Week 9 of predictions has come and gone, and last week, there was a whole lot of agreement between the staff writers here at The Pants. Outside of the Illinois/Minnesota and Nebraska/Wisconsin games, we agreed on just about every other game. They were pretty easy picks, it appears, since everyone’s winning percentage went up. This week, however, we disagree quite a bit more, and that means that next week, we should see some separation in the standings, as the top five people in the standings are separated by about three games. It looks like Week 10 is the week where we find out who’s who?
Here’s a look at our meaningless standings.
Alex: 29-10 (.744)
Jonah: 28-11 (.718)
Max: 27-12 (.692)
John: 18-8 (.692)
Ben: 22-10 (.688)
Dylan: 25-14 (.641)
Rob: 21-12 (.636)
Danny: 17-10 (.630)
Nathan: 22-17 (.564)
Nathan is the one who suffered the most from this past week, as he picked wrong in the two games that we didn’t agree on. He’s almost in desperation mode now. And now, to the picks.
Iowa at Penn State - 6:30 p.m., BTN
Max Brekke: For whatever reason, Iowa has a history of playing Penn State pretty well under Kirk Ferentz (you know, pretending 2012 doesn’t exist). But this year, I don’t think that Iowa will be able to pull it out in the hostile environment that is Beaver Stadium. It stays close, but not close enough. Penn State 21, Iowa 20.
Nathan Darus (HawkInATX): I want to be a little less certain about this game, but it feels like PSU’s stock is rising while Iowa's is sinking. If Iowa can force a couple of timely turnovers, then they can pull off this upset. But I'm not sold. Penn State 24 - Iowa 13.
John Krzmarzick: Iowa is a not a very good football team. Also, it is inevitable that my high from witnessing the Chicago Cubs with their first World Series Championship in 108 years will be ever so slightly diminished by the Hawks dropping back-to-back night games on national television (yes, I am obviously already predicting a loss for next week against Michigan). Only Kirk Ferentz could ruin this piece of Heaven for me. Penn State 27, Iowa 13.
Rob: This game appears to have all the makings of another defensive collision, as both offenses have looked inconsistent week-to-week. On the defensive side of the ball, both teams are fairly strong; it’ll come down to who can force turnovers. With the way the Hawks have been playing on defense, I believe they’re due for an explosion this week. Iowa 21, Penn State 17.
Dylan: I don't see it. Despite the rumblings we heard during the bye week and changing a few things up, I will believe it when I see it. The defense has come on strong but once again, I think the the offense fails its defense and PSU pulls away late. Penn State 20, Iowa 14.
Danny: I’m doing this new thing and feeling positive about the success of my sports teams. That, and I hate Penn State and can’t allow myself to pick them over Iowa. Iowa wins with a last-second defensive touchdown. Iowa 21, Penn State 20.
JPinIC: I am back to being a pessimist. Iowa has no offense. The defense can keep this close for a while, but Greg Davis getting “creative” won’t end well. Ever. Penn State 24, Iowa 10.
Alex Fish: I have a fair amount of faith in Iowa’s defense, but a complete lack of faith in the offense. The Hawkeyes keep this close and hang around, but don’t have enough to win in Happy Valley. Penn State 23, Iowa 17.
Ben Ross: I’m pleased to see a couple of BHGP-ers (maybe we should call ourselves Pantsers? That sounds weird) pick Iowa here, however, that’s just naive. Penn State has Saquon Barkley, and that’s enough for me to abandon all hope. I don’t even think he’ll do that great against Iowa, but he’ll do enough to keep the game out of reach for the Hawks. Penn State 24, Iowa 10.
Indiana at Rutgers - 11 a.m., BTN
Max: I honestly don’t know why we’re still picking games that involve Rutgers. Rutgers is so bad and they’re not getting any better. Richard Lagow for 4 touchdowns. Indiana 42, Rutgers 10.
John: Bloomington, IN is closer to Chicago than New Brunswick, NJ. Case closed. Indiana 31, Rutgers 21.
Rob: There’s never been a time in my life where I’ve actually wanted to watch Rutgers play football; other than the time they got blown out 78-0 by Michigan. They’re a bad football team. Indiana 34, Rutgers 17.
Nathan: Gross. Just gross. Indiana 38 - Rutgers 17.
Dylan: Rutgers has to win some time right? Wrong. Indiana 31, Rutgers 21.
Danny: Can’t wait for my Hoosiers to win this one big. Indiana 45, Rutgers 17.
