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It's been a slow bye week here at SoP, as we've been resting up and getting ready for basketball season, which officially kicked off last night with Hoops and Snoop.

- The excellent Lindsey Willhite was on hand to recap the basketball portion of the event. I'm encouraged by the news that Drew Crawford looks a lot stronger this year, but I'm disappointed to read that Jeff Ryan sat out with a boot on his left foot. Northwestern really needs him to be ready for the season or the bench will be just as thin as last year.

- John Templon of Chicago College Basketball also had a recap of various Midnight Madness events around Chicago. I must say I find it a bit discouraging that Loyola got a much better turnout than Northwestern. John also notes that the highlight of the night from Jershon Cobb was him rejecting one of the NU women during a co-ed scrimmage. Playing against the women's team might seem like a waste of time, but on the other hand, the girl Jershon stuffed would probably start for SIU-Edwardsville or Arkansas-Pine Bluff, so it could be good preparation for the non-conference schedule.

- Jhodges continues to lead the pick 'em league, as his 28-13 record is good for a 1 game lead over aromine and a 2 game lead over a gaggle of folks (including yours truly) at 26-15. There's still plenty of time left in the season, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we can't let Jhodges win. The winner gets a post on the front page here, and since jhodges already has a great site of his own, there wouldn't be much point in him winning (unless of course he actually takes advantage of the free purple drank kit). So let's try to get some new blood at the top.

-Speaking of picks, I thought I'd fill in for Rodger and make some for this week's Big Ten games, but we're gonna kick it a bit old school and call them the Tony Stauss Memorial Picks

Arkansas State at Indiana, 11 AM central, ESPNU

Hoosiers cruise to victory as they complete their fraudulent non-conference schedule, even without injured Darius Willis.

Pick: Indiana

Mascot Fight: Arkansas State is the Red Wolves (which I didn't know until taking this quiz), and they should be mean enough to defeat a Hoosier. Game, Arkansas State.

Illinois at Michigan State, 11 AM central, BTN

It's the proverbial trap game from Michigan State coming off the huge win in Ann Arbor, as they face the suddenly resurgent Illini. I think the Spartans have too much talent to blow this one at home, but I do like Illinois vs the 7 point spread.

Pick: Michigan State

Mascot Fight: The Fighting Illini will put up a fight here, but the Spartans are just too bad-ass. Anyone ever read that Gates of Fire book in high school? They don't fuck around. Game, Michigan State.

Minnesota at Purdue, 11 AM central, ESPN2

Pretty much a must win for Purdue if they want a shot at bowl eligibility, while Minnesota is apparently playing for Brewster's job. What's bizarre about the Brewster situation is they aren't going to can him immediately if he loses; it just ensures he's gone at the end of the season. So basically, the Gophers are a mess. On the other hand though, Purdue still doesn't have a quarterback who can actually throw the ball. Rob Henry was able to lead the Boilers to victory over NU despite his complete inability to pass, but I fear that had more to do with the 'Cats defensive ineptitude than anything else. I guess I'll take Purdue at home, but Minnesota to cover the 5.5 point spread.

Pick: Purdue

Mascot Fight: After his engineering pals rig up some sort of trap, Purdue Pete crushes the poor Gopher with his sledgehammer. Game, Purdue.

Iowa at Michigan, 2:30 central, ABC/ESPN

The consensus here seems to be to take Iowa, as the Hawkeyes just dismantled Penn State and Michigan is coming off an ugly home loss to Michigan State. (Unrelated note: I sit here typing this and Gameday just showed some dude's mangled finger with no warning. WTF) Anyways, I like Michigan to bounce back and pull the upset here, as Denard Robinson returns to Heisman form and the Hawkeyes struggle a bit to run the ball due to their depleted backfield.

Pick: Michigan

Mascot Fight: We've been over this on here, a Hawkeye can't win a fight vs an animal. Game, Michigan.

Ohio State at Wisconsin, 6:00 central, ESPN

Wisconsin has been overrated since the preseason, as shown by their 0-5 record vs the point spread against FBS teams, and the Buckeyes just have too much talent for them to handle, even at home.

Pick: Ohio State

Mascot Fight: Buckeyes can't win fights. Game, Wisconsin.

So settle in for a day of bye week college football, and stay tuned to Sippin' on Purple in the coming weeks, as we'll have a ton of content previewing the basketball season as well as continuing our coverage of the football team.