Mike: We feeling better this week, gang?
Brian: Well, kind of. The whole first road game of the year thing is hitting. But Lincoln and their fans should travel well.
Pat Janssen: Northwestern is at its best when it can ruin other teams’ seasons. I’m a whole range of emotions right now.
David: There’s way too much SEC in this slate of picks. I submit a new rule: no more than one SEC game a week.
Greg: It’s been a great week, everyone. GBR!
Salt Creek: How amazing is it that I’m travelling the same weekend as Nebraska? And also continuing #NoWatchWinMore2016 as I’ll be busy all day Saturday. You’re welcome in advance.
Andy: Last Saturday was euphoric. A Sunday review of the game suggested we’d best slow our roll. It was a nice win, but we seriously need to stop comparing a home win over the the #24 team hampered by injury, inexperience, the refs (finally!!) & some really questionable coaching decisions to the greatest Memorial Stadium wins in school history. Let’s TCOB & build the momentum this week.
Wisconsin (+6) at Michigan State
Michigan State is a legit CFP contender. I’m not sure Wisconsin is a legit B1G West contender. Sparty wins this going away. 37-17 MSU.
Brian: MSU is gritty right now, but so are the Badgers. That being said, a new starting QB for Wisconsin and a mediocre at best offense should not be looking well on the road in East Lansing. Sparty will!
Pat Janssen: Both teams have signature wins, and both teams have skidmarks on their underwear from less-than-stellar performances against FCS foes. Wisconsin’s motif is to win these types of games. I honestly think the Badgers win outright. Bucky 21, Sparty 20
David: It looks like Corey Clement is going to be full go for Wisconsin, that’s big for the Badgers. They’re still unsettled and unproven at QB. I’ve stopped underestimating MSU and Mark Dantonio. I like Sparty to control this game from start to finish: 24-6.
Greg: This is really a game between two tent poles in the Big Ten. And while both have good wins, I’m not sold on Wiscy just yet. Corey Clement may be a full go, but will that even be 100%? Do we know that for sure? I’m not sold on Wisconsin and I think Sparty wins by two scores. 34-24
Mike: I think people are jumping a little too quickly on the Sparty bandwagon this week, after a victory over 1-2 Notre Dame. Yes, a Notre Dame team who also lost to Texas. That being said, I never underestimate Mark Dantonio. Sparty wins, but I’m taking the points. Sparty 24, Badgers 21
Jill: This is two like-minded teams trying to bash each others’ brains out and make the other team lose. I will be surprised if both teams get into the 20’s. I just don’t know which team is superior. Yes, I do. Sparty 20 Badgers 17
Salt Creek: I think I once saw a YouTube video where a dog kept sniffing and bumping a cat for a while until the cat got pissed and slapped the dog and made it run away. This game will be like that. Sparty will keep it close before blasting Wisconsin in the second half. Give me 48-13, Spartans.
Andy: I think the mid-teens is where both of these teams belong and will probably finish the season. Both team’s signature wins have lost their luster as LSU is hanging in at #18 after two easy opponents and Notre Dame is 1-2 with their Texas loss starting to look not so impressive. Both teams will play solid D and pound the rock. Clement returns for the Badgers but I give Mich St the edge at QB where Wiscy has been fairly awful since Russell Wilson graduated. Let’s say 27-24 Sparty.
Stanford (+1) at UCLA
Stanford has Christian McCaffrey. ‘Nuff said. 45-24 Trees.
Brian: It sounds like both Los Angeles schools are in a smidge of turmoil. That being said, this line is ridiculous! Cardinal are not great, but better than the Bruins.
Pat Janssen: I want to drive to Las Vegas so badly right now. Fightin’ McCaffreys 42, Bru Crew 21
David: Huh, that’s not a line I saw coming. What does Vegas know that we don’t? I have a hard time seeing UCLA shutting down McCaffrey. Josh Rosen and company will be able to do some things, but I think Stanford is too much to handle for the Bruins. Cardinal win 34-27.
Mike: Even if the line is off a bit, I’m still taking the tree. I fail to see how UCLA has figured out how to stop the run enough to deal with McCaffrey. Stanford 38, UCLA 20
Greg: The line is way out of line on this one. I don’t think Stanford struggles at all with UCLA. Give me the weird trees that have nothing to do with Cardinals. Except I guess maybe unless the Cardinals live in the-...oh never mind. Stanford 45 UCLA 28
Jill: Hail McCaffrey. Tree 35 Other team Not as much
Salt Creek: Stanford earns their Prius. Stanford 50, UCLA 28.
