Friday Forecast: Is an Upset Brewing in Lincoln?
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Friday Forecast: Is an Upset Brewing in Lincoln?

September 27, 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 four weeks.

  • Brandon Vogel: 9-15
  • Erin Sorensen: 10-14
  • Greg Smith: 11-13
  • Jacob Padilla: 10-14
  • Derek Peterson: 10-14

No. 5 Ohio State at Nebraska (OSU –17.0, O/U 66.5) 

Brandon Vogel: Nebraska trades punches for a while and things look pretty good, but the Buckeyes’ biggest advantage in this game—and they have an advantage on most teams—might be special teams. I just don’t foresee a scenario where the Huskers run away from Ohio State and winning close is hard to project when Nebraska can’t feel great about its kicking situation. Ohio State pulls away late. PICKOhio State 42, Nebraska 21 

Erin Sorensen: Nebraska is 1-3 against the spread so far this season. Ohio State is 3-1. That’s not great. Then you consider the fact that Illinois was able to drop 38 points on the Huskers’ defense. Yikes. Ohio State is far superior to Illinois, and I worry about Nebraska’s offensive line holding up and Adrian Martinez handling little protection. I worry about the defense not tiring out. I could go on. Here’s the thing: Nebraska doesn’t have much to lose. Maybe the Huskers will come out swinging like Scott Frost said he wants them to. Maybe they’ll prove me—and their odds against the spread—wrong. We'll see. PICK: Ohio State 45, Nebraska 21 

Greg Smith: I agree with my comrades that special teams is a major concern. My gut has told me all week that the Huskers find a way to keep this close. I think Nebraska can score on just about anyone in the country including Ohio State, led by “creature” Chase Young. Still, Nebraska will have to prove it before most people can pick them in this type of game. PICK: Ohio State 45, Nebraska 41 

Jacob Padilla: The kickoff situation might be just as if not more troubling than the place-kicking one. If the Huskers can’t get the ball into the endzone then Ohio State is likely going to be starting with great field position and Nebraska can’t afford that in this game. Nebraska needs to be at full strength to have a shot in this game and that’s not the case, unfortunately. The Buckeyes just have too much speed, but I do think Nebraska can cover as long as it doesn’t have more dumb turnovers. PICK: Ohio State 42, Nebraska 28 

Derek Peterson: Am I the only one picking Nebraska outright? Guess so. Crazy things happen when Ohio State plays the Big Ten West under the lights. PICK: Nebraska 38, Ohio State 35

Mississippi State at No. 7 Auburn (AUB –10.0, O/U 46.0) 

BV: Impressive start to the season for Auburn so far, but Mississippi State has quietly been good as well, minus the strange loss in Starkville to Kansas State. Minus that one, the Bulldogs’ offense has averaged better than 6 yards per play in three wins. Mississippi State has enough to make this one uncomfortable for the Tigers. PICK: Auburn 28, Mississippi State 24 

ES: Sticking with my theme from above, Auburn is 4-0 against the spread this year. Will the Tigers be 5-0 after Saturday? Not if Mississippi State plays as expected. PICK: Auburn 28, Mississippi State 21 

GS: Mississippi State is better so far this season than I imagined. Auburn is very good though. I like the home team here. PICK: Auburn 35, Mississippi State 10 

JP: I keep picking against Auburn, yet Auburn keeps winning. So I’m going to try a different tactic here. PICK: Auburn 34, Mississippi State 21 

DP: Auburn is going to win a lot of very uncomfortable games this season. I think that’s just what kind of team they have. PICK: Auburn 27, Mississippi State 23

No. 18 Virginia at No. 10 Notre Dame (ND –11.5, O/U 48.5) 

BV: Impressive-ish outing from Notre Dame between the hedges last week. Not so much for Virginia, which had to claw back to beat Old Dominion. I think the Irish have a nice four-week stretch here where they face Virginia, USC and Michigan—all ranked teams, but lower ranked than Notre Dame at the moment—where they could build their playoff résumé back up. PICK: Notre Dame 35, Virginia 20 

