Nebraska Fans Watching Big Red Flag Wave on the Field
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Friday Forecast: Does Nebraska Stay Rolling Against Illinois?

September 20, 2019

Friday Forecast is back after a year-long hiatus last season. The Hail Varsity staff is picking the Husker game and five of the best non-Nebraska games each week. 

Here's how everyone’s doing against the spread after three weeks. Greg lost his lead. Everyone please react accordingly.

  • Brandon Vogel: 5-13
  • Erin Sorensen: 7-11
  • Greg Smith: 9-9
  • Jacob Padilla: 9-9
  • Derek Peterson: 8-10

Nebraska at Illinois (NEB –13.0, O/U 61.5) 

BV: I’m going to play the hot hand theory here. Thirteen points, up from an opening number of 10, is about right, I think. If Illinois is able to mess with Martinez in the pocket, the Illini probably cover. If they can’t, the Huskers might come away with an “impressive” win and set up the whole week ahead. So far, Nebraska’s offense has gotten better each time out. I’m guessing that will continue and the defense should be able to keep Illinois mostly in check. PICK: Nebraska 38 Illinois 21 

ES: Illinois junior defensive end Oluwole Betiku leads the nation with six sacks so far in 2019. That’s something to keep an eye on, especially if Nebraska’s offensive line is having to adjust to a new left tackle. If Brenden Jaimes is unable to play, the Huskers feel confident Broc Bando will be good to go but there's still a little to worry about here. Nebraska’s offensive line hasn’t exactly been consistent so far to start the season, but it's been improving every week. Losing Jaimes would be a bad break and Betiku is a guy that can put some serious pressure on an adjusting offensive line and make a quarterback like Adrian Martinez a little nervous. Do I think Nebraska loses this one? No, I don’t. I just imagine there might be some bumps along the road to the win. PICK: Nebraska 38 Illinois 27 

GS: Illinois does have a few pieces that can stress Nebraska. Namely Oluwole Betiku who has been great for them getting after the quarterback. This will be a good test for the newly stout Blackshirt defense facing Reggie Corbin. However, I think the Huskers are clicking at the right time. The injury to Brenden Jaimes worries me but I still think Nebraska has more than enough to take down the Illini. PICK: Nebraska 42 Illinois 17 

JP: Illinois’ pass rush going against a Nebraska offensive line that might be missing its left tackle gives me pause, and Brandon Peters has been pretty solid to start the season. Even so, I don’t believe Illinois has enough to beat Nebraska unless the Huskers regress from last week. PICK: Nebraska 35 Illinois 20 

DP: Just when I thought the Huskers were in for a tight contest, they go and shut down Northern Illinois. These Scott Frost-led Huskers are 7-7-1 against the spread so far, and I really have no clue what this game could look like. I think the Huskers will win, but Illinois is going to have to throw a ton and Brandon Peters is more than capable of putting up points. A 37-24 Nebraska win? Yeah, I think that’s totally doable. Another 50ish to 30ish win? Yeah, I could see that, too. I’ll air on the side of caution until I know what’s going on with Brenden Jaimes at left tackle. PICK: Nebraska 37 Illinois 24 

No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 3 Georgia (UGA –14.5, O/U 58.0) 

BV: This is a big line for a meeting of two top-10 teams. All offseason long we looked at this one as a loss for Notre Dame. I think it will be, but, as Lee Corso always says, “closer than the experts think.” The Irish should be able to at least hang around here. PICK: Georgia 31 Notre Dame 21 

ES: Georgia’s offense could get a little crazy on Saturday, which could make for an entertaining game if you’re a Bulldog fan. Not so much if you’re going for the Irish. I don't think this one gets ugly, but I don’t think Georgia leaves much question. PICK: Georgia 34 Notre Dame 17 

GS: There isn’t a game I don’t think Georgia will cover until it meets up with Saban’s bunch. They are a great team this season. PICK: Georgia 35 Notre Dame 17  

JP: Georgia is very, very, very good. Notre Dame is just good. Ian Book’s had a great start to the season but I don’t think the Irish have enough talent to stay Fighting for four quarters. PICK: Georgia 38 Notre Dame 21 

DP: Am I crazy for thinking Georgia is the best team in college football? Because I kind of think Georgia is the best team in college football. Georgia’s offense is third in yards per play and the defense is eighth. The offense is 11th in points per play and the defense ranks second. The Notre Dame offense looked explosive against New Mexico but that was New Mexico and the Bulldogs aren’t giving up big plays. This is a statement kind of win for Georgia. PICK: Georgia 44 Notre Dame 17 

No. 8 Auburn at No. 17 Texas A&M (TA&M–3.5, O/U 47.5) 

BV: Auburn has the best defensive line in the country, which immediately gives it at least one edge over every team in the country. I’m not sold on Texas Ag. & Mech. Yet. The Clemson game was a pretty sleepy cover for the Aggies. The Tigers’ run game concerns me a little––why isn’t it better?––but Auburn does enough here. Let the legend of Bo Nix grow. PICK: Auburn 24 Texas A&M 20 

ES: This line is dumb. PICK: Texas A&M 27 Auburn 24 

GS: Going on the road, I like Auburn’s defensive line to be portable in a tough environment. I don’t believe in Jimbo Fisher just yet either but that means going with Gus. This one isn’t easy. PICK: Auburn 21 Texas A&M 20 

