N2K CFB Pick ‘Em – Week 3

Last week had a decent amount of excitement for a week of college football that didn’t look too promising. How about Oklahoma State? How about Arkansas? However, in terms of the rest of the action, we saw blowouts, and we saw a lot of them. As far as our writers go, here’s how our picks from last week shook out:

Tyler: 22-2 (41-5) Gabe: 22-2 (41-5) Sean: 23-1 (42-4) TJ: 22-2 (37-9) Will: 20-4 (38-8)   Mikey: 20-4 (37-9) Kevin: 20-4 (20-4)

This week, it’s starting to heat up. What college football fan can be upset with games like Florida State v. Louisville? Or Ohio State v. Oklahoma? And Notre Dame v. Michigan State? This week of football will have playoff implications down the line.

BYE: All of the AP Top 25 teams are playing this week.

 

THURSDAY: 

#6 Houston v. Cincinnati

Tyler: I’m expecting the return of Greg Ward Jr. to boost a Cougars team that just dominated Lamar without him. The Cougars are known for offense, and Lamar isn’t much of an opposition, but when you hold a team to less than 100 total yards, that’s an accomplishment. Houston is complete, and they’ll put that on display in Nippert Stadium on Thursday. Cougars by 24.

Gabe: You can’t spell sucks without UC. Greg Ward should be back for Houston. They played fine without him and should be able to shut down the Bearcats. Houston by 17.

Sean: Houston dominated a porous Lamar team even without Greg Ward and a three-hour lightning delay. Cincinnati will certainly offer a tougher challenge, and it will be interesting to see if Greg Ward will be ready by Thursday. Either way, Houston should roll over the Bearcats. Cougars win by 24.

TJ: Cincinnati has played really well during the first two weeks, gaining a big win at Purdue. The big question for Cincy will be whether or not they can stop Greg Ward. Ward sat out last week because his back was hurting from carrying the Cougars against the Sooners (actually his shoulder though). The Bearcats quarterback, Hayden Moore has looked pretty sharp during the first two games completing just under 67% of his passes. I think Houston continues to roll but in a close game. Cougars by 6.

Will: Houston has emerged as a possibly player in the college football playoff, but I’m not convinced. They have a rather weak schedule, with their only other ranked opponent the rest of the season being Louisville towards the end of the season. Until then, to remain in this conversation I think they not only have to beat Cincinnati, Greg Ward Jr. needs to light it up. Having a Heisman candidate on the team can only elevate them in the playoff conversation. At the very least, considering it’s Cincinnati, do it for Harambe, Houston. Houston by 24

Mikey: Even without Greg Ward, Houston steamrolled an unranked opponent last week; this game should be no different. Houston by 35.

Kevin: Things Tyler Hates – Cincinnati. Houston by 32

 

FRIDAY:

#21 Baylor at Rice

Tyler: TCU has already fallen, and I do not think Baylor, a similar team, is far behind. Against Rice, however, I don’t expect that to happen. Bears by 31.

Gabe: Baylor goes on the road against a Rice that is 0-2. The Owls shouldn’t pose any threat. Baylor probably has the best chance to make the CFB playoff out of the Big 12 and this week’s game shouldn’t change that. Baylor by 31

Sean: Baylor beat up on the Mustangs last week and the Owls probably won’t put up much of a fight either. Shoutout to Baylor for playing cupcakes in the first three weeks. Bears by 45.

TJ: Rice has two ugly losses to Western Kentucky and Army. The Owls can expect to notch their third ugly loss to the Baylor Bears. Baylor by 36.

Will: Here we are again with Baylor. They dismantled SMU last week, 40-13, in what looks like a great start for Baylor after a rough offseason. While I should be picking them this week against Rice, I promised last week to not take them after I embarrassingly picked Northwestern State to upset them Week 1 (55-7 Baylor). Rice by 3

Mikey: LOL Rice. Baylor by 45.

Kevin: Bears are bigger than Owls. Baylor by 62.

 

SATURDAY:

 #25 Miami (FL) v. Appalachian State

Tyler: This weekend has an entertaining slate of games. This isn’t one of them. The U by a lot of points.

Gabe: Appalachian State gave Tennessee a good scare in week one. It is tough tell if that was their chance to pull off yet another miracle or if it was foreshadowing what is yet to come. Miami’s offense has looked great in its first two games and their run defense has been great. Appalachian State has to run the ball well to pull of the update and I don’t see them doing that against this defense. Miami by 14

Sean: Appalachian State almost beat Tennessee in week one but couldn’t quite pull off the upset. The U has dominated in their first two games, as they should have. A big part of me wants to pick Appalachian State because of how close they were to beating Tennessee, but a bigger part of me knows better than to do that. ‘Canes by 23.

TJ: Appalachian State and their fans almost pulled off the upset week one against the Tennessee Volunteers. Their program is thirsty for an upset to solidify their prestige. For the Hurricanes, this is really their first test of the young season. I don’t think that the U will be prepared for the Mountaineers. I’ve been back and forth on this pick, and originally I had put Miami by 4 but it is too tempting to roll with the underdogs. Appalachian State by 1.

Will: Appalachian State is not a team to sleep on. This matchup for Miami will be my true test of seeing whether they are actually back or not. I believe it will be a close game mostly because App State somehow has Miami at home. Otherwise I’d give Miami a much larger margin of victory. I hope Miami doesn’t blow their chance of staying ranked, but wouldn’t be shocked if App State pulls a win out of this. Miami by 7.

Mikey: Mark Richt has too talented a team to get upset by the same team that beat Michigan when they were #1 almost ten years ago. The U by 14.

Kevin: This game won’t be close like App State vs. Tennessee. The U by 41.