ES: Last week wasn’t a great week for Virginia versus Old Dominion. Were the Cavaliers looking ahead? Maybe, but Notre Dame is probably going to win this one. I think Virginia might cover though. PICK: Notre Dame 28, Virginia 21 

GS: I was impressed with the Irish with how they played down at Georgia last week. Notre Dame does well against teams that aren’t elite and Virginia isn’t elite. PICK: Notre Dame 31, Virginia 17 

JP: I don’t believe Virginia is good enough in either the run game or the pass game to hang with the Fighting Irish. PICK: Notre Dame 35, Virginia 21 

DP: I thought Georgia was going to roll past the Irish last week, but Brian Kelly’s squad made a major statement about its place in the College Football Playoff race. I don’t think there’s a letdown this week. PICK: Notre Dame 31, Virginia 14

No. 12 Penn State at Maryland (PSU –6.5, O/U 61.5) 

BV: I’m not sold at all on Penn State’s offense, but I’m more sold on Maryland coming back to earth a little bit. This is a good spot for the Terps, facing the Big Ten team they probably want to beat the most (at home no less), but I don’t think Maryland quite has the horses for this yet. PICK: Penn State 31, Maryland 21 

ES: I think Maryland is actually pretty good this year. Good enough to beat Penn State? I’m not so sure about that. That doesn’t take away from what the Terrapins are doing so far though. PICK: Penn State 34, Maryland 24 

GS: This is a really interesting game to me since I’m not sure I’m sold on either team. I still don’t see Maryland being ready to win this even at home. Penn State is going to drop a couple games but it won’t be this one. Close game though. PICK: Penn State 31, Maryland 30 

JP: The Turtles have the speed to make this one interesting, but not enough to get the job done. I’ll take the Nittany Lions in a close one. PICK: Penn State 35, Maryland 31 

DP: Maryland looked like it had one of the best offenses in football during the first two weeks. I don’t know what the Temple game says about this team, but I imagine we’ll find out a pretty good deal this Saturday. I still think Maryland is legit because I still think their quarterback is really good. PICK: Penn State 44, Maryland 41

No. 21 USC at No. 17 Washington (WASH –10.5, O/U 61.5) 

BV: Good job, USC, now back to status quo in the Pac-12. PICK: Washington 35, USC 24 

ES: The Trojans aren’t winning this one. They aren’t covering either. PICK: Washington 35, USC 24 

GS: Hammer Washington in this one. PICK: Washington 42, USC 28 

JP: USC lost it’s starting quarterback again, and again the back-up came in and led the Trojans to a big win. The Trojans will rely on Matt Fink again this week, but I don’t have faith in him to put on an encore against the Huskies. PICK: Washington 38, USC 24 

DP: I kinda want to pick the Trojans here. Not outright. But I kinda like their chances to cover. PICK: Washington 35, USC 28 

Washington State at No. 19 Utah (UTAH –6.0, O/U 56.5) 

BV: A big-time offense against a big-time defense. I’ll give Utah the edge simply because it’s at home, but not the cover. PICK: Utah 35, Washington State 34  

ES: I hope this game gets wild. I’m going with what Brandon said too, but a little different score. PICK: Utah 34, Washington State 31 

GS: Fun style makes fights type of game. I’ll roll with defense. PICK: Utah 28, Washington State 21 

JP: Both teams are coming off tough losses. Utah’s defense is tough, but as I mentioned above, Fink had a lot of success against the Utes and now they have to deal with Anthony Gordon and Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Gordon’s numbers are absurd, and I’m expecting another big game from him. Utah’s run defense is stout, but Leach doesn’t want to run the ball anyway. Forget the cover, I’ll take Washington State to win straight up. PICK: Washington State 38, Utah 35 

DP: This has weird written all over it. Don’t pick against Mike Leach when it comes to weird. PICK: Washington State 37, Utah 30

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