Predictions: Huskers/Gophers & Week 9 In College Football

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Time for the staff to get back together and predict this week's biggest games, including the Huskers going into TCF Bank Stadium for the showdown with the Gophers!

Husker Mike: Now the season really gets going. No more byes, and the make or break month of November is almost here.

COBBY: WHY DO I SEE ALABAMA-TENNESSEE PLAYING THIS WEEKEND? ISN’T THEIR GAME CALLED THE "THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER?" WHEN I LOOK AT MY CALENDAR, IT WOULD APPEAR TO BE THE FOURTH SATURDAY THIS WEEKEND. SEC GETS +1 ON THEIR MATH SCORE.

Aaron: Missing a couple of good games on this list. UCLA/Oregon, PSU/OSU. I like Oregon and Penn State in those two.

Nathaniel: Is anyone keeping track of all our picks this year?  I am wondering who is on top.

Andy: Cobby’s on top. Of a drunken, unconscious Tri Delt.

David: I’ll try to refrain from too many Caddyshack references during the game tomorrow.  No promises, though.

Brian: I hope Jon is having a blast this weekend. Then again, I hope he has enough bail money for Cobby when he has to go in the street.

Northwestern (+3.5) at Iowa

Husker Mike: What a difference a couple of weeks can make.  After nearly upsetting Ohio State, Northwestern fell off the side of the cliff. You can make an argument that Kain Colter and Venric Mark have to be the co-MVP’s of the Big Ten this season, because their absence means that much to Northwestern. Iowa apparently looked pretty good against Ohio State as well last week. Mark’s been ruled out for this week, but Colter says he’ll play. If that’s the case,  then give me "just Northwestern" over the Squawks. NW 35, jI 27

Aaron: Still no Venric mark this week. I really liked how Iowa played keep-away from Ohio State last weekend. Urban’s first loss will come (and sooner than most expect). Northwestern really really needs this game if they want to go bowling, but I’m going with the Hawkeyes. They have been really solid this year and I think they will keep improving the rest of the way. Hogeyes 31, Purple Cats 17

Salt Creek: Northwestern has proven two things this year. First, never ever trust them. Second, they have developed the first ever two-QB system that actually requires two QBs to be successful. Trevor Siemian is not able to carry this team on his own. Assuming they at least get Colter back, they’ll keep this game respectable. I can’t see Northwestern winning this without Mark though. Give me Iowa by less than a touchdown.

Jon: This is a pretty B1G rivalry. Iowa hates Northwestern. The Wildcats have won the last three of five, and the last three of four in Iowa City. I agree with Salt, with Mark out, the Northwestern offense just isn’t the same. Iowa 24, Northwestern 17

Cobby: I’M STARTING MY OWN BET & SETTING THE OVER/UNDER ON HOW MANY IOWA FANS DROWN THEMSELVES IN THE IOWA CITY HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS POOL BY PASSING OUT WITH THEIR HEAD IN THE WATER & THE REST OF THEIR BODIES COMPLETELY DRY. 1) IOWA 26 NORTHWESTERN 22 AND 2) 2.5 POOLSIDE DROWNINGS - TAKE THE OVER!!

Nathaniel: Northwestern is plummeting fast with their main offensive weapons injured.  Unfortunately the trend continues in Iowa City. Iowa 20 Northwestern 13

Andy: Iowa fans, swollen like the glands of Ricky from "Better Off Dead" after their huge moral "win" vs Ohio St., are already chalking this one up in the win column. And you know what means. Cats 30 Iowa 23

Mister Mike: If Purple can slow down Weisman and the run game, they have an opportunity to grab a W here.  I never count them out.  They’re like the Iowa State of the B1G...don’t know if that’s a compliment or not.  I think the Cats grab one in Iowa City.  NW 31 Iowa 28.

David: Iowa’s got a chance to play a serious spoiler role in the Legends West race.  They’ve already dropped one vs. MSU and with games vs. the NU’s and Michigan still on the table for them, they’ve got a chance to sneak into Indy.  Their defense is legit and should have success vs. Northwestern, even with Colter looking like he’s going to give it a go.  I look for Iowa to make a statement vs. Northwestern and give the Wildcats season the final death blow.  Hawks 24 - 10

Brian: I do like the theory of stopping Weisman for NW, but at the same time, if Northwestern can’t find anything on offense (and who knows with Colter), then it could be really brutal for the Wildcats. I saw a bowl prediction that says NW goes to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. If they lose this one and next week, I could totally see that happening. However, Iowa is Iowa. Wildcats in this one.