#2 Florida State v. #10 Louisville

Tyler: I think this is the must-watch game of the weekend because both teams are obviously very much in early playoff contention, both teams are in the ACC, and both teams are led by dynamic, young quarterbacks. In the end, I like Louisville’s defense more than I like Florida State’s. I like Lamar Jackson’s ability as a playmaker more than Deondre Francois. And, I like the home field advantage. Get ready for a big shakeup in the top-10. Cardinals by 5.

Gabe: I would say this is the game of the weekend. These two team come in 2-0 and both ranked in the Top 10. It really sucks that both these teams plus Clemson are in the Atlantic division in the ACC as all three of these teams have the talent to play in the playoffs. Florida State has already beaten a very good Ole Miss team while Louisville hasn’t quite beaten anyone of that nature so far. FSU’s defense has forced 7 turnovers in its first two games and has looked pretty dominant ever since that first half against Ole Miss. Louisville’s offense has been unstoppable and tallied over 800 yards last week against conference foe Syracuse. Lamar Jackson has taken the country by storm and has put up outrageous numbers. This game will come down to FSU’s offense versus Louisville’s defense. I think Dalvin Cook and quarterback Deondre Francois will give the Seminoles the edge in this game. FSU by 3.

Sean: I just sat in front of my laptop for 20 minutes contemplating this game. Both teams have impressed through their first two games. Louisville has dominated their first two opponents in Charlotte and Syracuse, and while they are two lesser opponents, scoring 70 and 62 in back-to-back game is nothing to scoff at. FSU has a big time comeback win over Ole Miss in Week 1.  Louisville is at home, but I don’t think they’re quite ready for this stage. Seminoles by 9.

TJ: This ballgame will make or break Lamar Jackson’s Heisman chances and Louisville’s playoff chances. The Seminoles has looked strong but they won a sloppy game against Ole Miss. If the Cardinals can pounce on FSU’s defense early behind Jackson, the Seminoles could be in trouble. For the Cardinals to capture the W, they’ll need to have a solid lead by halftime since the ‘Noles are a second half team. I expect this game to be a barnburner and Dalvin Cook to put his season on the map. Louisville by 2.

Will: Alright now we’re talking. This is a game I want to watch badly. Lamar Jackson had 5 total TDs and 610 total yards last week….yes you read that correctly. Jackson is a bad man and those numbers he put up last week are unfathomable. While Jackson has been putting up these insane stats, FSU will surely be able to quell him a bit in this game. The X-factor for this game is Dalvin Cook. If FSU is able to control the clock with the run game, e.g. Cook, FSU should win this game. Jackson seems to be the main weapon by far on Louisville, and that could hurt them against an all around great opponent in FSU. Francois will need to step up like he did against Ole Miss, or else Louisville will make the jump into playoff contention. FSU by 6.

Mikey: Game of the week right here. As talented as FSU is, I’m buying into the Lamar Jackson Heisman-hype, and I believe the loss of Derwin James will be a major factor for the Seminoles moving forward. Cardinals win a close one. Louisville by 7

Kevin: Lamar Jackson is currently performing like the best player in college football and and is the early front runner for Heisman. Hes accounted for 13 touchdowns in just two games and has made everyone of the field look stupid. Florida States defense is much more talented than Charleston and Syracuses and will be Jacksons first real test. Florida State is missing their most talented player in Derwin James though which will be a major blow on their defense. James is one of the most talented defenders in the country and is the best playmaker for the Noles. Without him the defense will suffer in the back end and Jackson could take care of it. Louisville also has the advantage of playing against a Freshman quarterback but Deondre Francois has performed well so far.  Im still gonna go with the most electrifying player since Johnny Manziel though. Give me Louisville by 7.

Georgia State v. #9 Wisconsin

Tyler: I still think Wisconsin is ranked too high, but they’ll win this cupcake against Georgia State. Badgers by 24.

Gabe: For some reason I am picturing that Georgia State wears Russell uniforms, and for that reason, along with the fact that Wisconsin has a better team, I am not picking them. Wisconsin by 31

Sean: Georgia State is best known for being mentioned in a song by Drake. The Badgers are known for a lot more than that. Badgers by 30.

TJ: Frankly, I don’t think that the Badgers deserve a #9 seed in the poll but I guess one win against an always streaky LSU teams skyrockets your team in the rankings. As much as I would like to see this ‘Cinderella Run’ we need to be realistic because they’re playing Georgia State. Badgers by 27.

Will: Georgia State is just a flat out bad team. They got their teeth kicked in the first two games they played and they’ll probably see much of the same against Wisconsin. Wisconsin has started out hot with a huge upset win over LSU and a lay up game against Akron. They made a huge jump in the standings after the LSU win and will continue to creep up. Hopefully Georgia State doesn’t put up too much of a fight because the Badgers face Michigan State next week, which has huge implications in the Big Ten. Wisconsin by 40.

Mikey: B/C it’s Georgia State. Badgers by 38.

Kevin: At least they the Georgia State Panthers tried. Wisconsin by 38.

North Dakota State v. #13 Iowa

Tyler: Iowa has yet to be tested this season. Expect an easy win for the Hawkeyes, regardless of the FCS prowess of NDSU, who’s students once cyber-bullied me. Iowa by 24.

Gabe: Iowa at home shouldn’t have any problems. After all you can’t even click on North Dakota State’s name on the ESPN website so they can’t be too relevant. Iowa by 27.

Sean: NDSU is a FCS national powerhouse, while Iowa has been one of the most consistent programs in FBS in recent years. The Hawkeyes rely on a strong defense that forces turnovers to win games and a ground and pound offense to wear down a defense. Expect that to be the narrative on Saturday. Hawkeyes win by 28.

