Mike: Enough with the preseason...this week, it gets real.
Greg: Mike, some coughBriancough would say it doesn’t get real until Nebraska opens up conference play. But to your point, this is the first legitimate challenge that the Huskers will face this season.
Andy: Wow, as fired up as I am for the Duckskers game, it might rank 5th out of those five from an unbiased viewpoint. And this being Nebraska, “unbiased” will not factor into it, so let’s forge ahead. (True story - there are two old farts that are probably still sitting on barstools in an establishment that shall remain nameless, screaming bloody murder that Gerry got flagged for the handing the ball to the Wyoming guy douche move. It was hilarious, but also 15. And penalty points for doing it to Wyoming.)
Nathaniel: This weekend is awesome! So many great matchups this weekend!
Brian: Now, last week was not a great schedule but things were not too bad overall. Can we hope this weekend’s set lives up to the hype?
Florida State (-2) at Louisville
Greg: A couple of top-ten teams battling at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. That’s not even-...could you imagine Nebraska selling the naming rights? Valentino’s Memorial Stadium. Seriously...in the comments, leave your worst idea for corporate renaming of our beloved stadium. Only conditions is that it must be a corporation and must still include “Memorial Stadium” at the end...that way we can all fondly remember the Berkshire Hathaways we lost. You can’t see it, but I’m dying a little on the inside just suggesting this. And for the record, NO, I DO NOT want to rename Memorial Stadium. Now have some fun in the comments.
Florida State 38 Louisville 28
Mike: I get this idea that the other Lamar Jackson is going to have his Heisman debut in this one. ‘Ville 47, Free Shoes 34
Andy: No Frills Memorial Stadium. As in “these wooden planks for which you shell out a few paychecks annually, built during Prohibition or some shit, and portioned for the ass sizes of middle school girls are brought to you by NO FRILLS SUPERMARKETS!”
Oh, the game. Lamar Jackson has been putting together a highlight reel laser show against defenseless competition. Florida St. was tested right out of the gate against Ole Miss and may be readier early in the game. That could be the difference. Half-Ass U 38 Loo-ville 31
Nathaniel: I can picture it now. Runza’s Memorial Stadium! Louisville jumps out to a big lead in the first half and the Seminoles come roaring back in the second half to spear the Cardinal 42-32.
Brian: Sounds like some of Florida State’s secondary is not making the trip, and that can only help Louisville. And while I think Francois is good, he’s not Lamar Jackson in that offense good. Papa John gets crunk and the Cards win.
David: What a way to kickoff what should be a terrific day of college football. It feels like a lot of people aren’t ready to buy into the ‘Ville. People know about Lamar Jackson and I think he stakes the early lead in the Heisman race with a huge, huge game over the ‘Noles. They’re planning tributes to Louisville native Muhammad Ali throughout the game, so emotions will be running high. the Cards will feed off it. Look for a Piesman nominee in this one, too. Cards fly in this one: 38-15.
Jill: This should be a really good game. [understatement, I know]. I’m really starting to buy into the Lamar Jackson hype, September Heisman warnings and all. Looey 34 Noles 31
Alabama (-10) at Ole Miss
Greg: There’s something about Ole Miss’ capability to knock off Alabama - and I really like that about Ole Miss, because I really dislike Alabama. Call it whatever you want. Darth Saban and the evil empire need to go play in a galaxy far far away. And in a game where their opponents are the Rebel Scum, a Star Wars reference is perfectly timed. But the Running Rebels gave up the second half against FSU and only beat Wofford by 21 points. WOFFORD!