Texas Tech (+7) at Oklahoma

Aaron: Take the points. The Sooners are way down this year and a Red Raider victory is very likely. Tech 42, OU 17

Ty: How on EARTH is OU the favorite?  Or did we type that wrong?  Anyway, Kliff Gosling has this team doing great, shocking, but great things.  I’ll take the Red Raiders 49 - 24

Salt Creek: Does Vegas not realize Oklahoma has almost no defensive line? Texas Tech’s Air Raid will be putting up some ungodly numbers on the beleaguered Sooners. Look for a blow-out here. Tech by a couple touchdowns, at least.

Jon: HAHAHAHAHAHA Texas Tech has given Oklahoma fits in Norman. This year they do it again. Tech 38, Gaglahoma 17

Husker Mike: Here’s why Oklahoma is favored.  Yes, the Sooners are struggling on defense - stopping the run.  Well, Texas Tech has no interest in running the ball.  Kliff Kingsbury likes to throw. And throw.  And throw. Oh, and lookee hear...who leads the nation in pass defense?  Ooooooooooooklahoma, where wind comes sweeping down the plain.   Sooners 28, Raiders 20

Nathaniel: I am surprised Tech isn’t favored in this one.  Oklahoma needs to get back on track after Red River Embarrassment but I don’t think they do it here.  Red Raiders 37 Sooners 33

Cobby: A MATCHUP THAT TRULY SHOWS THE COUNTRY THAT THE SEC DOESN’T HAVE MARKET CORNERED ON HILLBILLY DICKS!! HELL, TO THOSE LUBBOCK FELLERS, MIKE LEACH WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF BRITISH PREP SCHOOL HEADMASTER. OKLAHOMA WINS THIS BUT IT’S JUST TEXAS TECH, SO IT PROBABLY WON’T BE NECESSARY TO MACE THE STUDENTS FOR FIRING FULL CANS OF MILLER LITE AT VISITING RED RAIDER FANS IN CELEBRATION. THERE WILL BE A "DELIVERANCE" TYPE ASSAULT BEFORE THE NIGHT IS OVER. THAT’S JUST SUNDOWN IN NORMAN. OU 44 TTECH 33

Andy: Kingsbury is just so pretty the Tech regents have man crushes on him. That’s not going to help as the mostly untested Red Raiders take one in the pooper in afternoon prime time. Not because Oklahoma looks dominant or anything. Just because...well, just because. Sooners 38 Red Raiders 24

Mister Mike: Hard to pick against OU here.  They may have looked like a bunch of unprepared, uncaring members of the walking dead in their game against Texas, but they’ll bounce back against Tech here.  OU by a couple of touches.

David: OU just hasn’t been what we’ve known OU to be in the past.  I think they get it done vs. the Red Raiders.  I don’t really have a good reason why, but I think they do.  #analysis  OU 38-35

Brian: I don’t buy that OU can score 38 against Tech. And I know that Tech can score some AND  for all the love the Sooner D is getting (17 ppg), the Tech D is playing just as well (18 ppg) so this is going to see which offense is going to click. I’m betting Kliff is going to have his going just a little more than Josh Huepel’s. Wreck em.

Michigan State (-10.5) at Illinois

Aaron: I love Michigan State’s defense this year. They should keep the Spartans in every contest. Their offense regressed a lot last week against Purdue. The Illini looked improved against Wisconsin last week and if they can score 20, they can beat Michigan State. Illinois 19, Michigan State 10

Ty: I’ll take Michigan State.  They’re coming on, and with teams like that, there will be bumps in the road.  I think they recover against a bad Illini team.

Salt Creek: Illinois has made improvements, but Sparty’s defense has no time for participation awards. The game is close, but look for Michigan State to stay undefeated in the Big Ten here.

