Husker Mike: Yay. Conference play begins. Problem is, it’s against Illinois...who’d probably lose to McNeese State. And it’s an 8 pm kickoff for some bizarre reason. C’mon BTN, that’s ridiculous.
Brian: But, but shiny tape on alternates!!
Andy K: Mighty Morphin Power Huskers. I hate these unis every single year. There, that’s my rant.
Ty: I might be the only of the CN writers who kinda digs the alternates. Hey, it gets a different part of the fan base excited and let’s face it, the recruits like it. It’s only once a year, and revenue.
Brian: I dig em, but the whole reflective tape thing on the numbers and pants look dumb, like something that was like "ya know, we really do have to use this material before we can’t claim it anymore".
Ranchbabe: The players seem to really like the alternates. I do not mind, as long as they are done well. Last year’s black looked good but now have bad memories attached. The year before…..those should have never been allowed off the drawing board.
Husker Mike: As long as I can tell who’s who and the players like ‘em, I’m fine with the alternates.
Northwestern (+10) at Penn State
Andy K.: So in a month, we could have a very well rested 6-0 Penn St. team (2 bye weeks in the next 4) waiting for a 5-1 Ohio St. down in that hillbilly-infested valley that’s only "Happy" for deranged locals and minors with kevlar chastity belts. This week? Dog crap. Two below average offenses meet two pretty good defenses and team speed is not a bonus for either. Yes, Hackenburg can sling it, but that hasn’t translated to points against D1 foes. Penn St wins, but Northwestern covers. Moral victory? Penn St 23 NW 17
Ty: Before we moved to the B1G, I always kinda pulled for NW, but of late… nope. Penn State has gotten done what it needed to get done, even if it wasn’t pretty at times (UCF… or USF… or whichever part of Florida in Dublin). Penn State wins it, and even though they stay unbeaten, they might be the most easily (and appropriately) overlooked unbeaten in CFB. 24-14.
David: I’ve been putting Northwestern at the bottom of my power rankings all season long with the dysfunctional mess they’ve shown to be the past year and a half, now. I don’t expect them to be moving out of the bottom line this week. PSU, kinda big. 31-10
Brian: If Pat Fitzgerald was at any other school, his ass would be cooking in a cast iron skillet. Not at NW, but won’t matter this day. Penn State lets Hackenberg throw for 350 and goes hard on nw.
Ranchbabe: Penn State should win this, but NW seems to win at least one every year that they should not. Will it be this week? I don’t care, as long as their surprise win is not against Nebraska. PSU-24 NW-7
Husker Mike: I think we finally realize how bad NW really is. Nitts 38, Wildkitties 9
Missouri (+6) at South Carolina
Andy K.: Mike Slive spent the week quietly trying to trade Misery to Sun Belt for Georgia Southern. An SEC division winner losing to Indiana can trigger a little-known clause in conference by-laws which allows for expulsion on the grounds of "causing the conference, her member schools and associated entities immeasurable embarrassment & loss of community standing through its acts, behavior, or god-awful shitty play versus those conferences & teams deemed to be lower than the belly of a gator on the face-down receiving end of an unwanted sexual advance. (a.k.a., ‘inferior’) " USC 34 Misery 23
Ty: I’m still giggling after that game last week. I’d love to hear Finebaum’s explanation for how that game was only further proof that the SEC is better than the B1G. LOL! Oh well. Missourah will look better, but only marginally. Head Ball Coach is trying to prove something this year, cause it’s a year, and he’s the Head Ball Coach. SC 49, Mizz 35
David: I, uh, don’t quite know what to say about this one. Which team from either side will show up? Does Mizzou look to atone for the embarrassment of losing to Indiana (lol) at home last week? Does it matter? The Tigers hold their own, but USC pulls away late. South Carolina wins 20-3.
Brian: I can’t take either team seriously, but the issue is which one is better at being luckier. Mizzou getting beat by an Indiana team that can’t stop a runny nose, or South Carolina that was a bad FG away from losing to both TAMU and Georgia? Gimme the Tigers in this one, cause at least Pinkel knows he’s not a legit coach whereas OBC just loves to chomp his gums in a microphone without thinking.
Ranchbabe: SEC! SEC! SEC! I mostly think the degenerate game threads on CN involving the Gamecocks will be even more entertaining when their opponent is a former Big 12 foe. Who cares about the score as long as we all get to enjoy Steve Spurrier press conferences in which he manages to non-compliment his opponent no matter the final outcome.. SC 35 Mizzou 21
Husker Mike: After losing to teams like Indiana, teams either (a) come out royally p***ed off or (b) continue falling apart. My money is on one P’Oed group of Tiggers. Mizery 38 USC 27
Duke (+5) at Miami, FL
Andy: Duke hasn’t played anybody, but neither had we. And Miami may just not be very good. Duke 40 Miami 34
Ty: Miami still has notions of being someone this year, and they showed flashes of it against us, to be honest. Programs that are on the upswing tend to have setbacks against familiar foes. I’d say this will be a (if not the) setback for the Blue Devils. Miami 31, Duke 28
David: This is the best we can come up with this week? Alright. Uh, I don’t know. I like Kzyewski to draw up something to confuse Al Golden’s squad, but I think that Miami speeeeeeeeed is too much for the Dukies to overcome. Miami rides Duke Johnson over the Blue Devils, 35-18.
Brian: If Brad Kaaya gets better as he did from Louisville to Nebraska, he may be pretty damn good by the time Nebraska gets to South Beach next year. However, Duke has the better team without the better athletes. Cutcliffe is for real in Durham. Blue Devils win.
