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The Predictions Thread: Northwestern Week

The CN staff gives their crack analysis (HA!) on this week's games, including the Nebraska/Northwestern game.

Last year's end result. Does it change this year?
Last year's end result. Does it change this year?
Eric Francis

Husker Mike: Now we’re talking...a week with some compelling games throughout the day. Perhaps we’re done scrounging for games to include on this list!

Aaron: Honestly, I didn’t even watch any college football last weekend. Of course, I tend to use Nebraska’s bye as a chance to get a lot of work done around the house.

Cornhead: I’m with you Aaron, I cleverly planned a much needed vacation with my daughter to D.C. around the Cornhuskers’ bye. I caught just a glimpse of college football, but still know I kicked ass in my predictions.....for once.

Andy: I watched on and off, it really doesn’t take much for me to get interested. I can always find a fan base to mock. They in turn can mock my miserable picks. Considering I always pick Nebraska and Notre Dame’s opponent, I don’t think I’m too bad off.

Mister Mike: YOLO Dickwads. 4 - 1 last week folks. I still see there’s no spreadsheet. I’ll have to talk to management about that.

Billgrip: I was perfect last week! (I forgot to make predictions)

Brian: How can you NOT watch college football every chance you get? I mean, I can’t imagine you not watching unless your team was in the ALCS OW WHY DOES TYPING THAT HURT DAMN YOU JOSH HAMILTON AND DEREK HOLLAND!!! /weeping in fetal position on floor

Michigan State (+10) at Michigan

Aaron: This really seems like as good a chance to beat the Spartans as the Wolverines have had in awhile. As a Nebraska fan, I’m really hoping that State gives Michigan all they can handle before they head to Lincoln next week. But if I have to chose between the two games, I would prefer for "bad" D-Rob to show up next week in Lincoln. Michigan 35, Michigan State 27.

Husker Mike: Michigan State’s struggles should not be a surprise; you can’t lose THAT much on either side of the ball and not expect issues. You think Michigan hasn’t been drooling, just waiting for this game? Michigan has been playing really, REALLY well the last few weeks; Michigan State has, well, not. Payback time. This one is going to get FUHUGLY. Weasels 38, Sparty 9

Cornhead: It appears Meeeechigan is finding its groove. Uhg. Sparty has dominated this series the past few years and look for a sweep for their senior class. Not gonna happen, though I think they cover....barely. Wolverines 33, Sparty 24

Andy: Michigan St. has become the epitome of a Big Ten football team. From 1962. Big, overused running back and white, slow, noodle-armed QB whose position should be redefined as Ball Dispenser. They probably talk about Maxwell’s character lots when pressed by media to come up with positives.

Michigan has finally started to hum. Of course, this coincides with leaving Alabama & Notre Dame behind for lower division B1G schools, so whatever. Wolvie ends the streak on the basis of having the only athlete on either offense capable of making a defense rub sleep out of their eyes. Red Dawn 27 Sparty 13

Jon: Again it comes down to who’s going to do the scoring for Michigan State. Their scoring offense is 104th nationally. Their total defense is seventh nationally, but they gave up their highest total yardage against Indiana (317) and just couldn’t score enough to beat Iowa. Michigan 24, Michigan State 17

Mister Mike: Good preview of Nebraska’s next two opponents right here. Both teams have been about as exciting as broccoli quiche and as underwhelming as bland oatmeal. I think Shoelaces has problems early trying to score, but they have more playmakers than MSU, so as long as he doesn’t go full on retard, Michigan should win this one convincingly. Michigan 31, MSU 17.

Billgrip: I’m rooting for Michigan State to pull off the upset here....but they don’t have the offense to make it happen. It’s still a close game though. Michigan 24, Michigan State 17

Brian: Where y’all getting these gobs of points? I mean, good lord, Michigan St doesn’t give up much but scores even less. I do think Denard found something last week against Purdue’s tackling dummies, but even he’s probably not going to score more than 21-24 against this D. But that’s fine, cause Sparty’s O management is something so bad, not even you can fix this mess Dana Holgorson. Wolverines win this to carry into next Saturday in Lincoln.