TJ: The Hawkeyes have really surprised me this season so far. I was a skeptic but I think I’m only a few wins away from being a believer. North Dakota State shouldn’t pose much of a threat to a red hot Iowa team. Iowa Hawkeyes by 41.

Will: Interesting game here between FCS powerhouse NDSU and Iowa. I don’t know too much about NDSU’s current team, yet I’m sure they will have a chip on their shoulder for this game stepping up to the FBS level. Iowa has been lighting it up with the combo of C.J. Beathard and Matt Vandeberg. I’m sure this will be a competitive game, but Iowa is going to be too much for NDSU to handle. Iowa by 21.

Mikey: Unless they can bring back Carson Wentz, NDSU has no chance in this one. Iowa by 31.

Kevin: GO HAWKEYES! Iowa by 27.

Ohio v. #15 Tennessee

Tyler: I don’t think Ohio is good at football, but they’ve put up 56 and 37 points in their first two games. While it’s a disadvantage going away to Tennessee, which is one of the better home-field advantages in the SEC. I don’t think the Bobcats will be able to put up serious points on the road in the SEC to keep up with Josh Dobbs and that Tennessee offense that enjoyed somewhat of a rejuvenation against Virginia Tech. Vols by 10.

Gabe: The Vols shook off the week 1 struggle with a thorough whooping of Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway. They should continue to roll behind Josh Dobbs. Tennessee by 24.

Sean: A strong bounce back performance from the Volunteers last week over Virginia Tech helps make people forget about Appalachian State. Josh Dobbs still hasn’t had a good performance this year, but that should change this week against Ohio. Tennessee by 46.  

TJ: The Bobcats will have fits trying to contain Jalen Hurd of the Volunteers. Tennessee has had its moments and I expect his entire game to be one of them. Vols in a blowout. Tennessee by 30.

Will: Did anyone else think it was kind of a cop out when Tennessee and V-Tech broke the stadium capacity record at a race track? Off track thought, let’s get to the game at hand. I will never trust the Vols in a big game, which is why they should easily beat Ohio this week. Reason being they have an insane schedule ahead, so they need to beat Ohio and beat them handily. After Ohio, they play Florida, then play @ Georgia, @ TA&M, and top it off with a home game against Alabama. That is a rough stretch for the Vols. Enjoy Ohio while you have them, Vols. Tennessee by 17.

Mikey: UT is coming off of an impressive win against VT, and I believe they carry great momentum heading into this game. Tennessee by 24.

Kevin: So I was wrong last week. Tennessee by 39

South Carolina State v. #5 Clemson

Tyler: Clemson has just not looked good to start their season off, and it shows in their ranking. Deshaun Watson has played okay, but not like his superstar, Heisman-candidate expectations are. I expect Clemson to win still, because it’s South Carolina State, but they might want to actually have a good showing for the first time this year. Tigers by 17.

Gabe: My Tigers have really struggled this season on the offense side of the ball. Deshaun Watson has looked average at best completing only 52% of his passes and throwing for 4 TD’s and 3 INT’s in two games. He looks rushed and is trying to force throws that aren’t there while not connecting on throws he usually makes. None of that matters this week though as Clemson should handle the Bulldogs with ease. This is a much needed game for the Tigers as LA Tech put up over 700 yards of offense on this Bulldogs defense last week. Clemson by 42.

Sean: Clemson still hasn’t shown how good their offense can be and were almost upset by Troy last weekend. DeShaun Watson has been bad (to his standards) the first two games, and, outside of Mike Williams, no receivers have been productive. South Carolina State should provide a good opportunity for the offense to work out the kinks. Tigers by 55.

TJ: The Clemson Tigers have not looked good in their first two weeks, and they had very high expectations coming into the season after losing in the National Championship last season to Nick Saban and Alabama. Deshaun Watson has looked good but not Heisman worthy. The Tiger are an ugly 2-0 right now, and if it wasn’t for their cupcake schedule thus far they could be defeated. Clemson needs to get back on track with a big statement and bigger W against South Carolina State. Clemson by 29.

Will: What’s up with Clemson right now? They eked out a win against Auburn in week 1, then barely beat a rather weak opponent in Troy last week. I said last week that Deshaun Watson needs to really stuff the stat sheet in these first couple games to build up the Heisman resume. So far that hasn’t happened, but if there were ever a week for that to happen it’s this week. They have this week and next week till they play Lamar Jackson and Louisville, so this is the time for Watson to put up big numbers against the likes of South Carolina State. Clemson by 24.

Mikey: They won their first two games in a very sloppy fashion, so I can’t pick them to win a blowout just yet; nevertheless, it’s SC State, so I’ll still take the Tigers. Clemson by 13.

Kevin: Clemson should look to play their first real good game this week. Tigers by 25.

#1 Alabama v. #19 Ole Miss

Tyler: Ole Miss went into Tuscaloosa last year and beat the Tide, the only team last season to do so. I think that serves as motivation for Alabama to return the favor. I like Chad Kelly’s (swag) skillset, but save his win against ‘Bama last year, I’m not sold on his ability to play in big games. I expect Nick Saban to flex his muscles a little bit in this one. Ala-freakin’-bama by 19.

Gabe: The Crimson Tide roll into Oxford on a 13 game winning streak. Their last lost? Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide look to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss this weekend. Ole Miss could easily be 2-0 but they forgot to show up in the second half vs FSU. Alabama has been nothing short of impressive to start of the year but will face quite the test on Saturday. The Rebels can and will cause chaos this weekend when they upset the #1 team in the country on the back of Chad Kelly’s (swag) game winning drive. Ole Miss by 1.

