Mike: Bowl game or bust, right?
Jill: When you put it that way....Wooo! Detroit baby!
Andy: Saddle up, slapdicks. I’m as excited for this charge to .500 as Red was to jump the border and meet Andy in Zihuatanejo. However, I will think of a couple of these games below whenever I’m napping and can’t quite fall asleep. But the culmination of Iowa Hate Week is almost here and...well, let’s get to it
Northwestern (+8.5) at Illinois
Jill: Northwestern is dreadful. Illinois is a team I am glad the Huskers played before they figured out how to do football-like things. Illini by 10.
Andy: ZZzzzzz - Let’s substitute the Iron Bowl instead. No excessive analysis here. Tua is out and it’s about time for the will of a nation not residing in Tuscaloosa to cause enough tremors in The Force to cause a funny bounce or two including bouncing ‘Bama from another backdoor trip to the CFP. Also, Auburn’s D is good enough to keep this far from being another done deal for the Tide. Screw ‘em. Auburn 24 Alabama 23
(Hillbilly dicks attack trees in fury yet again.)
Mike: Northwestern is going to try their FOURTH quarterback of the season. Yes, fourth. Santa opens the holiday shopping season with a winning record. Illini 27, NW 10
Indiana (-7) at Purdue
Jill: The #HuskersDisrepektUsBowl! Hoosiers by 14.
Andy: Blechh, should be another hard pass but Indiana 38 Purdue 21. Siri, does this rivalry have a name? That’s a no.
Mike: Actually, this one does have a theme; they are playing for the Old Oaken Bucket. Hoosiers 35, Purdon’t 27 (Andy: Siri did not know this. I asked. Of course, I asked her what she was wearing right before that, so...)
Wisconsin (-2.5) at Minnesota
Jill: I’m picking the Gophers just because everyone is tired of Wisconsin winning the division every damn year. Gophers row their way to Indy and Jon’s rotten son holds it over him all year long. Gophers by 3.
Andy: On the one hand, I’d love to see Minnesota win the division instead of Wisconsin, but the flip side of that is Coach PJ would probably change the names on the backs of the Minnesota jerseys to FLECK if they do. I’ll still pull for the Gophers because years ago, we took over a Rogers, MN, pizza joint to watch Big 12 title game against Texas - yep, that one - and the locals all piled over to cheer with us. Good times.
However, it just feels like the Badgers are a little better defensively. I know Minnesota worked us harder than the Badgers, but we were a different beat-up team that week. Tight game but Wisconsin gets a couple more needed stops. Badgers 31 Gophers 27
Mike: If Northwestern can hang 22 on Minnesota, I can only imagine what the Badgers can do. I think Minnesota rowed this boat as far as they can this season. Wisconsin remembers what happened last year at Camp Randall, and this one is could be bloody. Bucky 45, Goofers 20
Ohio State (-9) at Michigan
Jill: The Game. I think the Buckeyes win, but wild and crazy things happen in rivalry games and a certain Michigan quarterback has been the Big Ten offensive player of the week a couple times recently. The Wolverines show some life, but the Buckeyes continue their march toward Indy. Buckeyes by 7.
Andy: After losing to Penn St, Michigan rolled Notre Dame as well as their next three opponents. It doesn’t matter. Ohio St 34 Michigan 21
Mike: Michigan has been strong the last month, but Ohio State has been passing the eyeball test as the most dominant team in the nation all season. Nuts 48, Weasels 20
Iowa (-5) at Nebraska
Jill: The Huskers need this game to go bowling and its in Lincoln. Iowa is the better team and doesn’t screw up much. The Hawkeye offense isn’t great, but when they reach the red zone, they score points 95% of the time. The Husker defense is dreadful in the red zone. The Huskers are going to need to big plays on offense (which they are capable of) to pull this one out. I’m picking the Huskers by 3 just because I can, but if you gave me truth serum, I’d probably pick the Hawkeyes by 7.
Andy: It feels like it’s been a long damn time since I really CARED about a game. Don’t get me wrong, I can almost always find a reason to get up for the Huskers, but there’s a big difference between “Hey, let’s go, team” (fist pump) and one which has the potential to mean something on multiple levels. Granted, I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about a game in which the victory is getting to .500, but stay with me here:
- Several weeks back, many in Husker Nation were already writing this off as another 4-8 season or worse, it’ll never work, woe is us. Now, 6-6, especially given the injury bug, looks like a nice move forward
- Doesn’t it just FEEL important to go bowling? Who cares if it’s in the Pinstripe?
- I just keep picturing Al Pacino telling the boys they can fight their way out of hell back into the light. 6-6 isn’t a bright light but it’s not 4-8 or 3-9 which appeared to be on the table for a bit.
- Matt Farniok - “I’m tired of us being the reason we’re losing” - and Garrett Nelson crying after receiving his Blackshirt tell me our fire isn’t out.
- This group is healthy and coming together and NOT untalented. Beat Iowa, get that much needed extra few weeks of practice and there’s a chance we make a statement against some other undermanned 6-6 or 7-5 team. Then everyone picks us to win the division, says Martinez is a Heisman finalist and....shit. Forget this one.
- It’s Iowa Hate Week, I’ve trolled it like crazy and I’m actually a good guy. The universe should grant us a turnover based on that.
- At Tiger Tom’s we have a thing. After every Husker score, Hail Varsity plays. Then Cinnamon Girl plays. And the place goes nuts. Claps, pounds the bar, sings along. Me too. Loudly. I’m an OK singer and the last few years I should have done more of it. I can’t go back in time, but I can unleash now. There’s no logical reason why we do it. We just do. You know my baby loves to dance. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
- It’s just time. With everyone, including many people in their corner, bagging and crying doom, these kids have been quietly cleaning up the mistakes, fighting through adversity and becoming competitive again. They are still learning how to win.
Friday, they learn. Why? Because like Coach Taylor once said? “I need something good to happen.” It’s that simple. We need this. It feels like it’s coming together. And for gawd’s sake, doesn’t it just charge you up more to approach this with a “Let’s do this!” attitude instead of waving the white flag at kickoff??
Screw Iowa. (My 33-30 pick twenty points over the over in the Iowa QA might have been ambitious. Allow me to amend. ) Huskers 26 Cockeyes 20
Mike: To me the weather is the X-factor on this game. I do believe that Nebraska will throw just about everything they have at the Hawkeyes on offense. On the flip side, Nebraska needs to shut down Iowa’s rushing attack, which isn’t nearly as strong as it’s been in recent years. If the weather allows the Huskers to run and throw the ball, I think they get that sixth win and head to Dallas for a bowl game because Iowa just can’t score more than 24 points. Huskers 31, Squawkeyes 23.