Andy: It’s fun sometimes to go against the grain, but not this time. The odd preseason love that many were showering on the Bruins will begin quickly fading following this one. Stanford laid a 56-35 slap on UCLA last year and another far-from-capacity, uninspired LA crowd will not change things much. The Tree 44 UCLA 27
Texas A&M (-2.5) vs. Arkansas at JerryWorld, Dallas
Ugh. Do I have to? 27-24 Bert.
Brian: First time in a long time I wont be there, but it doesn't mean I wont be digging it. The first 3 years of the game in Arlington, Arkansas won, but TAMU has won the last 4 in the series, including 2 in a row at Collins & Randol Mill. I think the Aggies are better set for this game & squeak it out in a long day.
Pat Janssen: Still not sold on the Aggies. That’s far from mathematical, but I’m like an old-school baseball scout. ARKANSAS HAS MOXIE! Hogs 28, Ags 27
David: I haven’t had a chance to watch the Ags yet this year. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the Hogs. It’ll be a fun atmosphere in Arlington. I see Arkansas pulling this one out: 24-17. Woo! Pig Sooey!
Mike: I’m not buying A&M either, and though I’m not exactly a big Bert fan, I’m picking the Hawgs. Arky 26, Gaggies 21
Greg: I feel dirty picking Bert. I feel almost as dirty picking aTm. There’s just something about that “12th man” nonsense. I don’t like it. I don’t believe it. I say that everything falls apart at Jerry World because Brian’s not there to keep it spinning and the game is cancelled. And that means to losses for the SEC.
Jill: A team that thrives on offense versus a team allergic to points. I know that Arky isn’t supposed to get good until November and that aTm is supposed to light the world on fire and then fizzle like a cheap firework. Well, they are meeting early in the season at Kyle Field, so I pick a piggy BBQ. 12th Man 42 Wooo Pig Soooie 28
Salt Creek: Arkansas by a hair, because this is the year BERT makes himself look respectable before leaving for Iowa in 2018.
Andy: An entertaining documentary could be done on the tailgate alone. I could spend hours down there just people-watching. Aggie kids in play-army unis with scant hair and kite-size ears. Roadside jelly-selling mutants who’ve tripped from Arkansas in vehicles straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies. These bug-eyed freaks will conspire to empty Arlington’s bottom shelves of their liquor and then, once oiled on cheap whiskey and beer, will commence to cutting on each other in the Jerry World parking lot with straight razors, prison shanks & grill skewers. ESPN won’t cover any of it, but blood will flow before kickoff. Once the losers have been carted off to the ER & the morgue and the winners to jail, they’ll kick it off. Let’s say aTm 41 Arky 37
Georgia (+2) at Ole Miss
Again, why is this game on the list?
Brian: If you want hope for the Rebels, consider Kirby Smart is still not sure if he can stop that offense, Alabama or Georgia players be damned. But... Georgia & Florida setting up for a ‘big’ tussle in Jacksonville with wins this weekend.
Pat Janssen: Ole Miss can only play one half per game, but Georgia just outscored Nicholls State and Missouri by a combined score of 54-51. One of these teams will undeservedly skyrocket up the rankings, and I think that team will be Ole Miss. Rebs 31, Dawgs 21
David: I, uh, don’t know. Ole Miss was made to look foolish vs. Bama last week. They had ‘em! I think they have trouble moving past it and Bama beats Ole Miss twice this week. Georgia has gotten off to a strong start under Kirby Smart, Look for them to continue the good vibes and topple the reeling Rebs: 30-17.
Mike: Sorry, David, but I hardly consider a two point win over Nicholls State followed by a one point victory over Mizery to be strong. This is a must win for Hugh Freeze, and he’ll get it. Rebels 41, Dawgs 27
Greg: DAMN YOU SEC! Let’s just pick Ole Miss because they’re in the SEC West and even if they lose, they’ll become a top ten team again. So might as well get them there with a win. When Hugh Freezes Over 35 Who Let the Bull Dogs Out 21
Jill: Can I abstain? Oh, I already typed too many characters to do that? What if I erase them? I shouldn’t have mentioned that? Ok then. I have no idea. I pick Jawja
Salt Creek: The things Ole Miss will do to Georgia are not allowed on TV. Ole Miss by at least three TDs.
Andy: Georgia’s looked like warm dogshit since the North Carolina win, but if anyone can take a talent-heavy team that should’ve beaten Alabama into their own stadium & find a way to step on the rake and break his nose, it’s Hugh “Deer In The Headlights” Freeze. Also, fuck Ole Miss. Dawgs 30 Rebs 28
Nebraska (-6) at Northwestern
I know, it’s Northwestern and that has been NU’s kryptonite for several years. But this year feels different. NwU is a hot mess and (the real)NU isn’t. 42-17 Huskers.
