So begins anew the Big Ten football season; not with a bang, but with the whimper of two 3-9 teams playing a Week 0 game in Ireland, a godforsaken rock that has surely suffered enough in its lifetime. In its infinite wisdom, the conference has given us that matchup of two coffin ship programs and followed it up with the strong potential for a loss to a Group of 5 team led by a jilted former defensive coordinator of one of those now 3-9 teams.
There's a beauty to how none of that matters: the conference has shown us in the off-season that it gives not one fig for our concerns. It will continue to grow and print money, and small-potato programs like the three taking the field tomorrow will exist purely for us to point and laugh at.
With that, welcome to the OTE Obligatory Predictions Competition.
Saturday, Aug 27
(all times CT)
11:30pm | Fox | Nebraska - 13 | O/U 50
Straight-Up: The uglier N 10-5
Against the Spread: The slightly-less ugly N 8-7
Buffkomodo: This game seems like it should be a Nebraska blowout. In fact, it might just be. Northwestern should suck all year, but Scott Frooster sucks at the beginning of the years. Assuming Northwestern lines up the way the Frost man has prepared, Nebraska by a couple tudders.
MaximumSam: I spent two weeks in Ireland twenty years ago, including a stay in Dublin. My last night there, I met a guy at a strip club who wanted to give me the Full Irish Strip Club Experience and took me around to all the strip clubs in the city. Then we got baked and I pretended to be Irish and he pretended to be American and we would walk up to strangers and pretend to be spies.
Very friendly and fun people, is what I’m saying. I’m sorry we are inflicting this game upon them. Nebraska 16, Northwestern 2.5
WSR: The Irish have suffered enough. Cromwell’s genocide, the island constantly being controlled by people who can’t even cook or use a toothbrush or understand simple math like 26+6=1, and being associated with Notre Dame, To put this game there makes all of those previous atrocities seem underwhelming. There’s absolutely no excuse for sending Scott Frost and Pat Fitzgerald and their “football” teams halfway around the world when they could just meet up in a third-world country like Iowa to play to the 9-7 Northwestern win we’ll eventually get.
Send both coaches to the Hague immediately afterwards for their crimes against the sport.
BoilerUp89: Why? Possibly the two worst coordinators in the B1G face off against the worst head coach in the B1G. This is what we are showcasing to Ireland? Nebraska wins and covers because Northwestern is not good.
HWAHSQB: You boys just couldn’t wait to fight over that j, huh?
Kind of...: Nebraska annihilated NW last year and Hank hasn’t come back to save the D. Nebraska has something to prove. Set aside all the woo (even year NW, Nebraska record in close gams), stick with the talent that will be on the field, and Nebraska should win comfortably. So, either I get this pick right, or something hilarious happens. Win-win.
Dead Read: Is there anything, anything, Frost has done over the last four years that would indicate Nebby can meet (positive) expectations? No, there is not. I think the Huskers win, simply because Northwestern’s defensive speed is substandard.
Nebraska 28, Northwestern 17
misdreavus79: Two teams that can ill afford to start the season 0-1 square off in a pivotal conference game to open the season. Pat Fitzgerald’s job is as secure as anyone not named Kirk Ferentz, so there’s no fear there. That said, Northwestern doesn’t want to start their year having to dig themselves out of a hole if they can afford to.
On the other hand, Scott Frost may very well be left in Ireland if he loses this game. Desperation makes for either great or hilarious games, and what better way to almost start the year (Western Kentucky and Austin Peay kick off half an hour earlier) than to watch two desperate teams looking to claw their way out of the bottom of the division on Sicko Saturday?
Nebraska 17, Northwestern 14
RockyMtnBlue: Remember last year when Nebby would find hilarious ways to lose almost every week. Even that team kicked the hell out of jNW. Nebby rolls.
