Mike: Must be time...the schedule actually looks pretty good this week!
Greg: I have no idea how accurate my picks have been. We need Paul to sweep in the archives and help us keep track of how our predictions are going.
Brian: Halloween is soon!
Jill: Greg, I would prefer that many of my picks remain hidden behind the veil of my own bad memory.
David: Hi! I’ve missed the last couple weeks. I’ll jump in this week, I guess.
Clemson (-4.5) at Florida State
Greg: Both teams were off a week ago. But what fascinates me is that this deep into the season, there has been just one common opponent between them, Louisville. We all know how that ended. I say Clemson gets the W here, 34-24
Brian: Well, suppose that Clemson has the better team here, but who knows what they’ll look like in Tallahassee. I do think the Tigers win this one, but only cause Florida State’s offense is not as good. Take the overs.
Jill: Should be a good game. Clemson should win. Of course, I haven’t really watched much of either team or did my usual reading to figure out which one to pick. Neither of those strategies has worked well so I’m saving time and guessing. Tigers 45 Seminoles 38
David: This game will have all the athletes. Something’s missing with these two teams this year, though. They both should be better than the are, right? Clemson hasn’t quite been as strong as you’d like a team that made it to the national title game and returned as much as they did to look. That being said, they’re still undefeated. I think the Seminoles and Tigers play in one of the best games of the year. It won’t be pretty from the perspective of the Tigers, but I think they hold on for dear life in what should be an electric Doak Campbell Stadium: 34-32, Tigers.Rigalry
Georgia (-7) vs. Florida at Jacksonville
Brian: It’s the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and you’ll like it. As far as the game, this is a good one but I don’t get why Georgia is a TD fave? Then again, this is the same Florida team that let Tennessee run all over ‘em in the back part of the game. I’ll take Florida in this one.
Greg: Why not pick Georgia here? I don’t know...that loss to Vandy last week wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring. Gimme the Gators in a close one, 21-17
David: Rivalry games are fun, usually. I haven’t watched much of these two teams, but the sense I get is that Florida is the better team and Georgia is struggling with a coaching transition. That rivalry aspect keeps things interesting but the Dawgs late drive will come up short and the Gators take this one: 28-26.
Jill: Georgia has been less than inspiring this year. I know nothing about Florida. I have friends that work for both universities. I have more Georgia friends. Dawgs 28 Gators 24
Mike: Georgia did look OK earlier this season, while Florida was kind of meh. Then things kind of flipped. Gators 31, Dawgs 28
Minnesota (-6) at Illinois
Brian: Shhhh..... Minnesota is not bad. Illinois is not great. Even though they took Rutgers to the final bell, they beat a not too bad Maryland team the week before. I don’t think a Illinois team that let Darrell Hazell have his last victory for Purdue on the field of Memorial Stadium wins this one.
Greg: I have a co-worker going to this game. That’s good for me...he’s gone today and tomorrow. So I hope that translates into more sales for me. But I think he’s going to come home disappointed as the Gophers get the win - 30-13
David: Did you know Minnesota still controls it’s own destiny in the West? That changes after Saturday. Illinois gets a nice little win: 27-15.
Jill: Illinois might have to suit up an equipment manager at quarterback. Minnesota is allergic to scoring too many points. That would be flashy and not nice. Gophers 18 Illini 16
Mike: While Minnesota isn’t bad, I’m not sure they are all that good either. That being said, Illinois isn’t sure who they have to play quarterback as both Wes Lunt and Chayce Crouch are still nursing injuries that kept them out last week. If they have to go with Jeff George III again, well, it’s a rebuilding year. Goofers 27 Ill 11.
Maryland (+5) at Indiana
Brian: Maryland isn’t a bad team, but they’re dogs to Indiana right now? It’s not like the Indiana offense is lighting up things, but at the same time, that D seems to be getting better. I think that the Terps win a fairly tight game, but don’t be shocked if the Hoosiers find something to take with them the rest of the year on offense.
Greg: Maryland is underdogs and I don’t get that at all. Terrapins win outright.
