Mike: Leaving Memorial Stadium last week, I thought that Nebraska was heading for yet another seven loss season. Then when I got home, I turned on the TV to catch Northwestern smacking Wisconsin around...and gosh darn it, they’ve sucked me back in again. Bucky’s checked out on Luke Fickell.
Tyler: I want to go to bed Saturday night with a big and not wake up pining for a sixth win heading into Thanksgiving. I've been known to be downright unpleasant around sometimes on Turkey Day. Knowing the Huskers are playing in December would make me a little happier man this holiday season.
Jarek: I mean, things can’t go much worse on offense with turnovers, right?...right?...well if it does then it will reach of a level of impressiveness that you just can’t be mad at. All jokes aside, I believe that Nebraska can get the hoodoo of Camp Randall out of their system. We eventually have to win there...
Andy: Northwestern runs a Wiscy squad where Braelon Allen proves way less healthy than hoped and morale is at even more rock bottom after the attempt to fire up and bring the Wisconsin toughness back against NW goes up in flames - when morale was at rock bottom. Also, Cooper DeJean becomes lost to Iowa for the rest of the dwindling season.
Does it feel like fate is actually at least giving us a weak grin if we can just not hand the ball over non-stop?
UCLA (+6.5) at Southern Cal
Tyler: So I guess UCLA wants to fire Chip Kelly? I mean, I guess it makes sense. No big splash in the almost imploded PAC 12. Moving on into the B1G next season needing a Coach that can navigate the change. UCLA hasn't necessarily been bad, they just haven't been great. And when you're still "little brother" to USC, who's following you in conference realignment, you're always gonna be connected at the hip. USC is still the better team despite playing almost no defense. Trojans 48 Bruins 42
Mike: What if Chip knocks off Big Brother? That’s a wrinkle... Bruins 45, Trojans 42
Jarek: I love the fact you two think this game is only going to be in the 40s...Chip Kelly loves a good rivalry, and his offense never disappoints, so I’m taking a slightly higher line and saying Caleb Williams throws 6 TDs. USC 56 UCLA 51
Jill: ALL THE POINTS!! I’m going with Caleb Williams in this one. USC 45 UCLA 39
Andy: I’m gonna go Bruins here for two reasons - 1) they play a little bit of defense whereas Lincoln Riley treats it like an unaffordable luxury and 2) it’s always funny when coaches get fired after turning a program around, just not bigly enough, and on the heels of winning the rivalry game. I mean, when others do it. UCLA 33 USC 30
Michigan State (+3.5) at Indiana
Tyler: Who the hell woke up the Hoosiers? This team was DOA a few weeks ago, but has managed to be downright scrappy in there last few games. Does it save Tom Allen's job? I doubt it. But this team is fighting. The Mo's will continue against MSU, but it's more feel-good for the players than anything. Hoosiers 27 Spartans 20
Mike: Nah, Allen’s still a dead coach walking. It’s just that Wisconsin checked out on Luke FIckell. Of course, the Spartans also are also flailing..and SOMEONE has to lose. It’s a dead coach bounce. Hoos-yer-next-coach 31, Sparty 20
Jarek: Indiana has gotten a lot better in the last couple of weeks, which bodes well for Tom Allen. It proves that his guys are still willing to fight for him. It ultimately won’t matter in the end, as I believe he will be fired at the end of the year. However, they will win this weekend against Sparty. Indiana 24 Michigan St 17
Jill: This is a real “I don’t know and I don’t care” sort of game for me. Hey, maybe Tom Allen is Michigan State’s next coach? Nope. I’ll pick Sparty just to be different then the guys. MSU 21 Indiana 17
Andy: Indiana stayed competitive after the Wiscy upset while the Spartans expelled their last breath of life against, you got it, Nebraska. Allen’s probably gone despite the team’s fight, but he’s going down swinging and the Purdue game next week ought to be a battle. Hoosherz 31 Sparty 23
Purdue (-3) at Northwestern
Tyler: Taking the Interim title off of Dave Braun was a no-brainer for Northwestern Athletics. This team was expected to be in shambles after the loss of their longtime leader, let go in a cloud of scandal. But, coming from Fargo, and building up a National Championship mindset at NDSU has served the first year coach well on a directionless Wildcat team. They seem to have found an identity and as much as I would like some breathing room from NU in the West, they get the job done against Purdue and earn a bowl bid themselves. Wildcats 31 Boilermakers 28
Mike: The Wildcats get another burst of momentum. NW 27, Boilers 24
Jarek: To be honest, I’m not really sure why Northwestern isn’t favored here. Purdue hasn’t had that spark offensively that they usually do, and Northwestern has played far better than expected. The Wildcats almost being bowl eligible this year despite the fact they were more successful in Ireland than in the U.S.A last year, proves they can’t be kept down for long. I think NW becomes bowl eligible after tomorrow. Northwestern 24 Purdue 14
Jill: Taking the same strategy as my last pick and doing this just to be different. Purdue 28 Northwestern 21
Andy: Purdue 26 NW 20. That being said, the head job being given to Braun brings up some interesting points.
- Just how many NW players get tossed post-season in the ongoing(?) investigation?
- Given allegations of their involvement, just how many assistant coaches get tossed as well?
- Is that an advantage allowing Braun to grab some of his own people? Will he be letting current assistants go to do just that?