Alabama 45 Ole Miss 24
Mike: Hugh Freeze has a two game winning streak over Alabama, but it ends here. Saban may not like Freeze’s offensive style, but there’s no way he lets this get to three. Especially this Ole Miss team. Roll Dang Tide 48, Rebel
Yell Wimper 16
Andy: The battle of the two best funded groups of bagmen in the SEC and that’s saying something. Ole Miss is new to the winning thing and the NCAA is about to drop the hammer. Alabama is a cash cow, so there will be nothing to see there. A part of me says Alabama goes nuclear and blows the Rebs out of their own stadium. But, much like their Manziel problems, they don’t tend to take big revenge when beaten. Does Saban get grouchy and cause the boys to tighten up? I may regret this, but I’m riding the streak. Cheaters - Oxford 31 Cheaters - Tuscaloosa 27
Nathaniel: Ole Miss will keep it close in the 1st quarter (7-7) but then it will turn into the Nick Saban/Lane Kiffin show and Bama rolls 38-10.
Brian: Saban never, ever forgets. God bless your soul Hugh Freeze. Bama rolls and runs up the score in this one.
David: If Saban never, ever forgets, why didn’t they beat Ole Miss last year? Ole Miss won’t be afraid of the Tide, and though Bama has looked jugernautish early, the Rebs have a Nebrasketball over Michigan State type hold over Alabama lately. I think that continues as this one goes right down to the wire. The Rebels make it a trifecta over the Tide: 26-24.
Jill: Saban has been waiting for this one for a year. I wouldn’t want to be the Rebels. Roll Tide grinds them into a dust so fine the NCAA can’t figure out where to put the sanctions.
Michigan State (+7.5) at Notre Dame
Greg: Michigan State doesn’t have a lot on its resume this season after a Week 2 bye when they dismantled Furman 28-13. Notre Dame’s lone loss was questionable (is Torii Hunter Jr. even back playing after that targeting no-call by the crooked Big XII officials) in double overtime. But they bounced back to get Nevada last week. Two top-20 teams, and while I’d like the B1G to get the win, I think Touchdown Jesus will prevail in a close game.
Notre Dame 33 Michigan State 27
Mike: After Connor Cook exploded, Sparty’s been set for the last two and a half season...but now he’s gone, and he’s missed. Badly. Irish 23, Sparty 10
Andy: Hey, another chance to make fun of Notre Dame chickening out against the Spartans in 1966. Alas, sitting on for a tie with today’s OT rules is no longer an option, but it tends not to be necessary when MSU travels to South Bend. The Spartans were fairly unimpressive in their only game thus far, but we don’t know enough about Texas yet to determine whether that was a quality loss for the Domers or an indication of things not being so great when Texas goes 5-7 again.
Let’s just go with an old script - Notre Dame takes over on their 22, down by 5 with four minutes left. A courageous drive is kept alive by three offsides, defensive holding, and a pass interference on the Spartans - all on 3rd down. On 4th & goal, Kizer fumbles on the 1 and the ball rolls into the end zone where it is recovered by Mich St., but is ruled a touchdown. The replay clearly shows the ball bounce twice before the goal line and is ruled inconclusive. Domers 23 Sparty 22
Nathaniel: Sparty didn’t look too great against Furman but they have had the extra week to prepare for the Irish so I think they jump up to a 14-0 lead but the Irish come roaring back until Sparty stages a 4th quarter comeback to force OT. However this this the Irish will win in OT 55-52.
Brian: The bye week really shafts Sparty in this one. Another game under their belt and I think they win easily. That being said, we’ve all given Michigan State #DISREPEKT enough already, but Kizer is the real deal. ND wins this one.
David: I’ve learned to never underestimate Mike D’Antonio. I’m fully expecting Sparty to be ready to go in this one. I’m anxious to see how Notre Dame responds in their next big game opportunity after frittering away the game vs. Texas. I see Notre Dame getting off to a fast start and MSU mounting a furious rally before a late turnover does them in. 31-28, Domers.
Jill: Every year Sparty does this thing where they look barely better than any team they play. Their Furman win wasn’t pretty, but that is just how MSU rolls. I still think ND takes this. Leprechauns 27 Sparty 21
Ohio State (-2) at Oklahoma
Greg: I said elsewhere that I’d trade Iowa and Illinois for Oklahoma (not that anyone has ever asked me). This will be a good game for a half. Which half will be up to Oklahoma’s defense. Either they come out of the gate firing on all cylinders until they’re tired or they stumble off the blocks and fall behind only to figure it out in the second half. That being said, I think Ohio State wins this game after either pulling away in the 4th quarter or holding off an Oklahoma rally.
