Somebody's got to win

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Notre Dame got lucky enough to recover a sort-of fumble and beat San Diego State last weekend; Michigan slipped past the other Miami at the Big House. Doesn't exactly sound like the buildup to a showdown for the ages. My buddy T.D., a die-hard Wolverine fan who just missed his first Michigan home game in nearly two decades, predicts Saturday's UM-ND game will go five overtimes before somebody breaks a 0-0 tie--though he couldn't bring himself to admit who he thinks would kick that field goal to win.

I too predict it'll be a defensive battle--that is, a lack-of-offensive battle--and similarly suspect Notre Dame has the less mediocre team. But I say the Wolverines will take it, 17-14. Sure, Notre Dame will be playing at home before Touchdown Jesus, the Irish will be eager to beat a Big Ten team after losing to three of them a year ago, and Michigan may not be able to complete a pass beyond the line of scrimmage. They won't need to--the Irish will be confident after their big win over the Aztecs, and this team isn't good enough to be confident. The Wolverine defense will come up with turnovers or even a score, and Notre Dame will have to get ready for a thumping from Michigan State seven days later.

Or something like that.

Other Big Ten predictions:

* Illinois somehow gets past Louisiana-Lafayette.

* Iowa beats Iowa State for once.

* Michigan State thumps Florida Atlantic.

* Minnesota puts it to Montana State.

* Northwestern tops SIU.

* Ohio State loses by at least two touchdowns to USC.

* Penn State destroys Syracuse.

* Purdue falls to the Oregon Ducks.

* Wisconsin beats Fresno State.

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