fall into the abyss when those goals are dashed. The Gophs have the rushing advantage here and, believe it or not, the QB advantage as Cupido looked good last week. This is not the typical road kill Minnesota generally plays out of conference, but we expect the hangover in Berkeley to linger through this week, if not all season. Minnesota covers the spread and has a great shot and pulling the upset.Minnesota 31-30

OSU @ Texas

Here it is. The big one. Hagler vs. Holmes. Ali vs. Frazier. Yankees vs. Red Sox. St. Bucky vs. Tucker Max. All the great match ups of history pale in comparison to the hype this one is getting, and rightfully so. This is #1 v #2. The Buckeyes head south to the Lone Saint State to avenge last year's loss to the Horns. Does anyone else feel as if the game is a reversed mirror-image of last year's game? Texas has the young QB, OSU has the Hiesman hopeful in Troy Smith. Texas has the hyped defense, OSU's is unproven as of right now. However, the extra element here is the off-field distractions facing the Horns. Losing your lockdown corner when Ted Ginn Jr. is coming to town is never a good thing. Both teams are healthy and had easy tune ups before this game. UT might have the slight defensive advantage, but OSU has the huge offensive experience advantage. Young Texas QB Colt McCoy will be introduced to big time football here, and we look for the Buckeyes to frustrate him and take Bevo by the Horns. In a "My man love for Jim Tressel is stronger than for Mack Brown" upset special, THEEEE Ohio State University pulls the upset.Ohio State 24-20


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