Welcome to this year of the newly-renamed Sherrick McManis memorial picks - where I tell you who I think is going to win, so you can rip me off for our pick em league which I have every intention in the world of winning. (In the future I might consider asking whoever is currently winning to make the picks for the week - we'll see if people are down for that.)
For those of you who need a refresher, we have picks (not against the spread), mascot fights, and when the time calls for it, my wild guesses as to what the team name of the out-of-conference opponent is. Unfortunately, we don't need that this week - I'm 11-0 in my ability to know the name of the opposing school's mascot this week.
Picks.... after the jump! (and feel free to jump in and say whatever you feel like.)
Tonight: Towson vs. Indiana.
Remember our good friends from last year, the Towson Tigers? We were only the second team they'd ever played the FBS. It was adorable. AND NOW THEY'RE TWO-TIMING US WITH OUR CONFERENCE BRETHREN FROM INDIANA. Unbelievable. The Hoosiers are bad, but not that bad, though.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: A Hoosier is just a guy from Indiana, and people from Indiana aren't scary, but tigers are. They have claws and stuff. Game, Towson.
Marshall vs. No. 2 Ohio State
The No. 2 team in the country against a Conference-USA team. Although every fiber in my body wants Marshall to pull out an upset - WE ARE MARSHALL - I have a funny feeling Ohio State will get to rest people in this one.
Pick: Ohio State
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: I said this a million times last year, and will not rest until my point is clear: a buckeye is a type of nut. Nuts cannot win. They can only be eaten, crushed, or rot. Even a poisonous nut has to get eaten in order to kill somebody. On the other hand, they are going up against a thundering herd. It is not specified what type of herd it is - the animals involved, or anything - just the fact that it makes a noise reminiscent of thunder. Game, Marshall.
Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee State
The Golden Gophers headin to Murfreesboro, just a stone's throw from where NU will be in a few days. However, it's tough to say how good the Blue Raiders are - they pretty much owned the Sun Belt last year, going 10-3, but couldn't do anything against legit BCS programs, although they did knock off Maryland. They'll be missing Dwight Dasher, the guy who led them in passing and rushing last year, which might be the nail in their coffin.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Two oddly colored opponents: your average gopher isn't golden, and your average raider isn't blue. Assuming the coloration doesn't harm their normal attributes, a raider kicks the crap out of a woodland creature any day. Game, MTSU.
Saturday: Western Michigan vs. Michigan State
Western Michigan wasn't bad in the MAC last year, but this will still be a tune-up for Michigan State. An easy tune-up.
Pick: Michigan State
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Great matchup here: Spartans are killing machines, but I don't remember ever seeing a horse in 300. I don't think they were great at riding them, and here, they're not just dealing with your average drunken Clydesdale, they're messing with a bucking bronco, liable to hit somebody in the head with a hoof, and hooves to the head hurt/kill people. That being said, the bronco doesn't have the killer instinct to topple a warrior like the spartan. Pick, MSU.
Youngstown State vs. No. 19 Penn State
One. Double. A.
Pick: Penn State
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: This might be the funniest matchup I've ever seen. Needless to say, the adorable penguin gets it, and there's nothing that Morgan Freeman and his narration can do to stop it. Game, PSU.
Eastern Illinois vs. No. 9 Iowa
One. Double. A.
PIck in a mascot fight to the death: As noted last year, I have no idea what the Hawkeye is it supposed to be. At first I thought it might be a guy from Iowa, or maybe a guy with good vision, but the logo makes me think it's an actual disembodied eye of a hawk, which is less formidable in a fight. Especially against a Panther. Game, EIU.
Illinois vs. Missouri
Braggin' rights! I hope the Illini don't like bragging too much, because I'd be surprised if Illinois doesn't finish last in the Big Ten this year.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Almost identical matchup to the Towson-Indiana game: we have a Native American fighting a tiger. Native Americans never had to deal with tigers in the wild, on the other hand, tigers are good at killing people. Game, Missouri.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame
This is probably the "marquee" matchup of the weekend, and, what, these teams combine for... ten wins? 11? Sad. Notre Dame isn't going to stay in a ditch forever, and they're going to view this as a statement game under their new coach. Last year's game was a real nail-biter, and turned out to be the difference between Notre Dame getting a sixth win to be bowl eligible (and then have a complete implosion and vote against going to a bowl game under a coach tehy all hated) and Purdue being stuck on five wins and not going to a bowl they would've killed to go to.
Pick: Notre Dame
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: You'd think I'd just look back and see what I wrote last year. But I'm better than that. I'll reimagine a fight to the death between a guy whose job is making boilers for a living and a mad Irish guy - assuming that the boilermaker himself is not, in fact, Irish, which is a stretch, considering "boilermaker" was a profession when Irish immigrants fueled most of the working classes of the northern part of this nation of ours. Anyway, I like the boilermaker - the fact that his job involves using hammers and stuff is a good sign, especially if he holds onto the hammer and cracks the other guy in the head with it. Furthermore, if the fighting Irishman is, in fact, the leprechaun in the Notre Dame logo, this would be a very easy fight, as leprechauns are small and weak. Game, Purdue.
Connecticut vs. Michigan
That thunderous noise you hear is me not caring.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: The husky will put up a good fight, being a big-ass dog, but a wolverine is a lot like a big-ass dog, but smaller and more vicious. They have fangs and claws and stuff while huskies are primarily good for mushing in snow. Game, Michigan.
No. 12 Wisconsin vs. UNLV
Unless John Clay gets a hot hand at the blackjack table and ends up getting kidnapped by evil Asian men who run the casino and think that he's been running numbers and tortures him to reveal who his accomplices are, Wisconsin will enjoy their trip to the great state of Nevada.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: I don't like the ambiguosity of the team name "rebel". Who are we dealing with here? Confederates? The Rebel Alliance from Star Wars? Che Guevara, hiding out in the hills of eastern Cuba? Are they good rebels, like the ones who help the US when we invade various smaller countries? Truth is, either way, rebels usually have guns, and would likely kick the crap out of a single badger. Game, UNLV.
Predicted Big Ten record: 8-2
My record so far: 0-0.
Predicted Big Ten mascot death fight record: 4-6
As always, I'm a tease, and the NU prediction will be up tomorrow. Peace, love and unity.