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Nebraska Football vs. BYU: Week 1 Predictions

The Corn Nation staff gives their thoughts on the opening Weekend of College Football.

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Husker Mike:  Annnnd, we’re back! The worst group of prognosticators around reassemble to make our picks for the first weekend of college football.

Ranchbabe: Heeeeeyyy! I resemble that remark. Last year, I looked up all kinds of stats and crap. I think I only picked around ⅓ of the games correctly. I would have done better to just pick the favorite every time. This year’s strategy….hold my beer while I type….

Jon: I want you all to know that I’m doing this while a bit loopy, which means I might be better than normal.

Pat Janssen: I’m picking up the slack on the "skills" the doctors have not been permitting Jon to use. So, you know, enjoy these not-at-all-under-the-influence picks.

Joe: I am also loopy, for far less legitimate reasons than Jon, which means I will be the same as usual.

David: Sup, kids.

Salt Creek and Stadium: You pick Northwestern to win the Big Ten ONE TIME and you get labeled. I’m telling you, back in my day…

Greg: Let’s see if I remember to do this every week.

Ty: Welp, looks like, despite my better judgement, I’ll be doing this again this year.

Nathaniel: Is it back? Is it really back? *fangirls*

Keith: I won a couple of Parlay baseball bets in Vegas, so let’s try to do it with


Texas A&M (-3.5) vs. Arizona State at NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Jon: Why the hell would anyone agree to play a game in Houston? I hope like hell they have half their cash staff and the other budgeted for getting robbed.

This game will be all about points - expect something in the 45-35 range for both teams. Arizona State has a little more experience and methinks the Aggies are fading. ASU 42 Texas A&M 37

Ranchbabe: Houston, we have a problem. I know nothing about either team other than one was handed a bogus, referee-facilitated win in Nebraska’s "Farewell Big 12" tour in 2010 and the other’s recruiting strategy seems to revolve around stalking Mike Riley. That 2010 game still sticks in my craw and ASU seems like the lesser of two evils. Forks 28 aTm 21

Pat Janssen: I used to work at a radio station owned by NRG. I have no clue whether or not it’s tied to the NRG that owns the naming rights to this stadium, but considering the dire financial straits of that radio station, I’m going to say it’s unlikely. I’m also going to say it’s unlikely that the Brady Hoke-like downward spiral of the once-promising Kevin Sumlin coaching career stops. Arizona State is trending upward, and I say the Fightin’ Jake Plummers steal one from the Border Collies. ASU 31, Texas A&M 21

David: I had a cousin that went to A&M. I’m keeping it in the family. Ags win the home game, err...neutral site matchup, ending ASU’s Cinderella season before it begins. ATM 33, ASU 14

Husker Mike: Apparently Arizona State wants to make recruiting in-roads into Texas, according to their press release announcing the game.  Of course, it’s only a 100 mile drive from Kyle Field to Houston, so it’s essentially an A&M home game. Even so, I like Sparky in this one.  Sun Devils 34, Aggies 31

Joe Canale: I predict a lot of scoring.  I’m pretty sure I could throw for 300 yards in the Texas A&M offense (and for 400 against their defense).  I have always liked the Arizona St. mascot,  not because I am a devil worshiper, but because it looks cool.  For that reason and also because Kirk Herbstriet is picking Arizona state to make the playoff I say Sun Devils 49, A&M 41. Also this is in NO WAY because of anything Kirk Herbstreit has said. Ever. I don’t know how to spell Herbstreet.

Salt Creek: Well, I have Arizona State losing to Nebraska in the playoffs, and I don’t think ASU can lose to A&M and do that, so let’s take Arizona State by a couple of touchdowns.

