ILLI­NOIS over Rut­gers by 6

Playbook Football (Midweek Alert) - - 2-minute Handicap -

If the Ja­panese tor­ture didn’t work in the Mi­ami Ohio/Kent State game (and how could it not), then they could al­ways tie them to the stands in Champaign and force them to watch Lovie Smith’s pim­ply bunch take on a Rut­gers squad that couldn’t de­fend the Banks of the Old Rar­i­tan against a syn­chro­nized swim team. In Lovie’s de­fense, he con­tin­ued his youth move­ment by turn­ing to QB Jeff Ge­orge Jr. who promptly threw three picks against Iowa in his first ca­reer start, lead­ing Smith to say, “That’s never a good thing.” We’re not sure if Lovie is au­di­tion­ing for the next Ho­ com­mer­cial (Cap­tain Ob­vi­ous) or if he’s try­ing to light a fire un­der Ge­orge but at least his team gets the ben­e­fit of fac­ing a Rut­gers squad they de­feated in New Brunswick last sea­son, 24-7, as 3.5-point road fa­vorites – and one that is be­ing out­stat­ted by 158 YPG in FBS bat­tles this sea­son after get­ting spanked at home by Ohio State, 56-0. That takes away some of the pain of hav­ing to lay points with a young team that hasn’t been fa­vored in a con­fer­ence tilt since that trip to Jer­sey. Nor does the Scar­let’s mark after scor­ing 10 or fewer points. Thus, it’s a case of Ill or nil.

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