Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Date and Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Opening College Football Odds: Penn State -23
Nebraska vs. Penn State TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
The worst-kept secret in college football is that Mike Riley is going to get fired. Riley was already in terrible shape and was likely to get fired before losing 54-21 to Minnesota last week.
Riley said after the loss to the Golden Gophers that Nebraska didn't give up on him or the season, but it's really hard to fathom that. The chances of getting to a bowl game are virtually nil at this point, as it would take a win over the Nittany Lions and one over Iowa next week just to get to a bowl game.
The most interesting move over the course of last week's loss to Minnesota was that Patrick O'Brien replaced Tanner Lee under center at halftime. The Cornhuskers were down 30-14 at the time, but Lee wasn't the man who was at fault. Lee had his problems over the course of the season, but that didn't seem like the right time to pull the trigger.
O'Brien didn't play poorly, going 12-for-18 for 137 yards, but he only put seven points on the board after the game was long over with.
Penn State bounced back from its two losses to Ohio State and Michigan State to beat Rutgers 35-6 in Week 11. It wasn't the cleanest win ever for the Nittany Lions, especially since they were behind as five-touchdown favorites at the end of the first quarter.
The Nittany Lions should still be tremendously concerned with how lousy their schedule has been this year. They've played 10 games, eight of which have come against unranked teams and two of which have come against the Top 25. In the eight games against unranked squads, PSU is 8-0 SU and 6-1-1 ATS, allowing a total of just 73 points. In the two games against ranked teams, Penn State is 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS and has conceded 66 points.
5 – The number of consecutive games in which Saquon Barkley has had a half of football with zero or fewer rushing yards.
Barkley was once considered to be a lock to win the Heisman Trophy, but now, we're not even so sure he even belongs in New York for the ceremony. Barkley finished the first half last week against Rutgers with -3 yards and finished with just 35 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns.
We're really at the point that Barkley's numbers are starting to look sort of human. He is averaging just 5.4 yards per carry this season and has totaled 1,416 yards of total offense. The numbers are good, but they're far from truly elite, and that's what has brought this team back to Earth after such a tremendous start to the season.
Nebraska vs. Penn State Free Picks
It's just too easy to lay the points with the Nittany Lions. This team is good, but it isn't at a place any longer that it deserves to be laying 23-points against anyone in the Big Ten. Last week's game against Rutgers was a prime example.
Barkley has far too many ridiculously empty drives to be counted upon with regularity at the end of the season. When you're facing a spread like this one, you can't have three-and-out after three-and-out, and we have a hunch more of that is coming.
Just as we warned last week, don't fall into the trap that comes with the fact that Nebraska has played so poorly. All of the best online sportsbooks are begging you to give the points. We'll gladly head the opposite direction.
College Football ATS Pick: Nebraska +23 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Penn State 30, Nebraska 13