The Nebraska Cornhuskers are ready to start their season off with a bang against the Tennessee-Chattanooga Moccasins. However, the odds makers have set the spread at a steep 35, and while I fully expect them to win, they will not cover.

College football season is back and I am kicking in off with a free college football pick on Tennessee-Chattanooga as they take on Nebraska set to start at 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 3. My proprietary sports handicapping database and simulator shows a high probability that Chattanooga will lose this game by fewer than 35 points. 

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Don’t get me wrong Nebraska fans as this will be a great season for the Cornhuskers as they play their first year in the Big-10 Conference. The simulator shows an easy Cornhusker win with the second and third units getting plenty of action.

The last time the Nebraska Cornhuskers lost a home opener was in 1985 to Florida State 17-13. They will make it 26 straight home opener wins, but I just don’t see them covering the huge number set on the NCAAF odds boards.

They gain little by running up the score to a 70-7 type of result on an inferior opponent. By getting out to a four touchdown lead the first units can come out of the game and minimize risk of injury to the stars of this team. 

Tennessee-Chattanooga

Former Moccasin Russ Huesman ’83 has produced a 12-10 winning mark in his first two season as the head coach. He has turned around a program that had not had back-to-back winning season since 1990-91 and last year’s 5-3 Southern Conference record set a school record. 

Nebraska

Perhaps the biggest turn around in Division-I football has occurred in Lincoln, Nebraska. Head coach Bo Pelini, who is a 1990 Ohio State Alumni, has produced a 30-12 record entering his fourth season has the head coach. Moreover, he has led the Cornhuskers to nine or more wins in each of his first three seasons. Only former head coaches Tom Osborne, Bob DeVaney, and Frank Solich have attained that level of achievement. 

Nebraska will dominate the Line of Scrimmage

The average size of the Nebraska offensive line including the tight end weighs in at an average of 288 pounds and an average height of 6-4. This line will be matched up against a Moccasin defensive line that weighs in at 246 pounds and an average height of just 6-2.

The Moccasin offensive line including the tight end weigh in at an average of 268 pounds and a height of 6-3. This offensive line will be over matched against a Nebraska defensive front that weighs in at an average 273 pounds and height of 6-4. 

There are size and athletic advantages at every position comparing the first units, but Chattanooga will be able to compete more evenly once the second and third Nebraska units enter the game.

Chattanooga’s Wide Receiver Joel Bradford

The Nebraska defense will have to keep an close eye on Bradford, who is a pre-season All-American. He set a school record gaining 1,284 yards in receiving yards in 2010. He also has a strong chemistry with quarterback B.J. Coleman, who is on the Walter Payton Award Watch List for the FCS Offensive Player of the Year. He threw for 2,996 passing yards and 26 touch downs in 2010. So, the Moccasins do have talented athletes, but are not nearly deep enough in the skill positions to compete with the Cornhuskers for four quarters. 

In summary, this is a game that the Nebraska coaching staff can use to evaluate their second and third unit players and add further depth to the team entering the Big-10 schedule.

My Pick: Nebraska will win easily, but by less than 35 points.