David: I’ve watched Maryand take zero snaps this season. I know they got off to a fast start and D.J. Durkin is recruiting his tail off, but none of those players are available today. I think Indiana is improving and the defensive resurgence in Bloomington continues: 34-24, Hoosiers.
Jill: A battle of teams whose fan bases are both rapidly turning their attention toward basketball season. Woooo! Terrapins 91 Hoosiers 86.
OK fine. I’ll predict the football game too. Hoosiers 32 Terps 24
Mike: I like what Maryland is building towards, but I also like Indiana’s improvement on defense. Two up-and-comers, which to pick? Terps 27, Hoosiers 24
Nebraska (+8) at Wisconsin
Brian: Well, here we go. Can the Huskers shut down a offense that doesn’t shock you but just gives you death by a million cuts? Can they make Alex Hornibrook and Corey Clement shut down? On offense, can a beat up OL create time for Tommy Armstrong, or even get a run block down?
I think if Nebraska can keep Wisconsin below 21-23 points, they win the game. I don’t think Nebraska can score more than say 24-28 in this one, so the less that Wisconsin can do, the better off the Huskers can be.
You know what? Take the West into your own hands. 24-20 Nebraska.
Greg: Control the clock and win the turnover battle. Nebraska 27 Wisconsin 22
David: The more I read and hear about this game from a match-up standpoint, the more even I think these two teams are. There’s something that I didn’t expect to see, though I probably should have, in the 48 hours leading up to the game: lots of stories about Sam. About his family, about how the team and coach have handled it. About how his friends, Drew Brown and Spencer Lindsey have handled all of it. There’s a factor that I don’t think I realized would be at play here to the level it might actually be: emotion. I’m not talking about the kind of adrenaline fueled, macho, kick-in-their-skull type of stuff. I’m talking about the raw wave of memories and tears that come back as the Huskers return to the scene of the tragedy that brought them together. I don’t know how that will impact this team on Saturday. This team has shown a resolve that I didn’t expect so far this season. I think all of that comes together this week.
In terms of X’s and O’s, I think the evenness of these two teams will be evident throughout. I expect NU to do everything they can to shut down Clement and force the kid Hornibrook to beat them. He’s shown a great amount of poise in the pocket and as a field general so far in his young career but he’s also shown a propensity to put the ball in dangerous spots. The ball hawking Husker secondary will need to make him pay for that. If the defensive line that seems to have been improving under the radar every week can get some pressure on the QB, that would help too.
On offense, the Huskers are going to have to stay patient. I expect it will be difficult to move the ball early on. Will the be able to stick to their game plan when the going gets tough? They’re going to have to. This is the game where I think we’ll see the loss of Cethan Carter the most. His blocking would come in handy here. Having Jordan Westerkamp back will be a big boost, and I think NU will need production from more than just Terrell Newby out of the backfield as well. Something from Devine Ozigbo or Mikael Wilbon would be nice, too. Tommy Armstrong will have to have a big game, too. Hopefully they don’t ask him to do too much downfield, but his ability to run with the ball could be the difference in the game.
Wisconsin’s offense isn’t terribly explosive and defense is the strength of this team. If the Huskers can get to 21, I like their chances. I think the 4th quarter magic continues as the Huskers get a late score and hold Wisconsin on 4th down in the final minutes as they’re driving for a late field goal to win. 21-20, Huskers empty the tank in an emotional night in Mad Town.
Jill: I knew I should have gotten in here before David. He actually did analysis and stuff. Wisconsin’s plan is going to be to make Nebraska go to the air early and often. They’ll be counting on “bad Tommy” making an appearance. We all know that is probably true; it’s just a matter of whether it’s the second quarter or Sunday before it happens. I’m betting on the latter. Sorry Westerkamp, your celebratory pancakes are going to end up half off the griddle when Tommy flips them during Sunday brunch. Huskers 17 Badgers 13 #DidYouKnowTheyAreRoommates?
Mike: I get the motivation part and the whole refuse to lose mindset. That being said, Wisconsin is on an entirely different level than anybody Nebraska has seen since last year’s Michigan State team...and maybe even longer than that, to be honest. And considering Nebraska’s injury situation on the offensive line, I can’t pick with my heart. The head says Wisconsin 28, Huskers 13.