JPinIC: Hey look, I’m finally on the Indiana bandwagon! Rutgers still just isn’t very good at football, which is worse than not being very good at defense. Indiana 38, Rutgers 20.
Alex: I hate this game. Indiana 34, Rugers 16.
Ben: HOOOOOOOOOOOOSIERS. Indiana 55, Rutgers 14.
Michigan State at Illinois - 11 a.m., ESPNEWS
Max: This game isn’t that great, either, but it seems like people are having a hard time deciding who to pick. I’ll be the first, as someone from Illinois, to let you all know that Illinois is very bad and I’m not sure that they win a game the rest of the season. I will be picking against Illinois forever. Michigan State 31, Illinois 6.
John: Odds are that there are more players who grew up rooting for the Cubbies on the Illinois football 2-deep than the Michigan State 2-deep. I also don’t believe in Michigan State at all. Not that I believe in Illinois, but whatever. Illinois 24, Michigan State 17.
Rob: Oh Sparty … what has happened to you this season? If Michigan State drops this game against this Illinois team … I’m honestly not quite sure how I’d be able to respond to that. Michigan State 21, Illinois 10.
Nathan: I’m no fan of MSU. And Sparty has looked terrible. But the Illini have looked far worse and there’s just no way Lovie Smith can make it so MSU drops yet another conference game. MSU 24 - Illinois 21.
Dylan: I've given Sparty the benefit of the doubt all season. Despite a prideful performance against Michigan, I am done picking Sparty until the play Rutgers. Fool me once, fool me twice...Illinois 28, MSU 24.
Danny: Even though Michigan State stinks, Illinois stinks even more. Maybe. Michigan State 24, Illinois 17.
JPinIC: I finally broke my streak of picking MSU, but it isn’t going to last. Illinois is disgusting. It’s the one game left of Iowa’s schedule I have any faith in winning. I don’t think MSU can play poorly enough to lose this one. Michigan State 31, Illinois 17.
Alex: This is a boring version of a tough game to pick. I picked Illinois and immediately regretted it last week, so I’ll take this as an opportunity to cleanse my soul of impurities. Michigan State 27, Illinois 13.
Ben: So what would happen if Michigan State, a team that was in the COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF last year, doesn’t get a win in the conference this year? Somewhere in Pittsburgh, Pat Narduzzi is smiling while he fawns over a Primanti Bros sandwich. Michigan State 24, Illinois 14.
#8 Wisconsin at Northwestern - 11 a.m., ABC
Max: People are picking Northwestern? I’ll take Wisconsin, with Corey Clement running two into the end zone. The Badgers are for real. Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 14.
John: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Anything is possible. Northwestern is located in the Chicagoland area. I’m going with the Wildcats. jNW 17, Wisconsin 13.
Rob: Coming into this game, both teams have been playing quite well recently and both still have plenty to play for this season. The Badgers’ recent schedule has not been kind to them, as they’ve faced off against teams such as, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Nebraska in consecutive weeks. Although the Badgers have played well, I think this is the week they drop a unexpected one on the road. Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 16.
Nathan: Whoa, hold on there… are some of us really gonna call this one for NW? I know the Badgers have to be tired and hurting, but they’ve beaten everybody put in front of them except OSU and Michigan. Northwestern is neither of those teams. Wisconsin 24 - Northwestern 17.
Dylan: Wisconsin has not won in Evanston this century. Seriously, look it up. I would love to pick the purple kittens here but I just think Wisconsin finds a way because that's what Wisconsin does. Much to my chagrin. Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 17.
Danny: Wisconsin didn’t look overly impressive against the Hawkeyes, then again, neither did Northwestern. No chance I’m picking against Wisco here too. Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 17.
JPinIC: Northwestern is coming into form and looks like the West contender I thought they could be before they crapped down their leg in the non-conference. But Wisconsin is good. I think their defense makes them too much. Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 17.
Alex: Something tells me Northwestern sneaks up on Wisconsin here. An early road game for the Badgers coming off one of the most brutal stretches in a schedule I’ve ever seen: smells like an upset to me. Northwestern 23, Wisconsin 20.
Ben: I’m afraid CATURDAY won’t be enough for Northwestern, as this will basically be a home game for Madison, what with all the Wisconsin transplants in Chicago and the short drive from Madison to Evanston. Gimme the Badgers and Pat Fitzgerald’s tears. Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 10.
Maryland at #3 Michigan - 2:30 p.m., ESPN
Max: Jim Harbaugh is probably embarrassed about how close MSU played the Wolverines last season. Jim Harbaugh is going to kill the turtles. Michigan 38, Maryland 6.
