College Football Week 3 Predictions

I fared a bit better this week. It looks like I was very wrong about Utah and it looks safe to say that Wisconsin, Nebraska and Arkansas are not nearly as good as we thought they were. Week 3 brings us a few more big games than the previous weeks, but some top teams are still playing cupcakes (Oregon, LSU, Georgia, etc.).

Week 2 Record: 11-9
Year to Date: 18-22

Thursday, September 13

Rutgers @ South Florida (-8)

The line has shrank a bit, perhaps due to some injuries at running back and the loss of WR Sterling Griffin for the season. It’s hard to determine how impressive USF’s win at Nevada really was. On one hand it was a distant road game against a team that upset California at home, but on the other hand, they just didn’t look very good for most of the game. Initially my gut said to go with USF, especially because it seems that BJ Daniels finally has a favorite target, but I’m not so in love with their defense and I think Rutgers is a bit better than people give them credit for being. All the travel for USF I think will catch up to them a little. The line is just a little too high for me. 

Saturday, September 15

Alabama (-21) @ Arkansas 

Razorback QB Tyler Wilson’s health is Arkansas’ only hope

I can’t imagine how Tyler Wilson doesn’t play in this game. I’m no doctor, but this game is too important for them not to send him out there. Arkansas blowing a 21-point lead to Louisiana-Monroe is basically  unbelievable. Arkansas isn’t that bad of a team. The loss probably shifted this line a couple touchdowns. I still think this is a bigger test than that Michigan game. Arkansas’ defense has looked very suspect, and is dealing with some injuries, but they’ll get up for this game. I’m taking the home team to cover. 

USC (-8) @ Stanford

I like USC to win this one handily. I’m still a bit skeptical about Stanford, even after they rolled on Duke last week. USC looked shaky at times against Syracuse, but they’re back on the West Coast and they’ll be fired up for Pac-12 play. You hear a lot of talk about revenge coming from the USC players, and while that’s usually just the media overblowing it, I actually believe that USC will be tangibly more hungry for this game. They’ll want payback. 

Idaho @ LSU (-42.5)

Idaho is really, really, really bad. LSU beat Washington and North Texas by an average of 32.5 points. 42.5 is a huge number and I’m always so reluctant to to pick favorites this big. 

Wake Forest @ FSU (-28)

Wake isn’t an explosive team at all, but this line continues to escalate ridiculously. 28 points is just a bit too much. I think Wake has enough defense to keep the floodgates relatively intact. 

Notre Dame @ Michigan State (-6)

Le’Veon Bell needs to continue to be a workhorse for the Spartans to win

Over a span of 24 hours the line went from 3.5 to 6, and for good reason. I LOVED this at -3.5, and would have put good money on that. -6 is a little more tough, but it’s still the right play. Michigan State’s defense should have no problems slowing Notre Dame’s offense down. Offensively the Spartans haven’t looked too impressive, but as long as they pound Le’Veon Bell, they’ll be fine. They might not get big chunks very frequently, as Notre Dame’s run defense has played admirably early on, but I don’t think it’s a huge worry. MSU can keep the Irish scoring in the 20s easily.

California @ Ohio State (-17)

I like California’s offensive ability with the experienced Zach Maynard and Isi Sofele, but that week 1 loss to Nevada looks really bad right now. I’m all for fading Ohio State right now though. They’ll win comfortably, but not this comfortably. 

Virginia Tech (-10.5) @ Pittsburgh

The game on Thursday night was beyond sickening to watch as a Panther fan. Pitt out-gained Cincy early on, but mistakes just crippled the Panthers and never allowed them to stay in the game. On the first offensive play they allowed an untouched 58 yard run right up the middle. Penalties, turnovers and poor clock management cost the Panthers plenty of points. Virginia Tech is the best team they’ve played so far, and the Panthers are already 0-2 with a 19 point margin of defeat. I’d like to think they are much better than what they’ve displayed and that they’d put forth a much more solid effort at home against a team they can’t possibly take lightly. That’s just so hard for me to imagine happening though. I hope I’m wrong, but Pitt gets rolled again, at home, to a far superior team. 

Texas (-10.5) @ Ole Miss

I’m still not sure how I feel about Texas, but I am certain that Ole Miss is one of the two worst teams in the SEC and that home field advantage hasn’t really meant a whole lot to them the past few years. 

North Texas @ Kansas State (-28)

Don’t sleep on KSU QB Collin Klein

Kansas State and Michigan State are my two pet teams of the year. I’ve been high on both since the off season. I’ve felt that Kansas State has a solid shot at winning the Big 12 this year for a while now, and nothing has changed my convictions. The Mean Green lost at LSU by 27 points, so on the road at KSU should fair slightly better. That’s not how it always works out, but they can score enough to keep it close. I think Kansas State has a little bit more offensive firepower than LSU does, but they’ll give up more than two touchdowns to a decent Mean Green rush attack. North Texas just barely covers. 

