Time to finish out the regular season with some holiday weekend picks.
Husker Mike: Most years, this weekend seems to be kind of light. Not this year...lots of great matchups spread out over the holiday weekend. Even several games on Thursday and Friday that missed our cut.
Aaron: Yea. To be honest, I think I’d rather see Iowa/Nebraska move to Saturday instead of Friday, especially if they play 11am every year. It use to be that Nebraska/Oklahoma was the only game on Black Friday, but now it seems like half the games on this weekend are on that day. Friday is a business day and it’s getting tougher to plan around an 11am game during the week.
James: I believe in a lot of things: you don’t play Christmas music until Black Friday, you should do all your Black Friday shopping from home, college football has the best regular season in sports, the 25-yard-line touchback on kickoffs is the stupidest thing ever, and Nebraska should ALWAYS play the day after Thanksgiving. That said, I wish the game was a national game at 2:30 cst instead of 11am. If not for Black Friday, I’d barely be out of bed on 9am. What a treat this weekend is though, all these rivalry games actually mean something in the national title chase this year. Fast forward a couple years and they won’t carry nearly the weight with four teams getting in instead of just two. Should be a weekend for the ages. Forecasted chance of Indianapolis: 94%.
Andy: And no aTm vs. the Longhorns for the 1st time in forever. Bevo will take on the Christians instead and it’s not even on the list. Let’s all be reminded what damage Beebe wrought as he constantly knelt in the residue of accumulated money shots from his deep-throating of Longhorn. Funny how the hiring of a Big 12 who simply looked out for everyone quickly stabilized things. There ends my rant. On with the picks.
Cornhead: I’ll take football every day of the week, quite honestly. Especially college football! Sorry I missed last week, received the 1 hour warning but couldn’t get to a damn computer.
Billgrip: I have to work at noon on Friday. I have a feeling my work performance that day could be directly affected by how the Huskers are playing. So if the game is going poorly and my boss gets mad at me, I’ll just tell him to take it up with Bo.
Brian: I actually like the whole extended rivalry week from Thursday through Saturday. Makes you actually want to pay attention to each game and find out how teams end their regular season. Seems more complete to me at least. Plus, who really cares about shopping at 2am on Friday morning. My wife? That’s nice, I can hog the bed then.
David McGee: Loved it when I worked for the university. Their holiday schedules were the best. Now I work mostly from home, so it’s even less of an issue. Might actually have to hit some Black Friday sales, shopping more for need though. Not exactly looking forward to wading into that cesspool.
Michigan (+5) at Ohio State
Aaron: Well, I can remember in 1997 when Michigan kept winning with defense. That team had one of the worst offense’s I’ve ever seen. Think 2009 Nebraska bad. It was the first time that I had ever watched "THE GAME" (didn’t even know that it was called that back then). I remember how annoyed I was with John Cooper and his play calling during that game. Had they just been smart they would have probably beaten Michigan that day and the Wolverines undefeated season would have gone up in smoke. Well, this year it’s OSU that has found ways to win close games. The Buckeye’s really aren’t that impressive of a team, but only the W/L column matters at this point. If the Wolverines can keep their wits about them, they should be able to beat OSU. However, will they be motivated if Nebraska beats Iowa the day before? I think there’s still a possibility for an at-large BCS bid for Michigan with a win at the shoe. Wolverines 27, OSU 21
Husker Mike: While Michigan found a quarterback, they lost a running back last week. And no way does Urbz let this slip by him. Bucknuts 31, Weasels 24
Jon: I’d really like to see Michigan win this game so Ohio State can blow it out their ass about being "Big Ten Champs". As Wisconsin showed last week, this Ohio State team isn’t above being knocked off, the question being whether Michigan can play defense as well as Wisconsin did. Losing Fitzgerald Touissant was a huge blow, but putting Devin Garden and Denard Robinson in the same backfield gave the Wolverines some options they just don’t have. Can Michigan do it? Probably not, and Ohio State’s completely meaningless undefeated season comes to a close. Declare yourselves world champions of everything, Buckeyes, no one else gives a damn. Ohio State 31, Michigan 30
James: Devin Gardner is about to run into the first real defense he’s faced. It’s almost nice for Michigan that Robinson went down when he did, they got warm-up games against Minnesota, Northwestern (which they should’ve lost), and Iowa before having to play their hated rivals. On the road, with a 12-0 season on the line, I just can’t see it happening. Buckeyes 31, Michigan 21. If Nebraska somehow loses to Iowa though, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Michigan do something insane and win this game.
