Husker Mike: On a week where there aren’t a whole lot of big games, we’re predicting a bunch of B1G games.
Nathaniel: Georgia Tech-Notre Dame would have been interesting had Zaire not been injured. Unfortunately now Irish fans have excuses for the rest of the season.
Ranchbabe: Yikes. I take a week off and come back to these leftovers. OK then.
Greg: To quote a famous line from one of your favorite movies, "What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?" Did we shoot the wad on "good" games last week? I mean come on...certainly somewhere there’s a game of quality teams set to go head to head. No? All righty then, let’s all jump into this dumpster fire together!
Brian: Damn schedule makers. Wait…. damnit.
Rutgers (+9) at Penn State
Pat: Penn State has not looked good. But a bad Penn State trumps any non-Schiano era Rutgers squad. Christian Hackenberg finally looks like a draftable quarterback, and those tennis shoe-wearing mountain lions run away with it. PSU 31, Rutgers 14
Andy: A story of two trainwrecks, this game may best resemble Bill Murray’s platoon careening down the obstacle course hill after Captain Stillman’s aide said, "Here come your men, now, sir." Christian Hackenburg has completed less than 50% of his passes after facing the terrifying defenses of Temple and Buffalo. I’m not sure if he’s John Candy crashing through the trees or the black guy who slips and crushes his nuts on the balance log. Rutgers QB’s have only faced Norfolk St. & Wazzu, but they are completing 82% of their passes. The upside for Penn St. is that Rutgers porous defense is just what the Nittanies sputtering offense ordered. Penn St. wins but it’s close. JoePa Worshipping Cretins 34 Scarlet Meltdown 32
David: I thought we weren’t going to pick lame games anymore? Wait, we’re picking Va Tech/Purdue, too? Who’s organizing this thing?!? Whatevs, this one is basically a dumpster fire vs. a trashcan blaze. I’m going with Penn St. by virtue that I think they’ll have enough eligible players to play the game. I’m not sure Rutgers will, I think they’ll only have six guys available for special teams. Look for the Scarlet Knights to go for it on every fourth down. PSU wins 8-6.
Nathaniel: They should nickname this game the Dumpster Fire Bowl. Rutgers gets a lot of sacks. Neither team gets a lot done on offense but Penn State emerges from the dumpster fire in the end to lift the ‘burning tire’ trophy. Lions 20 Knights 17
Husker Mike: Blame me for this game...but there aren’t a lot of super cool games this week. And how can you pass up this train wreck of a game? Rutgers’ entire athletic department badly needs an enema, starting at the very top before they even begin to figure out what to do with their football program. And frankly, it’s not completely inconceivable that they stop playing at some point - if only because there might be high schools in the Panhandle of Nebraska with more players left than Rutgers in November. At least the way things are going. Penn State has their own troubles, but they are more on the field than at Rutgers, and much more easily solved. State Penn 23, Chris Christie’s Dumpster Fire 17
Joe:Penn State Sucks. Rutgers sucks. This game sucks. Penn State wins 2-0 in overtime. Just imagine the series of events that would lead to this score actually happening. It would be a pretty cool ending.
Ranchbabe: This will be awful. The Rutgers athletic department is a mess from the top down and the football team might have to start pulling fans from the stands and suit them up. But only after they send Kyle Flood to do their homework first. Penn State appears to be rapidly turning into a Callahan-esque situation where they get the ‘croots but don’t seem to know what to do with them once they show up for games. Hackenberg might actually get sacked single-digit times this week. Nittany Lions - 14 Scarlet Knights - 4 People actually go blind because of watching this game.
Jon: Penn State may not be as horrifying as people think; Temple has a decent football team this season. I’d say Penn State wins this going away. If they can’t beat one of their big rivals when their rival is down, they might as well cash in football season and wait for… well, I have no idea. Wait for the end, because it’s all over and it ain’t getting better for quite a while. Penn State 31, Rutgers 10
Greg: Nathaniel and I are on the same page, apparently. We both have dumpsters on the brain. What the heck is going on at Rutgers? I mean, there’s bad, and then there is whatever they have doing on there. It’s not even funny anymore. Why did we try so hard to get this school in the B1G, Jim Delaney? But my gosh, Penn State has looked atrocious this year. The Nittany Lions win, but only because where Rutgers is right now, they probably shouldn’t even be playing. 24-10
Brian: Who knew that Penn State would have that bad of a offense. I mean, Temple was getting to Hackenberg with two rushers. That being said… how much of a distraction is Rutgers right now? /flips coin….. Penn St wins because no Carroo and no starting Secondary and a HC who is already updated his resume has to be beaten, right? RIGHT?!?!?