Greg: I used to work at a radio station owned by NRG. I have no clue whether or not it’s tied to the NRG that owns the naming rights to this stadium, but I tried getting a job at another NRG station (in Grand Island). They didn’t hire me, and I made the decision to leave radio and now I sell cars. I just want you to think about the possibility of Pat and I co-hosting a radio show. Mind=BLOWN! ASU 41, aTm 30

Ty: This is SEC v. PAC12, right?  So, why do we even predict this?  The clear and correct answer is, and always will be, SEC, SEC!

Okay, sorry.  Honestly, I’ve been able to follow aTm better lately than ASU, mostly because of the fact that I try to be in bed before many PAC12 games make it to TV.  However, this seems to shape up as one of the better opening weekend games.  aTm has been, at best, streaky of late.  I’m taking ASU 38-28

Nathaniel: Probably the most exciting matchup of the week. I said in the season preview Texas A&M is one of the most underrated teams this season and their defense isn’t as ‘Wisconsin scored again’ as they were last year. Either way take the over! Agricultural & Mechanical 44 Big Party School 34

Keith: Arizona State has too much on offense for a week Texas A&M defense. Take ASU with the points here. Probably a 42-36 game.

Brian: Not getting the point of this game in Houston, because I thought that Arizona State doesn’t offer a kid unless he’s been offered by Nebraska. Talent searching, I call it. As far as this game? Well, Arizona State just doesn’t scare me, but TAMU is not going to be great this year. Sun Devils by a TD. And thankfully they are playing on FieldTurf.

Alabama (-12) vs. Wisconsin at JerryWorld, Arlington, TX

Ranchbabe: Can they both lose? Really, is that possible because I want it to be. It would be so awesome if regulation ended in a 0-0 tie and one of them won with a safety in OT. Let’s see - Saban vs. new Barry-Alvarez-Ventriloquist-Dummy. Team that is perpetually in the national title conversation versus one that is quarterbacked by Joel Stave. I want the B1G to win because it will look even better when we crush Wisconsin later (it is still pre-season, leave my Kool-Aid alone). Alas, I cannot do it. Tide 7 Angry Rodent-Eating Mammals 3.

Pat Janssen: I’m not likely to start chanting "B1G" any time soon because 1.) how would you pronounce that and 2.) I’ll never lower myself to anything that the SEC does. That said, COME ON ‘SCONNIE! This doesn’t feel as dirty as rooting for Colorado, but it doesn’t feel 100% clean either. But it’d be huge for the B1G. And despite a coaching change, I feel like the Badgers could legitimately pull it off. But will they? Nah. Houndstooth prevails. Alabama 28, Wisconsin 17.

Jon: Alabama squishes another home opener. At least they play someone, unlike, well most of the nation. Alabama 31 Wisconsin 17

David: If Bama plays a game and fewer than 40,000 spectators show up, does it count? I think Wisconsin keeps it close, Bama pulls it out late, 24-18.

Husker Mike: Has the bloom come off of these "neutral site games" finally? More importantly, is the bloom coming off of ‘Bama? Maybe...but not enough for Wiscy’s sake.  Tide rolls the Badgers 28-21.

Joe Canale: Two teams I hate.  I would say I’m just rooting for injuries, like when I watch the Michigan- Ohio State games, but that would be mean.  I actually think Alabama is going to kill Whisky, 38-16.

Salt Creek: ROLL TIDE. Also, that Whisky OL won’t look nearly as dominating as it has in year’s past - start licking your chops, Nebraska DL.

Greg: Joel Stave might be the only NCAA D1 quarterback older than BYU’s Taysom Hill. How long has he been in Wisconsin? Five years? 25 years? Isn’t there YouTube video somewhere of him handing off to Ron Dayne in Dayne’s Heisman year? Stave’s experience is nullified behind a less-capable line and no Melvin Gordon to lean on. The Tide rolls, but they can’t kick a FG, so it’s 42-27

Ty: Remember when Wiscy’s coach jetted off to Corvallis to replace the guy we hired and then the best that Madison could get was Paul Chryst?  No?  Hmm…  Alright.  Well, it’s going to be Tide 49, Bucky 24

Nathaniel: I have no doubt that Alabama will win this game going up against Wisconsin’s new coach and system however I think Wisconsin gets a backdoor cover in that one. Roaring Elephants win 34-24.

