A new week, a new slate of games for the team to pick. College football is already a quarter of the way through the regular season and though this week doesn’t have the headliners of last week, there are some interesting games on the docket. Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and myself are back to pick five new games.
As always, a correct pick nets 10 points if the prediction falls within seven points of the final score either way. A correct pick with a prediction outside that seven-point range gets five points and an incorrect pick gets nothing. We have some changes to the standings after two weeks: Smith (70 points), Peterson (70 points), Vogel (55 points), Padilla (55 points). Vogel picked just one of five games last week correctly, send your condolences.
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. 14 Louisville vs. No. 3 Clemson (-3)
BV: This is going to be a ton of fun when Louisville has the ball. I think these two will trade punches for a while with the Tigers separating themselves late. PICK: Clemson 37 Louisville 28
GS: This will be a tremendous game and one where both teams have something to prove. I still think people are underestimating just how good Clemson is, especially on defense. I think the Tigers flex their muscles. PICK: Clemson 31, Louisville 14
JP: Clemson is the better team, but Lousiville has the best player in the game and home field. That being said, I'll take the Tigers to build up an early lead and for Lamar Jackson to do his Heisman thing and make some crazy plays to get the Cardinals back in it. The Tigers hold on, though. PICK: Clemson 38, Louisville 31
DP: Why is GameDay not in Kentucky? This is going to be a phenomenal game in a phenomenal atmosphere. Not very often you get the national champ against the Heisman winner, and even though I think Clemson has one of the best d-lines in the country, I’m riding with Lamar Jackson and homefield advantage. PICK: Louisville 30, Clemson 28
No. 4 USC (-16.5) vs. Texas
BV: I’m a little bit nervous about Texas’s out-of-nowhere potential here. If we’re all talking about the Horns’ huge upset Sunday I won’t be surprised, but that’s not which way I’m leaning. PICK: USC 38 Texas 24
GS: The shine continues to dull on Tom Herman. USC run game is vicious. PICK USC 51, Texas 14
JP: Texas is NOT back, folks. PICK: USC 45, Texas 23
DP: Texas lost to Kansas in football. PICK: USC 45, Texas 27
BYU vs. No. 10 Wisconsin (-16)
BV: Line seems way too high here. Wisconsin will win, but BYU can play a bit of defense. PICK: Wisconsin 17 BYU 10
GS: Don’t ask me why but my gut says BYU pulls the shocker here. PICK: BYU 13, Wisconsin 7
JP: BYU puts up a fight defensively, but they won't be able to muster enough points to match the Badgers. Cougs cover, though barely. PICK: Wisconsin 28, BYU 13
DP: The Wisconsin fans will have to bear watching a football game sober thanks to the fine folks in Provo, Utah, but it’ll be okay because the Badgers roll. PICK: Wisconsin 31, BYU 13
No. 24 Florida (-4.5) vs. No. 23 Tennessee
BV: Not a lot to love with this game for me. Think Florida could be headed towards a disaster season and it might start this weekend. PICK: Tennessee 28 Florida 24
GS: This one could be very low scoring. I’m going with Florida since they are at home. PICK: Florida 17, Tennessee 13
JP: I don't like either of these teams and would stay away from this line, but Florida is the home team. Tennessee got gashed by the run in week one against Georgia Tech, but the Gators couldn't run against a tough Michigan defense. Ugh, the more I think about this one the less I like it. PICK: Tennessee 27, Florida 23
DP: As far as I know, Gators’ coach Jim McElwain still hasn’t reinstated the nine suspended from the opener, but I think playing at home against Tennessee gives Florida the edge. But, even regardless of the players, the Gators have the mental edge in this matchup until Tennessee proves it can close a game. PICK: Florida 24, Tennessee 17
Nebraska (-13) vs. Northern Illinois
BV: I thought everything set up well here for a “get right” game for Nebraska, but the the injury bug a-bitin’ I’m adjusting down a bit. Nebraska gets a narrow cover, but this won’t be a game to answer many questions. PICK: Nebraska 31 Northern Illinois 17
GS: I’ve been feeling a blowout all week. Even with injuries and the plague, I mean flu going around I will stick with that. Four touchdowns for Tanner Lee lead the way for the Huskers. PICK Nebraska 41, Northern Illinois 24
JP: Nebraska is down a few key players, but so is Northern Illinois. In theory, Nebraska should be able to survive better based on the depth in talent a Big Ten team should have compared to a MAC team. That being said, Northern Illinois shouldn't be a pushover. PICK: Nebraska 38, Northern Illinois 23
DP: I went on record saying I thought this was going to get ugly. Like, 42-10 ugly. But Tre Bryant is out, Joshua Kalu is out, David Knevel is still out and several other guys have been stricken with the flu. Still, I don’t think NIU can score enough points with a back-up quarterback to overcome the points the defense will give up. PICK: Nebraska 41, Northern Illinois 20
Bonus: Mississippi State vs. No. 12 LSU (-8)
BV: This is going to be a fascinating game, maybe the most fascinating one of the weekend. I think Mississippi State can make things interesting, but LSU comes away with a hard-fought win. PICK: LSU 28 Mississippi State 21
GS: Little known fact. My wife is from just outside of “StarkVegas” but I will go against with my other hometown team. LSU’s defense as always is legit. PICK: LSU 28, Mississippi State 17
JP: I don't think LSU is a great team, but I think that defense will be tough enough to keep the Bulldogs in check. PICK: LSU 27, Missisippi State 20
DP: LSU is always good for one random upset each year, and Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi, is no easy place to go to, especially for a night kick. Bulldogs quarterback can hurt you in the air (239 yards passing in the opener) and on the ground (111 yards and two scores last week) and doesn’t turn it over. Give me the upset. PICK: Mississippi State 23, LSU 21
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.