Mike: Finally, this season is over...and we can hopefully soon move onto a new era for Husker football. Maybe one where the season extends into December?
Andy: It’s the Heroes Game and I for one always enjoy a chance to celebrate the patriots of 13 years of armed conflict between Nebraska and Iowa. Unloading muskets into the faces of Hwakeyes will always remind the world our corn is superior.
Akelo: I'm just ready to see how Urban Meyer closes out this recruiting class.
Nate M: Iowa can have their corn. We know we have superior beef.
Old Oaken Bucket
Purdue (-10.5) at Indiana
Andy: The Boilermakers will know by kickoff if the Huskers have upset Iowa and given them a shot at their first division championship. I believe Purdue will emerge on top, however I have no idea what their up and down offense will do. Let’s say Boilermakers 31 Hoosiers 26
Akelo: It's bombs over Baghdad in Bloomington for the Hoosier secondary. 41-17 Boilermakers.
Mike: Which Purdue will show up this week? They are so confounding at times. If I were a betting man, I’d take the points because I can see anything happening here between woodshed and upset. Boilers 34, Hoosiers 28
Jon: Purdue is going to wax Indiana. This is likely Tom Allen’s last game there. Purdue 38, Indiana 17
Nate M: Purdue might have been the most underachieving team in the division? Maybe that was us? They should easily beat Indiana by 14+.
Paul Bunyan’s Axe
Minnesota (+3) at Wisconsin
Andy: Both teams have clinched bowl eligibility and if both Iowa and Purdue lose, both remain in contention for a share of the Big 10 West title. I have no idea how the tiebreakers in all that would shake out, so anyone curious will have to take that internet drive on their own. As far as the game, it’s basically a toss-up with Wiscy getting the 3 points usually afforded to the home team. I’m going to give the nod to Plastic Face PJ and his squad of Gophers in rowboats over whatever the Wiscy docs will shoot in Braelon’s shoulder. Minny 20 Wiscy 18
Akelo: Wisconsin suffers death by 1000 RPOs. 27-16 PJ Fleck.
Mike: Unless Mo Ibrahim gets injured or suspended, I don’t see any way the Badgers can win this game. If Ibrahim and rush for 250+ on Iowa, the Goofs can control this game. Especially with the Curse of Nebraska. Goofers 28, Badgers 20
Jon: The others in my household think Minnesota is doomed. I don’t think they realize where Wisconsin is. One thing to note - Fleck needs to beat one of his two rivals, Iowa or Wisconsin or things might get chippy. I think he handles Wisconsin. Minny 24, Wisconsin 21
Nate M: The Fighting Flecks will run the ball right at Wisconsin and Mertz is going to turn the ball over like he should have last week. Minnesota by 17.
Land of Lincoln
Illinois (-14) at Northwestern
Andy: The Northwestern train wreck takes on Illinois who, like Minnesota and Wisconsin, can fall into a 1st place pile-up with Husker and Indiana upsets. However, Illinois finds itself hoping for that mess after losing three straight to release what looked like a stranglehold on the division lead until becoming the latest team to fall to the Curse of Nebraska. They will win, but a day binging the Real Housewives of Iowa City might not be as ugly as this game. Illini 19 Wildcats 11
Akelo: Illinois trucks Pay Fitzgerald into another coach staff reshuffle. 31-9 Illini.
Mike: Unless some weird weather hits, I don’t see how Northwestern keeps this close. Illini 31, NW 9
Jon: Can Fitz do anything about this program stinking so much? Illinois 42, Northwestern 24
Nate M: Rough matchup for NW. Illinois likely wins by 24+.
The Irrelevant Game that used to precede Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Michigan (+7.5) at Ohio State
Andy: Despite having the two weakest schedules in the CFP top four, they are cash-loaded bluebloods and since that is the most important “eye test” for the committee year-in and year-out, they remain ranked ahead of TCU who destroys each on every strength of schedule metric available. Both teams have struggled at times with lesser competition (and Michigan’s case have needed that call from the conference to the field to remind the zebras where the bread is buttered).