Kansas State (+3) at West Virginia

Aaron: After this game we should know for sure whether Kansas State can win the Big XII and possibly have a shot at something bigger. Their toughest road game will be at TCU. I do find it interesting that the Wildcats are underdogs. If it gets to a shootout, can KSU keep up? Kansas State 38, West Virginia 24

Husker Mike: We know Kansas State can win on the road (see Oklahoma). We know that both teams played subpar last week. So who bounces back stronger? My vote goes to the better coach. Wildcats 45, Mountaineers 42

Cornhead: Just unbelievable what Snyder has done TWICE at K-State. How in the eff does he do it? Sound, consistent, fundamental football. Run the ball, tough defense, and solid special teams. Sounds like a winning formula. BUT, they trip up somewhere, and I think this is the week they do. West Virginia 35, Kansas State 31

Andy: KSU’s road win agin’ the Okies was impressive. The escape in Ames was not. Now they travel to Morgantown where ill-begotten 6th generation moonshine money can still smell a Big 12 title. In the daylight hours, the Wildcat team and fans will be subjected to hostile glares and evil smiles. When the sun goes down, crazy WVU bastards will run amok with hill people ninja attacks on the visitors. All manner of rabid, feral wildlife will find its way into the KSU hotels and assorted loudmouth backup linebackers and alums from Manhatten will be found unconscious in alleys and bathrooms.

By the time, kickoff rolls around, KSU players and fans alike will be jittery from fear and lack of sleep. As KSU fans struggle to avoid eye contact with grown men in coonskin caps, Snyder’s boys will simply try to run the clock and get the hell out of town. WVU 47 KSU 33

Jon: I imagine that the butt-kicking in Lubbock was an eye-opener. If Kansas State can somehow slow this game down, and slug it out against West Virginia, they might get into shellshock mode again real quick. Bill Snyder versus a first-time head coach? I’ll take Snyder. Kansas State 31, West Virginia 28

Mister Mike: Two Heisman Quarterbacks! ISynder’s Black Magic against Holgo’s Air Raid wizardry! What more could one ask for? Maybe some defense? KSU has one of the best defenses right now in the conference. Plus you all saw what happened last week when the Mountaineers rolled into Lubbock and Tubby’s Red Raiders pillaged their homes and defiled their women...because they play defense. KSU plays defense. WVU doesn’t. I like Old Balls in Morgantown. Bill 38 Holgo 27.

Billgrip: In a conference known for offense, it’s the teams that actually play defense when it matters that will come out on top. Undead Snyder 41, Fighting Holgorsen’s 38

Brian: This will definitely be the true test to see if KState is Big 12-2/National title contenders. Collin Klein can suck the life out of a football game and make you look bad. However, I think Geno Smith is something unreal in Morgantown. There will be points, and if Klein can’t match Smith shot for shot, then uh oh. I’m going to take the Mountaineers, just cause I think this offense and Holgo is too pissed off and fired up on Red Bull to take what happened last week standing down, or whatever they do when the couches burn.

South Carolina (+3) at Florida

Aaron: I’ve been a believer in Florida since they won a couple tough games on the road earlier in the season. They aren’t flashy, but they play good "Old Man" football. At this point, I would be disappointed if the SEC title game didn’t have undefeated Alabama and undefeated Florida this year. Gators 28, South Carolina 17

Husker Mike: If it weren’t for all of the injuries, (Marcus Lattimore hip, Jadeveon Clowney foot, Kelsey Quarles shoulder, flu, etc.) I’d easily pick the Gamecocks. But too many question marks and having to face a pretty good team on the road. Gators 21, Cocks 17

Cornhead: I’m with you Aaron, I believe in the Mus-Chomps. I think they continue their winning ways in the Visor’s return. Gators 24, Cocks 20

Andy: The revival of The Swamp, Part 2. Florida 20 SC 13

Jon: The Gamecocks picked a lousy time to get the flu, and Quarles is suspended for a punch. Too much loss, although I’m not sure how well Florida can score against the remainder the SC defense. This one is up in the air. Florida 17, South Carolina 14

Mister Mike: It’s allll Gators baby. Fighting Muschamps 27 Cocks 20.

