College Football Prediction: Week 3
While week one of the college football season was the ″greatest weekend ever″, week three has the potential to be better. Here is a look at some of the best matchups this weekend.
#3 Florida State (-2.0) @ Louisville
The Seminoles had a scare week one against Ole Miss, it was a story of two different halves. In the first half, the offensive line struggled to block for freshman quarterback, Deandre Francois, and the secondary was getting beat on both sides of the field. It wasn′t the typical Seminoles team that everyone knows, reason why Jameis Winston reminded them during halftime who they are. The fact that the Noles were still able to defeat a ranked SEC school by two possessions, with only one good half, says a lot about how good this team can be. A trip to Louisville will not be easy though. The Cardinals have a very good quarterback to lead them, sophomore Lamar Jackson. Jackson in two games has 13 total touchdowns and 1,015 total yards. While he hasn′t seen a defense thats comparable to Florida State, Jackson abilities makes Louisville dangerous.
Prediction: The Cardinals currently average 66 points per game but that number will not be reached against the Noles. If the Cardinals can not get other weapons involved to assist Jackson, then the Seminoles will have a field day on defense. As for the Noles′ offense, Francois should feel comfortable enough to play in a hostile environment after leading the Noles to a 22-point comeback. Pick the Noles to cover the low spread.
Miami (3.5) @ Appalachian State
The Hurricanes are ranked 25th in the AP poll but remains outside of the Fan-i 25. What makes this game so interesting is a program like Miami, that has prestige, will travel to a FCS school. It′s not often teams of Miami stature go on the road for trap game like this. Appalachian State is one of the best FCS schools in the country, with history of defeating big-time FBS schools. It took an extra overtime period for Tennessee to defeat the Mountaineers, and Tennessee is considered to be a contender to come out of the SEC East. The Canes with new coach, Mark Richt, is 2-0 but against Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic, and Appalachian State is better than both.
Prediction: 3.5 points is a low spread for FBS v. FCS game but it′s fair. The Hurricanes are not what they used to be and Appalachian State will be in front of a home crowd. This is a scary game to pick because it′s not telling what matchup will be exploited by either team. A 4-point victory is feasible for the Canes but the game will be closer. Pick Appalachian State to cover the spread.
#1 Alabama (-10.5) @ #12 Ole Miss
Bama complete domination of USC in week one gave everyone the impression that they′re primed for another title. But after a 38-10 victory over Western Kentucky a week later and Nick Saban sounded off in the press conference – saying this is the most disappointed he has been after a victory in a long time – proves that things aren′t perfect. An angry Saban doesn′t help the Rebels chances of knocking off the Tide three straight years in a row. Jalen Hurts will play in his first SEC environment on the road, looking to piggy back off of his solid performance against USC. Ole Miss quarterback, Chad Kelly, will need to play a perfect game in order for Ole Miss to knock off the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss showed that they are a tough team but they also have to prove that they can′t close out.
Prediction: Ole Miss really exposed themselves in their lost to Florida State. The secondary could be their achilles heel and something Lane Kiffin could take advantage of. Even though the game is in Oxford, Mississippi, somehow Bama is still an 11-point favorite. Picking Bama wouldn′t be a bad bet, but it all depends on which Ole Miss will show up on Saturday, the team that went up 28-7 in the first half against Florida State or the team that gave up 23-unanswered points in the third quarter.
#25 Texas A&M @ Auburn (-3.5)
Texas A&M entered the rankings after defeating the UCLA thanks to a solid performance by transfer Trevor Knight. Knight is replacing Kenny Hill – who transferred to TCU – but hasn′t had the same instant impact compared to when Hill made his first start a year ago. The Aggies will be in a dogfight with the Tigers, who defense proved they can contain the best offenses in the country, keeping Clemson under 20 points. This will only be the third time the Aggies visited Jordan-Hare Stadium but they have never lost at Auburn since 2012 when they joined the SEC. Auburn posted 51 points on Arkansas State but at the end of the day, it′s Arkansas State. The Tigers′ offense is still in question, but this could be the game they need to prove that they can put some numbers on the board.
Prediction: Auburn as a 4-point favorite is not a stretch. The defense is very good and they are working with home field advantage. Texas A&M defense has always been suspect but DE Myles Garrett has the playmaking ability that can change a game. A&M′s offense is the x-factor because they have not been as explosive as years past...yet. Auburn should win by seven, covering the spread.
#10 Michigan State @ #18 Notre Dame (-7.5)
Notre Dame bounced back from their loss against Texas with a 39-10 victory over Nevada. The Fighting Irish could easily be 2-0 and somewhere in the top ten if it wasn′t for the ″18-Wheeler″ in Austin. The offense looks very potent with Deshone Kizer in control. For Michigan State they are in the ″rebuilding process″ with a new starting quarterback, new receivers, and a sophomore running back. Sparty has always been built on defense, and defensive tackle Malik McDowell is keeping that tradition alive. This will be the first test for Spraty this season, but if anyone can take an unproven unit into a hostile environment and walk out a winner, it′s Mark Dantonio.
Prediction: This will be a game of decisions and coaching. Michigan State will have to slow the game down and turn it into a chess match. Sparty′s offense has not proved that they can last in shootout. Expect Kizer to have a Heisman like performance leading the Irish to victory but Dantonio will make sure his boys cover the spread.
#5 Ohio State (-1.5) @ #9 Oklahoma
This game has potential to be one of the best game of the season. Oklahoma needs a win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive after losing to Houston in the opening weekend. Even though playoff rankings won′t be released for another 6 weeks, this game has playoffs implications written all over it. The Sooners and Buckeyes – two of the most prestigious programs in college football – don′t get a chance to play each often, first time they will meet since 1983. Ohio State will need someone on the defense to step up and become that playmaker they need for games like this and you can say the same for the Sooners. Both teams are in similar situations; star quarterback with an inexperience defense. The coaching duel in this game will be epic, and will probably determine the winner of the game. Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops only met once in their careers, during the 2008 BCS title when Florida defeated Oklahoma 24-14, giving Meyer his second national championship.
Prediction: The ground game and defense will be pivotal this game, and each team has one over the other. The Sooners ground game is more trustworthy than the Buckeyes but the Buckeyes′ defense looks to be more reliable than the Sooners′. Meyers and Stoops will have to coach a great game to create a good balance of the two while still relying on their stud quarterbacks. This is a good game you should stay away from because it can go either way.
USC @ #7 Stanford (-8.5)
It hurts to see USC in the situation they are in. While College Football is still great, it′s without a great west coast team that could defuse the east coast bias. Stanford is trying to become that squad and they have the running back to do it. Christian McCaffrey is that player east coast fans and writers will stay up to watch, similar to how they would to watch Reggie Bush. In his first game of the season, McCaffrey didn′t put up the big numbers but he did eclipse 200 total yards with two touchdowns. USC defense was demoralized by Bama in week one and if they don′t play with more passion and pride, it could happen again.
Prediction: The Cardinals should win this game by two possessions. The Trojans can′t be trusted right now and McCaffrey is on a mission to get Stanford in that top 4. Ride the chalk in this one.