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A New Era For Black Shoe Degenerates

When the boss steals your headline, you smile and nod.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome welcome welcome to another edition of Black Shoe Degenerates, the place where we gamble away our fake savings thinking we know anything about college football!

Last season had a bit of a twist (and a guest author at that!), but I’m back again to embarrass myself this season, and I’m bringing the gang along for another year!

This season’s format will be the same as last. We’ll pick all the Big Ten games this weekend (minimum seven games). Once conference play is in full swing, we’ll add a sprinkle of games from outside the conference to make up for the byes.

Scoring will also remain the same as it was last season, and as a refresher, it’s so:

  • Staff predicts the score of the game in question.
  • 2 points are awarded for a correct winner (AKA straight up).
  • 3 points are awarded for correctly picking the spread (AKA, uh, the spread).
  • 10 points are awarded for getting the score prediction right.
  • In the event no one get the score prediction right (so most weeks), the prediction closest to the actual score gets awarded 6 points. Thus, if someone correctly predicts a score in a given week, they’ll get 16 points!
  • The formula for “closest score” is away team delta + home team delta. Your margin of victory is no good here!

And with that, to the picks!

Temple Owls at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-14.5)

Rutgers looked relatively competent last season under Greg Schiano’s second go-around, and Temple lost almost every game, on the other hand. That said, they bring a couple of transfers from power 5 programs so maybe they cover the gargantuan line that Vegas seems to think will give them action.

[Ed. note: Game has been moved to Saturday]

Dylan: Rutgers 34, Temple 17
Tim: Rugers 31, Temple 13
Lando: Rutgers 31, Temple 20
Clay: Rutgers 38, Temple 14
Jared: Rutgers 24, Temple 20
Eli: Rutgers 33, Temple 13

No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (-14) at Minnesota Golden Gophers

I’m going to let y’all in on a little secret: Urban Meyer would have done the exact same thing Ryan Day has done so far with Justin Fields at the helm. So it baffles the mind that people keep saying Day is an upgrade over one of the best coaches in the history of the sport. Anyway that's neither here nor there. Ohio State’s still winning this game.

Dylan: Ohio State 49, Minnesota 21
Tim: Ohio State 49, Minnesota 24
Lando: Ohio State 45, Minnesota 17
Clay: Ohio State 42, Minnesota 24
Jared: Ohio State 45, Minnesota 21
Eli: Ohio State 45, Minnesota 35

Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats (-3)

The Wildcats lost a stunner to Michigan State last season, their only regular season loss of 2020. Both of these team return very little production from their squads, with the Spartans having so many transfers (in and out of the program) that they may as well be a brand new team.

Dylan: Northwestern 23, Michigan State 17
Tim: Northwestern 24, Michigan State 17
Lando: Northwestern 28, Michigan State 21
Clay: Northwestern 19, Michigan State 14
Jared: Northwestern 20, Michigan State 7
Eli: Northwestern 17, Michigan State 10

No. 19 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers (-5.5)

On the one hand, Penn State will get this game out of the way immediately. On the other, starting with a quality opponent on the road is hard. Then again, the Lions had all offseason to prepare for this game, as did the Badgers. Whoever wins though should be sitting pretty in the quest to overtake Ohio State for the conference crown.

Dylan: Penn State 31, Wisconsin 27
Tim: Wisconsin 28, Penn State 24
Lando: Wisconsin 31, Penn State 28
Clay: Wisconsin 31, Penn State 27
Jared: Penn State 30 Wisconsin 27
Eli: Penn State 56, Wisconsin 17*

Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan Wolverines (-17)

Western Michigan was no pushover last season, but if Michigan is as good as they need to be in order to compete with the rest of the East, this one should be out of hand early.

Dylan: Michigan 42, Western Michigan 13
Tim: Michigan 38, Western Michigan 7
Lando: Michigan 34, Western Michigan 10
Clay: Michigan 37, Western Michigan 17
Jared: Michigan 31, Western Michigan 10
Eli: Michigan 45, Western Michigan 20

No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes (-3.5)

Two of the hottest teams in the Big Ten last season open 2021 against each other. Both teams are looking to content for their respective divisions, and, like Penn State and Wisconsin, a win here puts them well ahead of the curve in the quest to stay atop the standings.

Dylan: Iowa 20, Indiana 16
Tim: Iowa 20, Indiana 13
Lando: Iowa 24, Indiana 20
Clay: Iowa 27, Indiana 20
Jared: Iowa 24, Indiana 20
Eli: Iowa 20, Indiana 17

West Virginia Mountaineers (-2.5) at Maryland Terrapins

These chicken**** lines vegas puts out sometimes are so annoying. Regardless, this is a non-conference Power 5 foe early in the season. This is Maryland. You know what’s about to happen.

Dylan: West Virginia 31, Maryland 24
Tim: Maryland 31, West Virginia 28
Lando: West Virginia 27, Maryland 24
Clay: Maryland 30, West Virginia 23
Jared: West Virginia 30, Maryland 23
Eli: Maryland 35, West Virginia 28

Oregon State Beavers at Purdue Boilermakers (-7)

Seven points seems like a lot, but hey, Vegas knows, right? The Beavers looked quite decent last season, so I don’t expect the Boilermakers to run the train here.

Dylan: Oregon State 27, Purdue 24
Tim: Purdue 28, Oregon State 17
Lando: Purdue 31, Oregon State 17
Clay: Oregon State 30, Purdue 28
Jared: Purdue 34 Oregon State 27
Eli: Purdue 31, Oregon State 21

UT San Antonio Roadrunners at Illinois Fighting Illini (-5)

Everywhere I check I see talk about how UTSA might pose a bigger challenge to Illinois than Nebraska did, if they don’t win the game outright. I will readily admit I know nothing about UTSA, but that just doesn’t seem right to me.

Dylan: Illinois 28, UTSA 20
Tim: Illinois 35, UTSA 28
Lando: Illinois 35, UTSA 24
Clay: Illinois 30, UTSA 20
Jared: Illinois 34, UTSA 16
Eli: Illinois 27, UTSA 14

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! You, the fan, can get in on the action again! Drop your picks in the comments before the games start, and that’ll serve as your de facto signup for this season’s action. Let the gaming begin!