- Or will that investigation just peter off in hopes everyone just forgot about it?
- Isn’t just really gross that everyone involved got to play/coach this season just because of the timing of the revelations and money?
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again - we’re the creepiest conference in the country.
Illinois (+3) at Iowa
Tyler: Snake bit again by a significant injury, sure-fire First Round CB, Cooper DeJean, is done for the year. Despite the injuries, the Squawks have a chance to silence everyone by locking up the West with a win against the Illini. It's hard to bet against them. I predicted 3 straight losses to end the season for them. Proved me wrong last week. This week? I'm still rolling the dice with Bielema to get the job done. Illini came back with a backup QB last week, and may need him again to play big in Iowa City. Isaiah Williams is going to feast with the lockdown corner sidelined for the rest of the year. We owe Bret a Porterhouse Steak Dinner for making next Friday's tilt a winner-take-all showdown with the Black & Gold. Illini 20 Hawkeyes 14
Mike: The over/under on this one is 31.5. Of course, I’m taking the under. The big question to me is whether the combined offensive yards will be under Bert’s weight. I-L-L 12, Squawks 9
Jarek: I don’t know how you can put up a metric ton in yards Mike, but I’m highly intrigued...This one is interesting, and for all of the wrong reasons. Iowa can shut the door of hope with a win, but a loss lets both Illinois and Nebraska back into things, unless we lose to Wisconsin. DeJean being gone is an absolute killer, as he has been fantastic in 2 facets of Iowa’s team. I think Illinois is slightly better off here. Oh yeah, take the under. Illinois 14 Iowa 10
Jill: NONE OF THE POINTS! As much as I would like to see Bert’s team win, I think Iowa has permanently bent the space time continuum and ensured the laws of physics and nature no longer apply at Kinnick. Iowa 4 Illinois 3
Andy: The HWCU is on a roll!! But Big 10 West Chaos Theory insists it must come to an end this week. Illinois 20 People With Keen Eyesight 10
Battle for Some Weird Made-Up Trophy That Nobody Has Heard Of
Nebraska (+4.5) at Wisconsin
Tyler: We know the numbers, and we know the Badgers have had ours for a while. Time to flip the script. It ends in Camp Randall tomorrow. I think a mad, focused, and driven team will be on display in Primetime. I think Chubba Purdy, while not flashy, plays mistake free and is the first QB all season to record neither a fumble or INT. We will lean on our OL and run the ball. Emmett Johnson goes over 100 for the first time in his career. Running the Ball is something it seems Wisconsin is going away from under Fickell, and they have "No longer 19" Braelon Allen, who may or may not play based on injury status. And the D? You already know. Blackshirts dominate and rattle Tanner Mordecai. We finally Slay the Badger and we do it in his House. Huskers 27 Badgers 21
Mike: I’m excited to see what Chubba can do. The coaches know they can’t run Purdy like they ran Heinrich Haarberg or Jeff Sims, so I expect to see 20+ carries for Emmett Johnson. I think Purdy is probably Nebraska’s best passer, and he’ll force the Badgers to play it a bit honest defensively. Huskers 20, Stinkin’ Bahdgers 17
Jarek: I’ve seemed to have angered a few Corn Nation faithful with my assessment of the QBs this week, but I’m not backing down here. Let’s be real, if this particular group, whomever they send out, cannot take care of the fudging (only I didn’t say fudging) football it won’t matter how the defense plays. But dammit man, find me a win in Wisconsin, let hell freeze over. There used to be 3 inevitables in life: death, taxes, and Wisconsin has a guy who runs for 100+ yards on us. I may have even drunkenly yelled at my TV a few years back that even Stephen Hawking could run for 100 on us, but they don’t play that way anymore. We eek one out. Nebraska 14 Wisconsin 10
Jill: I love the optimism here. I want a scenario where the Huskers and Hawkeyes are playing for the B1G West after Thanksgiving. Instead, I’m going with the headlines “Huskers’ last chance to get bowl eligible comes in the snow in Lincoln.” Turnovers doom the Huskers again. Wiscy 20 Nebraska 17
Andy: Three big questions in play here for me:
1) Can the Huskers keep turnovers to 1-2 or less?
It’s likely the most important one. While Chubba’s 2022 was painful to watch, it didn’t turn into a rash of turnovers like we have now. Last season, we didn’t really notice. This season it sort of sticks out. If Chubs can just have us punting when it doesn’t work out? Well, let’s just say we could very well be 9-1 if this was our 2023 reality.
2) Can Chubba and his groin go wire to wire?
If he goes down, I’m guessing HH limping is next up. After that, you almost have to think Longval gets a swing since word is the Sims turnover bug continued in practice this week. He simply can’t go in barring the other three on stretchers. The answer to this question will have the biggest impact on Question 1.
3) Can Marcus Satterfield control his strange desires and impulses on display the last two weeks?
The offensive line is improved and showing spurts of downright nastiness and aggression - without the penalties. Emmitt Johnson has stepped up big-time and Grant and Fleeks are both capable of hard, quality running in relief. The critics of of Donovan Raiola are silent and we’re not talking about our lousy RB depth anymore.
The air game speaks for itself.
I don’t have longing for Power I and I enjoy Air Raid a great deal. I also believe in playing to your strengths.
Run The Damn Ball. Huskers 17 Wiscy 15