As the season moves on, TheWolverine.com staff writer Andy Reid has pulled ahead of intern Kevin Minor with a 3-2 record a week ago in the weekly pick 'em battle between the two.
Andy Reid: 6-6 (Last week: 3-2)
Kevin Minor: 4-8 (Last week: 2-3)
Without further ado, we present you this week's picks ...
Iowa at Michigan State: Point Spread = Michigan State -8.5
Andy Reid: The Hawkeyes' defense has been pretty stout against the run thus far in 2012, allowing 111.0 yards per game. If they can continue that success Saturday, Michigan State will certainly have a tough time moving the ball.
The Spartans have relied too heavily on running back Le'Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims for production. Sims will not play - making it even more important for the MSU offense to find some semblance of diversity.
The emergence of freshman receiver Aaron Burbridge last weekend is certainly encouraging for the Spartans - but it won't be enough to cover the spread.
Michigan State will win - but smart money will be on Iowa.
Score: Michigan State 17, Iowa 13
Kevin Minor: It took a near-perfect second half for a struggling Spartan squad to overcome a 17-0 first-quarter deficit in a 31-27 victory over Indiana a week ago, and although junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell has shown steady improvement and freshman wide receiver Aaron Burbridge had a breakout game against the Hoosiers (134 receiving yards), the offense remains below average - even by Big Ten standards.
Iowa, on the other hand, is relying almost solely on the legs of walk-on sophomore running back Mark Weisman - and he has delivered.
Weisman has stockpiled 507 yards and seven scores in his last three games (169.0 yards per game), and will test a Michigan State defense that leads the conference in yielding only 86 yards per game.
With a 100% chance of rain, according to local meteorologists, and two poor offenses butting heads - Iowa ranks 10th in the Big Ten with 22.6 points per game and Michigan State 11th with 21.8 - expect this one to be ugly.
The Hawkeyes offensive ineptitude proves to be less damaging than MSU's, and they win in the ugliest fashion.
Score: Iowa 16, Michigan State 10
Northwestern at Minnesota Point Spread = Northwestern -3.5
Andy Reid: This spread seems much to low, perhaps an overreaction to the Wildcats' hard-fought loss to Penn State last weekend. Northwestern has proven to be plenty dangerous with the ball, scoring nearing 32.8 points per game.
The Wildcats have gotten out to big leads and allowed opponents to close the gap a couple times this year - but if they get out front Saturday, the Gophers just don't have the firepower to close the gap.
Northwestern will score enough early to hold Minnesota at bay.
Score: Northwestern 38, Minnesota 24
Kevin Minor:The Wildcats were out-gained 443-247 a week ago in a 39-28 loss to Penn State, but should find a reprieve against a Minnesota team that is not your typical 4-1 squad.
The three FBS opponents the Gophers have defeated this year have totaled a 7-11 record, and, although talented senior quarterback MarQueis Gray has been removed from the official injury list after missing time with an ankle sprain, he is listed on the UM depth chart as backup to inconsistent sophomore Max Shortell.
NU will continue to display creativity in getting the ball into the hands of junior running back Venric Mark and junior quarterback/running back/wide receiver Kain Colter, and a Minnesota defense that ranks eighth in the conference in rush defense (139.2 yards per game) will give up too much on the ground to a ground attack that averages 231.8 points per game.
Pat Fitzgerald's squad covers on the road in the not-so-hostile confines of TCF Bank Stadium.
Score: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 14
Wisconsin at Purdue Point Spread = Purdue -1.5
Andy Reid: This is the most up-in-the-air game of the week. The Boilermakers have been fairly stout against the run the season - unless they're playing against Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. And the Badgers have mustered just 133.5 rushing yards per game, good for 11th in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbredaris has gone for more than 100 yards in each of the last three games, and he'll need to have a similarly big game against Purdue for the Badgers to muster enough offense to beat Purdue.
I'm taking Purdue and its potent offense (e.i. potent when it's not playing Michigan) to topple Wisconsin.
Score: Purdue 24, Wisconsin 20
Kevin Minor: Purdue is an even 5-5 after dropping a home game in the Danny Hope era, and this matchup between the two schools most likely to compete for the Leaders Division title could go either way.
Purdue entered last weeks game averaging 51.0 points per game at home, but couldn't muster anything in a 44-13 loss to Michigan, and Wisconsin's offensive struggles - despite having senior standout Montee Ball rumbling out of the backfield - are well documented.
Both squads have been wildly inconsistent, and this one will come down to which side can string together solid play for the longest stretch of time.
Senior quarterback Caleb TerBush and the Boilermakers' passing game, which ranks fourth in the conference with 241.0 yards per game, gets back on track against a below-average Wisconsin secondary.
Score: Purdue 17, Wisconsin 14
Ohio State at Indiana: Point Spread =Ohio State -17.5
Andy Reid: The Hoosier put up a valiant effort before eventually falling to Michigan State last weekend. This program is still working toward being competitive on a week-to-week basis; expect to see Indiana off to a sluggish start.
Indiana's offense is too one-dimensional to keep up with Ohio State. The Hoosiers' short passing game was shut down in the second half last weekend, and Ohio State will take notice.
Score: Ohio State 41, Indiana 13
Kevin Minor: Indiana boss Kevin Wilson's scheme has done wonders with inadequate talent, and an Indiana team that leads the Big Ten in total offense (471.4 yards per game) and passing offense (305.2 yards per game) will once again pose a threat in the first half.
The Hoosiers scored 17 first-quarter points against the best defense in the Big Ten in a 31-27 loss to Michigan State, and should be able to score early.
Unfortunately for IU, Ohio State - which scored 63 points a week ago - possesses a dynamic ground-based offensive attack (38.5 points per game) that will ravage an Indiana defense that ranks last in the conference in both total defense (441.0 yards allowed per game) and rushing defense (194.8 yards allowed per game).
The Hoosiers do not have the horses to keep up with the Buckeyes for 60 minutes, and sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller once again runs wild.
Score: Ohio State: 63, Indiana: 34
Out-of-conference game of the week:
Louisville at Pitt: Point Spread = Louisville -1.5
Andy Reid: This line is baffling. The Panthers have been a severe disappointment this season, and although they have been playing better in the last few weeks, they just don't have the talent to keep up with the Cardinals for four quarters.
Expect Louisville to continue its unbeaten streak.
Score: Louisville 27, Pitt 17
South Carolina at LSU Point Spread = LSU -4
Kevin Minor: I usually stay away from the SEC, but have to go with an angry LSU team coming off of a loss under the lights in Death Valley to win - but not to cover.
Steve Spurrier's squad cemented themselves as SEC contenders with a 35-7 lambasting of Georgia a week ago, but the Tigers, as always, have the athletes defensively to carry an anemic offense.
Score: LSU 17, South Carolina 16
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