Sean: Ole Miss has beat Alabama the last two seasons, with the help of some luck. Alabama have steamrolled USC, while Ole Miss blew a big lead against Florida State. A couple big factors in this game is that Ole Miss is at home, Bama has a freshman quarterback playing in his first big game and Chad Kelly (swag) has a type of Johnny Manziel aura where weird things just happen to go in his favor. But you have to think Nick Saban will have his squad ready for this one. Bama by 2 in a classic.

TJ: The Ole Miss Rebels need a win in order to keep their championship hopes alive, but Alabama is simply in a league of their own (see week one vs USC). Ole Miss couldn’t put the final nail in the coffin against the Seminoles and the Crimson Tide are more or less an NFL team so I don’t think the Rebels stand a chance here. Crimson Tide by 27.

Will: Chad Kelly (swag) is an absolute poser. While he does put up good numbers, I will never pick him in a big game. If they pulled out that first game against FSU then maybe it’s a different story. Many will talk about Ole Miss’ past success against ‘Bama, which is fine, but I think this game will end similar to how the FSU game ended. Ole Miss will keep it close and ultimately begin to turn the ball over to a stout’ Bama defense. The craziest part to me is that the line for this game is -11’ Bama, which may seem like a lot. Knowing’ Bama, though, they could run away with this game easily. ‘Bama by 13.

Mikey: Two tough early season matchups for the Rebels. Even in victory, Saban is never satisfied, and he’ll make sure his team is more than up to the task in a tough road environment. Tide by double figures (17).

Kevin: This should be a good game and will probably come down to the wire but I believe that Alabama will win this game. Ole Miss pulled off the upset last year but they simply dont have the playmakers to pull it off like last year. That was seen against Florida State when they couldnt hold on to lead in the second half. Alabama has an extremely balanced offense this year although they havent hit their stride yet. The Tide doesnt turn the ball over though which is what Ole Miss Needs to do. Alabamas defense is also too fast for the skill players at Ole Miss. Chad Kelly (swag) will be able to keep it close but Alabama’s suffocating defense will give them the win. Alabama by 10.

 Colorado v. #4 Michigan

Tyler: I said it last week, and I’ll say it again – Michigan doesn’t have any tough out-of-conference games this season. Their tests do not begin for another few weeks. Wolverines by 55.

Sean: Poor Colorado. Michigan looks as though it wont be stopped this year. #PrayForTheBuffaloes. Michigan by 45.

Gabe: Wilton Speight looked strong again as the Wolverines rolled UCF. Jehu Chesson has only caught 7 passes this year and hasn’t been overly involved yet. If he can get going for Michigan, possibilities are endless for this squad. Colorado has looked good in its first two games but neither of them were against Power 5 schools and both were at home. On the road, at the big house is a different animal. Michigan by 27

TJ: Colorado got two really good basketball recruits last week, but their football recruits…. That remains to be seen. Meanwhile in Ann Arbor, Michigan is bringing in a team that could challenge ‘Bama. I expect Michigan to destroy Colorado in front of a rowdy crowd in the Big House. Wolverines by 48.

Will: Colorado doesn’t have a shot. Michigan has literally steamrolled through their first two opponents and I see much of the same happening to Colorado. The Big House is a tough place to play in regardless, but with Harbaugh’s presence on the sidelines, it adds a bit more intensity to every game there. Sweet dreams Colorado. Michigan by 35.

Mikey: Michigan just has way too much talent, led by super-defender Jabril Peppers, for Colorado to beat. Wolverines by 27.

Kevin: The Buffaloes have looked good so far this season on both sides of the ball but haven’t played any team thats talented. Neither has Michigan but they have proven players and more talent. Wolverines by 24.

#22 Oregon v. Nebraska

Tyler: Sometimes you just have a gut feeling, and Oregon losing this week is just in my gut. Some of the Cornhuskers’ coaching staff has been with Oregon in the past, so they know the system pretty well. Tommy Armstrong is quietly one of the better players in the Big 10, a conference in which Oregon is only 2-2 against. Plus, it’s at home in front of a passionate crowd. I’ll take Nebraska by 3.

Gabe: Oregon will go into Lincoln and face a tough and gritty Nebraska team. Oregon has looked very good on the offensive side of the ball while a little uneasy on the defensive side. Meanwhile, Nebraska has done a bit of everything in there first two games and have looked very impressive. I think the speed the of Oregon can outmatch the Nebraska defense and hope that Brady Hoke’s defense can hold Nebraska, at least enough. Oregon by 10

Sean: Oregon has looked like pretty much every Ducks team this decade. Explosive on offense, paltry on defense. Giving up 28 points to UC Davis and 26 to Virginia isn’t a great start, despite being 2-0. The Cornhuskers on the other hand, have looked strong against Fresno State and Wyoming. Tommy Armstrong Jr. has been at Nebraska for what seems like 10 years, and he’s off to a strong start this year. Give me the Cornhuskers at home by 10.

TJ: I think that this is the week Oregon blows their chances at a National Championship, it usually happens later in the season and against Stanford but the Cornhuskers are rolling into this matchup. I think this will be one of the better football games on the weekend. Cornhuskers by 4 in an instant classic.

Will: This has shootout potential written all over it. Both teams have handily won their first two games, highlighted by great offensive play. Nebraska is the favorite to win this game and for good reason. They’ve had strong quarterback play from Tommy Armstrong and the fact that they are at home helps as well. In this game, it will be about who has possession the most. Oregon’s new QB Dakota Prukop and RB Royce Freeman have electric potential, but in their first away game in front of a raucous Nebraska crowd, will they be able to control the tempo of the game? Nebraska should take home the W against Oregon. Nebraska by 10.