Billgrip: South Carolina bounces back and beats an overrated Florida team easily. Gamecocks 31, Gators 17

Brian: Just can’t trust Shaw after giving the game away last week in Baton Rouge. Not saying LSU played bad, but he had chances to make a difference. With the division on the line, I just can’t trust em. Gimme the Gators.

Texas Tech (-2.5) at TCU

Aaron: Well, Tech shutdown West Virginia last weekend so I’ll go with them over TCU. Texas Tech 42, TCU 21

Husker Mike: Remember when offense was the thing at Texas Tech? Welcome to the new Red Raiders. Texas Tech 38, Froggies 17

Cornhead: I haven’t followed Texas Tech much, but know they’ve been a surprise team this year. But I’ll take Patterson’s team as a home dog. Frogs 28, Red Raiders 27

Andy: There’s no way I think Texas Tech just became a good defense, but suddenly they’re not giving up 40/game anymore. TCU joined the Big 12 just in time dust off its old SWC act finding themselves in all sorts of trouble. Trevone Boykin stepped in for in-patient resident Casey Pachall and threw 4 TD’s against Baylor after a horrible outing against ISU in his debut. However, putting big numbers on Baylor is like playing Madden on the Easy setting. I actually like the Red Raiders in this one. Texas Tech 27 TCU 20

Jon: I haven’t played Madden in years. NCAA, yeah, but not Madden. Honestly, I don’t care who wins this game, but Tech has been a crappy road team everywhere but Oklahoma for a long time. TCU 24, Texas Tech 21

Mister Mike: I love Madden! I love NCAA! I play both! But yeah, rolling up yards and points against Baylor is like bedding 40 year old Cougars at the ain’t that hard. I think this comes down to how well Boykin plays. I think this one is closer than people think. TCU 30 Raiders 27

Billgrip: Texas Tech is actually pretty good this year...they play defense. Same principle as the K-State/West Virginia game. Texas Tech 34, TCU 21

Brian: The Pachall fallout was big and massive down here in Ft. Worth, and don’t think it won’t take this team down the pipes with it. An already struggling offense to go along with Tech’s super D (which I don’t think is that good, at least not yet). Gimme the Red Raiders in this one only cause the Frogs can’t do anything good on offense right now.

Nebraska (-4.5) at Northwestern

Aaron: Tough game for me to pick. I really think Nebraska matches up poorly against Northwestern. To win, they HAVE to keep turnovers down. In a turnover free game, I think the Huskers win something like 49-38. They have had two weeks to clean things up and prepare for the Wildcats. If they can’t keep the turnovers and mistakes down this week, the wheels might start to come off this season with Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State up next. Could Nebraska struggle to even get to six wins? We’ll find out a lot about whether or not the Big Red will be competitive in the Big Ten he rest of the way this weekend. Nebraska 42, Northwestern 41.

Husker Mike: Bottom line for me is that while I think Nebraska has better players, Northwestern is simply playing a whole lot better to this point this season. So when someone picks a Northwestern upset, they have good reason to. But Nebraska has had two weeks to get the bad taste of Buckeye out of their system. They played one great quarter against Ohio State..and three bad ones. Look for much more good this week. Huskers 45, Wildcats 28

Cornhead: Pelini said he has and wants an angry team. I like that. He has had two weeks to figure out how to stop (slow?) Kain Colter. Northwestern is a very solid football team with an improved defense and some weapons on offense. I still have nightmares about last year’s game. They wore us down and beat us up. This is the pivotal point in the season: Win this and stay in the hunt for Indianapolis, lose and this season could get really ugly. Road game. Mobile QB. Fitzgerald can play the no respect card as a home underdog. There are a lot of reasons to pick against the Cornhuskers, but I think the players respond and do just enough. Corn 38, Cats 35

Andy: I should probably go with Northwestern since they’ve basically owned our ass in everything since we "jined up". A NW defense that has given up big points to less than stellar offenses is something to consider as is the fact that this year they get us after a bye week, not a knock-down drag-out with Sparty.