Jon: A team that scores just over 28 points a game and they give 10.5 points. I wouldn’t take the bet, but I’ll take Michigan State. Sparty 28, Illinois 21

Husker Mike: I think the Spartans offense will bounce back a bit this week, but they still have major problems that haven’t been fixed...and won’t be until next season when Damion Terry takes over.  But for now, Connor Cook is enough to beat the Illini.  Sparty 23, Illini 12

Nathaniel: Illinois has a good enough defense to stop Michigan State’s offense.  Sparty has a good enough defense to stop the Illini defense.  What gives?  I’m going with the home team in an upset.  Illinois 24 Sparty 17

Andy: Illinois has given up 95 points in the last two games. It’s not unreasonable to think Sparty can pop 25 or 30 up there. And they’re the #4 scoring defense in the country. It doesn’t smell like an upset but it might be a cover. Sparty 27 Illini 17

Cobby: THIS GAME IS GONNA LOOK LIKE THAT BLIND DATE WHO TURNED OUT TO BE AS HIDEOUS AS YOU FEARED WHEN YOUR BEST FRIEND’S GIRL TOLD YOU SHE WAS "SWEET". I, MEAN YOU STILL KNOCKED BACK A FEW DRINKS, DID AWFUL THINGS TO HER WHEN THE LIGHTS DIMMED & MADE HER CRY THE NEXT MORNING. BUT SHE STILL WASN’T MUCH TO LOOK AT. LIKE THIS GAME. THAT’S MY GODDAMNED POINT. NOW LEAVE ME ALONE. MICH ST 14 ILLINEENEE 9

Mister Mike: MSU to cover this one.  That’s all I can really say.  Yuck.  My God Big Ten football is just...tuurrrible, just tuurrible this year.

David: There’s little attractive about this game.  Illinois stinks.  MSU’s boring.  Spartans win 24-0.  It’ll feel like 70-0.

Brian: Illinois isn’t scoring more than, what, 10 points max? If Michigan State can squish out a touchdown a half, winner winner. Sparty yes.

South Carolina (+2.5) at Missouri

COBBY: SEC! SEC! LOOK AT THAT SEC PARITY THIS YEAR! EVERY TEAM IN THE EAST IS SO AWESOME THAT EVEN MISSOURI CAN WIN THE DIVISION! AND IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE ANY OF THAT, I’VE GOT SOME OCEANSIDE PROPERTY IN IOWA TO SELL YOU. THE SEC IS BAMA, MOST EVERYONE ELSE AND OF FEW REALLY SUCKY TEAMS. I HAVE A FEELING THAT WHEN THEY PLAY A REAL GAME IN PASADENA THIS JANUARY THAT THEY WON’T BE WALKING OUT WITH ANOTHER CRYSTAL FOOTBALL. USClite 27, MISSERY 21

Aaron: I’m actually rooting for Missouri. I’d love to see them win the east and give ‘bama a run for their money. They lock it up at home this weekend in great fashion. After this year is over, there will be a lot of bitching from some of the SEC teams that don’t want to travel to Missouri in late October/early November because it’s only 50 degrees and it’s too cold outside. Missouri 42, South Carolina 21.

Ty: Missouri’s a great story, and I love watching these teams that bolted the Big XII succeed (sorry CU).  However, that thing that SEC fans are calling "Parity" is really more "inconsistency".  I’ll take the Old Ball Coach, even though it’s in Columbia, USC 21, Mizzou 16.

Salt Creek: There’s a lot of flux at South Carolina right now, though most of it is mental and imaginary. On paper, South Carolina should throttle Mizzou. Shaw should be mostly full go this week and Clowney has been getting noisier each week, even if he’s not ALL WORLD like that hit against Michigan made him out to be. I’m going to take the Gamecocks here - I don’t think South Carolina is broken enough for Missouri to get the win. THIS JUST IN: Conor Shaw is a backup and will not start. Also apparently Missouri’s backup’s backup is injured so if Missouri’s backup gets injured things will go badly.

I have no idea. Let’s go with Missouri because the SEC East is broken.