Ranchbabe: Duke is becoming a football school. Nebrasketball has unreasonably high expectations. Anyone know the temperature in Satan’s realm? Duke wins (Either the team or the running back--I will tell you which one I meant after the game is over).
Husker Mike: This ain’t basketball guys. And I think Miami is quickly getting better after the Louisville debacle. ‘Canes 34, Hoop it Up 24
Stanford (-8) at Washington
Andy: Washington’s been putting up some points and getting their yards on the ground but against meager opponents. (Yes, Illinois, that includes you.) Stanford was stymied by Southern Cal but handily won their two gimmes. Even though they struggled at Hawaii and with Eastern Wash (surprisingly high-powered offense), I think 8 might be too many points at home. Let’s say Stanford 30 Washington 27 in a surprisingly good game.
Ty: I don’t trust Washington, and I almost always trust Stanford. USC was a surprise to a LOT of people, including the red trees. Stanford’s going to play spoiler in the Pac-12 (watch out Ducks) but they can’t do it if they don’t build some confidence. Washington gave up 52 to Eastern Washington (a team better than McNeese St, we should add) and cut it too close with Hawaii. Because it’s in Seattle, I think it’ll be closer than the spread, but the Cardinal win it 17-13
David: How’s ‘ole Coach Petersen doing up in Seattle anyway? All I’ve seen from either of these two teams is USC kicking a game winning field goal in Stanford’s house. So, with my expertise on the subject established, I’m going to go with the the Huskies marking their territory all over the trees, UW 24-9.
Brian: Chris Peterson hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start in Seattle, but he’s going to get better. Stanford is alright, and will win, but Washington is going to make it very difficult for Tree to win with that new fangled Husky Stadium all redone and louder and all that.
Ranchbabe: In my preseason predictions, I picked Stanford to win the PAC12, but UCLA to make the 4 team playoff (Yes Salt, I know it is an invitational). I think Washington is still a work in progress. Stanford 21 UW 17
Husker Mike: Still not sold on Washington at this point. Chris Peterson might get it figured out eventually...but not this week. I mean… how do you get dominated in the first half by Georgia State? Tree 28 UDub 24
Illinois (+20) at Nebraska
Andy: Only 20? The Illini are 103rd in the nation in points against vs. a YTD schedule that included a One Double-A, a directional school, a Texas St. (sounds like a school they make up for movie. Is this the Armadillos? Do they play the U. of Austin from "Road Trip"?) and Washington.
It’s probably the ugliest 3-1 record in the nation. Abdullah will hit the bench for good with 212 yards after the 1st series of the 3rd quarter. Westerkamp will catch a pass with his ass cheeks while both arms are pinned. Gregory will lay their QB down gently cradling his head, but still get flagged for roughing. Newby will rip off a 75 yarder for his 1st big breakaway. Cross will have 3 carries for 62 yards but still be considered a short yardage specialist.
It won’t all be perfect. Illinois will take their first possession straight downfield for 6, because everyone does and Banderas will still run around like a blindfolded kid in a pool yelling "Marco!" and the opposition RB’s won’t say "Polo!" back, the cheating bastards.
Still, it’s all Huskers - no injuries, please. NU 59 Illini 14
Ty: 8 pm start in Lincoln. Seriously? Tailgating will be CRAZY! ANYWAY, Huskers want to make a statement in the first matchup of the conference schedule, and Illinois has gotten by by the skin of their teeth. Armstrong will have the chance to throw a little bit, but the Illini get a healthy dose of not only Ameer (who breaks 150 in the first half, btw), but Newby, Cross, and Arm-so-Strong. I think the linebacking corps has a good game to recover more than a little from what happened against Miami. I don’t see us breaking 50 again for a bit, however. 45-10 Huskers.
David: Ty, meet you at the Rez? Oh, wait…
Anyway, I’m hoping the boys will be focused for this one. I’m a little nervous about that. The energy in the stadium has no chance of resembling last week’s. Will they be able to keep their play at the level it was last week? If they can, even if it’s only at 80% of what it was, they should be able to cover that spread. If they lose focus though, something you know you’re scared of, it’s ok to admit it, this could go into the fourth quarter. Illinois is better than they have been the past couple of years, but they’re not good enough that this should be a close game if NU has, in fact, learned its lesson after the McNeese St. Game. I think we get a business-like effort from Abdullah and the Huskers and they roll into East Lansing on a mission. 42-14, Red Rising.
Brian: The only way Nebraska loses this game is that it’s a combination of the biggest letdown game in the Huskers season and a bunch of kids looking ahead at a bigger opponent. It’s not like Bo Pelini has ever had to deal with this WAIT GODDAMNIT.
But, Illinois is a terrible first half team and Ameer Abdullah is still on our team last time I checked. Backdoor cover for the Illini cause second team vs first team isn’t fair, but Nebraska wins and sets up the primetime matchup vs. Sparty.
Ranchbabe: Mr. Ranchbabe (Ranchdude?) offers his prediction that Westerkamp will get a reception by catching it between his knees.
Bold predicitons...I think we get MOAR Lane Hovey. Imani might get 5 or 6 touches when Ameer has to sit. DPE runs one punt back to the house. Kenny catches one in quintuple traffic because he totally wants to make the SC Top Play of the Day. Wes Lunt wishes he stayed in the Big 12.
Huskers 52 Illini 21 (late touchdown makes it look closer than it is)
Husker Mike: By the time the Illinois offense wakes up, Gerry DiNardo will have left the BTN studio for his hotel room in Chicago and Ameer Abdullah will have taken his pads off for the night. Huskers roll: Big Red 56, Illini 17