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Nebraska Football

Friday Forecast: A "Get Right" Game for the Huskers?

October 4, 2019
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Friday Forecast is back after a year-long hiatus last season. The Hail Varsity staff is picking the Husker game and five of the best non-Nebraska games each week. 

Three staffers picked Nebraska to cover against Ohio State. One even went so far as to pick Nebraska outright. He fell to the bottom of the standings. Feels sort of earned.

Here's how everyone’s doing against the spread after five weeks.

  • Brandon Vogel: 13-17
  • Erin Sorensen: 13-17
  • Greg Smith: 15-15
  • Jacob Padilla: 13-17
  • Derek Peterson: 11-19

Northwestern at Nebraska (NEB –7.5, O/U 49.5) 

Brandon Vogel: Northwestern is the right test for Nebraska at the right time. The Huskers’ defense should (better?) be able to hold up against a Wildcat offense that’s sputtering at the moment. The bigger question is when Nebraska has the ball. Can the Huskers sustain drives and avoid turnovers? That's the challenge Northwestern always poses defensively. Big plays have been key for Nebraska this season, but its efficiency number is still solid enough that I think the Huskers will be able to play this waiting game against the Wildcats. PICK: Nebraska 28, Northwestern 14 

Erin Sorensen: Nebraska and Northwestern matchups always get a wild. There’s a reason that the votes are all over the place in our latest Fan Poll. But let’s go behind the potential chaos and look at Nebraska against the spread in this series, shall we? The Huskers are 0-4 ATS at home versus Northwestern. That gives me some pause about Nebraska covering in 2019. But I think this is the Huskers’ year to do it. Scott Frost was talking about protecting the ball and not turning it over on Friday, a far cry from the “we’ll take our swings” of the Friday pre-Ohio State. This Nebraska team has the talent to beat Northwestern handedly, so I’m going to give the Huskers the benefit of the doubt on this one and take them to win big. We’ll see if I can beat Nebraska’s history against the spread or not. PICK: Nebraska 34, Northwestern 21 

Greg Smith: One of these years, Nebraska won’t make an average Northwestern team look amazing. Despite the uneven play, I think this is that year. If Nebraska can control the turnovers and penalties this game should not be close. That’s a big if. I think they get it done. PICK: Nebraska 31, Northwestern 17 

Jacob Padilla: Northwestern is really, really bad on offense. Like, really bad. They’ve cracked 15 points just once and that was against a UNLV team that is 1-3 and allowing 37.3 points per game. What’s odd is the Wildcats gave up 31 points to Michigan State but turned around and held Wisconsin to 24. With the history of this series and the way Nebraska has played this season, I’m having a hard time seeing a cover. But at this point, the win is all that matters. PICK: Nebraska 28, Northwestern 21 

Derek Peterson: Nebraska has 10 takeaways this season, which is tied for the second-most in the Big Ten. But it has 14 giveaways, which is more than all but one FBS program. Northwestern has eight takeaways (tied for sixth in the league) but 11 giveaways (only better than Nebraska in the Big Ten). The Wildcat offensive line is struggling. The Husker offensive line is struggling. The Wildcats are 10th in the conference in yards per carry allowed. The Huskers are 12th. Northwestern has question marks at wideout. Nebraska has question marks at wideout. This is going to be an ugly football game. This is going to be a game with a lot of turnovers and a lot of offensive offense. But Nebraska is the better football team and it’s playing at home. That should be enough. PICK: Nebraska 27, Northwestern 17 

No. 25 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State (OSU –20.0, O/U 50.0) 

BV: I expect the Buckeyes to be plenty comfortable in this one and a blowout wouldn’t shock me in the least. But as good as Ohio State has looked, you have to give at least a little credit to Michigan State’s defense. A tiny bit. Just enough to come in under the number. Holding the Buckeyes to 35 points would be 17 points under Ohio State’s current average. That feels like a nice compromise here. PICK: Ohio State 35, Michigan State 17 

ES: In case you didn’t already know: Ohio State is good. Like, playoffs-bound good. But only one game between the Buckeyes and Spartans has been decided by more than 20 points since 2011, so this line is a bit worrisome. I think Michigan State plays it close for a while, but Ohio State covers as the game wears on. PICK: Ohio State 41, Michigan State 17 

GS: I’m intrigued by Sparty’s defense to start the season but Ohio State is a buzz saw. PICK: Ohio State 50, Michigan State 14 

JP: Michigan State’s defense has been solid most of the season, but they haven’t played a particularly tough schedule and just have up 31 points to Indiana. I think they’ll be scrappy early, but the Buckeyes have too much firepower. PICK: Ohio State 42, Michigan State 20 

DP: It would be so Nebraska’s luck for Ohio State to look like an absolute world-beater one week in Lincoln and then look like poopoo the following week in a game it has no business losing. But the week after Michigan State is a bye week, so Ohio State won’t get caught in a trap. It just won’t look awesome. PICK: Ohio State 45, Michigan State 27 

No. 7 Auburn at No. 10 Florida (AUB –3.0, O/U 48.5) 

BV: Auburn has as impressive a résumé as any team at this point, and the Tigers' d-line against a backup QB scares me some. But it’s also a tough environment for Auburn’s true freshman quarterback. He passed that test at Texas A&M, but dangerous things lurk in the Swamp. PICK: Florida 24, Auburn 21 

ES: Give me Auburn. Sure, it’s at The Swamp and that’s a tough environment but I think Auburn’s offensive line is good enough to move the ball on Florida and I think the Tigers’ resume just looks better so far this season. PICK: Auburn 27, Florida 21 

