It may be Nebraska’s bye week, but that doesn’t mean the rest of college football stops. With so many good games to keep an eye on, the Friday Forecast is back with a full slate of games to pick from. Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Erin Sorensen, Mike Babcock and Chris Schmidt, alongside Opendorse’s Blake Lawrence, have hedged their bets once again on another weekend of college football games.
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Texas at Oklahoma (-10.5)
BV: Perhaps the most anxiety-ridden Red River Rivalry in recent memory. Those in burnt orange will be more anxious after this one. PICK: Oklahoma 35, Texas 21
ES: Ah, the Red River Rivalry. It’s on my bucket list to attend this game one day. Glad I won’t be there this year though. With Coach Strong reeling and too much uncertainty with Texas, I’m taking the Sooners. PICK: Oklahoma 31, Texas 21
CS: There is a ton of pressure on Coach Strong and he’s calling the defense this week after demoting another coordinator. Plus, Oklahoma got back on track to hang on at TCU. This is a close game but it gets worse for Texas. Give me Boomer Sooner. PICK: Oklahoma 42, Texas 31
MB: Would a win help Texas coach Charlie Strong keep his job? Doubtful. Would it calm the waters in Norman? Maybe, a little. The ‘Horns have given up 99 points in their last two games. PICK: Oklahoma 49, Texas 38
BL: After Texas took down Notre Dame in week one, the sports world proclaimed ‘Texas is BACK!’ In week six, Coach Strong is on the hot seat once again. Both teams need this win, but my gut says Texas will surprise many with a close win in a high scoring Red River Rivalry. PICK: Texas 42, Oklahoma 38
Florida State at Miami (-3)
BV: The Seminoles defense can’t stop giving up big plays (36 gains of 20-plus yards to date) and can’t get off the field on third down. That’s a bad combo, so the Hurricane train keeps rolling, maybe in an actual hurricane. PICK: Miami 31, Florida State 27
ES: It’s hard to think about football as Hurricane Matthew moves through Florida, but Florida State and Miami are still scheduled to play. It’ll be an interesting game as I suspect it’ll be close but I’m giving this one to the ‘Canes. PICK: Miami 27, Florida State 24
CS: Can the ‘Canes stay unbeaten? I say yes, mainly because FSU is reeling after being dismantled by Louisville (no shame in that) and then the slow start and last second loss at home against Carolina. I don’t think the Noles pull out of this tailspin on the road. At least both teams are ranked heading into this. It’s been awhile. PICK: Miami 27, Florida State 24
MB: Hurricane Matthew might have something to do with this one. Going into the season, Miami didn’t figure to be the higher-ranked team. PICK: Florida State 31, Miami 28
BL: As Hurricane Matthew has the state of Florida on edge, the Hurricanes should have FSU fans nervous for a primetime showdown Saturday. Mark Richt has rallied the talented Miami troops and they’ll battle for a tough win over an FSU team recovering from the UNC loss last week. PICK: Miami 31, Florida State 27
Tennessee at Texas A&M (-6.5)
BV: I don’t know why I keep doing this, but I guess I’ll pick the Volunteers again. Tennessee has already beaten Florida and Georgia, so it’s sitting pretty in the division race but a win here would vault the Vols back into serious playoff talk. PICK: Tennessee 30, Texas A&M 23
ES: I want to pick Tennessee but I just can’t. This feels like Texas A&M’s to lose. PICK: Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 31
CS: Tennessee is in the midst of Florida, at Georgia, this week at A&M and Alabama waits next week. The run stops for Rocky top in Aggie-land. The Wrecking Crew D is for real and will be felt by Tennessee. PICK: Texas A&M 35, Tennessee 28
MB: The Volunteers figured out a way to rally and beat Georgia. But digging a hole like that at Kyle Field would be a different matter. “Rocky Top” excitement takes a hit. PICK: Texas A&M 27, Tennessee 21
BL: Tennessee has had a Cinderella start to the season. The puzzle pieces seem to be falling in place, and with A&M’s injuries on offense and defense, it seems the Volunteers will have another week of favorable circumstances land in their lap. Dobbs will silence Kyle Field with another late game victory. PICK: Tennessee 35, Texas A&M 34
Iowa (-1.5) at Minnesota
BV: Flip a coin. I honestly have no strong lean one way or another, but Minnesota has looked a little better of late plus they have the home-field edge. Winner gets a pig. PICK: Minnesota 21, Iowa 20
ES: Battle of the Big Ten right here, folks. Does Iowa get back on track on the road against Minnesota? Probably not. PICK: Minnesota 24, Iowa 21
CS: Each team comes limping in. Iowa is a mess after Northwestern’s visit last weekend and Goldie had it and couldn’t hold it at Penn State. Give me Minnesota because they are playing better ball and the home field. PICK: Minnesota 21, Iowa 17
MB: The Hawkeyes managed a five-point victory at Iowa City a year ago. Different teams, of course, and a different venue. PICK: Minnesota 24, Iowa 20
BL: Iowa is in a little funk, but has all the tools to be a challenger in the west. A trip to Minnesota will be what CJ Beathard and the Hawkeyes need to get their confidence back. PICK: Iowa 21, Minnesota 17
Alabama (-14) at Arkansas
BV: Arkansas is going to keep this thing close for a while, but the Tide’s talent takes over eventually. PICK: Alabama 27, Arkansas 10
ES: Arkansas won’t let this be a blowout and will keep it close for awhile. I just don’t see Alabama letting this game get away though. The Crimson Tide will get the win. PICK: Alabama 34, Arkansas 17
CS: Huge spread on this game. Arkansas is good but its style is one that typically doesn’t mess too much with Nick Saban. Alabama already has a win at Ole Miss and this won’t be as close as previous games against the Hogs. PICK: Alabama 38, Arkansas 13
MB: The Crimson Tide’s only road game to date, at Ole Miss, was a close one. This one might not be. PICK: Alabama 38, Arkansas 17
BL: Alabama starts a tough stretch of games on the road this weekend in Fayetteville. They weren’t as dominant on the road in a close win over Ole Miss in week 3. I’m picking Arkansas to be that surprising SEC loss for Alabama this season. PICK: Arkansas 31, Alabama 28
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.