The Hail Varsity staff is back for another week of picks and even though the Huskers aren't on the schedule, there's still some intrigue to be had this week.
We had another shakeup to the leaderboard last week as Brandon Vogel and Greg Smith moved into a tie atop the standings, with Jacob Padilla jumping within five points after a 40-point week. We don't need to talk about my week. The updated standings: Vogel (205 points), Smith (205 points), Padilla (200 points) and myself (190 points).
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. 2 Penn State (-9.5) vs. No. 19 Michigan
BV: If the Wolverines can get a special teams score or a short field off a turnover early, it will be game on. If the game stays straight up, however, Penn State has too much offense. PICK: Penn State 27, Michigan 10
GS: I’m extremely high on Michigan’s defense and equally as low on their offense. That being said, I feel like Harbaugh has some magic in him. PICK: Michigan 21, Penn State 17
JP: As good as Michigan is on defense, John O’Korn is still its quarterback and the Barkley-McSorley duo will be too much for the Wolverines. PICK: Penn State 28, Michigan 13
DP: I’ll take the Wolverines to cover here. Just because I think that defense can keep them in the game. PICK: Penn State 24, Michigan 17
Kansas State vs. No. 9 Oklahoma (-14.5)
BV: I’d like Kansas State to at least cover here, but the Wildcats can’t score enough points to keep up. PICK: Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 24
GS: I like picking against OU but not this time. The Sooners roll. PICK: Oklahoma 45, Kansas State 24
JP: Oklahoma has Baker Mayfield. PICK: Oklahoma 41, Kansas State 21
DP: Oklahoma in Manhattan is either close or 55-0 curb-stompings. I like this Wildcat team as long as Jesse Ertz is healthy (this was the game he got hurt last year) and I think they cover, but nothing more. PICK: Oklahoma 31, Kansas State 20
Texas vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State (-7)
BV: Tom Herman is great at covering the spread, but every streak has to end somewhere, right? PICK: Oklahoma State 35, Texas 27
GS: I really like what Herman is building down on the 40 acres. I’m feeling an outright upset. PICK Texas 28, Oklahoma State 24
JP: Like Brandon said, if there’s one thing Herman does it's covering the spread, and Texas looks like it has something at quarterback in Sam Ehlinger. Still, Okie State is the better team. PICK: Oklahoma State 30, Texas 24
DP: Jacob is right, Texas does have something in Sam Ehlinger: a concussed quarterback. Rumor has it Ehlinger played against Oklahoma even after sustaining a concussion and was throwing up in the tunnel after the game. More solid moves from Tom Herman. PICK: Oklahoma State 45, Texas (without Ehlinger) 24
No. 13 Notre Dame (-3.5) vs. No. 11 USC
BV: Here it is, Brian Kelly. Prove yourself. Notre Dame has been quietly good, USC loudly up-and-down. PICK: Notre Dame 35, USC 30
GS: This is the quietest good Notre Dame team I can remember in my life. USC looks to be overrated and soon will be wondering about Helton’s ability to do that big of a job. PICK: Notre Dame 31, USC 21
JP: I don’t like either of these teams at all but somebody has to win. Brian Kelly can’t ever make things easy for himself. PICK: USC 38, Notre Dame 34
DP: Did I pick USC to go to the College Football Playoff before the season? PICK: USC 27, Notre Dame 24
Navy vs. No. 20 Central Florida (-7)
BV: Tricky spot here for the mighty Knights. Navy will do its best to play keepaway, but UCF can just score too much, too quickly. PICK: UCF 39, Navy 28
GS: This looks like the first game UCF would really have to buckle down in because of the way Navy can control the clock. Really looking forward to this one but the Knights pull it out. PICK: UCF 38, Navy 28
JP: It’s not fair that Navy gets to play a Giant Panda at quarterback, but after practicing against Scott Frost himself they’ll be more than ready. PICK: UCF 38, Navy 27
DP: I saw a video of Scott Frost running the triple option as UCF’s scout team quarterback this week. Any way we can hide that video from Nebraska fans? No? PICK: UCF 42, Navy 34
Bonus: No. 15 Washington State (-10) vs. Colorado
BV: Sorry, Bill Moos. I’ll give your former school – I guess technically it’s still your current school – a win, but not a cover. PICK: Washington State 24, Colorado 14
GS: Big, huge bounceback win for the pirate. PICK Washington State 34, Colorado 13
JP: Mike Leach will have the Cougs ready to bounce back. As long as the offensive line doesn’t get Luke Falk killed I think Wazzu covers. PICK: Washington State 31, Colorado 20
DP: Colorado isn’t as good as it was last year. Give me Mike Leach in a bounce-back game. PICK Washington State 31, Colorado 17
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.