Keith: I just can not pick against the SEC in two straight games. For that reason, and about a million others notably Joel Stave and Wisconsin’s receivers, take Alabama with the points here. Just because they may have quarterback problems, I still can’t pick against the talent that Nick Saban has.

Brian: I will be there, as 50k are expected to come into Arlington and, fair to say, 80% will be from the South and yelling RTR. Alabama has a identity, QB be damned. Wisconsin supposedly does, but I don’t buy that quite yet. Bama by 2 TD’s as Wisconsin thinks they walked into Bryant Denny West.

Auburn (-10.5) vs. Louisville at the GeorgiaDome, Atlanta

Pat Janssen: It’s time for the motorcycle kid to start making his money in Louisville. I know it’s only Bobby Petrino’s second (second) year with the Cardinals, but the expectations are high. I also think this is the point in the SEC house of cards where things start to crumble. Alabama will always be Alabama. I’m not sold Auburn and Mississippi will constantly be able to be a dynamic second tier (and yes, everyone is second tier to Alabama in the SEC, except for maybe LSU). I think the Tigers lose and don’t look great doing it. Louisville 31, Auburn 17 TAKE THAT VEGAS!

Ranchbabe: Louisville redesigned their helmet logo to look like an angry bird. I like the angry birds game even though I am terrible at it. Getting the angry birds to hit the correct target is much harder than it looks. Tigers seem like a better weapon. Aw-burn 28 Loueeville 10

David: Auburn rolls big in this one, but L’ville’s uniforms will look cooler. 38-10. #SECSECSEC

Husker Mike: I’m in agreement with David on this…  Auburn rolls all over the ‘Ville 41-17.

Joe Canale: I’m in agreement with Husker Mike on this, and in disagreement with David on this.

Auburn wins 41-17 but Louisville has the cooler uniforms.

David: Wait...I said that Louisville has cooler uniforms. WE AGREE! WE AGREE!

Salt Creek: I’m taking Auburn here - they’re destined for greatness.

Greg: I protest the use of "#SECSECSEC" on CornNation, and I think David needs a timeout to think about what he has done. And c’mon, Joe, David said L’ville had the cooler uni’s. For the record, I seriously hope that I’m wrong on the Bama-Wiscy prediction, because I’m sick to death of the SEC. So I’m going with the Angry Birds here, 27-24 (Auburn gets a chip shot FG and actually makes it)

Ty: L’ville DOES have cooler unis.  Sorta.  Actually, I really like Auburn’s traditional garb.  Oh, wait, this isn’t the fashion blog.  I think Louisville CAN get better with Petrino there, but it’ll take time.  I actually think this will be close early, but then Auburn ends up pulling away and winning by two touchdowns.

Nathaniel: Auburn is a strong preseason playoff candidate in my mind. I think Louisville keeps it close early but Auburn should pull away and open with a big 38-20 win over Louisville. After the loss, Petrino will ride his motorcycle into the sunset...back to Louisville.

Keith: Auburn with points here, and pretty easily. Louisville can’t keep up on offense with the Tigers.

Brian: Will Muschamp starts his redemption tour as he giggles at Bobby Petrino’s 7 yard out offense that gives you 65% completion rates but can’t score worth an ish. Plus, Auburn has a better Offense and Todd Grantham’s puffy ass is on the other side. Auburn running away.

