The squad is back this week to pick five new games as college football speeds into week two. Last week Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and myself tried our hand at picking five games and, for some of us, it didn’t work out too well. We’re keeping score from here on out.
Moving forward, 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. The standings after week one: Smith (50 points), Vogel (45 points), Peterson (35 points), Padilla (30 points).
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No. 2 Ohio State (-7) vs. No. 5 Oklahoma
BV: You won't find many better matchups this season than Ohio State's defensive line against Oklahoma's offensive line. This is going to be big-boy football. The Sooners will deliver some shots and the Buckeyes will be uncomfortable most of the game, but the Horseshoe is Ohio State's saving grace. PICK: Ohio State 35, Oklahoma 30
GS: This is a tremendous early season matchup. Ohio State will need to be able to rely on their running game to keep a high-powered Sooners attack off the field. The Buckeyes’ defensive backs are not quite ready for primetime even with the best defensive line in the country. PICK: Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 30
JP: The battle in the trenches should be a lot of fun and I’m not quite sure which side has the upper hand there. However, I do know that Ohio State has the upper hand in the coaching department as well as the home field advantage. Indiana’s early success through the air in week one bodes well for what Baker Mayfield might be able to do to the Buckeyes, but I think Ohio State has the overall edge. PICK: Ohio State 38, Oklahoma 30
DP: I’ve said all offseason Oklahoma will win this game, can’t exactly flip that now. Personally, this line feels way high. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield showed in week one he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and after witnessing the embarrassment the team felt after last year, I’ll take Mayfield in a revenge game every day of the week. PICK: Oklahoma 34, Ohio State 30
No. 3 Clemson (-5) vs. No. 13 Auburn
BV: The Tigers (Auburn edition) were one of my favorites coming into the season, but after seeing the other Tigers in week one, I'm leaning Clemson at home. Still plenty of time for Auburn to fulfill its destiny – at least the one I assigned to it – of SEC West spoiler. PICK: Clemson 34, Auburn 24
GS: Clemson is out to prove it has become a program that just reloads. They get the win in convincing fashion. PICK: Clemson 38, Auburn 10
JP: I’ve never been much of an Auburn believer so why start now? Give me Clemson here. PICK: Clemson 31, Auburn 17
DP: We’re talking about a Clemson team that is coming off a national title, gave up three points in the opener, still has one of the most talented defensive lines in the country AND is playing at home? PICK: Clemson 24, Auburn 13
No. 6 USC (-6.5) vs. No. 14 Stanford
BV: Stanford waltzed in the opener, and has had a week to prepare. A USC team with lofty expectations struggled in its opener and didn't have a week off. Nothing about this sets up well for the Trojans. PICK: Stanford 28-27
GS: I think USC starts to crack under the pressure against a hard-hitting Stanford. David Shaw should always be mentioned with the top tier coaches in America and he will prove why in this game with extra time to prepare. PICK: Stanford 24, USC 21
JP: USC certainly got hot down the stretch last season, but I think they were given too much respect out of the gates as a preseason top five team. That being said, the Trojans are playing at home. If Sam Darnold is the quarterback NFL Draft writers seem to think he is, he has to come up big here. PICK: USC 27, Stanford 24
DP: Stanford had a week off to prepare (and the big guns got even more rest given how the opener went). USC didn’t. That will play a factor. Yet, I’m going USC here. The legend of Sam Darnold continues to grow. PICK: USC 42, Stanford 27
No. 24 Notre Dame (-4) vs. No. 15 Georgia
BV: Seen a lot of talk about the Georgia hordes heading north. Nothing will top the Big Red invasion in 2000, but I've got no problem with many Dawgs fans getting in. Could help Georgia cover, but not win. PICK: Notre Dame 27-24
GS: I love Georgia here. The Georgia running game will be too much for the Notre Dame defense and freshman Jake Fromm will be good enough when he needs to be. PICK: Georgia 28, Notre Dame 21
JP: I probably would have picked Georgia here if Jacob Eason was playing, but he's not and it’s hard to put trust in a true freshman quarterback. I’m not particularly high on Notre Dame, but I’m not picking the Irish to lose to this version of Georgia at home. PICK: Notre Dame 24, Georgia 21
DP: I already thought Georgia was a little too overrated heading into the season but now they’ve got a true freshman making his first start on the road at Notre Dame under the lights? No thank you. No chance Georgia covers here. PICK: Notre Dame 35, Georgia 17
Oregon (-13.5) vs. Nebraska
BV: The easy thing to do here is to take the Cornhuskers to cover but not win. Easy isn't very interesting. So mark me down for this: Nebraska's defense does just enough by giving up field goals, not touchdowns, and the Huskers' offense maximizes one more opportunity in scoring territory than the Ducks. PICK: Nebraska 34-30
GS: I’ve had problems with this game and line all week. I don’t know how or when Oregon turned into a mixture of Pete Carroll’s USC and Nick Saban’s Tide with Dr. Tom coaching them. I’ve been confident in Nebraska all offseason so long as they contain Royce Freeman. We’ll get a shootout but the Big Red return home with a win. PICK: Nebraska 41, Oregon 31
JP: Brandon didn’t want to take the easy route, but I certainly will. I think the line is ridiculous but Oregon has the home field advantage and the best player in the game in Royce Freeman, and that’s enough to get the win for me. Plus, do you really want me picking Nebraska to win? Did you see the standings in the intro? PICK: Oregon 35, Nebraska 31
DP: The closer we get to this game the more I find myself thinking Nebraska might pull the upset (would it really be an upset though? That line is super high.). I do think this is close all game and it’s probably really a toss-up either way. But I picked Oregon to win in our previous season predictions post so I’ll stick with that for no other reason than consistency. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nebraska ended up on the high side, though. PICK: Oregon 30, Nebraska 27
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.