Another week of college football means it’s time for another week of Friday predictions. Every week gets a little more interesting too. With that in mind, Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Erin Sorensen, Mike Babcock 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 (-10) at Utah
BV: Run the ball, stop the run — two great tastes that taste great together. Washington is a little better than Utah at both of those things, but the Utes will be in the game into the fourth quarter. PICK: Washington 21, Utah 10
ES: This is Washington’s game to lose but it won’t lose it. Sorry, Utah. PICK: Washington 34, Utah 21
CS: The Huskies are a lot like the Huskers when it comes to the question, “Who have you beat?” The difference is Washington has rolled many of its opponents in convincing fashion. Salt Lake is a tough spot and the Utes are playing well. Washington has also been iffy on the road. Give me Utah narrowly. PICK: Utah 31, Washington 27
MB: That Utah quarterback Troy Williams began his collegiate career at
Washington adds some intrigue to a match-up of the Pac-12’s co-North-leading
Huskies and South co-leading Utes. Washington leads the conference in
scoring offense and defense. The Huskies have 25 sacks and have forced
19 turnovers, and they’ve started strong, outscoring 220-26 in the first
half. PICK: Washington 42, Utah 31
BL: Browning is the real deal at QB for Washington and I love the way Petersen has turn the Huskies program around. A loss for Utah puts Colorado in the lead to win the Pac-12 South. What a weird year out west. PICK: Washington 42, Utah 35
Clemson (-4.5) at Florida State
BV: The Seminoles are still plenty dangerous and win here at home wouldn’t surprise me and would be fun for the ACC chaos perspective. That said, the Tigers have a really strong defense. Florida State has a really average one. PICK: Clemson 31, Florida State 21
ES: Too many turnovers for Clemson this year make me a little too nervous to give the Tigers a win. I’ll take Florida State but it’ll be a good game. PICK: Florida State 27, Clemson 24
CS: Clemson’s been bitten by the turnover bug. Florida State has played with a ton of pride, despite being eliminated from playoff contention. Dalvin Cook ran for almost 200 yards last year against Clemson and that’s how FSU will pull the upset at Doak Saturday night. PICK: Florida State 35, Clemson 31
MB: Clemson needs to take care of the ball. The Tigers’ 16 turnovers have cancelled out 16 takeaways. But they’re still in position for a playoff spot, and quarterback Deshaun Watson is still in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy, with 1,950 yards and 20 touchdowns passing. Florida State will probably have to force some turnovers to complement home field. PICK: Clemson 38, Florida State 34.
BL: Both teams are coming off a bye, which will make for a well-prepared matchup. I’m not in love with Clemson this year, and think this game will be the one they can’t escape. Jimbo and Dalvin win it for the Seminoles. PICK: Florida State 24, Clemson 21
West Virginia (-3.5) at Oklahoma State
BV: It would be “very Oklahoma State” here to win this game in a shootout and spoil the Mountaineers’ undefeated season. I don’t think that will happen — West Virginia is the team here most likely to get the one or two stops this game is sure to entail — but I do like the Cowboys to cover. PICK: West Virginia 45, Oklahoma State 42
ES: All I want from this game is a lot of points. I think that will happen. I also think West Virginia will stay undefeated but not before Oklahoma State gives the Mountaineers a run for their money. PICK: West Virginia 42, Oklahoma State 35
CS: Dana and his guys have been winning with defense in the Big 12. Tight wins versus Kansas State and a very respectable job against TCU’s offense makes me lean their way. I know the Cowboys will chuck it around and score. West Virginia gets enough stops to escape Stillwater. PICK: West Virginia 28, Oklahoma State 24
MB: Oklahoma State could pull the upset, with a home-field advantage and quarterback Mason Rudolph’s passing productivity, 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. But West Virginia is averaging 510 yards of offense, and Oklahoma State will have problems slowing down the Mountaineers. The game could have plenty of passes and points. PICK: Oklahoma State 48, West Virginia 45
BL: Ah, the wonderful no-defense approach to football. Gotta love the Big 12. WVU’s QB Skyler Howard tore up TCU last week and I think he’ll do the same in Stillwater. PICK: West Virginia 49, Oklahoma State 45
Baylor (-3) at Texas
BV: Playing a bit against type, Baylor actually has the top defense in the Big 12 right now. And the offense is still plenty good enough to give Texas fits. The Longhorns are giving up 42 points per game against FBS teams with a winning record. PICK: Baylor 38, Texas 24
ES: Remember when Texas was supposedly ‘back?’ About that… PICK: Baylor 34, Texas 27
CS: Points, points and lots of points. Baylor outlasts Texas and the burnt orange faithful continue to scream. PICK: Baylor 45, Texas 38
MB: Charlie Strong is still the head coach at Texas, and the Longhorns are playing at home, against a Baylor team that hasn’t played a particularly tough schedule to this point. The Bears’ best win has probably been 35-24 against Oklahoma State. Still, they’ve gotten the job done. PICK: Baylor 27, Texas 21
BL: Texas has a respectable offense, but has been just plain bad on defense. I think the Longhorns do just enough to slow Baylor and get a much needed win for Charlie Strong. PICK: Texas 38, Baylor 35
Nebraska at Wisconsin (-9)
BV: I feel very, very good about Nebraska covering the points here and maybe I’m crazy because all of the projections are right around the 8-point mark. I feel less good about picking the Huskers to win, but in a “slugfest” type game, I give Nebraska the big-play edge. There won’t be many of them to go around, but I’m more confident in the Huskers’ ability to get the one or two that could be the difference. PICK: Nebraska 24, Wisconsin 21
ES: This is going to be a close game no matter what, unless it isn’t. Honestly, this game is a complete toss-up in so many ways. I don’t feel confident about anything. At least I’m honest. PICK: Nebraska 20, Wisconsin 17
CS: My heart says Nebraska will find a way to win this game. Special teams and defense set up a couple of scores. Armstrong is effective with his arm and legs. My head says Wisconsin’s defense is too much against a beat up Husker offensive line. PICK: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 13
MB: For starters, all five of Wisconsin’s interior offensive linemen stand 6-foot-6 and weigh more than 300 pounds. The Badgers rank 4th nationally in scoring defense, 7th in total defense and 10th in rushing defense. The Huskers are banged-up in the offensive line. Still, they’ve finished strong and played well enough to win seven in a row. So somebody should pick them. But I’m not. PICK: Wisconsin 17, Nebraska 13.
BL: Wisconsin passed the ‘legitimate contender’ test back in week one with a win over LSU. Nebraska’s test is scheduled for Saturday in Madison, a place where the Huskers have not had much luck. It’s strength vs strength across the board, so I expect it to be close. But in the end, Wisconsin’s experience in the big game environment will give them just enough to get the W. PICK: Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 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.