The Huskers are back in action this week when they take on Purdue on the road on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., but there will be plenty of action across the country before then.
Hail Varsity's Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and myself are back for another round of picks as the season begins to wind down. Here's an updated look at the standings: Vogel (245 points), Smith (235 points), Padilla (235 points) and bringing up the rear, Peterson (225 points).
Our weekly Friday Forecast is presented by the Gamblers Assistance Program, the Nebraska Council on Compulsive Gambling and Choices Treatment Center. If you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, call the state-wide help line at 1-800-522-4700.
No. 6 Ohio State (-6.5) vs. No. 2 Penn State
BV: The Buckeyes haven’t lost two home games in the same season since Urban Meyer arrived. Penn State is going to change that. PICK: Penn State 24, Ohio State 23
GS: Urban Meyer doesn’t lose a lot of these revenge games. JT Barrett places himself squarely in the running for the Heisman. PICK: Ohio State 27, Penn State 21
JP: I was leaning Ohio State in this one until I saw what Penn State did to Michigan’s defense last week. I know the Wolverines are young, but 42 points is ridiculous. The Nittany Lions will have the best player on the field on their side as well. PICK: Penn State 28, Ohio State 24
DP: I feel like Heisman moments more often than not come in November. Saquon Barkley’s will come at the end of October. Give me Nittany. PICK: Penn State 23, Ohio State 17
No. 25 Iowa State vs. 4 TCU (-6.5)
BV: The Cyclones are legitimately good. Not plucky or under-the-radar but just good. TCU might be really good, but they’ll get all they want in Ames. PICK: TCU 24, Iowa State 21
GS: Matt Campbell has seen his stock rise significantly but TCU is back (for this year) and will look to make a statement. PICK: TCU 31, Iowa State 17
JP: TCU got a semi-bye week last week against Kansas (and still held the Jayhawks to 21 total yards) and should be in fairly good physical shape. Matt Campbell should be proud of what his Cyclones have done, but TCU is a different kind of beast. PICK: TCU 34, Iowa State 21
DP: Ames is a terrible place to play and the Toads get caught looking ahead to Texas. Give me Matt Campbell with another upset followed by someone somewhere trying to convince their school his buyout is worth it. PICK: Iowa State 31, TCU 30
No. 9 Notre Dame (-7.5) vs. No. 14 NC State
BV: North Carolina State’s best win is? Florida State? Louisville? Syracuse? The Wolfpack is solid, but Notre Dame is on a different level. PICK: Notre Dame 42, NC State 24
GS: Classic let down spot for the Irish here but I’m going to go against that feeling. ND is legit this year and the run game leads the way. PICK: Notre Dame 28, NC State 17
JP: I faded Brian Kelly and Notre Dame last week and it bit me. So I’ll try going the other way this time (sorry for the jinx, Irish fans). PICK: Notre Dame 35, NC State 20
DP: Notre Dame. PICK: Notre Dame 35, NC State 17
Northwestern vs. No. 16 Michigan State (-2.5)
BV: Wrong team is favored. No, seriously. The Spartans can’t win every one-possession game they’re in this season and all four Big Ten wins have come that way. Not this time. PICK: Northwestern 17, Michigan State 14
GS: First one to 10 wins. PICK: Michigan State 10, Northwestern 3
JP: Fun fact: both these teams beat Iowa State 17-10. Michigan State is ranked 16th on the strength of its 6-1 record and win over Michigan, but we saw what Penn State did to the Wolverines last week. The Wildcats, on the other hand, have had to play against Wisconsin and Penn State. PICK: Northwestern 20, Michigan State 16
DP: Can I give another short answer? No? Okay, fine. Even though I don’t like Northwestern this year, they’re at home at that gives them the edge in one that should be really, really close. PICK: Northwestern 15, Michigan State 13
Purdue (-5.5) vs. Nebraska
BV: One way or another, this game seems destined to finish 20-17 or so. I’ll go with Nebraska to punch itself out of the corner just enough to fight another round next week. PICK: Nebraska 20 Purdue 17
GS: I have wrestled with this game all week long. I just don’t know what to expect from Nebraska. My head tells me to go with Vegas. PICK: Purdue 24, Nebraska 17
JP: It’s now or never if the Huskers want to turn this thing around. Nebraska’s defense should be better with a full complement of defensive backs and Jeff Brohm can’t even decide which quarterback to play while Tanner Lee has settled in. Give me the Huskers. PICK: Nebraska 24, Purdue 16
DP: Purdue feels like its season has gotten away. The Boilermakers’ 3-4 seems so much different than the Huskers’ 3-4. I’m incredibly excited for the atmosphere Saturday night and I expect an exciting, close game. But I think the extra week of prep and the extra week of hearing “Nebraska is just bad” will help the Huskers get it done. PICK: Nebraska 27, Purdue 23
BONUS: Arizona vs. No. 15 Washington State (-3)
BV: This one feels about right in terms of the line. Should be pretty Pac-12-y. PICK: Washington State 42, Arizona 38
GS: Mike Leach gets introduced to Khalil Tate. PICK: Arizona 34, Washington State 28
JP: What Greg said. PICK: Arizona 45, Washington State 42
DP: #Pac12AfterDark is a thing for a reason. This one is going to be entertaining and when the Cougars lose, the noise around Mike Leach following Bill Moos is only going to get louder. Strap in. PICK: Arizona 45, Washington State 37
Our picks today are for entertainment purposes only. Between 6 and 8 million Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction, and many more are affected by another individual’s gambling problem. Don’t gamble more than you can afford and if it stops being fun seek help.
Problem gambling is not a bad habit or a moral weakness. It’s a serious condition. But with help, problem gamblers can put the game in perspective and make decisions to improve their lives.
If you or someone you love has a gambling problem, in Lincoln call Choices treatment center 24/7 at 402-476-2300 or statewide call The Nebraska Council on Problem Gambling 24/7 at 1-800-522-4700. Help is free so call today.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.