John: Jim Harbaugh attended a Cubs World Series game this week wearing a Cubs hat and a baseball glove. That alone moved Harbaugh up like 6 notches on my likability scale. Michigan 42, Maryland 13.
Rob: Maryland … I apologize for what you’re about to experience. Michigan 49, Maryland 24.
Nathan: Sorry Maryland. Even after you get get trounced in this game, this is still a pretty good season for you guys. Michigan 56 - Maryland 24.
Dylan: Maryland puts up a good fight and manages to not get terribly embarrassed. Michigan 49, Maryland 21.
Danny: The ‘Michigan hasn’t beat anyone’ narrative is one of my favorite things on College Football Twitter right now. Let’s keep that going. Michigan 42, Maryland 20.
JPinIC: I’d love to go in depth here, but I don’t think anyone cares, not even Maryland. They will lose and it won’t be close. Michigan 52, Maryland 13.
Alex: Nope. Michigan 45, Maryland 17.
Ben: I wonder if Jim Harbaugh is still sporting the baseball glove he brought to the Cubs game? Michigan 63, Maryland 10.
Purdue at Minnesota - 2:30 p.m., BTN
Max: Oh my goodness. Minnesota 70, Purdue -2.
John: This game has literally zero ties to the Chicago Cubs, and therefore, I don’t give a flying fadoodle who wins, how much they win by, or if this game even matters at all (it doesn’t, by the way). Purdue is too close to Cleveland, and they are also a really, really bad football team. Minnesota 34, Purdue 13.
Rob: Much like Rutgers-Indiana, this is a game I’ll certainly not be tuning into this weekend. Minnesota 31, Purdue 10.
Nathan: Uh, John, Purdue is way closer to Chicago than it is to Cleveland. But Purdue is still utterly terrible. Minnesota 31 - Purdue 7.
Dylan: I'll make sure to do something else while this game is going on. Minnesota 30, Purdue 13.
Danny: Pass. Minnesota 2, Purdue 0.
JPinIC: Oh Purdue. God love you. Minnesota 24, Purdue 17.
Alex: Hey, at least we aren’t Purdue. Minnesota 27, Purdue 21.
Ben: This is so dumb. But you know what? GIMME THE BOILERS. Purdue 31, Minnesota 24.
#10 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State - 7 p.m., ABC
Max: Yoooooo this is a compelling ass game. Everyone is picking Ohio State and I definitely think it’s going to be close. I’m not sure Nebraska has the offensive firepower to keep up with J.T. Barrett. Ohio State 35, Nebraska 27.
John: Jim Harbaugh is a Cubs fan. Urban Meyer isn’t. As much as I hate the entire state of Nebraska and still think their corn is extremely below average, I’m sticking with the theme of the week. Cubbies. Nebraska 23, Ohio State 21.
Rob: This is one of the games I’m looking forward to this weekend, as Ohio State has looked spotty in recent weeks and Nebraska will be looking to rebound after their first loss of season against Wisconsin. It’ll be close but I think the Buckeyes will take care of business this weekend and keep their playoff hopes alive. Ohio State 31, Nebraska 24.
Nathan: OSU will most definitely be looking to bounce back after looking really bad against PSU and playing way too close with NW. But Nebraska should keep this one close until Tommy Armpunt rears his ugly head. OSU 45 - Nebraska 31.
Dylan: OSU needs to make a statement but I sense that their underclassmen are starting to hit a wall. I think they will win because it's in Columbus, but I don't think it's comfortable for them either. Ohio State 26, Nebraska 24.
Danny: Well, it’s time to see what Ohio State’s really made of. Nebraska too. Bad Tommy Armstrong is going to show up at some point in this contest. Give me Ohio State 31, Nebraska 24.
JPinIC: Ohio State has looked iffy for a couple weeks now, and as competetive as Nebraska was with Wisconsin, there is just a disparity here. The defense is solid for Nebby, but at some point Tommy Armstrong is going to play offense for the other team. Ohio State 31, Nebraska 24.
Alex: The last two weeks have not been particularly kind to the Buckeyes, but it’s tough to imagine OSU losing a big game at home. Plus, I’m still not really sold on Nebraska even after a solid showing in Madison last week. Buckeyes in a close one. Ohio State 34, Nebraska 24.
Ben: Even though I think Nebraska will keep this close, I just don’t see them coming out of Columbus with a win. Ohio State 35, Nebraska 31.