College football is back and it’s great. No. 2 Ohio State almost lost to Indiana Thursday night and Minnesota looked… interesting against Buffalo. Even though it’s opening weekend, there’s plenty of intrigue on the schedule. Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson try to predict the results.
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.
Iowa (-11.5) vs. Wyoming
BV: See this one playing out much like the Cowboys’ game against Nebraska last year. Close early, then Allen throws five interceptions and it’s not close any more. (Or something like that.) PICK: Iowa 31-17
GS: I am not on the Josh Allen train but Iowa doesn’t exactly wow you either. PICK: Iowa 24, Wyoming 14
JP: I’m rooting for Wyoming, but I think Iowa has too much in the trenches on both sides of the ball for the Cowboys to get a win. PICK: Iowa 27, Wyoming 17
DP: Something, something Iowa practices are brutal. Wyoming has a decent quarterback but Iowa takes this. PICK: Iowa 31, Wyoming 17
No. 17 Florida vs. No. 11 Michigan (-5)
BV: For what should be one of the best matchups of the weekend, I’m expecting this to be ugly and not much fun. Everyone’s jumping on Michigan, but I’ll take the Gators to cover. PICK: Michigan 24 Florida 20
GS: I would have picked Florida before all of their players got suspended. Wilton Spieght scares me at quarterback for Michigan but their run game will be vicious. PICK: Michigan 17, Florida 3
JP: I’m not really sure what Michigan is this year, especially this early, and we don’t even know who is going to be on the field for the Gators. I’d stay far away from this game if I didn’t have to make a pick. PICK: Michigan 24, Florida 13
DP: Does Florida even have enough guys left to put on the field? Also starting quarterback Feleipe Franks will be playing in his first college football game. PICK: Michigan 24, Florida 13
No. 21 Virginia Tech (-4) vs. No. 22 West Virginia
BV: This one should be pretty pointsy. West Virginia is probably the better team overall, but I love me some Justin Fuente. PICK: Virginia Tech 41 West Virginia 35
GS: I’m really intrigued by this game. Dana Holgorsen can really design offense but there’s just something special brewing in Hokieland. PICK: Virginia Tech 35, West Virginia 31
JP: The Fighting AJ Bushes go down here so long as Will Grier doesn’t get himself suspended again before the game. PICK: West Virginia 34, Virginia Tech 27
DP: This is, to me, one of the most interesting games on the ledger for the week. I like Will Grier in a Dana Holgorsen offense. PICK: West Virginia 38, Virginia Tech 35
No. 1 Alabama (-7) vs. No. 3 Florida State
BV: This is a big game, but Alabama is no stranger to preparing for these matchups in week one. In fact, they’ve sort of perfected it. The Seminoles tack on a late touchdown to make things look respectable, but it wasn’t. PICK: Alabama 31 Florida State 21
GS: Nick Saban is undefeated against his pupils and averages beating them by double digits. FSU is good but not ready for opening week vs Bama. PICK: Alabama 34, Florida State 24
JP: Roll Tide. PICK: Aabama 31, Florida State 27
DP: Don’t. Pick. Against. Nick. Saban. Especially in these marque season-openers. PICK: Alabama 44, Florida State 20
Nebraska (-15) vs. Arkansas State
BV: The defense will achieve Bob Diaco’s primary goal – “keep the points down” – but I think the offense will struggle a bit. Close game at half, Nebraska pulls away a bit in the second but never gets totally comfortable and the Red Wolves get the cover. PICK: Nebraska 28 Arkansas State 14
GS: Nebraska should win this game by more than 15 and if this was game two or three I’d pick it that way. The defense will be very vanilla and the offense will be efficient. Lee will likely throw a steady stream of quick passes to allow wide receivers to work in space. I’m calling my shot that De’Mornay Pierson-El returns a punt to the house. PICK: Nebraska 31, Arkansas State 21
JP: Ja’Von Rolland-Jones and Blake Mack are NFL talents, but Nebraska is the better team from top to bottom and will take care of business. PICK: Nebraska 34, Arkansas State 17
DP: This is the only one you guys really care about, right? The Tanner Lee era gets off to a good start and there aren’t many defensive hiccups. Arkansas State’s Ja’Von Rolland-Jones gets his because he’s just that good, but I think Nebraska wins the battle in the trenches on the other side. PICK: Nebraska 35, Arkansas State 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.