OSU 30 OU 24
Mike: In my preseason preview of Ohio State, I wondered whether the Buckeyes would feel the transition pain of so many new young starters. The verdict after the first two weeks? Ridiculous. The Buckeyes aren’t rebuilding; they merely reloaded. It’s showtime. Bucknuts 42, Soondoggies 21
Andy: Ohio St. has feasted on a couple steaming bowls of crap. The Okies are going to be wound up to avoid going 1-2 to start a season that they thought would have them in the CFP. Everything screams Buckeyes here....but doesn’t Ohio St. always have an unexpected loss or close call in the noncon? Sooners 37 Buckeyes 30
Nathaniel: Sooners probably have no business winning this game but they will make this appear to be a close game in the 4th quarter. Buckeyes 37 Oklahoma 27
Brian: Brand new digs on the pad in Norman, but a Defense that can’t stop a cold, or Greg Ward at least. Not completely sure if you buy the Buckeyes D, they look pretty good but then again AINT PLAYED NOBODY. I don’t know if Oklahoma can survive a shootout, but at the same time they are the more desperate team. 1-2 on the start of the year with going to TCU and Texas in Fair Park would reek of a season going to shit fast. Look for the Sooners to squeak this one out.
David: BoomerSoonerBoomerSoonerBoomerSoonerBoomerSoonerBoomerSoonerBoomerSoonerBoomerSoonerBoomerSooner. We’re gonna hear that a lot on Saturday. The young Buckeyes will be taken to school a bit in their welcome to college football moment. OU will stay in the playoff race. Urban Meyer will be steaming after the game and the Buckeyes won’t be pushed around the rest of the year. OU races out to a big lead and fends off the Buckeyes who will score late to make the score look closer than it really was. OU beats OSU: 34-24.
Jill: I will only be able to watch this game somewhere my hubby isn’t. He can’t stand the Boomer Sooner song. The fact that this is in Norman makes me want to pick Okie but I can’t do it. Buckeyes grow up before our eyes (which is a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten) 27 Land Thieves 24
Oregon (+3) at Nebraska
Greg: Well, here we are. 2-0. Welcoming in an Oregon team that gave up an average of 7.0+ YPC to non-quarterback rushers last week against Virginia. Strike up the #RunTheDadgumBall Band! Ozigbo, Newby, Wilbon, and yes, even Bryant have a chance to put the Huskers on their backs and carry (pun intended) the team to victory. Take the Ducks’ speed out of the equation by keeping Royce Freeman and the uptempo offense off the field. Shorten the game. Chew the clock. Win.
Nebraska 38 Oregon 30
Mike: Mike Riley is 0-7 since 2007 against the Ducks. He’s well aware of what doesn’t work, and more importantly, he knows his past approach doesn’t work against Oregon. What will work? Virginia proved that even if you aren’t good at running the ball, you can run that damn ball all afternoon against the Ducks defense. He knows it’s what his team does best, and so he’ll do it. That being said, I don’t know how Nebraska’s defense slows down Oregon; that offense looks absolutely dynamite. The Bruce Read factor is going to be eliminated on punting, because I doubt we’ll see more than five punts combined between the two teams. Set your DVR to record until 7 pm. I had this one as a loss in the summer, but now I’m changing my tune. Huskers 59, Ducks 52.
Andy: Nebraska can put some points on the board - and they will - but I believe that Langs & Riley are going to try and do much of it through the air. That’s going to lead to a couple of bad picks.
On offense with Freeman, Carrington and Allen, Oregon has a class of athlete with which the Blackshirts haven’t dealt very well. They will get their big plays.
I’m looking for a higher scoring affair that will come down to the turnovers. Ugh. Please, please let me be wrong.