Virginia Tech (-6.5) at Purdue
Pat: Ohio State sure got a lot of credit for beating a not-that-great and now-injured Va Tech squad. But Purde….good God have you seen Purdue? The Boilers got an unconvincing FCS win last week, but that’s not enough against the Hokies. Turkeys 27, Choo-choos 14
Andy: Purdue appears to be heading backwards & Va Tech, like most of Division 1, is just on a different level. VT 38 Purdue 7
David: When did Virginia Tech join the Big Ten? Have they found a QB yet? No? This game’s at Purdue? Sigh… I don’t care...er...know...how about the Boilermakers rising up and knocking off the Hokies. Why not? Purdue wins 22-10.
Nathaniel: Why are we picking this game? Virginia Tech wins this easy 38-7.
Husker Mike: I pick games with 10 point spreads, which Vegas indicates that it’s going to be competitive. So a B1G game like this has to be included, though you have to wonder why. I thought Purdue would be improved this season, but then they blew the transmission at Marshall. So yeah… Hokies 24, Purdon’t 13
Ranchbabe: Beamer ball showed up for a quarter and a half or so against Ohio State which might be more than most teams can muster this year. Purdue just does not seem to understand how to football yet this season. Even though VT lost their starting QB, I am still picking them even though the game is at Ross-Ade. Hokies - 28 Boilers - 17
Joe: This would be a GREAT matchup if it were an engineering contest or some kind of Robot Wars thing where the students build the robots. But it’s not. VT-31 Purdue- 0
Greg: Making fun of the state of football in Indiana (or is that the state of Indiana in football), Notre Dame notwithstanding, is becoming tiresome. That’s right, I’m actually getting tired of making fun of Indiana when it comes to football. Hokies win this one on the road, and the score will be 31-16 as Purdon’t only puts it in the endzone once.
Jon: Screw you guys, I’m going with Purdue. Darrell Hazell gets his signature win and things start to look better for the Boilers! WOohooO!!! I mean, the Hokies have a backup quarterback, inexperienced receivers, where they gonna get an offense? Purdue 31, VaTech 27
Brian: This is a interesting game here in that I think Virginia Tech is better with a backup QB? I mean, Purdue did play pretty good for 3 ½ quarters at Marshall. Home crowd will help Purdue, and I think you can BOILER UP on this one /vomits
Pitt (+5.5) at Iowa
Pat: I have been thoroughly unimpressed with what, on paper, have been two halfway impressive-looking Iowa wins against lower-level competition. I have been even less impressed with Pitt. The Fightin’ Steve Pedersons had to fight off the Pelini clan in a week 1 win over Youngstown State. The same YSU team that had to fight for its life against Robert freaking Morris last week. Iowa wins this pillow fight. Ugly people 24, Pittsburgh 17
Andy: Qadree Ollison has run for some big yards against 1-AA and barely D1 competition, but other than that, Pitt hasn’t looked strong. Iowa hasn’t wavered in their commitment to not leave their home state until October. The "Fire Ferentz" bandwagon will have to wait at least one more week to light their torches. Iowa 35 Pitt 24
David: Holy buckets, another one of these? At least we could have picked Northwestern vs. Duke, right? That game might actually be entertaining. This one, is major nap material. If I must, I’ll take Iowa, I guess. It’s going to be ugly for 53 minutes but it’ll be close, so the ending might be climactic: 19-17, Hawks.
Nathaniel: Iowa and Pitt seem to play each other a lot. Is Pitt trying to join the B1G? I picked against Iowa last week so I’m just switched things up. Squawkeyes eek one out 22-21.