TCU (-21) @ Kansas

The loss to Rice last week has to sting Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks quite a bit. That’s not an acceptable loss for that program. Unfortunately for them, things are going to be a bit tougher this week. I really want to go with the road favorite here, but something tells me that Kansas bounces back relatively well this week. I like their rush attack a lot. The key will be Dayne Crist’s ability to not turn the ball over. If they can limit the turnovers, they can hang around long enough to keep this within three touchdowns. I think that happens. 

Florida @ Tennessee(-3)

The Gators will be without defensive star Jelani Jenkins

This should be a great game. College GameDay will be there, making it the second straight week the Gators will be a part of the show. I’m not too worried about the defense, even against Tyler Bray who is an exceptional quarterback. I don’t think Tennessee has the run game to keep the offense looking unpredictable enough. It’s hard to tell how good the Vols really are based on their first two games. This is the first time since 2008 that they’ve been ranked in the AP poll. A win here would keep them ranked for at least a few more weeks. Florida just lost star defenders Jelani Jenkins and Ronald Powell for a significant amount of time. Powell is their best pass rusher and top pro prospect, and Jenkins is a rock at the weak side. Those loses will hurt, even if Tennessee’s rush attack is poor. Tennessee wins at home.

North Carolina @ Louisville (-3)

I think the Cardinals have advantages on both sides of the ball. 3 points seems a little low to me, especially since they are at home. What worries me a little is the possible return of Tarheel running back Giovani Bernard. His explosiveness could be a great equalizer. With him, I think they’re 2-0 right now. Still, with or without him, I think Bridgewater and that Louisville defense get it done.

Houston @ UCLA (-17)

Johnathan Franklin is a star, and he showed the world that on national TV this past Saturday. Houston has lost to Texas State and Louisiana Tech already this season, and are giving up 43 points a game. In those two games, they have given up just under 500 yards of rushing. James Franklin should torch this defense. Houston could keep it close with their passing attack (they’ve thrown for 800 yards already), but UCLA’s pass defense is very solid. If UCLA gets any sort of pass rush they’ll be fine, but that has long been their problem. I think they get enough pressure on Houston QB David Piland, and Johnathan Franklin does the rest. UCLA pulls away late.

BYU (-4) @ Utah

I’m going to stick on the Utah bandwagon even after last week’s tough loss to their instate rivals. I’m not sure how much home field will matter honestly, but I think it will help a little. Utah’s offensive line was killed last week, so they need to find a way to patch that up ASAP. BYU’s pass rush isn’t very great, so Jordan Wynn should have a bit more time to make decisions. I’m just sticking with my gut here. I still think Utah is the better team.

Virginia @ Georgia Tech (-10.5)

Georgia Tech is just a flat out better team. They outplayed Virginia Tech at Blacksburg, but just couldn’t pull out the win in OT. They are significantly better on both sides of the ball, and playing at home should make this a pretty easy win.

Arizona State @ Missouri (-7)

I didn’t get a chance to watch Missouri in their SEC debut on Saturday, but apparently things didn’t go too well. Missouri’s offensive line is a bit banged up, and it seems that Missouri’s biggest struggles this weekend came in the red zone and via costly mistakes. I haven’t seen ASU play either this season. I’m going to take the points and pick ASU. 

Connecticut (-3) @ Maryland

UConn beat the worst team in the country in my estimation in Week 1, while Maryland pulled out a 7-6 over William & Mary, a FCS team. Maryland looked solid against Temple early on but allowed things to get closer than they needed to be late in the game, and UConn went out there and lost to a very pedestrian NC State team. So basically, these two teams have been wildly unimpressive and neither have really shown anything too positive. I figure this will be a very low scoring game. I do think UConn is the slightly better team, and they’ll find a way to squeak it out. 

Boston College @ Northwestern (-3.5)

I’m 0-2 with my Northwestern picks. That ends now! They should be more than 4 point favorites at home in this game. They’ll win by at least a TD.

Navy @ Penn State (-6)

Kick Sam Ficken missed 4 FGs on Saturday

Watching the Penn State game this past weekend was brutal. I can’t imagine how awful things must be for those fans. An already tough season got all the more tough when PSU kicker Sam Ficken missed 4 field goals, including the game-winning attempt in Saturday’s heart-breaking loss. I do think they’ll bounce back well at home against a Navy team they can prep for and should be able to beat. A win has to come sometime soon, no? Perhaps no team in the country, even Auburn and Pitt, need a win more than PSU does. I will, again, be rooting for them. 

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