Jon: Doesn’t matter who loses, the AP will still rank them. Still rank? Stank? Yes, that’s the AP Poll. Mizzou wins because nothing makes sense anymore. Missouri 28, ‘Cocks 24

Husker Mike: I’m tired of predicting Cinderella Mizzou’s carriage to turn back into the Pinkel Pumpkin. It’s going to happen at some point.  But I’m going to try some reverse jinxing to make it happen sooner.  Mizery 34, Sakerlina 24

Nathaniel: I’m picking another ‘upset’ because...SEC chaos.  The conference is not the same as it was two or three years ago.  South Carolina 28 Missouri 27

Andy: Most teams can come a little unglued when exposed to your drunken Misery fan base after dark. But not South Carolina. The good folk of that state are no strangers to the type of queer & violent behavior that permeate Columbia at night games. Gamecock fans are a drunken & stealthy bunch and many Missouri denizens going for the beer bottle drygulch from behind on unsuspecting visitors will be shocked to hear an unsettling cackle as a pocketknife slides into their side. The game will be like that too but not quite so literally. Cocks 37 Tiggers 28

Mister Mike: This should be an entertaining game, at least for me.  I’m honestly interested to see if Mizzou can go from bottom feeder to SEC East Champ in the span of one year.  And do it with a backup QB.  Oh, and USCe doesn’t have Connor Shaw in this game either.  They get the Cocks at home (HAH!) and like a typical Mizzou crowd, they’ll be well lathered up by game time.  Mizzou covers.

David: Oh, boy.  What’s gotten into Mizzou?  Conner Shaw’s not starting for USC?  Does Mizzou have a QB of their own?  Will we see the Pinkel effect show up at all this year?  Not this week.  Mizzou keeps it going.  31-28.

Brian: Connor Shaw isn’t starting, fine whatever. Maty Mauk almost looked like a worldbeater last week. Can he avoid the Clowney? Probably, considering that SoCarolina is spinning like a toilet into the Liberty Bowl. Tigers in this one.

Stanford (-4) at Oregon State

Aaron: Transitive property applies here right? Oregon State beat Utah. Utah beat Stanford. Therefore Oregon State > Stanford. Beavers 42, Cardinal 24

Ty: We were talking about Mike Riley at work this week.  Every year, he seems to coach a quiet top 25 team. Maybe the quietest in the country (maybe because he’s not in Eugene).  I was really rooting for Stanford to knock Oregon off this year, but I think if anyone is going to win the Pac-12 North not from Eugene, it might be the underdogs from Corvallis.  Give me the Beavers, but it’s close, 35-31

Salt Creek: I’m going to take Oregon State in a close one as well. The Pac-12 is the best conference in college football this year, but they may not make it to the BCS game after the cannibalism.

Jon: Stanford shut down a pretty decent UCLA offense, but they’ll have their hands full of Beavers. Oregon State has the best passing offense in the nation and are eight in total offense. I’m inclined to take Stanford. Kevin Hogan, more experience. All those tight ends. Stanford 31, Oregon State 30

Nathaniel: I am very intrigued by the matchup of Oregon State’s offense vs. Stanford’s defense.  Definitely will be watching this nightcap to see how it plays out.  However, Corvallis should pose an altitude problem for Stanford like Salt Lake City did for them two weeks ago.  Stanford hangs on to win this game.  Cardinal 33 Beavers 31

Andy: Oregon St.’s first big test, Stanford’s had a couple. I think the Riley war machine gets slowed a little here. Cardinal 40 OSU 32

Cobby: ISN’T THE NORTHWEST WHERE THOSE SPARKLY DICKHEADED VAMPIRES PRANCE ABOUT? I CAN’T UNSEE ONE OF THOSE MOVIES. STANFORD 55 LADY PARTS 31

Mister Mike: Stanford’s just too much in the end for Oregon St.  Tree covers easily.

David: Ummm, OSU’s good for one big win at home ever year, right?  Stanford hasn’t seemed to be the Stanford we’ve come to know and love the past few years.  Beavs storm the field, win 24-17.

Brian: Probably the best game of the week here. Stanford showed some weakness against Utah, but bounced back well last week against UCLA. Sean Mannion, however, has been the best QB you’ve not heard about this year in the nation, and definitely the Pac 12. For all that Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley has done, Mannion only leads the nation in passing, as Oregon State has the best air attack in America right now. I’m picking the Beavers in a upset here, because I love chaos and The Civil War is looking like a good game this Thankgiving.

Nebraska (-10.5) at Minnesota

Aaron: Game of the week. The streak against Minnesota began 50 years ago this year. Doesn’t matter who the QB is, I don’t see Minnesota being able to hang with Nebraska. Neb 38, Minnesota 10

Ty: I have to wonder how much of an effect Coach Kill just being there had on the guys.  That, however, wears off the second time he shows up, even when he says he’s on hiatus (yes, I know it’s been widely reported he’ll be in the booth again this week).  Plus, I think we continue to get stronger every week, and I know more kinks were worked out in practice.  Give me the Men in Red.  Huskers 41, Gophers 24

Salt Creek: Nebraska cruises in this one. The bigger question is whether Taylor Martinez plays or not. I want him to, but only because I don’t want him starting cold against Northwestern.

