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.
Penn State (-7) at Indiana
BV: A month ago I probably would’ve picked Indiana in this spot, but not now. Penn State is growing into its offense, the defense has remained solid and the Nittany Lions have one of the consistent and dynamic weapons in the conference in Saquon Barkley. PICK: Penn State 31, Indiana 21
ES: I’m with Brandon. Penn State has gotten better in my opinion over the last month. I liked Indiana when Nebraska played the Hoosiers, but I’m not sure they’ll have enough to knock off the Nittany Lions. PICK: Penn State 31, Indiana 24
CS: Close ball game and Penn State will have to pack their own energy but I like the roll they rate on. Too much Barkley and PSU avoids the trap but Indiana covers. PICK: Penn State 35, Indiana 31
MB: What’s home-field advantage worth here? Will it allow Indiana to contain a Nittany Lion offense that includes Chase McSorley, who has passed for more than 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns with only three interceptions, and Saquon Barkley, who has averaged over 8 yards per carry the last four games? Not likely. Penn State should win its sixth in a row. PICK: Penn State 38, Indiana 20
JP: Indiana is coming off a pair of six-point wins against two bad teams. Penn State is coming off a pair of blowouts against two bad teams. I think Indiana has enough to keep it single digits, but I’m still taking the over. PICK: Penn State 30, Indiana 21
BL: When Penn State knocked off Ohio State, I thought it was a fluke. When they followed up with dominant wins over Purdue and Iowa, I realized they might be the real deal. Indiana is back on track, but they won’t get the W this week. PICK: Penn State 38, Indiana 24
Ole Miss at Texas A&M (-10)
BV: The battle of backup quarterbacks. I understand the rankings and records here, but I’m still a bit shocked by the line. The Rebels are a talented if painfully inconsistent squad and I think they’ll be able to keep things close as both teams take the field with new signal callers. PICK: Texas A&M 28, Ole Miss 20
ES: I like the Aggies in this one for all of the reasons everyone else has said about this game. Just interesting that both teams are without their starting quarterbacks. Makes things a little more interesting, I suppose. PICK: Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 21
CS: Both quarterbacks for Ole Miss and A&M are done for the year. Ole Miss has had a hard year with their schedule but had been in most of the games. A&M is falling back towards earth with losses in two or their last three games. Give me the Rebels on the road. PICK: Ole Miss 38, Texas A&M 24
MB: The Aggies have lost quarterback Trevor Knight for the season. But Ole Miss has lost quarterback Chad Kelly, also for the season. So advantage still A&M. At this point, Ole Miss might have to scrap just to be bowl eligible, even with Vanderbilt up after the Aggies. This game certainly won’t help. PICK: Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 24
JP: Coming off a baffling loss to Mississippi State, I think the Aggies bounce back and handle the Rebels without Chad Kelly. PICK: Texas A&M 33, Ole Miss 20
BL: A&M lost more than a game last week — with QB Trevor Knight out, they could struggle against Ole Miss. But Ole Miss can’t put together a full game against their toughest opponents. Aggie backup QB Jake Hubenak will need help from the fans at Kyle Field, and he’ll get it. PICK: Texas A&M 42, Ole Miss 24
LSU (-7) at Arkansas
BV: LSU’s defense inspired some confidence last week. Its offense did not, and Bret Bielema is 6-3 the last three seasons in November. Sign me up for some NovemBERT magic. PICK: Arkansas 21, LSU 20
ES: I think LSU is probably going to be a bit hungover after last week’s game. The Tigers played hard but that can be draining for any team. I’ll take Arkansas for that reason. PICK: Arkansas 21, LSU 17
CS: This is a tough, tough spot for LSU. The Tigers emptied the tank against Alabama and played well enough to win. The difference was their quarterback. The Hog offense has been good and I think that Tiger defense will be a step slow from carrying the squad. Home team wins and Boss Hog just wins in November. PICK: Arkansas 28, LSU 21