Mikey: Oregon’s offense is still one of the fastest in the nation, and it will be too much for Nebraska to keep up with. Ducks by 21.

Kevin: Nebraska has looked good this season but I just dont think they can out last Royce Freeman and the Ducks. Oregon by 21. 

Mississippi State v. #21 LSU

Tyler: LSU missed Leonard Fournette last week, though Derrius Guice made an impression with 155 yards on the ground. The Bayou Bengals also took out the inept Brandon Harris in favor of Danny Etling, who still completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Jacksonville State actually had one less first down, three less total yards, and held the ball longer than LSU last week, despite losing by 21 points. The Tigers are not a good team this year, and I think they’re at serious risk to lose to their Western Division foe at home. Nonetheless, I’ll go with LSU by 3, for the pure reason that Fournette should be back.

Gabe: LSU has looked just awful this year. They don’t have a quarterback who can throw the ball, they don’t who their starting incompletion thrower is going to be this week and Leonard Fournette is banged up. Not a recipe for success. Mississippi State will be starting sophomore quarterback Nick Fitzgerald who is very effective through the air but mostly with his feet. He is second in the nation among quarterbacks in rush yards. Mississippi State will knock of the Tigers, Mississippi State by 7.

Sean: This will be a defensive battle to the very end. The Bulldogs are pretty bad on offense, and the Tigers aren’t much better. But what they do have is a better defense and Leonard Fournette. LSU by 13.

TJ: I’ve picked a few upsets already so I won’t pick another one here but I am putting this game on **Upset Alert** because LSU hasn’t impressed me at all through the first two weeks and Mississippi State has a breakout game randomly each season it seems so if this is it for the Bulldogs maybe LSU will fall once even further. LSU Tigers by 7.

Will: Leonard Fournette over everybody. Hopefully he’ll be healthy enough to play this week, because of he his this should be the true start to his Heisman campaign. Mississippi State is having a hard time finding anything that resembles a pass game, which makes me appreciate Dak Prescott’s time their more and more. LSU is the overwhelming favorite for this game (assuming Fournette plays), so I’m going to roll with LSU. LSU by 17.

Mikey: Fournette is expected back this week. That should be enough, even against a tough SEC West opponent. Tigers by 10

Kevin: Give me Fournette, even coming off injury. Tigers by 10.

#17 Texas A&M v. Auburn

Tyler: I’m excited to see what this Texas A&M team can do in its first road action of the year. Trevor Knight has looked good so far this season, and he’s benefitting from the return of Speedy Noil, who returned to action last week. The Aggies are a deep team who has a shot at the playoffs, and a road win in Auburn would pad the resume a bit. A&M by 10.

Gabe: Auburn looked good against Clemson in week one and was a Hail Mary away from beating them. There defensive front looked dominant against a very good offensive line and they were able to shut down Deshaun Watson for the most part. Texas A&M beat a very good UCLA team week one and dominated a PV A&M last week. Playing at Jordan-Hare will play a key impact and I think Auburn can knock of A&M. Auburn by 10.

Sean: Both teams followed up tough week 1 matchups with cakewalks in week 2. The deciding factors in most SEC matchups are where its played, and who wins the turnover battle. Auburn’s defense looked fantastic against Clemson, and while the Aggies have an explosive attack of their own, Jordan Hare is an opponent’s worst nightmare. Auburn by 4.

TJ: The Tigers surprised a lot of people holding Clemson under twenty points during week one. Texas A&M did look strong against an overrated UCLA team but Auburn looked stronger against much better competition. I think the Tigers don’t let the Aggies leave Auburn with a win. War Eagle. Auburn Tigers by 6.

Will: Trevor Knight has stepped in and led this Aggies team to a great start. Auburn will be a good test this week and a close one for sure. We’re all aware of how tough it is to play at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn showed some grit against Clemson early in the season, despite coming up short. Sean White has shown he is capable of managing Auburn’s offense, and has a true workhorse in Kerryon Johnson. Should be a fun game to watch in which Auburn is more than capable of pulling off the upset. Auburn by 3.

Mikey: Auburn has a good football program, but A&M seems to be on a nice early-season roll that will be difficult to stop. A&M by 10.

Kevin: The Aggies have been great at running the ball so far this season which is different from past. Their defense is also improved and should be able to shut down Auburn. A&M by 17.

#16 Georgia v. Missouri

Tyler: It was almost a feel-good story for Nicholls, but they couldn’t quite pull it out. I think the Nick Chubb-led offense can still take care of business for the Dawgs against Mizzou, who didn’t have a good showing against its only real test of the year in West Virginia. Dawgs by 14.

Gabe: Georgia by 17

Sean: Missouri is probably the worst team in the SEC and is incapable of putting up a big number on offense. Georgia has Nick Chubb and Jacob Eason, and that’s pretty much all they’ll need to beat the Tigers. Bulldogs by 27.

TJ: Missouri is one of those really underrated SEC schools and programs and at home, they will certainly give Georgia a good test. In my opinion, Georgia and Nick Chubb are simply too strong for the Missouri defense to keep up with. I expect another big game from Nick Chubb maybe pushing a total of 250 all-purpose yards. Georgia by 6.

Will: Georgia has skated on thin ice to start the season. Granted their first game was against ranked UNC, but barely beating Nicholls State is not a good look. I think Mizzou has them primed for an upset. They have them at home, their pass game run by Drew Lock has shown some promise, and Nick Chubb can only carry this Georgia team so far. Georgia hasn’t been able to help out Chubb much in the pass game, with QB Jacob Eason’s best game by far coming from the Nicholls game. Should be a close one again for Georgia, in which I believe their luck will run out. Mizzou by 3.