Husker Mike: Northwestern and Duke are still … Northwestern and Duke. Here’s the thing with this game. Iowa wins, and suddenly next week, we have idiots out wandering around the internet, calling for the Hawkeyes to make it to Indianapolis. And that’s after a 17 point win over 1-AA Illinois State and getting a late turnover to give them a double digit victory over Iowa State. Their time will come in Iowa City. Unfortunately, it’s not this week, because Pitt isn’t very good either. Squawks 31, Life’s in the Pitts 17
Ranchbabe: Ughhh. I hate when Mike puts games in here that make me pick Iowa. But, winning ugly seems to be the only way the Hawks can do it and this game is going to be ugly. Iowa fans start to talk about how much better their program is than Nebraska after they go 3-0. We have to listen to it all season since we don’t play them until the final game. Double ugghh. Hawks - 12 Pitt 3 After seeing Pitt play such a B1G game, Jim Delaney starts secret negotiations to replace Rutgers with Pitt and moves the school onto a floating island near Manhattan so as to retain all those New York TV’s.
Joe: Pitt Sucks. Iowa Sucks. I predict this game will be called due to lighting. No one will notice.
Greg: I second Joe’s sentiments on these two teams. But I’m out for blood and I think I’m going to go against the grain and pick Pittsburgh, because to hell with Iowa. 24-21
Jon: Kirk Ferentz has turned things around! The 3-0 Hawkeyes will deserve to be ranked! Iowa could win the West! WoohooOO!O!!!! Iowa 24 Sucky Pitt 23
Brian: Pitt without James Connor hasn’t been terrible, but it’s hard to realize how good Iowa has been considering they’ve beaten two FCS schoo… wait, one was Iowa State? Well, same thing. Narduzzi can shut down Greg Davis, but CJ Beathard has shown to have the ability to throw downfield. Difference in the game is whether Pitt’s secondary (giving up 170 YPG) has taken to Narduzzi’s scheme or not to shut down Beathard and the air attack. Other big deal is Iowa’s Rush D is 8th in FBS right now. Pitt’s isn’t terrible (38th in FBS), so this will tell you if the Hawks D is for real. Give me Pitt by a FG.
Ole Miss (+7) at Alabama
Pat: As much as it pains me to say it, Alabama remains as close to 90s era Nebraska as any program in the country. No way Hugh Freeze and the gang keeps up. Bama 37, Ole Miss 19
Andy: ‘Bama fans are seething to avenge last year’s loss to the Rebs, because that’s how they get through the winters in Alabama. Gettin’ drunk and celebrating another national title or gettin’ drunk and vowing revenge on the cheating sumbitches what got in their way. You know Nick Saban’s been up on his little footstool looking his players in the eye & making them swear to God and their mommas that they won’t let this shit happen again.
Also, it pisses them off that Ole Miss now pays high school talent as much as they do. Ain’t nuthin’ sacred in this goddamned world anymore?? Bama 27 Ole Miss 17
David: Ole Miss has been recruiting pretty well the past few years, right? Oh, this game’s in Tuscaloosa? So much for the idea that Ole Miss might be competitive… I think the Rebs keep it tight for a half, in fact, I think they’ll have the lead at the break, but Bama, though maybe not vintage Tide, they’re still Bama. They’ll roll in the second half, 31-21, Ole Miss won’t score after halftime.
Nathaniel: Ole Miss doesn’t do well on the road against SEC West opponents. Tack that onto the new quarterback and things won’t end well for them in Tuscaloosa. Elephants 34 Rebels 10
Husker Mike: I could only stomach one SEC game this week, and I really didn’t want to choose Auburn/LSU. So why not the RUTS’in Rebels vs. Darth Saban? For some reason, I can’t go with the Evil Empire here. Ole Miss 37, ‘Bama 34
Ranchbabe: Crazy things happen in conference games, but unless Ole Miss is paying Alabama’s players too, I just don’t see an upset happening. Bama - 34 Rebs - 17
Joe: Ole Miss sucks. Alabama sucks. Unlike the other teams though, these two teams are actually good at football. I’ve always liked the Ol’Miss uniforms. I also like seeing Saban lose. So this is more of a hope than a prediction. Ol’Miss 128-Alabama 77 (again, this would be a fun game to watch)
Greg: Next week, no ‘Bama in my predictor, YOU HEAR ME?!? Hot damn, I’m sick of ‘Bam...uh. Nick Saban is like the Bill Belicheck of the NCAA, and that, sir, is no compliment. Sumbitch...Ole Miss would be a fun pick here. But not in Tuscaloosa, where the-...never mind. Tide 35, Rebs 24
Jon: Ole Miss leads the nation in scoring at 74.5 points a game (granted, against pretty sad competition). How do you slow that down? You don’t let their offense have the ball. That plays perfectly to Saban’s plodding run game. Should be a good game, just depends on who makes plays on offense. I’ll take Ole Miss, but a much lower score than most think. Ole Miss 24, Alabama 20
Brian: Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa all time, even with vacated wins? 1 win, 25 losses. Last time they arrived, they were blanked 25-0 2 seasons ago. With a QB making his third career start? No chance here. Roll Tide.