Texas (+9.5) at Notre Dame

Pat Janssen: I have absolutely no read on either of these teams this year. A good start for either team and the media machine gets rolling big time. A rough one? Suddenly people will be calling for the heads of Charlie Strong or Brian Kelly. I think the linesmakers have it right here. Notre Dame 27, Texas 17

Ranchbabe: When I was a young kid, Notre Dame was the only football on TV. Without them, I suspect I would have watched more Lawrence Welk reruns. Texas can also take their :01 and shove it. Domers 32 Fightin’ Strongs 21

Jon: Yuck. I used to be at least able to stomach both these teams, but… oh, there it was, just a tinkling of sympathy for Texas that died before it really became a thought. I don’t see the Longhorns having a chance. Notre Dame 45, Texas 12

David: This game sucks. I’m taking the Pope’s team, though. 28-24. I think it’ll be the game of the week.

Husker Mike: Does Vegas know something about Texas that I don’t know? Or is this line merely Vegas taking advantage of Texas fans? Notre Dame is overrated...but not as as badly as Texas is. Domers 31, Bovines 13

Joe Canale: Is this the OVER-RATED bowl?  I think so.  I predict 11 turnovers, 8 on offense, 2 on special teams and 1 by the defense after they get a turnover and fumble on the return.  ND 18, Texas 12.  All points scored by field goals and safeties.

Salt Creek: Notre Dame by a landslide, inflating their value before they ultimately disappoint everyone at the end of the season.

Greg:! I don’t want to come off as bitter or anything, but I still don’t like that color known as "burnt orange." This one’s a party for Football Jesus, 38-24.

Ty: Whenever I wear my Dorchester Longhorns gear into Devaney to cover the volleyball matches, I get crap from everyone there.  LOOK, IT’S NOT MY FAULT AND I STILL HATE TEXAS!  That being said, the only thing I know about these teams is that Texas will probably just barely be bowl eligible this year, and that ESPN said that Notre Dame will compete to make the playoff, and they’re never wrong, right?  Texas loses cause I hate them, 38-14

Nathaniel: Can I pick a meteor instead? Texas will cover but Notre Dame will win this and get overhyped for a while like they always do. Slappin’ Irish 27 Shorthorns 21

Keith: How is Notre Dame not a 18 point favorite. Just because it is Texas does not mean that they will be any good. Mikes prediction of 13 points may even be too many.

Brian: I really think Tyrone Swoopes is better than anything Texas has had at QB since Colt McCoy was on the 40 acres, however that’s honestly only going to carry you so far on the road in South Bend to start the season. Malik Zaire is the real deal, and Texas will get spooked early on the road. Wake up the echoes with a 17 point win.

BYU (+7) at Nebraska

Pat Janssen: I echo my sentiments from the previous game. No read on this whatsoever. And it’s not like I haven’t been trying to get a read on this game for the last eight months either. But the prognostication gestation has proven fruitless. Looking at Nebraska’s schedule right now, until they get on the field, it feels like every game could be a win or a loss (except for you, you sorry bastards from South Alabama). Suspensions, injuries, regime changes, last-minute lawsuits against head coaches...all of it makes for a maddeningly difficult-to-predict first game. I’m going to stick with my initial prediction from the Big Red Cobcast. ‘Skers 24, Cougs 21

Ranchbabe: I think the Huskers are more talented and at home, but are adjusting to a new coach and have some serious questions in a couple places. BYU is a more talented first game opponent than we normally would see, but are likely to be missing a few key people too. BYU jumps out to an early lead, but the home team pulls it together and wins on a Drew Brown field goal. Lots of points for both, just 3 more for Nebraska.

David: I think we’ll see some good, bad and ugly from both sides in this one. I think it’ll be entertaining for 2 ½ quarters, Stanley Morgan will break out and the running backs will run for more than 200 yards but none will have more than 60, three will go over 50. I expect the defense to play well for the most part, but expect Taysom Hill to give the Huskers some fits. Look for the Huskers to get the Mike Riley era off to a good start as NU pulls away in this one, 34-17.