Mikey: It doesn’t matter who plays QB: the Bulldogs are just flat-out better than Mizzou. Georgia by 16.

Kevin: Georgia has struggled against two teams that as of right now are unranked. My boy Ronald Ollie and his D1-AA school Nicholls only lost by 1 to the bulldogs. I think this where they stumble and catch their first loss. Missouri by 7.

 #3 Ohio State v. #14 Oklahoma

Tyler: This is also up there for most entertaining/important games of the weekend. Ohio State is obviously a top-ranked team, while Oklahoma needs to win this game more. I think you’ll see a lot of desperation, which typically doesn’t bode well with Bob Stoops-coached teams. I also think that the JT Barrett-led Ohio State team is a bit disrespected on the national scale. This is a statement game for OSU. Give me the Buckeyes by 12.

Gabe: Ohio State has a very prolific offense with JT Barrett at the helm and their defense looked great against Tulsa. I think the Buckeyes are going to be too much for Oklahoma to handle both offensively and defensively. We have seen on multiple occasions that if Baker Mayfield sees pressure and can’t escape the pocket, he can’t make plays. Ohio State by 14

Sean: Oklahoma has its season on the line early against the Buckeyes, thankfully it’s at home. JT Barrett and Baker Mayfield are two of the best quarterbacks in the country, and both have weapons around them. Semaje Perine and Joe Mixon are a great running back tandem for Oklahoma, while Ohio State has Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber to make explosive plays. On defense, the Buckeyes seem to have the advantage. Urban Meyer always seems to get his squad up for the big game, and I expect JT Barrett and the rest of the Buckeyes to be ready in this one. OSU by 15.

TJ: I’m not convinced that Oklahoma is a contender yet and it definitely won’t help that they’re facing an always strong Ohio State Buckeye team led by sneaky Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett. The Sooners will have the home field advantage but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough to overcome the Buckeyes. This matchup along with the MSU vs ND matchup will be the two best games in week three of college football. Buckeyes by 2.

Will: It would be an understatement to say this game has huge implications on the college football landscape. If Ohio State loses, that’s a setback in their quest for the playoffs. If your Oklahoma and lose this game at home, you’re all but guaranteeing you’re out of contention for the playoffs. Also, if Ohio State loses, that opens up a spot for a fringe team to storm their way into the top four (Maybe Clemson, Houston, or Stanford?). Baker Mayfield is great for Oklahoma, but let’s face it, he’s a poor man’s Johnny Manziel. I want Oklahoma to win because I love chaos, I just don’t see that happening against Ohio State. J.T. Barrett is too good and Urban Meyer does not shy away from big games like this. Ohio State by 7.

Mikey: J.T. Barrett vs. Baker Mayfield in a battle of the duel-threats. While Mayfield may be better than Barrett, I believe Ohio State has the all-around edge in terms of talent, and therefore should pick up a huge road victory early in the season. Buckeyes by 7.

Kevin: Ohio State has performed wonderful so far this season with Offense Looking great and the defense being equally as good. The buckeyes lost most major contributors from their team last year but has recovered just fine under the leadership of Urban Meyer and J.T. Barrett. Oklahomas offense looked great last week and had some great drives against Houston. Mixon and Mayfield have balled out so far and should have great seasons but Oklahoma as a whole is just less talented than Ohio State: Buckeyes by 17.

Portland State v. #8 Washington

Tyler: CNN said that Portland is one of the best cities for undergraduate students to live. That’s nice. Washington by 45.

Gabe: Washington is darkhorse to make the CFB playoff this year. Jake Browning has looked impressive completing over 74% of his passes while throwing for 8 TD’s to just 1 INT.  Washington by 48.

Sean: Jokes. Washington by 50.

TJ: Washington really hasn’t been tested yet and after week three, that’ll still be true. Portland State is in for a long game. Huskies by 38.

Will:    Not going to be a pretty game here. Washington hasn’t stopped scoring points since the beginning of the season, averaging over 50 points in each of their two games. I don’t want to say Portland State has no chance, because there is always a slim chance, but they might lose by 60 points. I’m a nice guy though, so I won’t do that to Portland State. Washington by 59.

Mikey: Blowout of the week: Portland State vs. a top-ten opponent. RIP. Huskies by 52.

Kevin: Cupcake game. Washington by 48.

USC v. #7 Stanford

Tyler: I think very few teams have an answer for Christian McCaffrey, and I don’t think USC is one of those teams. Stanford has looked solid in their first few games, while USC as a program in general, regardless of their showing against Utah State, isn’t doing well. Playing on the road don’t help, either. I’ll take Stanford by 22.

Gabe: USC had high expectations this year but came out flat against ‘Bama, getting annihilated. Stanford had last week off and boasts one of the most dangerous players in all of football. It should be a good game but Stanford should be able to handle the Trojans.  Stanford by 10.

Sean: Christian McCaffrey had an outstanding first game against Kansas State, and now he’s rested for a below average USC defense. USC got clapped by Alabama in week 1, and I don’t think they’ll be able to stop McCaffrey. Cardinals by 23.

TJ: The Trojans are looking to redeem themselves after an embarrassing loss to Alabama. If USC wants a chance at the National Championship, they’ll need to beat Stanford this weekend. Christian McCaffrey is the best player in college football and USC won’t have an answer for him. I expect this game to be an explosion of points and end with a really good finish. The big question for USC is if they still want to make the playoffs if it means playing Alabama again. Stanford by 7.

