Friday Forecast: Marquee Games with Tremendous Playoff Implications
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Friday Forecast: Marquee Games with Tremendous Playoff Implications

November 08, 2019

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

Here's how everyone’s doing against the spread after 10 weeks of picks.

  • Brandon Vogel: 30-28
  • Erin Sorensen: 29-29
  • Greg Smith: 24-34
  • Jacob Padilla: 31-27
  • Derek Peterson: 26-32

No. 2 LSU at No. 3 Alabama (ALA –6.0, O/U 63.0) 

Brandon Vogel: Finally, LSU has an offense capable of doing some things against Alabama, right? Well, maybe. I just have a hard time going against a program that’s so much more proven in these situations. I’d be here for a Big 12-style shootout, but I’m guessing this one is closer to classic form for this rivalry. PICK: Alabama 31, LSU 21 

Erin Sorensen: Alabama has won eight straight in its series with LSU, and it feels like that streak will become nine on Saturday. Sure, Tua Tagovailoa isn’t 100 percent and that’ll benefit the Tigers but I don’t know if it’s enough to knock out the Tide. I do think there will be a lot of points in this game and I also think it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. I just have a hard time taking LSU to ultimately win, or cover. PICK: Alabama 41, LSU 34 

Greg Smith: I’m so excited for this game. LSU having an offense has been a lot of fun and Burrow has been terrific. However, I think Nick Saban and his crew of 5-star defensive backs will have something in store for them. PICK: Alabama 27, LSU 13 

Jacob Padilla: I really don’t know what to think about this game. Alabama hasn’t played anybody yet this season, but it’s still Alabama with a roster stacked with 5-star talent. LSU has been slightly more tested and has looked good, though Auburn gave the Tigers a real run for their money this week. Tagovailoa won’t be at full strength, and that could ultimately end up swinging this. Even so, I’m going to roll with the Tide here, though I think LSU can cover. PICK: Alabama 35, LSU 31 

Derek Peterson: I’ve gotta start going against the grain to make up some games, so it works out here that I actually think LSU’s taking this game. I like the Tigers’ offense a great deal, and I think the Tide will find it hard to keep pace. PICK: LSU 38, Alabama 30 

No. 4 Penn State at No. 17 Minnesota (PSU –6.5, O/U 48.0) 

BV: Minnesota hasn’t seen this kind of across-the-board athleticism yet this season. But playing at home with a little chip on the shoulder has value and that’s squarely the Gophers’ domain. They also do enough little things well to keep this from getting out of hand. PICK: Penn State 28, Minnesota 24 

ES: This is the game for everyone yelling, “But Minnesota ain’t played nobody!” Well, here we go. A chance to play “somebody,” being Penn State. And the Nittany Lions are good. And athletic. And talented. Minnesota will give Penn State a run for its money—at least for awhile—but the Nittany Lions are just too good all-around. PICK: Penn State 31, Minnesota 24 

GS: I’d bet my metaphorical farm on Penn State. The Nittany Lions are really good. Minnesota isn’t. PICK: Penn State 42, Minnesota 17  

JP: None of Penn State’s opponents have hit for 8 yards per attempt through the air against the Nittany Lions, and Penn State has only allowed four passing touchdowns all year while picking off eight passes. They haven’t allowed any team to run for even 3.5 yards per carry either and have only given up fives scores on the ground. Minnesota’s played well offensively this season, but the Gophers haven’t played a defense like this. PICK: Penn State 28, Minnesota 17 

DP: I was completely fine with Minnesota being at No. 17 in the initial CFP poll, as that’s what the schedule to this point warranted (sorry), but I also don’t think that accurately reflects the quality of PJ Fleck’s squad. This is the opportunity their season, and really, the greater Fleck tenure to this point, has been building toward and I think the Gophers are capable of winning. They don’t beat themselves, I like their running backs and love their passing attack. Minnesota is going to have to play above its head a little, as I’m pretty confident Penn State is the better team, but given the circumstances, I think they’ve got a shot. PICK: Minnesota 36, Penn State 33 

No. 12 Baylor at TCU (BAY –2.5, O/U 48.0) 

BV: Baylor’s struggle against West Virginia scared me a little bit, but TCU has been too up-and-down this year for me. PICK: Baylor 28, TCU 20 

ES: This line is not great for a TCU cover. So, I think this one is going to be close but 2.5 points makes this fairly easy for me to call. Even if I’m completely wrong because maybe TCU will just win outright. It’s not impossible. PICK: Baylor 30, TCU 27 

GS: TCU is confusing. They are capable of looking very good but also capable of laying an egg. I like the direction of Baylor but they aren’t consistent either. PICK: TCU 24, Baylor 21 

JP: TCU has some serious quarterback issues. It looks like Max Duggan is going to start, but he’s banged up and he’s also a true freshman. Give me the Bears. PICK: Baylor 35, TCU 28 

DP: Matt Rhule for the win. PICK: Baylor 35, TCU 21  

No. 18 Iowa at No. 13 Wisconsin (WIS –9.0, O/U 38.5) 

BV: Nebraska fans should hope for a knock-down, drag-out war here. If this thing goes down to the wire, that’s potentially a good thing when it comes to lingering wear and tear on the Badgers. And I do think this one will stay close for much of the game, but Wisconsin runs the ball well and Iowa just runs the ball so far. PICK: Wisconsin 21, Iowa 10 

ES: Wisconsin vs. Iowa is the most Big Ten matchup around. And I hesitate taking Iowa to cover because the Hawkeyes haven’t covered a lot this season but it’s nine points. That’s a lot. So while Wisconsin will have home-field advantage, Iowa will have Nate Stanley at quarterback and a pretty solid defensive line. This could be a fun one, but it feels like a Badgers win regardless. PICK: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 20 

GS: Erin is right, you can’t find a more B1G matchup. A spread of 9 with an over/under of 38.5 is amazing. I think Wisconsin wins a tough physical game but Iowa hangs in there. PICK: Wisconsin 17, Iowa 13 

JP: I have a hard time seeing Wisconsin losing three games in a row. Iowa’s scored 3, 12 and 20 against the best defenses it’s played this year so far, but it also significantly limited the running game of those teams and we know that’s how Wisconsin wins games. The Badgers are coming off a seven-point performance against Ohio State. Thus far in his career, Jonathan Taylor has followed up every rough performance with a big game the following week, and I expect that to happen again to give the Badgers just enough offense to win. The steep line is what makes this difficult, though. PICK: Wisconsin 21, Iowa 14 

DP: Wisconsin isn’t about to lose three straight games and Iowa is just OK. PICK: Wisconsin 27, Iowa 13 

Florida State at Boston College (BC –2.5, O/U 64) 

BV: Boston College threw the ball 25 times total in its last two wins over North Carolina State and Syracuse. The Eagles are basically grounded at this point. The play here seems to be Florida State on a sugar high of redoubled effort in light of Willie Taggart’s firing. PICK: Florida State 31, Boston College 28 

ES: What a week for Florida State. And sorry, Seminoles, it’s about to get worse. PICK: Boston College 27, Florida State 20 

GS: I don’t like this spot for Florida State at all. Your coach gets fired and your next test is to line up and play a really physical game? No thank you. PICK: Boston College 35, Florida State 20 

JP: Florida State probably gets a coaching upgrade this week so give me the ‘Noles. I guess. What a weird game. PICK: Florida State 28, Boston College 24 

DP: When a team is underperforming and the head coach gets sacked because of it, expect a boom from that team’s players immediately after. I strangely like the Seminoles here. PICK: Florida State 33, Boston College 28 

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