It's that time of the week again. The Huskers welcome another top-10 opponent to Memorial Stadium in No. 9 Ohio State and there's a whole slew of interesting matchups across the country.
Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padillla and myself are back for another round of picks. Last week, Padilla scored the most points and was able to close the gap in the standings, but the overall leaderboard still remains the same: Vogel (175 points), Smith (170 points), myself (165 points) and Padilla (160 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.
Kansas State vs. No. 6 TCU (-6)
BV: This trip to Manhattan screams trouble for TCU, but the Frogs have passed every test thus far and their one big weakness – allowing big plays – might be less of a factor against the Wildcats. PICK: TCU 31-21
GS: I picked against TCU last week and don’t think it’ll be wise to do so this week. I like the Wildcats spread-wise but TCU wins outright. PICK: TCU 27, Kansas State 24
JP: Bill Snyder is a wizard, but TCU is the Big 12’s best (and probably only) hope at being represented in the CFP. Gary Patterson is a pretty darn good coach in his own right and will have his guys ready to go. PICK: TCU 31, Kansas State 21
DP: 11 a.m. kickoff in Manhattan against Bill Snyder? No thank you. It’s not a trap game because TCU plays Kansas at home next week, so the attention should be firmly on the Wildcats. Still, this feels like a close game and that line seems about right. TCU squeaks by. PICK: TCU 20, Kansas State 16
Nebraska vs. No. 9 Ohio State (-24)
BV: Sigh. In a perfect world, this feels like a big game. This world is not perfect. PICK: Ohio State 41 Nebraska 13
GS: Just can’t go with Nebraska in good faith here. PICK: Ohio State 56, Nebraska 17
JP: Can’t we just skip the Nebraska game this week? No? Fine. PICK: Ohio State 41, Nebraska 20
DP: Nebraska scores more than three points. So that’s a win, I guess. I don’t think Ohio State is a world-beater but giving up 66 yards doesn’t happen often. It’s even more rare a defense is that dominant in back-to-back weeks, so I see the Huskers putting up points, just not enough to make this an interesting game late. PICK: Ohio State 45, Nebraska 27
LSU vs. No. 10 Auburn (-7)
BV: Oh, hey, look at this: Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham is completing 74 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions against SEC foes this season. PICK: Auburn 24 LSU 10
GS: I really like this Auburn team. They keep it rolling but LSU is better than they are given credit for. PICK: Auburn 24, LSU 17
JP: LSU is a bad team and its best player, Derrius Guice, isn’t close to healthy from what I’ve heard. War Eagle. PICK: Auburn 31, LSU 16
DP: This won’t be close. PICK: Auburn 34, LSU 17
No. 11 Miami (-6) vs. Georgia Tech
BV: In terms of bad timing, this game might be the best example of it. A week after slaying the Florida State dragon (finally), Miami gets to welcome the option and underrated Georgia Tech to town. The Yellow Jackets should be ranked, and they will be by Sunday. PICK: Georgia Tech 31 Miami 30
GS: After surviving the scare last week against their rival having a down year, Miami gets back on track. Score one for “the U.” PICK: Miami 35, Georgia Tech 21
JP: I don’t think Miami is 11th in the country great, but Georgia Tech lost to Tennessee. PICK: Miami 42, Georgia Tech 35
DP: Florida State took Miami to the brink last week, and while I don’t think the Canes should lose this game, Georgia Tech is very close to being an unbeaten team and the triple option requires flawless execution on the part of the defense to keep it in check. This should be fun. PICK: Georgia Tech 24, Miami 20
Texas vs. No. 12 Oklahoma (-6.5)
BV: Sure Tom Herman would've rather faced a flying-high Sooners squad than one trying to rebound from a shocking loss. I'll take the Longhorns to keep it close enough, but Oklahoma gets the win. PICK: Oklahoma 33 Texas 28
GS: Fun fact. The Sooners haven’t lost back to back games since 1999, Bob Stoops first year. This is Lincoln Riley’s first year and OU is overrated as usual. Herman gets his first win in the series. PICK: Texas 31, Oklahoma 24
JP: Well, only one of these teams beat Iowa State so… Seriously though, the Sooners aren’t losing two in a row. PICK: Oklahoma 45, Texas 34
DP: Seen this game firsthand every year since 2013 and I get all the “throw records out when they meet” talk, I’ve seen it. The winner of the golden hat has alternated each of the last four despite Oklahoma being the better team each time. Not happening this time though, given how last week went in Norman. Baker Mayfield gets another win in his final game at the Cotton Bowl. Shoutout the guys back home and picture an “upside down horns” emoji right here. PICK: Oklahoma 52, Texas 35
BONUS: Minnesota vs. No. 21 Michigan State (-4)
BV: Feel like a potentital turning point for Minnesota. If the Gophers are to get back on track, it probably starts here, at home, against a much improved Michigan State squad. The more likely outcome, however, is a sort of boring Big Ten game in which the Spartans slowly overcome They Who Row the Boats. PICK: Michigan State 17 Minnesota 10
GS: Minnesota isn’t good no matter how many catchy sayings PJ Fleck has. We are about to see a coaching clinic. PICK: Michigan State 21, Minnesota 10
JP: Was Purdue actually the team that hired the best first-year coach in the Big Ten? Brohm certainly sunk Fleck’s boat last week. Minnesota just doesn’t have enough talent right now, and while I don’t think Michigan State is great by any means, Mark Dantonio seems to have righted the ship after the disaster that was last year. PICK: Michigan State 24, Minnesota 17
DP: Is that shine starting to… well, fleck away from Minnesota and PJ Fleck yet? That loss to Maryland now looks pretty bad and the Golden Gophers had a very Nebraska way of losing to Purdue last week. That Nov. 11 meeting is looking more winnable by the week. Give me Sparty in this one. PICK: Michigan State 23, Minnesota 14
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.