Will: In my opinion, USC is dead after getting obliterated by Bama Week 1. How can you consider yourself an elite football program and lose 52-6? I know it’s Bama, but c’mon USC, be better. Now, they should be able to compete with Stanford. When I say compete, I mean lose by less than 30. Christian McCaffrey is going to run up and down the field and dominate this game. Stanford by 20.

Mikey: As much as USC improved last week, they still don’t stand a chance against a team with equal or greater talent. Plus, Christian McCaffrey just had a week off, so he’s fresh coming into this game (a.k.a., USC’s defensive players should be having nightmares). Stanford by 20.

Kevin: The Trojans don’t stand a chance at stopping Christian McCaffrey but their offense did take a step forward this week and if they can find a way to get the ball in Adoree Jacksons hands enough this game could become extremely close. McCaffrey and Jackson could have an all purpose yards-battle, but Stanford will come out on top. Cardinal by 13.

#11 Texas v. California

Tyler: The high-flying Texas offense has already put up 91 points this season, while averaging over 460 yards per game. Cal, while they kept Hawaii subdued, gave up 45 points last week in a loss against San Diego State. Shane Buechele has been the best quarterback in the Big XII thus far, and I think that will continue this week. Longhorns win by 10.

Gabe: It’s been awhile since Texas have been relevant in college football and it feels good. Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes have been a sensational tandem at QB and have combined for 10 TD’s in the first two games. Texas shouldn’t have a problem with this Cal team. Texas by 17

Sean: Texas is still riding the emotion of a win at Notre Dame and rolls into Berkeley against a not so great Cal team. The “Bear-Raid” offense will look to spread out the longhorns and attack them where they are weakest, in the secondary. Shane Buechele has been outstanding spreading the ball around the field and then handing it off to power backs Chris Warren and D’Onta Freeman. Expect more of the same from the Longhorns this week as they cruise to a 30 point victory.

TJ: The Longhorns can taste the top ten and the California Bears won’t slow them down. Texas has a great story this year, overcoming Notre Dame to start it off but if they want a prayer at the National Championship they’ll need to prove their worth and that starts with not losing winnable games to UC Berkeley. Texas Longhorns by 9.

Will: Love seeing the Longhorns back in the mix. They’ve had a great start to the season, which is always important. They started it off with the big win against Notre Dame and followed that up with a sizeable win against UTEP. Shane Buechele seems to be a good leader for this Texas, even as a Freshman. Cal isn’t a slouch of an opponent. They will be a good test, for me, to see whether the win against Notre Dame wasn’t just a fluke, but that Texas football is back and here to stay. Texas by 14.

Mikey: Cal is no pushover, but the Longhorns have already beaten a much tougher opponent in the Fighting Irish; they should be able to handle the Golden Bears. Texas by 21.

Kevin: Charlie Strong’s elite recruiting abilities are finally showing up on the field and the offense has been great. Cal lost a lot of talent to the NFL and is in for a long game. Longhorns by 39.

#12 Michigan State v. #18 Notre Dame

Tyler: I’d be much more confident in this game if Shaun Crawford, their best corner through the first game and a half, didn’t destroy his Achilles. However, I trust Notre Dame’s offense to outpace Tyler O’Connor, who didn’t look completely comfortable in his first game against Furman. My preview will cover my thoughts more effectively, but I’ll take the Irish by 4.

Gabe: This game has slowly turned into a nice little rivalry across the MI/IN border. Michigan State struggled with Furman in their only game this year while Notre Dame lost a heartbreaker in week one but followed it up with a trouncing of Nevada. DeShone Kizer is looking like a possible first or second round pick in the NFL and has been the key to ND’s offense. Mark Dantonio always seems to produce a great defense but I think their offense is the worst it has been in years. Both teams have plenty of talent, but Notre Dame’s will shine brighter in South Bend. ND by 10.

Sean: Michigan State comes in as the more rested team, as they didn’t play last weekend. They only beat Furman by 15 in week 1. Notre Dame bounced back in a big way over Nevada, and DeShone Kizer has taken the starting quarterback job with force. This game being in Notre Dame is a huge advantage for the Fighting Irish. The noise factor should help the Notre Dame defense and fluster an average Spartan attack. These two always play it close, this year Notre Dame comes out on top by 6.

TJ: This game is probably the game of the week and Notre Dame has a lot to prove after losing to Texas during Week One. Nonetheless, the Fighting Irish are in front of their South Bend faithful once again taking on a promising Michigan State roster. DeShone Kizer is going to have the game of his career and lead the Irish to a victory. Notre Dame by 10.

Will: Notre Dame suffered an unfortunate loss Week 1 in a game against Texas to remember. They forgot about that loss quickly and moved on with an easy win against Nevada. Now they have Michigan State, and while they might get by with the loss against Texas, they can’t lose to Michigan State. If DeShone Kizer and the Fighting Irish want to have a shot at the playoffs or a top bowl game, this game would be huge on their resume. Michigan State will be the well rested team having only played one game so far this season, which I think will hurt them against Notre Dame who has already played in a big game. Should be an all around great game. Notre Dame by 10.

Mikey: Deshone Kizer looks like the best QB in the nation at the moment (talent-wise, not necessarily statistically). His ability and the talent on the offensive side of the ball should be enough for the Irish to overcome a very good all-around football team in Michigan State. Irish by 3.

Kevin: I hate to say it but I think Notre Dame wins this game. Their offense has been amazing and Kizer has looked good. They also have a deep and talented receiving corps that could cause fits for Michigan State defense. Notre Dame’s offense will be able to make up for their deficiencies on defense and beat the Spartans in a shootout. Irish by 10

Texas State v. #24 Arkansas

Tyler: Dating back to last season, Arkansas has won 8 of their last 9 football games. In that one loss, they went down by one single point. Texas State isn’t much of an opponent, and it has the potential to be an emotional let-down after last week’s thriller. But, I’m going with the hot hand in their second-to-last easy game of the season. Razorbacks by 14.

