Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Erin Sorensen, Mike Babcock, Jacob Padilla and Chris
Schmidt are back, alongside Opendorse’s Blake Lawrence, to hedge their
bets once again on another weekend of college football games.
Feel free to chime in with your own picks too. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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.
Washington (-6) at Washington State
BV: The Cougars have made some strides defensively, a nice complement to the typical Leachian fireworks on the other side of the ball, but Washington is the top scoring offense in the Pac-12. Top scoring defense, too. PICK: Washington 45, Washington State 28
ES: I love the fact that this matchup is called the Apple Cup. Also, this is Washington’s to lose but I don’t see the Huskies losing. PICK: Washington 42, Washington State 31
CS: The Cougars have been good at home and good at home as the dog. I’ll take Mr. Faulk against these dogs for the upset. Going with my heart versus my head here. PICK: Washington State 38, Washington 31
MB: The Apple Cup, the Pac-12 North title and for Washington an outside shot at the BCS playoffs are on the line in Pullman, which might be a factor. It could come down to which quarterback, Jake Browning or Luke Falk, has the better game. PICK: Washington 42, Washington State 40
JP: I trusted the Pirate last week and he let me down. PICK: Washington 42, Washington State 31
BL: Jake Browning and the Huskies defense take the Apple Cup — the most relevant Apple Cup in quite some time. PICK: Washington 48, Washington State 38
Michigan at Ohio State (-6.5)
BV: Pretty big line for a game between top-five teams. Even with the Wolverines’ quarterback situation up in the air, I think Michigan finds a way to hang around defensively. PICK: Ohio State 24, Michigan 21
ES: This is going to be a fun game. The world might end as a result of it. Go Big Ten! PICK: Ohio State 27, Michigan 21
CS: Michigan’s defense will be ready. Will Ohio State and their offense be? Give me a close Ohio State win to force the issue for PSU-Michigan State. Quarterback play wins it for the Buckeyes. PICK: Ohio State 31, Michigan 24
MB: Michigan is No. 1 nationally in total defense, Ohio State No. 4. Husker fans can relate to this: the status of Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight is uncertain because of a collarbone injury that kept him out of last week’s game against Indiana. PICK: Ohio State 24, Michigan 20
JP: Michigan’s quarterback situation is scary, an as good as the Michigan defense is and as limited as the Ohio State offense has been at times, I still trust the Buckeyes’ playmakers over John O’Korn. PICK: Ohio State 21, Michigan 13
BL: The Buckeyes shine under the lights — and they’ll be bright on Saturday. JT Barrett vs Jabrill Peppers will be a matchup for the ages. PICK: Ohio State 27, Michigan 20
Auburn at Alabama (-17.5)
BV: Alabama has assuredly had a week of brow beating after sleepwalking past Chattanooga last week. Add that to the typical boost of playing Auburn plus the Tigers’ up-in-the-air quarterback situation, and I think the Tide…well…the Tide rolls. PICK: Alabama 30, Auburn 7
ES: The spread of this game is something. I think it’s appropriate, too. Alabama is just too good of a team and Auburn is… not. PICK: Alabama 31, Auburn 10
CS: This will be close, relatively speaking. Too much Hurts, too much Alabama defense for Auburn. War Eagle gets the cover. PICK: Alabama 31, Auburn 21
MB: Auburn ranks 18th nationally in total defense, under Husker assistant Kevin Steele, in his first season as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. But Alabama’s defense ranked second. Maybe the Crimson Tide, clear cut No. 1 in the BCS rankings, will look past this game . . . naw. PICK: Alabama 38, Auburn 17
JP: Roll Tide. PICK: Alabama 38, Auburn 14
BL: The Tide’s defense will look sharp in the Iron Bowl. PICK: Alabama 24, Auburn 14
Minnesota at Wisconsin (-14)
BV: Wisconsin has answered the call in every game so far this season. Minnesota will struggle to run and the Gophers’ passing game has been nowhere near efficient enough to outscore an improving Badger offense. PICK: Wisconsin 30, Minnesota 14
ES: Nebraska fans want Minnesota to win. There’s always a chance the Gophers could pull it off but the Badgers know what’s on the line. No way they let that go. PICK: Wisconsin 28, Minnesota 17
CS: Gophers are tough, but so are the Badgers. This will be black and blue but the axe stays with Wisconsin. Not enough offense in this one for the gophers. PICK: Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 17
MB: Husker fans are pulling for Minnesota, for obvious reasons. And the Gophers, who are plus-11 in turnovers on the season, would seem to match up reasonably well with Wisconsin. But the Badgers have at least a shot at the BCS playoffs, with a No. 5 ranking this week. PICK: Wisconsin 20, Minnesota 10
JP: I really wish I could pick Minnesota here, but Wisconsin is pretty clearly the better team and also has the home field advantage. The Huskers made a good run at it, but Wisconsin wins the division. PICK: Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 14
BL: This one won’t be pretty, but it’ll be surprising. I wanted to give Minnesota the win, but the Badgers have the home field advantage. PICK: Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 21
Nebraska at Iowa (Pick ‘Em)
BV: Will Armstrong go or won’t he? That’s only half the equation. If he can go, how close will he be to the Armstrong Husker fans saw against Minnesota? Too many questions at quarterback for me and the Huskers end up just a play or two short. PICK: Iowa 20, Nebraska 17
ES: I think this game will go like so many of Nebraska’s this season. It’ll be close for most of it before the Huskers snag the win in the fourth quarter. PICK: Nebraska 21, Iowa 17
CS: I really love how the Blackshirts have played this year. Tommy Armstrong (we think) will be able to direct the offense enough, and the defense makes it stick. Nebraska special teams will also show up and be a factor. PICK: Huskers 17, Iowa 10
MB: If Tommy Armstrong Jr. does play, and it appears he will, the question is what things he’s able to do. The same with back-up Ryker Fyfe. That uncertainty might give Iowa an edge. But the Hawkeyes will have trouble moving the ball against the Husker defense. PICK: Nebraska 27, Iowa 23
JP: The quarterback situation certainly makes this one more difficult to figure out, but it looks like Tommy Armstrong Jr. is going to play, even if he isn’t 100 percent. Iowa’s offense has struggled so much this year, and at this point Nebraska will still be playing for a chance at the division. PICK: Nebraska 20, Iowa 14
BL: Earlier this week, I took Iowa winning 21-17. With the news that Tommy should be on the field, I’m flipping the score. The visiting team wins the Heroes Trophy once again. PICK: Nebraska 21, Iowa 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.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.