Nebraska 31, justNorthwestern 10
MNW: Has Northwestern figured out its quarterback situation? Because if not, it’ll be just like last year—the Huskers can sell out to stop the Wildcats’ first couple drives of RUTM, force Ryan Hilinski into bad passing situations, and run away with it.
What I’m more curious to see is how the Wildcat defense hangs — Jim O’Neil might be hanged in effigy outside Ryan Field this year if this week is a repeat of last year’s “Have their really fast playmakers just run past our really slow defenders.”
Early returns suggest the latter is more likely true. Nebraska, 35-17.
Welcome to Ireland!
This poll is closed
Nebraska wins, Northwestern covers
Much like Ryan Merriman’s character in Luck of the Irish, Pat Fitzgerald turns into a leprechaun in time to lead Northwestern to a heroic 10-9 victory.
Wyoming Cowboys @ Illinois Fighting Illini
3:00pm | BTN | Illinois -10 | O/U 44
Straight-Up: Fighting Berts 12-3
Against the Spread: Fighting Berts 8-7
Buffkomodo: This game is icky. 10 points seems a bit low for a game against Wyoming, but I’m not judging. Illinois wins what should be a solid win for them, but anything less and I’ll be a happy man for week 1.
MaximumSam: In another life, Craig Bohl is the head coach at Nebraska and leading them to strong 7-5 seasons. In this life, he leads a Wyoming team that is 129th in returning production against an Illinois team that is 103rd in returning production. This game is going to test everyone’s patience. Illinois 11, Wyoming 0.
WSR: Why would you schedule Craig Bohl in week 0? YOU FOOLS!
BoilerUp89: Illini win but game stays close and our Illini fans sweat it out.
HWAHSQB: Illinois is returning the least amount of production in the B1G. Wyoming is returning the 2nd least amount of production in the country so I expect some sloppiness and growing pains in week 0 despite both coaches being hellbent on conservative and mistake free play. Chase Brown was 100% for 6 games last year and rushed for 1,005 yards. He’s healthy now and while most of the O-line turned over, we are returning both tackles and our two best run-blocking TEs. On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle and LB are two of our deeper and more talented positions on the team. I found this little Cowboy tidbit pretty amusing. Wyoming’s starting QB transferred to Utah State so they went into the portal to find their starting QB. He came from......Utah State. I think we will be able to run the ball enough more effectively to pull out a 14-6 win.
Kind of...: Craig Bohl reconstructed North Dakota State as an FCS powerhouse, but, he’s sub .500 at Wyoming and his best team back-doored their way into the MWC title game (which they lost) despite having Josh Allen at QB. Last year’s team was punch-less against quality opposition save for a one-game explosion (vs. Utah State). Illinois SHOULD be able to win this 27-10 or so (Bert is not one to play with his food).
misdreavus79: It’s football.
Illinois 21, Wyoming 7
RockyMtnBlue: I’ve been to Cheyenne. It’s an awful place.
Illinois 19, Wyoming 8
Dead Read: I have no idea what kind of Wyoming team will show up. I do know a BERT coached team will be on the field. It will be ugly, it will be low scoring, and game management will be....questionable.
Illinois 21, Wyoming 10
MNW: Let’s root it and toot it, Cowboy Joe.
I did a semi-deep dive on it yesterday in DWT;WT, but Craig Bohl and the ‘Pokes are truly one of college football’s great non-conference random number generators. Could they lure Mizzou into a trap and beat them? Could they lose to North Dakota? WHY NOT!
What I do believe is that this game is going to be quick—Bohl and Bielema will Establish the Run, whether it works or not. A WHOLE bunch of transfers, including both quarterbacks, plus their leading rusher, will hurt the Cowboys, as our friends from Mountain West Connection informed us.
But I also like the potential for some of Wyoming’s pro-style game to catch Illinois napping, first. Maybe I’m not giving Illinois enough respect, but... Wyoming, 19-16.
This poll is closed
BERT wins, but BOHL keeps it interesting.
ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ COWBOY JOE