Husker Mike: Anybody who knows what’s going to happen in this game either is lying, guessing or borrowed Marty McFly’s DeLorean.  I can come up with reasons why each team could win by three touchdowns.  So what’s my prediction?   I’m going to go with what I know:  BYU was stout in stopping the run, and I don’t think Nebraska is going to run the ball as effectively without Ameer Abdullah. Taysom Hill was a darkhorse Heisman candidate before suffering his injury, and they say he’s back at 100%.  He’s a mobile quarterback, the type which has dealt the Huskers fits before. Of course, we don’t know how Mark Banker’s scheme will do in defending a mobile quarterback, but I do get the sense that Nebraska is going to emphasize stopping the run and depend on the secondary to hold single coverage.  That could be playing with fire with the size of BYU’s receivers. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I hate this matchup for the Huskers.  BYU 38, Huskers 27.

Joe Canale: I hate picking Nebraska games.  Of course I want them to win, but I don’t want to jinx them by picking them.  I don’t want to instill confidence in their opponent by picking against the Huskers, as I know they are reading this right now.  I’m calling this game a tie, which is like kissing your sister, (or in this case sisterwife)?

Salt Creek: I’m taking Nebraska here, but the game will be close and both teams will be fighting the off-season hangover as they go into the fourth quarter. But I think the home field advantage and Riley’s calm manner brings home the W for Nebraska. I also believe our running game will look downright dangerous and Armstrong will surprise us with some of his passes. But hey, I also picked Northwestern to win the Big Ten once, so what do I know?

Greg: An addendum to Pat’s point...South Alabama AND Illinois. But I digress. First game shenanigans are afoot. Nebraska’s O-line will struggle at times before figuring it out in the second half. This will help the platoon of running backs to help out Tommy Armstrong. The front seven of the Blackshirts will show up, and the secondary will be challenged by the size of BYU’s receivers at times. I anticipate Nate "Bane" Gerry to have one interception. Nebraska may be down at half, but they will chip away in the third before overcoming the Cougars in the fourth on the way to the Riley Era’s first win. Runzas for all.

Pat Janssen: Point taken, Greg. Illinois is so irrelevant that I couldn’t even remember to burn them.

Ty: As long as Tommy’s reads have gotten better like we’ve heard, and the D-line holds their ground, this should go pretty chalk. I don’t think we’re going to see the wild swings like we saw previously.  While there will be hiccups, I think this game gives HuskerNation a lot to be hopeful for.  Huskers 31, LDS 16

Nathaniel: Maybe this will be Armstrong’s breakout season by easing the worries of Husker fans with a rushing TD and two passing TDs. Westerkamp will catch a punt and a touchdown. Newby will have a rushing TD. Despite this, BYU covers and it’s a nail biter tol the end. Huskers 34 BYU 31

Keith: Take BYU here folks. This will be a close game, but Nebraska is 12-2 in their last 14 games decided by a touchdown or less. It won’t be pretty but it will be a blast. Lots of long touchdowns in this one. Nebraska 41 BYU 38

Jon: Wow. What the hell are you guys doing, being all realistic? Setting expectations low.

I’m not picking BYU. I’m picking Nebraska. I think our offensive line will do well, and our defensive line will cause fits. If those two things can happen, you can win any ball game, and NEBRASKA WINS THIS ONE, DAMMIT. Nebraska 31, BYU 27

Brian: Nebraska 34, BYU 24.

I think that Nebraska’s Linebacking crew is better. I think that BYU will need Taysom Hill to go over 400 yards to win, which won’t happen on Nebraska’s secondary. I also don’t think that BYU’s run D is that good, and the fact that Nebraska will FINALLY be playing the best 5 and not the family arm at certain spots will help. I think Tommy Armstrong will be able to run AND get the 8-10 yard pass down. AND, I think that there’s too many people that want to hope BYU wins think that the West Coast Offense will come back to Lincoln. The game isn’t being overlooked in Lincoln, there’s enough of the team’s attention to not take the Cougars lightly, and I think Jordan Westerkamp and Jamal Turner have big days behind 300+ yards of Armstrong passing.

Drink the kool-aid.