Nebraska (+3.5) at Miami-Florida
Pat: As I’m learning via the Big Red Cobcast twitter account, Miami fans might actually hate us more than we hate them. Many people are rightfully scared about how the Huskers’ secondary will perform against Brad Kaaya and the Canes’ passing attack, but we’re forgetting that Nebraska didn’t look particularly good in the secondary last year. We act like it was a strength, but was it? Take away a few key turnovers, and last year’s game is a different story. The Canes were chucking the ball all over the yard with a freshman quarterback. That said, I think Nebraska is stronger in all other phases of the game. I’ll gladly take those 3.5 points and call Nebraska the outright victor. ‘Skers 31, Canes 21
Andy: This is the day’s biggest battle of legendary but unranked college football royalty. Husker fans have spent the last two weeks doing their best Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House impression and threatening to throttle anyone who suggests that there may be a few chinks in the armor. ("BYU is going to win 11 or 12 games!!" "IT’S ONLY THE STAFF’S FIRST SEASON, YOU HATERS!!!!)
But chinks there are, starting with a secondary that was supposed to be a strong point, and has found themselves shredded at times by BYU & South Alabama. The QB and receivers they face this week will be a considerable upgrade, so it will be interesting to see how Banker adapts and adjusts this week. By "interesting", I mean I’m "scared shitless". On the other hand, the D-line and the LB’s have looked good. Welcome back, MR-I. Really.
Our offense pushed them around last year, but it will also be interesting to see if the 2015 O-line continues to develop this week. That could be the key to the game and I’m still not sure that our best running back isn’t stuck in the #2 spot. There I said it. I thought it odd to split the carries somewhat against BYU then use Newby almost exclusively in a blowout against a directional school. Oh well. Regardless, I still think this offense can score some points against Miami again if they establish the run. If they choose to throw 45 times, I think things get dicey.
Miami on the other hand has Al Golden at the helm, and that’s a huge advantage for the Huskers as he is quite possibly the worst coach in Division 1. Unless you think going 6-7 in 2014 with seven NFL draft picks and a South Florida recruiting base is the mark of success.
However, Brad Kaaya with a year of experience under his belt absolutely terrifies me.
It does sound as if there’s a pretty good chance that NU fans pull a Lawrence, KS, in Miami and turn this one into a home field advantage for Big Red. I’ll say that we manage to put some points on a porous Canes defense and keep turnovers low while harassing Kaaya enough to minimize his damage. Al Golden will do some Al Golden things including drawing a couple of unsportsmanlike flags for freaking out when the game devolves into scrums and brawling again mid-late 3rd quarter. Huskers 38 Canes 33
David: In 2008 Virginia Tech came to Lincoln and punched the Huskers in the mouth. NU, coming off the 2007 season that had beaten their psyche’s into mush, valiantly came back in that game, only to fall just short. It was one of those games that, had it been 5 minutes longer, they may just have won. In the wake of that game, we heard things like, "Hey, we can actually play with these guys". The coaches said something similar to "No $#&%? We’ve been trying to tell you that the whole time". For the next few seasons we thought NU might just get back to playing with the big boys. They were right on the verge a handful of times, but we all know what happened.
This game could be like that Virginia Tech game. How will NU respond in their first situation where the world feels like it’s caving in on them on the road, in a hostile environment? I think we’ll see a moment where the scales could tip in this game. Will they hold fast and weather the storm? Or will the beatdowns of past seasons creep back into their memories? I think the coaches will remain level-headed. If the players follow suit, I think they win the game. If they don’t, it could be a three touchdown loss.