GS: There can’t be many times that Florida has been a home dog even if it’s just three points. I think this Auburn team is pretty good. I’m also not quite a believer in the Gators yet. Close game, though. PICK: Auburn 21, Florida 20 

JP: On a per-play basis, there hasn’t been much difference between what Feleipe Franks was doing and what Kyle Trask is doing now, but Trask also hasn’t faced a defense like Auburn’s. The Tigers are probably going to shut down the run to a certain degree and force Trask to carry the offense, and I’m not sure how he’ll handle that, even at home. Bo Nix got off to a rough start but has improved steadily throughout the season. Give me the Tigers. PICK: Auburn 27, Florida 21 

DP: Kyle Trask was good not great against Tennessee but he didn’t need to be great because the defense gave up three points. I kinda think he’s going to need to be great against Auburn if Florida wants to win. Auburn is going to put the game on him and see if he can beat them. I’m done picking against the Tigers. PICK: Auburn 23, Florida 17 

No. 11 Texas at West Virginia (TEX –10.5, O/U 61.0) 

BV: I left West Virginia for dead after a lackluster win over James Madison in the opener. Then the Mountaineers got smoked by Missouri and it seemed like a good decision. Then West Virginia hammered North Carolina State and I had to reconsider. Then the Mountaineers only beat Kansas 28-20, so I’m back to where I started. PICK: Texas 38, West Virginia 21 

ES: Let’s see what The Bear has to say about Texas and the spread: 

 

Anyway, I don’t think that actually matters. Give me Texas. PICK: Texas 34, West Virginia 21 

GS: West Virginia has a shot here if Texas is looking ahead to next week. I don’t think they have quite enough to beat Texas but get a sneaky cover. PICK: Texas 34, West Virginia 24 

JP: West Virginia can’t run the ball and it isn’t particularly dynamic through the air, either. Texas has allowed some teams to move the ball through the air, but it also has five picks. I’ll take Sam Ehlinger in that battle of quarterbacks. PICK: Texas 41, West Virginia 24 

DP: Red River Shootout next week. Looking like a top-10 matchup. Looking like another classic. But first, Texas needs to take care of business against West Virginia. I like Neal Brown but the Mountaineers aren’t ready for this Longhorn defense. Texas holds up its end of the bargain in setting up a game we should all just skip Minnesota for. PICK: Texas 38, West Virginia 21 

Cal at No. 13 Oregon (ORE –18.0, O/U 46.5) 

BV: I think the line is about right for this one. Oregon might just be really good. After a mini-collapse against Auburn, the Ducks have rolled everyone else. That Cal defense will put up a challenge, but the Ducks just have too much firepower. PICK: Oregon 34, Cal 14 

ES: Like Greg says below, I don’t like this game or spread much. So here goes nothing. PICK: Oregon 27, Cal 17 

GS: I don’t like this game or spread for Oregon at all. My gut says things get weird. So let’s call for the shocker. PICK: Cal 24, Oregon 17 

JP: Oregon has shut down every team it’s played so far this season after that loss to Auburn, and even in that game the Tigers only scored 27 points. California’s success has been based on its defense so far, holding its first four opponents to 20 points or less before dropping a 24-17 game to Arizona State. That line is mighty steep, but I don’t think the Golden Bears have enough to keep up. PICK: Oregon 31, Cal 14 

DP: Cal loses to the eventual Pac-12 champion (GET IT, HERM) and this line balloons up. I don’t get this one being nearly 20 points for Oregon. I like Cal as a football team and, yes, it will be playing with a backup quarterback but this Golden Bear defense is still legit. I don’t think they’re about to get run over. PICK: Oregon 30, Cal 17 

No. 14 Iowa at No. 19 Michigan (MICH –3.5, O/U 47.5) 

BV: Well, if Michigan doesn’t get this game all hell might break loose in Ann Arbor. Nothing about this is going to be fun. Iowa, the auditors of college football, will make Michigan do good football things to win. Things like not fumble it multiple times. If the Wolverines can do that, their talent should win out. PICK: Michigan 27, Iowa 23 

ES: I actually want to pick Iowa here, but I can’t. Although Michigan will probably make me regret picking them to win and cover, I have to do it. I think Iowa makes this a game, but I think Michigan finds some footing here. PICK: Michigan 27, Iowa 21 

GS: I don’t think Michigan is as bad as they looked at Wisconsin. They also aren’t as good as they looked last week against Rutgers. Iowa is doing the normal Iowa thing, looking perfectly fine but not overwhelming. I’ll take the Hawkeyes here but I don’t feel good. PICK: Iowa 21, Michigan 10 

JP: I want to pick Iowa because I’d love to see the meltdown up in Ann Arbor, but an Iowa loss is never a bad thing either. I truly have no idea what to think about this team. The Hawkeyes haven’t played anyone nearly as good as Wisconsin, so it’s hard to know how well what Iowa has done would hold up against top competition. Nathan Stanley has been solid and spread the ball around quite a bit, but they’ve struggled with efficiency in the run game the last three games which doesn’t bode well against a Michigan defense that has done well defending the run against everyone not named Wisconsin. PICK: Michigan 28, Iowa 24 

DP: Need to get some mojo back on your side? Need to feel good about your football team again? Need a “get right” game? Call on Rutgers. Beating Rutgers 52-0 doesn’t say as much as beating like Indiana or Maryland 52-0, but it’s still a game that rinsed the bad cheese taste from the Wolverines’ mouth. Iowa’s just kind of been quietly chugging along, but Michigan is a better football team. Iowa only beat Rutgers 30-0. PICK: Michigan 34, Iowa 27 

 
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