- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every Monday or Tuesday, I'll take a look back at our Big Ten predictions and poke fun at Brian, our guest picker and myself. Unfortunately, Brian is the big winner after Week 1, going a perfect 12-0 in picks to lead me by a game.
To review, the Week 1 predictions made by the reporters and guest picker Ryan Stitt of Litchfield, Ill.
WEEK 1/SEASON RECORD
Brian Bennett: 12-0 (1.000)
Adam Rittenberg: 11-1 (.917)
It's rewind time
Indiana State at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Indiana 38, Indiana State 14
Rittenberg's pick: Indiana 42, Indiana State 20
Actual score: Indiana 73, Indiana State 35
20-20 hindsight: We both underestimated the prowess of Indiana's offense, which set a stadium record for points scored. Bennett correctly pegged Tre Roberson to start at quarterback for the Hoosiers and Nate Sudfeld to take over and play plenty. My prediction of three combined rush touchdowns for Tevin Coleman and Stephen Houston fell one score short.
UNLV at Minnesota
Bennett's pick: Minnesota 31, UNLV 16
Rittenberg's pick: Minnesota 27, UNLV 14
Actual score: Minnesota 51, UNLV 23
20-20 hindsight: Again, we didn't expect such a scoring explosion from the Big Ten team. I correctly predicted Minnesota would record several takeaways (it had two). Bennett's pick to click, Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood, had his night cut short by an ankle injury.
Western Michigan at Michigan State
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 6
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 10
Actual score: Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13
20-20 hindsight: Both of us correctly pegged the Spartan Dawgs defense for a big night, although their pick-six came from a safety (Kurtis Drummond), not a cornerback, as I predicted. Bennett had the better forecast on the offense, writing that the quarterback competition wouldn't be settled in Week 1.
Buffalo at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 42, Buffalo 14
Rittenberg's pick: Ohio State 49, Buffalo 13
Actual score: Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20
20-20 hindsight: Bennett came closer on the score prediction, but we both had the wrong Buckeyes going for long touchdowns as running back Jordan Hall and wide receiver Devin Smith did their thing. Defensive end Noah Spence had a sack, but neither Adolphus Washington nor Ryan Shazier recorded one, as I had predicted.
Massachusetts at Wisconsin
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 38, UMass 7
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 48, UMass 10
Actual score: Wisconsin 45, UMass 0
20-20 hindsight: This was one of our easier and better predictions of Week 1. Bennett's combined yards prediction of 275 for James White and Melvin Gordon came extremely close -- they had 287 -- and I correctly pegged Badgers quarterback Joel Stave to twice find Jared Abbrederis for touchdowns.
Southern Illinois at Illinois
Bennett's pick: Illinois 31, Southern Illinois 13
Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 27, Southern Illinois 17
Actual score: Illinois 42, Southern Illinois 34
20-20 hindsight: Sense a theme? We both undervalued the offenses of several second-division Big Ten squads in Week 1. Brian came close with his predictions of 35 pass attempts (Illinois had 37) and three Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes (he had two).
Purdue at Cincinnati
Bennett's pick: Cincinnati 28, Purdue 27
Rittenberg's pick: Cincinnati 27, Purdue 24
Actual score: Cincinnati 42, Purdue 7
20-20 hindsight: We both expected much more from Purdue in coach Darrell Hazell's debut. Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux made big plays early, not late, as Brian predicted. I had Purdue quarterback Rob Henry committing a key fourth-quarter turnover, but he threw picks in the first and third quarters in a poor performance.
Central Michigan at Michigan
Bennett's pick: Michigan 35, Central Michigan 17
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 38, Central Michigan 14
Actual score: Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9
20-20 hindsight: We had similar score predictions and both turned out to be way off, at least when it comes to Michigan's offensive output. Michigan receiver Jeremy Gallon had one touchdown catch, not two as I had predicted. Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint had 57 rush yards, falling short of Brian's prediction (95).
Penn State vs. Syracuse
Bennett's pick: Penn State 27, Syracuse 23
Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 24, Syracuse 21
Actual score: Penn State 23, Syracuse 17
20-20 hindsight: One of our better score predictions, as we both expected a fairly low scoring close game and got one. Penn State had zero rushing touchdowns, not the two I had predicted.
Northern Illinois at Iowa
Bennett's pick: Northern Illinois 23, Iowa 21
Rittenberg's pick: Iowa 24, Northern Illinois 23
Actual score: Northern Illinois 30, Iowa 27
20-20 hindsight: Our lone disagreement of Week 1 went Bennett's way, even though I was in good shape for most of the second half. Iowa running back Mark Weisman (100 rush yards) came 50 yards and two touchdowns shy of my prediction. NIU got a big lift late in the fourth quarter from a Jordan Lynch touchdown pass, not a Lynch scoring run, which was Bennett's forecast.
Wyoming at Nebraska
Bennett's pick: Nebraska 49, Wyoming 21
Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 52, Wyoming 17
Actual score: Nebraska 37, Wyoming 34
20-20 hindsight: We both expected a stress-free night for the Huskers and a much better performance from the young Nebraska defense. Neither happened. I correctly pegged Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez to find Quincy Enunwa for two touchdown passes. Brian's prediction of five combined touchdowns for Martinez and Ameer Abdullah came up short as Imani Cross had Nebraska's two rushing touchdowns.
Northwestern at California
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 30, Cal 24
Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 33, Cal 24
Actual score: Northwestern 44, Cal 30
20-20 hindsight: We both came up short with our score predictions, although Bennett's forecast of Northwestern recording two timely interceptions proved spot on as linebacker Collin Ellis had a pair of pick-sixes in the second half. Injuries prevented the big night I predicted for Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and running back Venric Mark.
And now for our guest picker
Indiana 21, Indiana State 13
UNLV 21, Minnesota 17
Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 17
Ohio State 45, Buffalo 13
Wisconsin 38, UMass 14
Southern Illinois 20, Illinois 17
Cincinnati 27, Purdue 21
Michigan 28, Central Michigan 17
Penn State 28, Syracuse 23
Iowa 24, Northern Illinois 13
Nebraska 27, Wyoming 16
Northwestern 24, California 21
Assessment: Not too shabby, Ryan, although you've clearly lived in Big Ten country too long with some of those low score predictions. You came close with Michigan State-Western Michigan but, like the two of us, underestimated the offensive prowess of teams like Michigan, Northwestern, Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois. That UNLV pick doesn't look too good, but not a terrible first effort.