I’m expecting to see Miami to take their shots early, maybe land a blow or two and lead at halftime, maybe leading 17-7, or something like that. I think NU rebounds in the second half and settles in, dominating the second half, keeping cool heads while Miami tries to stir it up, and pulls out the win on a late score by Imani Cross as he rumbles up the middle for the game winning score. Brad Kaaya will get picked off late trying to hit a receiver downfield in the final moments of the game, sealing the win for NU. 24-17 Huskers.
Nathaniel: Both teams have bad pass defenses and I think the game will be decided in the air (hopefully not a Hail Mary). If Tommy Armstrong has another strong performance with the balanced offense, Nebraska should have no problem winning this one. Nebraska 30 Thug U 24
Ranchbabe: Which team will stay more composed? Which team will make the critical error? Hopefully the answers are Nebraska and Miami in that order. Nate Gerry continues his ball-hawking ways and has a critical interception. Huskers 38 Canes 31
Joe: I write this as I read that Valentine might not play. This cancels out my big "Valentine’s Day Massacre" prediction, where I forecast Vincent Playing a little fullback and running for 128 yards. So I’m going to my second string prediction. Kevin Maurice sack/fumble recovery for TD, nebraska wins. No score available in my crystal ball.
Greg: Such long write-ups from my well-respected peers. I’ll keep mine short. The Husker (Corn?) Nation in attendance watches Big Red earn a Big W. Like Joe, no score available.
Husker Mike: Both teams have had issues this season, and there’s a solid case to be made for either team to win. Miami showed last week that they are vulnerable to the run, but Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf have shown a preference for throwing the ball over running the ball. That was a good plan against BYU, and certainly worked against South Alabama. Might not be the wisest choice against the ‘Canes. Last year, Nebraska’s pass defense was fairly good - except against Brad Kaaya. Now, the Huskers’ scheme is struggling to defend the pass more - and here comes Mr. Kaaya and a full assortment of receivers.
Next, there is the environment. It’s not the crowd; there are wide sidelines at Joe Robbie, er, Pro Player, er LandShark, er Sun Life Stadium. And besides, there will be a good assortment of Husker fans there along side a fairly large number of empty seats. No, I’m more concerned about the weather: hot and extremely muggy. Two weeks ago, Nebraska didn’t handle the heat well at all, while BYU wasn’t really affected. Saturday’s game won’t be as warm, but it’ll be more humid...and I don’t see how Nebraska improved their conditioning the last two weeks, especially with how cool it’s been in Nebraska the last couple of weeks.
So what to think? The boo-birds are out in force in Miami, and there is only one way to silence them. Beat Nebraska. The ‘Canes know that, and I think they’ve known that for months. But will that make any difference? We’ll find out, but frankly I’m not optimistic how this turns out. ‘Canes 38, Huskers 28.
Jon: Nebraska’s offensive line actually looked like an offensive line in last year’s Miami game. It wasn’t all Ameer Abdullah; the line actually pushed the Miami defense around. As much as I’d like to think that happens again…. it won’t. This game will be about Tommy Armstrong’s passing.
I watched Miami play Florida Atlantic. They looked confused most of the time, out of sorts, but they finally wore down the Owls and won big.
Right now I don’t have a lot of faith in this Husker team because I don’t have a lot of faith in our offensive line. If they can protect Armstrong, we’ll win. If they can’t, we’ll lose. I’m picking Nebraska because I’m a homer, but I don’t have a lot of faith that we’ll win this game. Nebraska 28, Miami 27.
Brian: I really don’t know if Daniel Davie is going to be flipped like a light switch. But I do know that Rose-Ivey and Banderas and Dedrick Young will be on the field, and that’s Nebraska’s best shot to keep them healthy. I assume Bando goes off in nickel, which means Dedrick Young has to play a pretty damn good game to make it happen.
But, the offense gives me hope. Tommy and the playcalling gives me more hope. The run blocking makes me shit a biscuit, so does the knowledge that there’s no edge speed advantage for Nebraska here. What does give me hope is a Miami team and fanbase who, like Nebraska experienced, could be thinking "oh shit, here we go again" if the Huskers go up 2 scores.
That’s what is going to save me here. Drink the Kool Aid some more. Huskers by 10, get on the plane, and giggle across America as they land in Lincoln Saturday night 2-1.
Standings after Week Two
8-2: Nathaniel, Greg
7-3: Mike, Jon
6-4: David, Joe, Keith, Brian, Pat
3-2: Ranchbabe, Salt Creek (no picks last week)