Sneaky good non-conference games
#21 Syracuse at Maryland
Point Spread (per ESPN app): Maryland -2
Rooting Interest: A Big Ten team with the opportunity of upsetting a ranked opponent? Sign me up! I’ll be rooting for Maryland over Syracuse, at least when I see the ticker during the Iowa game.
Point Spread Pick: I feel like I should have written this article earlier in the week. I say this because I believe the spread opened with Syracuse being favored by 2.5. Well, even with Maryland being favored by 2, I think they take this one. Please note that Maryland may not win a Big Ten game. They have this tendency of upsetting a ranked team early, then imploding later in the season.
Vanderbilt at Purdue
Point Spread (per ESPN app): Purdue -7
Rooting Interest: Would it make anyone else laugh if Purdue beats their SEC opponent the week after losing to Nevada? Seriously though, this is the Big Ten’s only non-conference game against an SEC opponent. I get it, Vanderbilt isn’t Alabama. Hey, they aren’t even Mississippi State, but this is still the best and only shot we, as a conference, have at the vaunted SEC. Let’s root for Purdue, which should be easier since they lost their Week 1 game.
Point Spread Pick: Purdue is one of those teams that I actually expect to lose a bad game one week, then inexplicably beat someone decent the next week. They are kind of like the Maryland of the West. I’m picking Purdue here against the spread.
Minnesota at Fresno State
Point Spread (per ESPN app): Minnesota -3
Rooting Interest: Technically, we probably should root for Minnesota, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you rooted against them.
Point Spread Pick: Fresno State. If we’ve learned anything from Week 1, its that my picks about playing on the West Coast are spot on. The start time, the location, and the travel will all sink Minnesota. Fresno State not only covers, but wins outright.