I know OSU would love to deliver a beatdown payback for last season, but I don’t see the Wolverines giving one up. The Buckeyes do pull it out but without the recent offensive fireworks. They get a couple questionable calls late which let Jim Harbaugh do what he does best - blame everyone else. Buckeyes 27 Rodents 23
Akelo: I saw tickets for this game reselling for $10,000. That's how colossal this one is. Ohio State seeks vengeance for how disrespectfully Michigan stuffed them a locker last year. The Wolverine secondary can't handle the aerial attack, and JJ McCarthy will be swarmed by Jim Knowles's 2-4-5 defensive scheme. 62-26 The.
Mike: I just don’t understand how all the playoff prognosticators can dismiss the possibility of the loser of this game getting in the playoff. Maybe if it’s a blowout, but if we had to watch an Alabama/LSU rematch a few years ago, we should see both of these teams in the playoff. As for this game, I just don’t see how the Bucknuts won’t exact payback for last season. (The entitlement with aOSU runs high and deep.) Bucks 44, Weasels 37
Jon: Ohio State has guys everywhere. Michigan has a lot of guys, but not everywhere. That’s the difference maker. I agree with Mike. Why does the SEC get the benefit of the doubt, but not the Big Ten? Ohio State 48, Michigan 34
Nate M: Part of me wants to think that the team that can run the ball better (Michigan) should win this game but you never know with the rivalry games. I have a feeling Ohio State is out for revenge. Though I wouldn’t be upset if Michigan pulled two in a row. I’m picking Ohio State to win by a touchdown.
Blackshirt Friday aka Ferris Wheel Game (formerly Overpriced Supermarket Game)
Nebraska (+10.5) at Iowa
Akelo: The players play with reckless abandon as they now 30-40 of them won't be here next year. It's tied 10-10 in Iowa City with 36 seconds remaining....boom! Casey finds a streaking Trey Palmer down the sideline for 57 yards. 2 Anthony Grant runs up the middle to burn clock, then Timmy Bleekrode hits a game winning FG to happily send us into the Urban Meyer era on a positive note.
Andy: The pick I made for fellas over at Black Heart Gold Pants still feels spot-on, so here we go:
I would love for Mickey to have a nice going-away present. I would really love spoiling a division title for the Hawks. I would love to cheer a victory over a winning team from Division 1 just once this year.
But reality is reality. Can we beat Iowa? If you check the scores, there’s maybe two games we had no chance to win this year, so yes. (cue 2021’s music) But “can” and “did” have seldom collided in the same sentence lately.
Iowa’s won 4 in a row when they had to while we’ve lost 5 in a row faced with the same challenge. That matters. Also, the average score of an Iowa game this season is 17-13 Hawkeyes while they’re getting outgained by 20 ypg and that’s some powerful-ass Big 10 right there.
So here’s the pick that’s been working. Nebraska grabs an early lead - possibly on the opening drive - then the offense checks out in the second half. A series of 3-and-outs tires the defense and a couple long drives leads to yet another Huskers cover and lose - Iowa 19 Nebraska 13.
Mike: Urban Meyer era? Bartender, cut that man off. As for this week, Nebraska has been in position to win this game every year in the post-Riley era, only to have Lucy van Ferentz pull the ball away at the last minute. The epitomy of “close.” The only elite part of either team is Iowa’s defense. Nebraska’s defense has been playing better, but Nebraska’s offense has gone stagnant the last few weeks. Much of that was due to Casey Thompson’s injury, and last week, the gusty winds made it impossible to throw the ball. Today’s forecast is for light winds and relatively warm temperatures for Thanksgiving weekend. Plus, Iowa is out their leading receiver.
So F*** It. Trev’s about ready to make a hire, and let’s start by squashing Iowegian dreams of St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktails. Huskers 27, Squawkeyes 19
Jon: Can Nebraska beat Iowa? Anyone can beat Iowa. Will Nebraska beat Iowa? Ugh. I want us to win this so badly, but we have an amazing ability to throw won games away. One more time, I will say yes. This game will be won by the team that makes fewer mistakes. Nebraska gets a Spencer Petras and a big special teams play. Nebraska 17, Iowa 13
Nate M: I simply do not see Nebraska scoring enough to win. Like, they might get zeroed. I hope Nebraska somehow finds itself with a lead in the fourth quarter and finally finally finally gets those first downs it needs to put a team away. Until I see it though, I’m probably going Iowa 13 - Nebraska 0.