MB: Maybe LSU expended too much energy in battling Alabama in a 10-0 loss. If not, well, Arkansas isn’t going to stop Leonard Fournette as the Crimson Tide did, even if Coach Bret Bielema could have persuaded a former Razorback ball carrier to practice with his scout team this week. PICK: LSU 20, Arkansas 13
JP: Arkansas has been pretty bipolar this season, showing up big-time last week in a win over Florida but getting beat down by Texas A&M and embarrassed by Auburn. I don’t love LSU, but I like the Tigers better than the Razorbacks. PICK: LSU 34, Arkansas 23
BL: LSU played their tails off last week, and I think they’ll have low fuel in the tank against Arkansas. I’m taking the Razorbacks at home. PICK: Arkansas 17, LSU 13
USC at Washington (-8.5)
BV: The Trojans have been playing like a top-10 team since inserting quarterback Sam Darnold into the lineup at the end of September and I still don’t think that’s enough to spring the upset here. USC is more talented by Washington has been lights out at home. The Huskies’ special season continues on Saturday. PICK: Washington 42, USC 30
ES: Home field advantage is going to be key for Washington against USC. That will make a huge difference, count on it. PICK: Washington 38, USC 31
CS: USC has bounced back nicely from a really horrid schedule and are playing good ball. As good as the Huskies are, this game will be decided by the home field. Washington does enough to stay unbeaten as we inch closer to the Apple Cup later this month. PICK: Washington 38, USC 28
MB: Upset alert. The Trojans have won five in a row and are poised to knock Washington out of the fourth playoff spot, one week after the Huskies got there thanks to Mississippi State, which knocked Texas A&M out of it. OK, so Washington only gets a scare. PICK: Washington 35, USC 31
JP: Washington’s schedule outside of Utah has been pretty weak, but the Huskies have demolished every one of those weak teams. USC has won five straight following a close loss to the Utes, but they haven’t played a team like Washington during that streak. PICK: Washington 44, USC 28
BL: If this game is in Los Angeles, I may have picked the Trojans. But the Huskies own their home field and QB Jake Browning is playing incredible football right now. PICK: Washington 45, USC 28
Minnesota at Nebraska (-7)
BV: It looks like Tommy Armstrong Jr. will play, and I don’t know if I’d be picking the Huskers if he wasn’t. It will be that type of game. Minnesota is, above all, solid. Nebraska will have to be more solid coming off a humiliating loss, but I have some confidence in Mike Riley’s leadership ability here. PICK: Nebraska 28, Minnesota 23
ES: I’m not confident in much right now after last week’s loss to Ohio State, but I still think Nebraska picks up the win over Minnesota. It might be close and it might be uncomfortable, though. Preparing for that now. PICK: Nebraska 24, Minnesota 17
CS: I like that Nebraska will have the right side of its line and the fact that DJ Foster may see some time is also encouraging. The Tommy Armstrong factor is big. The Blackshirts will play with an edge and looking for a little redemption after allowing 62 points last week. Low scoring and big boy football. Nebraska wins. PICK: Nebraska 24, Minnesota 13
MB: A definitive yes or no on Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s status would help in this match-up of similar, grind-it-out teams. If the Huskers weren’t traumatized by what happened at Ohio State, and figuring Armstrong will be able to go, combined with a night-game atmosphere at Memorial Stadium, Nebraska will rebound. But it won’t be easy, or pretty. PICK: Nebraska 27, Minnesota 23.
JP: All signs point to Tommy Armstrong Jr. playing for Nebraska, which makes a big difference. The Huskers need to turn things around after two tough losses. PICK: Nebraska 27, Minnesota 17
BL: The Gophers have won four straight against the B1G’s bottom dwellers. Their confidence will be high, but they’re running into a Nebraska team looking to prove they’re the best in the West. The Huskers need the best version of Tommy Armstrong to show up; the version that manages the game and gets the ball to his play-makers. The $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy will stay in Lincoln this year. PICK: Nebraska 31, Minnesota 24
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
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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.