Oregon 48 Nebraska 38
Nathaniel: Tommy Armstrong is the X Factor is this game. If he throws > 1.5 INTs than this game will get ugly quickly but he if throws < 1.5 INTs, the Huskers should have a chance to win this game. A good game from the QB usually means a good gameplan. The Huskers need to come out running the ball early to tire out the Oregon D before spreading them out with some passes. This will be a shootout with Oregon and Nebraska’s 4th quarter rally won’t be enough. Ducks 52 Huskers 42
Brian: Well well well, here we are. Since the LeGarrett Blount punch game vs. Boise State, Oregon is 6-0 against the spread as a dog, including 3-1 last year (covering all 4 times).
What’s the magic formula for Nebraska? Expose that Defense that Brady Hoke refuses to glorify. Maybe he’s full of shit, but if Nebraska can get to 36-37 minutes of Time of Possession, there’s an argument to be had that the D will get tired, and the combo of Oz/Bryant can get the knockout punch in the 4th Quarter.
Far as Defensively goes, get off the field on 3rd down, plain and simple. Virginia didn’t do that last week as Oregon was 5 of 7 on 3rd down in the first half and raced out to a 3 score lead. Nebraska has been good since Banker has been here in shutting down the run, but it’s really needed for Nebraska to get off the field. Get Prukop in 3rd & long a lot in the day, and I’ll take my chances in that one.
Good Tommy has to show up, of course. This means good decisions, getting the ball out of his hands to the right guy, and not having to win the game unless hell or high water comes out and it has to be done.
I’ve struggled with this one because I don’t want to overinvest in this game. The Big Ten is the goal of this team, and you’ll trade this win for a trip to Indy 98 times out of 100. That being said, winning this game would go a long, long, LOOOOOOOONG way to giving not only this team confidence, but the conference and fans to believe in this team finally.
40 points. Get there first Nebraska. I think you do. 44-38 Nebraska wins.
David: I have gone back and forth on this one all week. Oregon has looked vulnerable on defense this year, especially against the run. NU has looked up and down when running the ball this year. OU has shown their still explosive on offense. NU looks stingy on 3rd down, but needs to win 1st. Both teams have been shaky on special teams.
I fear NU is so hyped up for this one that OU catches them trying to do too much. If NU can control their emotions early, I think they go toe-to-toe with the Ducks. Can Danny Langsdorf stay disciplined enough to stick to the run game, which should be available for NU to take advantage of all day? Can Tommy Armstrong not channel his inner Brett Favre? I really think that if NU can put this game on the shoulders of the offensive line and Devine Ozigbo they can own the 4th quarter once again and win this game.
Oregon will notch some big plays. How will the Blackshirts handle those situations? That’s when the Ducks will ramp up the tempo. Can the defense turn the page on the fly? The Ducks live by the motto “Win the Day”. If the Huskers take the mantra “Win the Play”, they can be successful. Don’t dwell on the previous snap, move on, stay in the moment. If NU can avoid the snowball, I think they’ll win.
Can the Huskers do those things? They’ll try. Oregon is so good at getting teams off their game plan. I think the defense will be stout enough keep the Ducks, who I think will lead into the second half, within striking distance. Demornay Pierson-El will have a big play in the second half that turns the momentum in favor of Big Red, and Armstrong wins the YOLO gamble in the 4th quarter. The defense wins it at the goal line late and Memorial Stadium is whipped into a frenzy similar to that of the Michigan State game last year. This will be an entertaining, back and forth game down to the wire. NU wins in the end: 49-44.
Jill: I feel better than earlier in the season when I thought the Huskers would have to air it out to take advantage of the weakness in the Ducks secondary. Their poor rush defense and Nebraska’s depth in the running game, including Tommy’s ability to bowl over defenders is the exact recipe Nebraska needs to keep the Duck offense on the sideline. The Husker passing game has been incredibly efficient and effective thus far this season. Pound the rock, hit ‘em over the top for the big plays and Nebraska wins. Let’s hope special teams quits being so “special” this week and pulls their weight. Huskers 35 Ducks 31