It is finally fall, because Big Ten Football is back.
Don't get me wrong, Bama and Georgia gave us one good half of football last week. Now it's our time. The Midwest takes precedence from here on out, so buckle up, and get ready for this week's Top 5 Games.
5. Rutgers @ Michigan St.
Hahhahahaha. No. Just, no.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Las Vegas Raiders
I wouldn't touch this game with a 10 1/2 foot pole at the sports book, but it will be an awesome game to watch. Just when I thought I was out on Tampa, they pull me back in! Colin Cowherd just said they were the best team in the league! As a Bears fan, Ive never seen Aaron Rodgers and the Packers crumble the way they did last weekend. The offense limited mistakes and low and behold, they killed it. This week, they have Gruden's Raiders on the road. The Raiders are 3-2, coming off a hot win against the defending champs. Can their pass rush step up like the Bears did though? That'll be the tough task for a defense that's allowing over 30 pts. a game. I'm not a big fan of road favorites, but I can't doubt the Buccs offense after last week.
Frank's Pick: Buccs -3
4. Nebraska @ #4 Ohio State
Oh Nebraska, you poor suckers. Remember when the Huskers threatened to sue the Conference? Yea, Kevin Warren didn't forget. So they get the immense pleasure of traveling to Columbus on week 1. Careful what you wish for Scott Frost! Let's be real, this game will probably be a blowout. The reason to watch this game is to get a feeling for how the eventual conference champs will be. Will they be rusty? Is Justin Fields going to hop right into the Heisman race? We'll have all of our answers come Saturday. Ryan Day now has a year under his belt, and he's confident about this year's roster. Jumping straight into conference play eliminates cupcake games, but the Buckeyes are getting the next best thing. It may be a snoozer come the second half, but it'll finally feel like fall.
Frank's Pick: Buckeyes -26
3. #17 Iowa St. @ #6 Oklahoma St.
It's nice to see Oklahoma St. in a familiar position: undefeated with a bad loss waiting in the wing to destroy their playoff hopes. If the Sooners weren't trash, this game probably wouldn't be on my radar. However, Mike Gundy and his glorious mullet is the last hope the Big 12 has at making the Playoff. And who's standing in his way? Ya boy Matt Campbell! Although the Cyclones are 3-1, that one loss came against the Ragin Cajuns! Giving some credit to the Cowboys, they're only allowing 9 pts/game so far. It comes down to this: do you trust Oklahoma St. to not rip like Daniel Jones last night? This game, I do. Later down the road, not so much.
Frank's Pick: Gundy's mullet -3.5
2. Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans
Here we go, a clash of two Titans! Well, just one is the Titans but, you get it. The Steelers are hot off a purely dominating performance at home against the Browns. Ben Roethlisberger was meh, did enough to get the job done. What was convincing, was the defense. What a surprise! The Steelers have a great defense! The problem is, I think it's much easier to rattle Baker Mayfield than it is to break Ryan Tannehill. The potent duality of Tannehill and Derrick Henry tore up the Texans defense last week, accounting for 6 combined touchdowns! The big hurdle for the Titans, is recovering from Taylor Lewan's torn ACL last week. Losing your left tackle is devastating, but this is the NFL, so next man up. This game is basically a pick 'em, so I'll probably just go ahead and take the Titans at home, After all, they haven't given me reason not to.
Frank's Pick: Titans -1
1. #18 Michigan @ #21 Minnesota
This is the game to watch: college gameday, possible snow, trophy game. If that didn't get you excited then I don't know what will. Buckeye fans, you need to pay attention to this game just as much as Wolverine fans do. Michigan's "speed in space" looks like it might finally take off with Joe Milton being named as QB-1. I'll be honest, I don't know he's going to be tomorrow. But I can tell you that I've seen him in person, and the dude throws bullets. He's basically Rick "Wild-Thing" Vaughn; can throw the heat but can't offer much in terms of "touch". But that was last year, and word from inside Schembechler Hall is he won the QB battle outright over Dylan McCaffrey and it wasn't close. What Michigan has lacked in the Harbaugh era, is a dynamic, athletic quarterback. They also have to replace basically their entire offensive line, with only Jaylen Mayfield returning after opting back in to the season. Zach Charbonnet and Chris Evans highlight the running-back room, so there's plenty of experience and talent there. The defense will be the bread and butter of this group, which is nothing new. Don Brown's unit features a lethal offense front, with Kwity Paye, Carlo Kemp and Aiden Hutchinson returning for one last shot at a championship. Daxton Hill at safety has been praised relentlessly by everyone in the program, and may be the best athlete on the entire team. Minnesota will not only have the weather on their side, but also return their starting QB in Tanner Morgan. Personally, I think the Golden Gophers were severely overrated last year due to their mostly cupcake schedule in the Big Ten West, but, P.J. Fleck deserves all the credit in the world for making this program relevant again. Michigan is the more talented team, but Minnesota will have an offense that's had time to work together and mesh. I think the Wolverine's defense will keep this game tight, but expect Milton to make a couple of mistakes in this environment. I'm not confident in this pick, but I'll go ahead and buy what Harbaugh, Brown and Ed Warriner have been selling me the past couple months over zoom. Go Blue....for now.
Frank's Pick: Michigan -3