Andy: Wolfie has consistently beaten everyone they’d be expected to and no one who’s a major challenge. The Bucks are probably a major challenge. OSU 27 Michy 19
Cornhead: Hmm, Robinson said this is the real B1G Championship? Huh? Maybe the Blackshirts hit him a little too hard so he’s a little fuzzy about that game in Lincoln in late October. I don’t think Michigan wins this game. We will have to hear about how Ohio St. is the B1G Champion, but sorry guys, you’re ineligible. They may have to look that word up. Ohio St. 27, Michigan 21
Billgrip: Omg- it’s THE GAME! Okay, here’s the deal. If Nebraska wins, I am rooting hard for Michigan. If Nebraska loses, I am rooting hard for Ohio State. Unfortunately my rooting interest has no effect on the outcome of the game. So for my prediction, I am actually going to with Michigan. I think Ohio State’s 11-0 record is somewhat fool’s gold. Nebraska is easily their most impressive win. Don’t believe me, take a closer look at their schedule. Michigan is one of the best teams Ohio State has played all year, and I think they’ll get exposed in this one. Michigan 31, Ohio State 21
Brian: I kinda want to see OSU with the undefeated season, in that I think it’s a special thing and, honestly, after Denard lipped off this week, it wouldn’t suck. Gimme a treat, Buckeyes. O H I O.
DM: Hail! To the victors, valiant
Hail! To the conquering heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan
The champions of the West.
Nope, that’ll be Nebraska for three reasons. 1. Nebraska beat Michigan. 2. Nebraska’s going to beat Iowa. 3. Ohio State’s going to be Michigan. This will be a close game. Very close actually. But Ohio State is on a mission and this game is in Columbus. By kick off, the division race will be over, though I don’t expect that to impact how Michigan plays, but in the end, Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde will be the difference. Neither defense is great, but I think it will be a low-ish scoring game. OSU 27 Michigan 24
Oklahoma State (+8) at Oklahoma
Aaron: I just don’t think the Sooners are that great this year. Oklahoma State has played very well lately and I’ll go with the Cowboys. OSU 42, OU 21
Husker Mike: Remember when Bob Stoops was a defensive wizard? They can’t stop anybody...except Texas, of course. And they ain’t playing Texas this week. But it’s at home, so they’ll hold off the Pokes. Soondoggies 45, Cowpokes 42
Jon: Remember when Mike Stoops was a defensive wizard? That’s a twofer. I agree with Mike on the home field advantage, though. Oklahoma 42, Okie State 35
James: I’m not a big fan of picking this, but I really think the Pokes are going to steal this one in Norman. I think Okie Lite has the better defense of the two (shocking) and the offenses are relatively similar, but the Cowboys run the ball better. This should be a fantastic shootout of a Bedlam: Oklahoma State 37, Oklahoma 31.
Andy: Looks even on paper and the Sooners have definitely not had their usual mojo despite a pretty good record. I’m thinking this is the only thing the Stillwater Okies have to live for this year other than a shot at a powerball jackpot. Or maybe realizing the dream of becoming T. Boone’s rib-eye cutter. That stadium will rock. Okie Lite 38 Okie Traditional 31
Billgrip: Boomer Sooner. Stoops 35, Gundy 21
Cornhead: The Sooners own this series, and I don’t see that changing this year. Boomer Sooner 41, Okie St. 35
Brian: HAVE YOU SEEN ANYONE IN THE BIG 12 PLAY DEFENSE? THEY DON’T. TCU is the "best" defensive team in the league, and it’s not a good sight. Then again, the worst is Baylor. I don’t think that OSU can win this game, call it the little brother syndrome. Boomer, Sooner, BEDLAM.