Gabe: Arkansas pulled out quite a win against TCU last week and should continue that momentum. Arkansas by 27

Sean: Shoutout to Arkansas for coming through with the upset over TCU last week, you have a new fan. Razorbacks by 32.

TJ: The Razorbacks proved that they belong last week with an upset victory over the TCU Horned Frogs. It isn’t likely for them to lose coming off of last week’s performance. Also, Texas State isn’t much of an obstacle so Arkansas will keep it going. Razorbacks by 30.

Will: Arkansas proved a lot of haters wrong last week in their upset over TCU (including myself). The best part about the win last week is they have a break in the form of Texas State. In my opinion, I think it would be very Arkansas of them to lose to Texas State this week. Will the high of beating a top-20 team carry over to this game? Probably, but they’re such heavy favorites in this game not even Aransas will blow this one. I’ll wait till they play their first SEC opponent. Arkansas by 30.

Mikey: They just had a nice win against TCU, and they should keep up their winning ways against an inferior opponent. Arkansas by 28.

Kevin: Not a chance. Razorbacks by 20.

North Texas v. #23 Florida

Tyler: After disappointing against UMass, despite coming away with a win, they embarrassed Kentucky in the Swamp. Florida’s defense is still really good, and North Texas is still not capable of beating a top-tiered defense. Gators by 24.

Gabe: Florida shouldn’t have any issues against the Mean Green. Florida by 31.

Sean: Have fun in The Swamp, North Texas. Florida by 25.

TJ: North Texas won’t come into The Swamp and put up any sort of a fight. Gators by 36.

Will: I’m not going to waste any one’s time here. Florida is the overwhelming favorite and I don’t see any chance for an upset here. Florida by 40.

Mikey: North Texas, seriously? Gators by 17

Kevin: Mean Green is a pretty sweet name. Florida by 35.

 BONUS – Florida International v. UMass

Tyler: Florida International had to start their season off with two games against Big 10 opponents, so I do feel bad for them. I don’t know much about FIU in general, so I’ll throw TJ, Will, and UMass a bone this week. Minutemen by 10, just like last season.

Gabe: Both are bad at football. I flipped a coin and FIU won. FIU by 3

Sean: What a matchup. Two of the worst teams match up against in each other in what should be an absolute barn burner. I’ve seen UMass play live and it was ugly. Golden Panthers is a cooler mascot than the Minutemen, so I’ll choose FIU by 14.

TJ: UMass QB Ross ‘Matt Saracen’ Comis missed practice earlier this week after taking a beating by the BC defense. Comis should be good to go by Saturday and hopefully he will be, for the Minutemen’s sake. If Comis does get the green light, I think he’ll have a strong game accounting for 200 yards between his arm and legs. Da’Sean Downey and Peter Angeh should do just fine getting to FIU’s quarterback and running back. I truly think UMass comes away with a victory here, but I don’t think it’ll be pretty. Minutemen by 4.

Will: I’m getting fired about this matchup. Is that sad? That what I get to look forward to as a UMass football fan is a matchup against FIU? I’ll take what I can get. UMass let me down big time last week against BC, somehow only scoring 7 points after doing so rather early in the game. I’m not expecting blow-out (mostly because it never happens), but I would appreciate this win more than ever. Good luck FIU, it’s going to get real rowdy at McGuirk on Saturday. UMass by 10.

Mikey: I just can’t pick UMass until they actually win a game. I hope I’m wrong here. FIU by 10

Kevin: FIU is absolutely terrible and UMass has looked ok at times against good competition early in the year. Minutemen by 17.

BONUS – Boston College v. Virginia Tech

Tyler: BC is coming off a win against UMass, and while Virginia Tech did not pull off the upset, I was impressed with their ability to hang tough against an SEC opponent. I don’t think this will be a high-scoring affair, but VT has BC’s number. VT by 6.

Gabe: If BC has any sort of offense, they’d be good, but until then, they will struggle to win games. Virginia Tech by 7.

Sean: BC looked pretty good against UMass last week (which isn’t saying a lot), while Virginia Tech got toasted by a shaky Tennessee team. After being friends with Kevin for most of my life, I should know better than to pick BC here, considering not even Matty Ice could beat the Hokies. Patrick Towles is playing his season in memory of Harambe, which makes all the difference. Eagles by 5.

TJ: The BC Eagles hurt my feelings and dampened my spirits after beating UMass last weekend but I can’t deny that their defense is legitimate. If the Eagles were playing at home, I’d say this game was BC’s to lose but Virginia Tech has given them fits in the past. I think BC QB Patrick Towles will break this game open with his legs and obviously his arm as well. It’ll be a close one and hopefully Mike Knoll will hit all of his extra points and the Eagles get a bounce or two here and there. Eagles by 2.

Will: Why BC? You can’t give us one game? Honestly would love nothing more than V-Tech to whoop BC this week, but BC impressed me last week. Their pass game looked a lot more developed than it usually has been. Last season they relied heavily on freshman Jon Hilliman, who remained somewhat silent against UMass. We should see more of him this week against the Hokies. BC by 7.

Mikey: VT just held their own against a much tougher opponent, and therefore should best the Eagles by double-digits. VT by 14.

Kevin: The Eagles have always struggled with Virginia Tech, but after a decent performance against UMass I have faith. Their defense will be great per usual and on offense they should look to keep using a rushing attack with Hilliman and Towles. Eagles by 7.

 

Cover Photo courtesy of Buffalo News.

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