Jon: We take the Gophers so lightly, I hope the team doesn’t do the same. Still, Minnesota just doesn’t have enough horses. Watch the Husker defense score, while Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross eat that Minnesota defense like a bag of Skittles. Nebraska 38, Minnesota 13

Husker Mike: Minnesota isn’t going to do anything fancy.  Take that big offensive line and try to steamroll their way through the Nebraska defense.  And I think our defense has learned enough in the last week to know what to do.  Stop the run, and then force the Gophers to throw the ball on third and long.  That’s a recipe for a big Husker win.  Huskers 31, Gophers 13

Nathaniel: Minnesota beating a depleted Northwestern means Kenny Bell and the rest of the Huskers are taking this game a little more seriously.  Though with or without Taylor Martinez, I still think the Huskers roll in this game.  Huskers 45 Gophers 20

Cobby: HOW BURGESS MEREDITH DIDN’T WIN AN OSCAR FOR GRUMPY OLD MEN IS A MYSTERY TO ME. COBBY GIVES BOLOGNA PONY RIDES SOLELY IN HIS HONOR. WELL, I MEAN I’M THINKING OF HIM WHILE I’M-...OH NEVER FUCKING MIND!! HUSKERS ROLL IN THIS ONE, BITCHES!!! CORN 58 MINNY 17

Andy: Well, Minny can kinda, sorta run the ball so we MIGHT find out if that South Dakota St. crap is fixed. But after a slate of creamed corn to open the season, the Gopher offense has mostly packed it in for the year. The Northwestern game keeps NU from sleepwalking through this one and they should cruise. Huskers 37 Goofers 6

Mister Mike: Well straight from Bo’s mouth "we don’t know what we’re doing."  There’s a joke or two in there somewhere, I know it.  But he was talking about the QB situation.  T-Mart is WAY less than 100%, but I’d bet Jon’s house that he gets the start in this game.  I don’t think half a Mart is better than a whole Mart would be compared to TA2 or RK3, but whatever.  You’ll probably see the first 3 QB rotation in the history of Nebraska football so...you know...that might be cool.  Or it might be a disaster.  Who knows.  That’s what makes the game fun, right?

So if there’s 3 QBs playing, do they keep three separate scores?  Probably not.  We still won’t know much more about how the defense will match up against the big boys in the conference though, as they’ve been kicking the shit out of the kindergartners of the conference in Illinois and Purdue.  It’s hard to see that trend changing much this game though.  Minny doesn’t throw it enough to keep defenses honest, so we’ll load the box with 8 or 9 and make them beat us deep.  We’ll see if that works like it should.  We’ll also see if our Spencer Long-less OL can keep future NFL draft pick Ra'Shede Hageman out of our backfield.  Going to be a hoot.

Oh the score.  Nebraska covers easy.  Like 41 - 17.

David: If Minnesota wasn’t in our divison, I’d be pulling for them.  But they are so I’m not.  They are improved over last year, it seems and are one win from being eligible for a bowl.  Wouldn’t it be something if they got it on Saturday.  Man, that’d make for an interesting week around here.  I don’t think it happens, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Minnesota gets off to a fast start.  I expect there to be a few bumps while the O-line gets sorted out with the loss of Long and maybe a few cobwebs when Martinez goes back under center.  In the end, I think the defense feasts on another young, inexperienced QB and the offense will eventually wear down the Gophers to pull away 48-21.

Brian: Well, we know that Minny doesn’t care to find out if they can throw at times, so that takes away our best part of our defense. So, can David Cobb and company run on the Huskers? Has the front 7 really gotten better? Meanwhile, what’s Taylor good for, and how much prep has Tommy Armstrong Jr and RK3 gotten just in case?

I just don’t think that Nebraska on another bye week will do anything bad. I am wondering how Long’s departure on the line will affect the unit, but I think there are more playmakers on both sides of the ball for Nebraska than Minnesota. Huskers cover and get ready for the Wildcats in Memorial Stadium next Saturday afternoon.

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