Brian: Four secondary members out for NW makes you scream throw to open up the run. However, I think that wont be necessary. NW’s offense has the attention of Banker this week, because if what happened last year against that O happens again? The servers at the papers will melt. All whites, Yeezy’s or not, 4-0 Huskers. 31-13
Pat Janssen: Northwestern has been better as an underdog throughout the program’s existence. They finally played up to their (somewhat limited) ability last week. On top of that, Nebraska just survived an emotional game. That is cause for concern, even before you consider that Mike Riley is historically a much better big game hunter than he is at being a steady hand (he has guided more unranked teams to victory over ranked foes than any other active coach). That said, the Oregon game did feel like a turning point. The fact that the receiving crew remained productive even without Brandon Reilly again was encouraging, and the defense was overall pretty strong against the Ducks. Setting the tone early will be key, and I think this Huskers team has the focus to do so. Big White 44, Little Purple 17
David: Remember that one time when NU went to Chicago to play NU and Pat Fitzgerald went out of his way to keep the ball away from De’mornay Pierson El? Except that NU decided to throw the ball to him instead and NU couldn’t defend it very well? Yeah, that was fun.
Anyway, this series has been weird ever since NU has joined the Big Ten. There’s really no reason that the Huskers should have had some of the outcomes they’ve suffered at the hands of the Wildcats. I think they’ll have the Huskers full attention. If NU is able to move on from the thrill of last week and takes the challenge before then seriously, they’ll be just fine. The Wildcats, on paper, lack the pieces to slow down the Husker offense and are one of the least explosive teams in college football. They struggle on first down and have more third downs than are advised. That’s a bad combination.
It’s completely up to the Huskers, focus on the task at hand, and they’ll win, probably comfortably. If not, this game will be close, just like all the other ones. It’s time the Huskers took control of the division, it starts this week. NU steamrolls into Chicago. It’s a business trip, Huskers win 41-13.
Mike: Most of the Huskers recognize that despite the win, Nebraska didn’t play their best game against Oregon. I don’t expect them to play their best game this week, but they play well enough to win. Nebraska knows that they gifted NW the game last year. The Huskers will play well in what really is a neutral site game: opponents pasture, but the Sea of Red filling the stands. Biggest question to me is whether the Husker fans will wear Husker red to Wrigley for the afternoon matinee. It’ll be close early, but Nebraska pulls away late. NU 34, NW 16
Greg: Let’s just call this what it is going to be...a good ol’ country ass whoopin’. (I threw the “country” part in there because Northwestern’s field is garbage.) Nebraska 38 Northwestern 10
Jill: NW’s defense is no joke. Their offense is. But they have a habit of playing really well against the Huskers. This comes down to how much I trust this new and improved offensive coordinator who is willing to Run The Dang Ball and understands that he holds the Good Tommy/Bad Tommy balance in the palm of his hand. Oh, this trust thing is hard. But NW lost to an FCS team. This trust thing is still hard.
I am a Husker fan and I Must Trust. Nebraska 38 NW 24
Salt Creek: DONU WINS BACK THE ALPHABET TROPHY; WILDCATS STUMPED AT NEGATIVE SCORE
Andy: On paper, this looks like an ass whipping. The Wildcats have been holding the score the down, but giving up a ton of yards while doing it. The Huskers are riding high after the Oregon win. What could go wrong?
- Northwestern almost always plays us tough
- Everyone says the focus is where it needs to be, but will there be a letdown after winning the non-con game that had a huge circle around it?
- Yards given up aside, this will still be far & away the best D we’ve faced. I know - that’s not saying much.
- We’ve still got a lot of questions with our own defense.
- We’ll be playing on the cow pasture field from the 2007 Texas State Playoffs in Dillon. (Friday Night Lights reference). For all who think that doesn’t make a difference see South Bend on 2000 and Columbia, MO in 1997.
- In five Big 10 road openers, the Huskers are 1-4. The one was against Purdue.
- Never doubt the power of the surrender whites in which NU is 4-15 lifetime (I’m making that up. But I don’t think I’m very far off). Even though these alt unis are actually pretty cool for a change.
Despite all that, NU wins it. But it won’t be by a bunch and it won’t be pretty. I think it’ll be the type of game for which we wish we could rent Jano back from the Donkos for a night. Tommie has a bad TO but keeps his cool and takes over in the 4th quarter while wearing out Northwestern’s with a few doses of Ozigbo. NU 34 Northwestern 29
Ryan Reuter: Nebraska 37 Northwestern 14. Northwestern hangs with us for 1 quarter before we pull away. To paraphrase Barney Cotton "WE'RE THE REAL NU!’