However, NW mobile QB plus NU defense that may roll into a ball again after the first big gain by said QB does not lead me to make any blowout predictions. Matter of fact, the table is set for an entertaining show. And by "entertaining", I mean "we’re going bitch up a storm about defense again starting Saturday night." Let's say NU 52 NW 41

Jon: I’m picking Nebraska only because I can’t fathom the thought of losing two conference games in a row and fear what will happen should Nebraska lose to Northwestern in consecutive seasons. It should be more of a home game for Taylor Martinez, and with Rex Burkhead back, the offense will roll. Nebraska 38, Northwestern 28

Mister Mike: A loss is a very real possibility for the Huskers. They have Kain Colter. They run a spread offense. They have Kain Colter. Northwestern’s better coached, better disciplined, they have Kain Colter and hell, we all know they’ll be well rested. Amiright?!? This is indeed THE pivotal game of the season. Kain and Company WILL score points on us. How much they score depends on how many times we turn the rock over (magic number is 3) and whether or not we’ve at least looked into teaching our ends how to play contain. Honestly, people are expecting to see something new and unexpected whether it’s personnel, scheme, whatever. I don’t believe it though. I’ll think we’ll roll in there using the same scheme and personnel groupings we’ve been using. I haven’t seen anything this season that would make me believe otherwise. Northwestern is going to roll up some yards and points and even if we win, there’s still going to be serious questions for Pelini to answer about our defense. All that said, if we keep the TO’s under 3 we’ll win. If not, I think we lose. Nebraska in a higher-scoring-than-people-are-comfortable-with affair, 45 Cats 42.

Billgrip: I’ve reached the conclusion that the Huskers just don’t have the talent on defense needed to succeed this year. Bo’s best defenses have always featured future NFL guys. Name for me one guy on this defense that’s higher than a 5th or 6th round pick in next year’s draft? If there’s talent on this defense, it’s young. So long as Bo is unwilling to change his process and his scheme to fit his personnel, this defense is going to be inconsistent at best. It’s not about needing to "dumb down" the defense. I’m sure guys like Compton, Whaley, and Meredith have a perfect understanding of the defense, but nothing I’ve seen from them makes me believe they are athletic enough to execute it. Those guys are in year 5, and a bye week isn’t going to make them faster. Combine that with an inconsistent offense that either turns the ball over or has a 3-and-out in record time, and Nebraska just isn’t a very good team. Unless something changes, mobile QB’s will continue to have a field day with this defense. Sorry #teamsunshine, I can’t pick the Huskers in a game like this until I see a change in the scheme and/or personnel on defense. Kain’s Cats 38, Pelini’s Scheme, 28

Brian: Can you really, really trust this offense and defense to win a game against a team that, on paper and in record, is better than Nebraska right now? This could be the toughest test for the offensive line, as NW doesn’t let up much rushing the ball. Taylor (should, at least) be counted on to make some good game winning plays. He’s going to have to for Nebraska to have a chance to win this game, as on D Nebraska is slowly becoming a tire fire that is starting to resemble 2007 when it comes to stopping offenses with mobile quarterbacks. Now, like Rodger said, the NW offense is pretty one dimentional when either Colter or Trevor Siemian is in as in you’ll know what they’re gonna do depending on who is in there. However, it comes down to being able to stop Venric Mark and his running. If Nebraska is able to do that, they will win the game.

However, again, it comes down to trust. I CAN’T TRUST NEBRASKA ON THE ROAD RIGHT NOW. I just can not. I think Northwestern will win this game in front of a packed house, and make Bo and company stare 4-4 straight down the barrel next week against Brady Hoke’s team in Lincoln. I really want a reason to believe, but right now I just can’t do it.