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Sports Then and Now

College Football Week 8 Predictions: Top The Zultan

Posted on October 21, 2009 by JA Allen

What do a Buckeye, a Sooner and a Hokie have in common?  They all lost last weekend and ruined Zultan’s life!  The mighty seer expected so much more – like a victory!  Now the mighty one lives in torment as nine bested the exalted soothsayer, leaving him shrouded in shame.

Last week Zultan was 7 for 10 or 70 percent – do you get this percentage stuff yet?  On the season – the all-seeing one climbs to 47 of 61 or 77 percent to date.

Phooey on amateurs is all Zultan says as he readies his magnificent mind for the impossible week ahead.  This is where we separate the men from the boys, the bad from the ugly – the dazed from the confused. Get ready to rumble because Zultan is charged, firing on all mental cylinders.

Do you feel favored enough to pit your puny predicting powers against Zultan – Big 10 Seer for the ages?  Time to take your turn at the big wheel…

(1) Indiana at Northwestern
Indiana was splendid last week against Illinois.  But who isn’t?  Ben Chappell passed for over 300 yards – but who can’t against the Illini pass defense?  To take nothing away from Indiana –  the victory, 27-14, only meant a hitch up the confidence meter for the Hoosiers. In the meantime, the Northwestern Wildcats held a scant lead at halftime against the Michigan State Spartans last Saturday; but the Cats faded away in the second half, losing 24-14.

So the great Zultan must ponder the match-up and decide who will take up the mantle of victory this weekend.  With nothing concrete to go on – Zultan takes the home team.  Northwestern gets back on the winning track this weekend, winning at home against the Hoosiers.

(2) Illinois at Purdue
As Illinois sinks out of sight and Purdue climbs out of the basement after upsetting the Ohio State Buckeyes last Saturday 26-18, the answer here is fairly obvious.  Zultan removed his curse on the Purdue Boilermakers as the “unluckiest” team in the Big 10!  The Boilers will defeat the stymied Illini on Purdue home turf.

(3) Minnesota at Ohio State #18
Last weekend the Minnesota Gophers had to travel to Happy Valley where they were toasted by the Penn State Nittany Lions 20-0.  This weekend they trek up to Columbus into the Horseshoe – which promises no luck whatsoever.  The Buckeyes will be stinging after their upset at Purdue 26-18 and will, no doubt, take it out on the Gophers.  Expect the Buckeyes to come storming back, winning this contest at home hoping to still the anxious waters in Columbus.

#13 Penn State at Michigan
He cannot look!  Is it over yet?  The all-seeing seer has had nightmares about predicting the outcome of this mammoth battle. Ultimately, Zultan judges these teams by the way they played against Iowa.  Michigan played the Hawkeyes better at Kinnick Stadium than the Nittany Lions did in Happy Valley.  Therefore, Zultan believes that Michigan will win their game played in Ann Arbor for all the right reasons – playing at home and making the right adjustments for an ever-improving team.

(5) #7 Iowa at Michigan State

Mom demands that Zultan go with Iowa over the Michigan State Spartans. Iowa hopes to advance its undefeated season by going to 8-0.  But the Hawkeyes will not be playing in Prime Time – instead on the Big 10 Network.  Hopefully under the lights will be enough.  The Spartans certainly cannot be discounted because they have been playing great ball of late – but the Hawkeyes have deigned this season as destiny. Zultan picks the Hawkeyes to notch number eight in East Lansing.

(6) #11 Georgia Tech at Virginia
The Yellow Jackets stung the Hokies last weekend and now will swarm the Cavaliers on Saturday.  Even though Virginia is perfect in ACC conference play to date, the Cavaliers have not exactly met the cream of crop.  The Jackets have great aspirations and will not let the Cavaliers block their path to the top.  Look for Georgia Tech to take away a victory on the road.

(7) #10 TCU at BYU #16
This is one of those really big contests of this crucial weekend. Zultan has tossed and turned over this one.  The Mountain West Conference Championship probably lays on the line as well as bragging rights.  Both teams are ranked but both have met suspect competition to date.   BYU’s defense is often sitting in the locker room unable to make it to the field unlike the Cougar offense, which strikes often with power.  TCU, however, is one of the top 10 ranked teams in the country.

When in doubt, Zultan goes into a deep trance and watches reruns of I Dream Of Jeannie.  If that brings no results – Zultan takes the home team, in this case – Zultan picks BYU to hang on at home and win this game in the late going.

(8) Iowa State at Nebraska
Nebraska was upset last weekend in Lincoln by Texas Tech.  The Huskers abhor losing at home.  To say the Nebraska offense looked anemic is a great understatement.  The Red Raiders gave the Bo Pellini coached Huskers something new to think about – a change in quarterbacks.  This is a dangerous proposition at this stage of the season.

Iowa State is coming in at just the right moment when the Huskers doubt themselves.  Zultan would love to give the underdogs the nod here, but let’s be real.  The Cyclones have done much better than expected and have played tough against both Kansas opponents.  But, this week, Nebraska will settle their internal controversies and come back in time to neutralize the Cyclones.  Nebraska wins this one at home.

(9) #25 Oklahoma at Kansas #24
Both teams are rocking back on their heels after losing the previous weekend.  Oklahoma failed at the Red River shootout and in the process lost their vaunted quarterback Sam Bradford as Oklahoma lost to Texas 16-13.  Kansas lost on the road to lowly Colorado 34-30.  Both teams are barely holding onto top 25 rankings.  So the question is – who will stop the skid and come out with a victory?  Defense wins games while offense loses it – Zultan cannot envision Oklahoma losing this contest even in Kansas.  Zultan believes the Sooners will roll over the Jay Hawks.

(10) #3 Texas at Missouri
Zultan always loses his number 10 pick.  So this week he is going to pick just the opposite of what he feels will happen.  In this case the Texas Longhorns will travel to the “Show Me” state to illustrate to the Tigers how to win a football game.  Texas will win this contest but the Missouri team will make it very interesting.  The Longhorns after their big victory maybe ripe for a letdown, but they will not because there is too much riding on this win to keep them ahead of their instate rivals, Oklahoma State.  As much as Zultan would like to pick the upset, he will not.  Texas again wins another shootout.

Last week nine football fans outguessed Zultan [7 for 10] – picking 8 for 10.   Daniel Repp – Albuquerque, NM; Jason Brown – Hampshire, IL; Austin Garner – Mechanicsville, IA; Craig Bancroft – Coralville, IA; David Eck – Cedar Falls, IA; Patrick Wolfe – Altoona, IA; Dan Gallagher – Brainbridge Island, WA; Dale Collins – Ladson, SC; Alex Goedken – Kansas City, KS.

What does the state of Iowa have against Zultan!!  Zultan’s Mom lives in Iowa!

This week is the football equivalent of the black hole for clairvoyants and you may think you have the right stuff to “Top Zultan.”  Click here if you feel brave enough to aspire to out do the all-seeing seer.

Zultan feels compelled to quell the uprising he feels emerging from the Hawkeye State.  Those inhabitants seem to have their own vision of the future and Zultan cannot abide competition…fly away…Hawkeyes…

JA Allen is a regular contributor to Sports Then and Now.

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