*This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.*
The final EA Sports entry does not deal with the past, but the future. I have already talked about my expectations for the season in regards to a won-loss record, but let's break it down a bit.
Should be sure wins:
Western Illinois - If this game is within four touchdowns it should count as a loss
Toledo - The Rockets will likely be worse in terms of talent and experience than they were last year when we won 52-31.
Ball State - The Cardinals will be better, but it is still a MAC game at home.
Indiana - The Hoosiers have been competitive once at Ross-Ade in 14 years, and that game was in 2006 which was almost an affront to American football.
Minnesota - Every projection I have seen has the Golden Gophers as one of the worst teams in the Big Ten this year. I won't move it into the sure wins category because we have played two of our worst games of the past two years against them. If we're going to go bowling we have to win this Homecoming game.
At Illinois - Will the Zooker be fired by this game? It certainly looks like another brutal start for the Fighting Illini. They might be mentally down by the time we go to Champaign.
At Notre Dame - This is a major swing game for us. Win it, and I think we can start 6-0. This is hardly an overwhelming Fighting Irish team. I don't fear them at all. I want to win not so much because I want to start the season 1-0, but because I want to see the chaos in South Bend if they lose.
At Northwestern - This is another major swing game, probably for bowl positioning. If I have six sure to likely wins above that means we should be playing for positioning anyway. It is probably a game where both teams are about dead even.
Michigan - This one is tricky to call, but I am putting it here because it is hard to beat Michigan three straight times. Still, a lot may depend on how poorly they are playing at this point and if the heat is really on RichRod. I would give us the edge right now, but it has been over 40 years since we have won three straight against the Wolverines.
At Ohio State - No, I haven't lost my mind. Everyone is putting this down as a sure loss even after "Purdue Harbor" as Ohio State fans have called it. The fact is that we played them tough in Columbus two years ago with a worse team and outplayed them last year. Ryan Kerrigan owns their offensive line and Terrelle Pryor. Don't count us out against the Buckeyes even in Columbus.
Wisconsin - If Ohio State is strangely a good matchup for us, then Wisconsin is horrible. We haven't even been in a close game with them since The Fumble. We've scored three points in our last eight quarters against the Badgers.
At Michigan State - This probably should be a toss-up, but I don't have a good feeling about it.