DM: Holy smokes, I haven’t watched much of either of these two teams. I like OU I guess.
Stanford (-1.5) at UCLA
Aaron: I was so impressed with Stanford’s defensive line last week against Oregon. The tore up the Ducks line and really caused a lot of problems for them. It was the best performance by a D-Line I have seen all year and I’ve watched a few SEC games. Gonna pick Stanford because I want to see them rematch with UCLA in six days. I want to see how people perceive that rematch. If it’s negative, maybe we will see some changes to our divisions as we assimilated Rutgers/Maryland. Stanford 24, UCLA 21
Husker Mike: UCLA has been so hot and cold this season, you just don’t know who’s going to show up each week. Gimme the tree in this one. Cardinal 28, Bruins 24
Jon: It’s a coin toss. UCLA’s up and down versus Stanford’s letdown after one of the biggest of the seasons. I like the diversity that UCLA brings to the offense - Brett Hundley has a really nice season. Imagine one more win and then a shot at a Pac-12 championship. That’s one helluva first year for Jim Mora. UCLA 35, Stanford 31
James: This is going to be very, very close. UCLA has the better offense, but Stanford’s front four and rushing defense are extraordinary and filthy. That shuts down RB Johnathan Franklin, but Hundley should find room in an average Cardinal secondary. This may come down to who has the ball last. I think Stanford’s defense wins this game, and forces a rematch next week in Palo Alto for the Pac-12 title. Stanford 27, UCLA 24.
Andy: Aren’t they doing this again in a week? Round 1: Cardinal 22 UCLA 20
Billgrip: UCLA has clinched their division, and they just had a huge win against their city rival. Can you say letdown? Besides, they’d probably be better off losing and playing Stanford again in the Pac-12 championship than winning and playing Oregon. Smart guys 31, Mora 21
Cornhead: It would make the Corn look lots better with a UCLA victory, but I don’t see it. Stanford is playing good, tough, hard nosed football. Tree 24, Bruins 17
Brian: This game, I mean... I could see both teams fart it around a bunch on the field, but I think UCLA is the real deal after last week’s LA City Championship. Bruins.
DM: So, what are the scenarios again? If Stanford wins they play again next week. If UCLA wins, then they have to go play Oregon, probably, but maybe Stanford either way if Oregon St. pulls the upset. This could be a fun game to watch. UCLA has turned out to be a pretty solid club. So has Stanford. This has game of the year potential. Let’s go with UCLA in a barn burner. 35-34.
Notre Dame (-6 [Barkley OUT, line was -1]) at Southern Cal
Aaron: I don’t see anyone stopping Notre Dame now. Honestly, with their defense, I think they will give the SEC champ a tough time in the national title game. Go Irish :/ Notre Dame 35, USC 6
Husker Mike: Not sure how they do it, but Notre Dame just keeps winning games they shouldn’t. But if there is one thing we’ve learned over the last few years: chaos theory rules the BCS. Remember the chain of events that got Nebraska into the 2002 Rose Bowl? Stranger things than Notre Dame losing have happened, even if the Trojans have to play a backup quarterback. Southern Cal 24, Irish 21
James: Now that Barkley is for sure out, the chances of USC upsetting Stanford are pretty much gone, in my opinion. While Barkley hasn’t been all that, it’s too hard to replace that synergy with the receivers against a pretty good Notre Dame defense. Notre Dame seizes its moment, and finally returns to the national championship game with a decisive victory. Notre Dame 31, USC 17.
Andy: And whatever chance USC had probably went out the window with a jerkoff backup doing his best Mark Messier impression. Add to that USC has shown all the heart of a 12 year old brat suddenly confronted by the 20 fifth graders he’s been picking on all year & this one seems to be lined right up for an Irish beatdown. Of course, I hate the Irish with every fiber of my being and will never pick them to win anything. Fightin Rubbers 24 Creepy Rudys 13
Billgrip: Never underestimate a backup USC QB. But as long as Notre Dame can keep this game close they should be able to win in the second half by wearing down USC’s starters.