JP: I don’t feel great about either team. Kellen Mond has been fine while Bo Nix has played like a freshman. The Aggies held Clemson to 24 points, which is an impressive feat. They only scored 10 points themselves, but it was Clemson. I’ll take A&M at home. PICK: Texas A&M 24 Auburn 20 

DP: Auburn got outplayed against Oregon for something like 95% of the game and came out with a win because the Ducks made more mistakes than the Tigers’ true freshman quarterback. Go figure. But Bo Nix is making his first true road start and he’s going to see a pretty stout Aggie defense. This one will be entertaining in the same way NFL games are entertaining. PICK: Texas A&M 23 Auburn 21 

No. 11 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin (WIS –3.5, O/U 44.5) 

BV: You can have Maryland, I’ll take Wisconsin’s dominance through two games as the biggest surprise in the Big Ten so far. This is the Badgers’ first real test, but they have an advantage Michigan doesn’t––Wisconsin knows exactly what it wants to be. Has for a long time. PICK: Wisconsin 24 Michigan 17 

ES: Michigan should win. Jim Harbaugh should win. History tells us otherwise, no? This game is going to get ugly and Harbaugh’s seat a little warmer. PICK: Wisconsin 24 Michigan 21 

GS: What a great measuring stick game for both teams. I don’t think Wisconsin is as good as the points they have put up so far show. Jonathan Taylor is the real deal but Michigan’s defense will be ready for him. I just don’t know what to expect from the Wolverines’ offense. I also can’t believe I’m going into this game thinking the Badgers will get better QB play. PICK: Wisconsin 24 Michigan 14 

JP: Coming into the season I did not expect Jack Coan to significantly outplay Shea Patterson, but through three weeks that is exactly what has happened. It looks like left tackle Jon Runyan will make his season debut, which is big for the Wolverines. Stud wide receiver and punt returner Donovan Peoples-Jones' status still seems to be up in the air, however. With this game in Madison and Jonathan Taylor on Wisconsin’s side, I’ll go with the Badgers to win the game but not cover. PICK: Wisconsin 27 Michigan 24

DP: The Badgers have outscored South Florida and Central Michigan 110-0 in their first two games. I don’t know yet if the Badgers are legit in the way a 110-point margin would suggest they are, but it’s incredibly hard to generate that kind of two-week stretch against anyone. We’ll learn a lot about both of these teams, but Wisconsin is going to get better quarterback and running back play, so I’m going with the Badgers outright. PICK: Wisconsin 37 Michigan 27 

Oklahoma State at No. 12 Texas (TEX –6.0, O/U 72.5) 

BV: Be wary of the Cowboys playing in honor of the spirit of T. Boone Pickens. Oklahoma State should be able to challenge Texas here. An outright win is harder to see, but I think this one goes down to the wire. PICK: Texas 42 Oklahoma State 38 

ES: I hate this pick. I want Oklahoma State to win, but I think Texas is going to get it. Not because Texas is “back” or whatever else, but just because it’s in Austin and the Longhorn defense looks solid. PICK: Texas 38 Oklahoma State 31 

GS: If you like offense this is your game. I think Texas lays an egg and I’m ok with that. PICK: Oklahoma State 52 Texas 42 

JP: Oklahoma State’s trio of quarterback Spencer Sanders, running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace has been incredibly productive to this point, but Sanders is a freshman and the Cowboys haven’t truly been tested yet. That changes on Saturday. PICK: Texas 41 Oklahoma State 31 

DP: I think this will be one of the more entertaining games of the day. Quick, without looking, what’s the Cowboys’ record against Texas in the last five meetings? They’re 4-1, and those four wins have come in the last four years. A lot of that had to do with Mason Rudolph, but I like Mike Gundy as an underdog as long as he isn’t playing Oklahoma. As a road dog in the last five seasons, Gundy is 6-4 against the spread and has won outright four times. Chuba Hubbard (521 yards in basically 2.5 games) becomes a national name. PICK: Oklahoma State 37 Texas 33 

Louisville at Florida State (FSU –6.5, O/U 60.5) 

BV: If the Seminoles come up short in this one, Willie Taggart might as well catch the first bus out of town. That angst is Louisville’s edge. The Cardinals are still on an upward trajectory under a first-year coach. That will keep this one close early, but Florida State’s offense has played well for the most part and this feels like one where the defense finally closes a game. PICK: Florida State 34 Louisville 24 

ES: Louisville went 2-10 and Florida State missed a bowl game for the first time since the early 1980s last season. That’s wild. Neither fact has anything to do with this game. I think Florida State is the easy pick, but the Seminoles haven’t been finishing games. I’ll take the Cardinals, for better or worse. PICK: Louisville 31 Florida State 28 

GS: This one is tale of two programs heading in opposite directions. Louisville will put the final nail in the tenure of Willie Taggart at Florida State. PICK: Louisville 31 Florida State 27 

JP: Somehow Florida State has managed to play within one score of two ranked foes, yet only managed to beat Louisiana-Monroe by one point. I don’t love Louisville, but I feel good picking against Willie Taggart. PICK: Louisville 31 Florida State 27 

DP: The Cardinals looked surprisingly good against Notre Dame in the first game of the Scott Satterfield era, then rebounded from the loss nicely these last two weeks. I’ll take Satterfield over Willie Taggart, who is really close to getting run out of town. PICK: Louisville 35 Florida State 32 

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