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Black Shoe Degenerates Week 11: Underdog Edition

November always brings a certain amount of craziness as teams look to lock up division titles.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Terrible week for me, as I went 0-fer again. The two teams I pegged to cruise to victory ended up winning close ones (shout out to Colorado for running out the clock), while the team I thought would keep pace was run out of the field well before its quarterback went down with injury (glad to hear he’s well, though).

And that’s how things go in November. Outside of week one, November seems to be the month where all the crazy things happen. The top teams either succumb to pressure and lose in a massive upset (Baylor), or they get their act together and destroy everything in its path (Ohio State). I wouldn’t be surprised if something crazy happened this weekend too (how you doin’, Iowa?).

The Picks

Illinois +27 @ Wisconsin - There’s no question on who is going to win this game. Illinois may be feeling good after their “upset” against Michigan State last week, but Wisconsin is another beast altogether. However, Wisconsin hasn’t beaten a team by more than 27 points since week 2 against Akron. I don’t expect Illinois to score more than 10 or 14 points, but I don’t expect Wisconsin to reach 40 either.

Iowa +22 vs Michigan - This will surely bite me when it’s all said and done, but outside of the Rutgers game, this is the first time Michigan will leave its home state for a game. Iowa was less than inspiring in its last game, and Michigan did everything it wanted in its own game, but one thing to note is that Maryland was able to move the ball against Michigan. If Iowa can replicate that success between the 20s, but limit the amount of turnovers Maryland had, they should be able to stay within three touchdowns in the game.

Purdue +14 vs Northwestern - This is another game where I may end up getting bitten in the end, but I actually believe Purdue could pull off the outright upset here. Northwestern found some sings of life when it played the soft part of its conference schedule, but quickly went back to reality when the competition stiffened. Purdue, for all its faults, has kept up with everyone for a half, and sometimes well into the third (and fourth) quarters. I think Purdue has it in them to pull this one off, which logically means they can stay within two touchdowns.

Rutgers +14 @ Michigan State - Everything comes in threes, right? Well, let’s give you the third “will come back to bite me” game. Rutgers has a bit of Purdue in them. They’ve kept pace with every team Big Ten they’ve faced save for Ohio State and Michigan, but has come away with a loss each time. This Michigan State team is a shell of its 2015 self, and the injuries have piled up considerably in East Lansing. Rutgers probably ends up on the losing side yet again, but this will be a game. It’s astounding and surreal how that last sentence is not at all hyperbolic.

Minnesota +8 @ Nebraska - I know I said at the beginning of the season that I’d stick with three to f our picks per week, but this game seemed too good to pass up. The Huskers have lost a little bit of luster after their two recent losses, most notably the one against the Buckeyes last week. Minnesota sits at a quiet 7-2, just like Nebraska, and has been putting solid performances offensively even while fighting off disaster against Rutgers. Given the uncertain status of Tommy Armstrong, and given the amount they’re being given, losing by a touchdown still nets Minnesota a win. If Armstrong doesn’t play, however, they could conceivably win straight up.

Fun Props

I think we did pretty well last week. Let’s take a look:

Total punts between both teams: 14.5 - UNDER (Iowa 6, Penn State 2)
Penn State sacks: 2.5 - OVER (4)
Iowa rushing yards: 171.5 UNDER (30. Lord Jesus it’s a fire!)
Percentage of fans wearing white at the game: 33.5 OVER (looked close to 50%. Good job guys)

And this week:

Total punts between both teams: 11.5 (it’s punt week, of course we’re doing it again)
Penn State turnovers: .5
Saquon Barkley rushing yards: 109.5
Indiana missed FGs + XPs: 2.5


My disastrous week puts me back below .500 for the first time since the season began. Let’s hope for a bounce back week.

Last Week: 0-3
Season: 16-17-1