Domers 28, SoCal 24
Cornhead: Yuck. Already sick of hearing about this game. USC is OVER RATED like no other. And now their backup QB just guaranteed a win? Yea, ok. Irish will go to the BCS Championship, yet I’m not sure they’re even a top 10 team. The defense? Yes. The rest? I don’t know. They take care of the jackhole Lane Kiffin, though. Irish 17, USC 13
Jon: Normally you might see a team like USC fight for their life, but I have zero faith in Lane Kiffin’s ability to negotiate a winning game against Notre Dame, regardless of how fired up they are. Notre Dame 27, USC 13
Brian: Sometimes teams 1 win away do weird things and don’t play their true game. Now, granted, there is no Matt Barkley. But there are Robert Woods and Marqise Lee still, and if they get the ball, it’ll be the biggest test ND has faced.
Wait, USC has to play D? Nevermind, Irish onto the NCG.
DM: Notre Dame’s been playing with fire all year long. Did it refine them or will they finally be consumed by it? I’m going with refinement. This will be another good one. I like the Irish with a late touchdown, 21-6.
Nebraska (-14) at Iowa
Aaron: Well, it’s the last game/home game for Iowa’s seniors. It’s the first Black Friday game in Iowa City. It’s another trophy game for the Hawkeye’s. That should get the team pumped up to compete against the Huskers right? Blackshirts on a mission-35, Guys who paint the opposing teams locker room pink-0
Husker Mike: By all accounts, the Squawkeyes folded their tent weeks ago, and are just going through the motions at this point. I don’t see a dead cat bounce (i.e Nebraska 2007 vs. Kansas State) happening here. Huskers 42, Iowegians 6
James: I’m always gunshy with the after Thanksgiving days ever since the Colorado era. Games I think would be close would be land-slides, games I thought would be blowouts would be nailbiters. Crowning victories on the way to Big XII title games turned into 62-36 routs. Iowa is dreadful though and looks like they’ve given up. But the most dangerous animal is an extremely wounded one backed up into a corner at home. I don’t see the crazy upset though, Nebraska has come too far and is too determined, but this game is a little too close for Husker fan comfort. Huskers 31, Iowa 21.
Andy: Ferentz will do everything to motivate the Hawks for an upset. However, the Huskers have a lot more to play for since an Ohio St. victory isn’t a given. I say the Hawks come out primed for an upset. For about 4 minutes. Nebraska 37 Iowa 10
Billgrip: This game makes me nervous, probably just because so much is on the line against a bad team on the road (see K-State last week). While I could sit here and give you a bunch of reasons that Iowa could win, at the end of the day Nebraska is a better team right now. I foresee a slow start and a couple of frustrating turnovers that Iowa doesn’t really capitalize on. Nebraska wears down Iowa in the 2nd half and gets a 10 point win to seal up the west division. Huskers 27, Hawkeyes 17
Cornhead: The Cornhuskers are just a much better team. Period. The only good teams Iowa has played they got thrashed. They’ve tanked. I don’t expect to need a 2nd half comeback to win this one. Corn 34, Hawkeyes 13
Jon: Greg Davis. Really not sure what Ferentz was thinking hiring him as an offensive coordinator. Iowa would like for nothing better than to turn this into a rivalry with a win, but that ain’t going to happen. Nebraska 35, Iowa 13
Brian: I have said it before and again this week, THIS GAME IS NOT A GIVEN. We’ve seen the teams left for dead ruin someone’s season because of rivalry week. It’s a weird little thing where it’s your bowl game and Senior Day, and there’s a thing called pride for you to play for and make that one game where no one thinks you have a chance.... I’m rambling. But, it’s not automatic for Nebraska to win. I do think Nebraska wins, but it’s not a cakewalk like everyone is thinking.
DM: I’m expecting Iowa to come out on fire to start the game. I’m looking for trick plays, shots deep, hard hits by Micah Hyde, everything to put some doubt in Nebraska’s mind. Nebraska should be able to ride that out and when the football game starts, I look for Nebraska to wear down the Hawkeyes and after all the extra energy Iowa will pour into the start of the game, I see them getting worn down earlier than perhaps usual. It’s going to be as physical of a game as NU’s played all season, but I think NU wins going away 41-6.