Record after week 3: 37-22, 30-28-1 AS
12 pm ET
(22) North Carolina (3-0) at Georgia Tech (2-1) (-2.5)
Tech had a tough one against Miami’s defense last week, and UNC’s defense might be better than Miami’s. I’m starting to think the triple option might not work as well as I hoped on Saturday. I truly, truly love that offense, but what if Dwyer can’t get healthy enough to get his normal amount of carries? What if he’s not as effective as usual? What if Tech has to pass in a bunch of third and long situations? It’s enough to make an option fanatic such as myself freak out. But fear not! I have faith in Paul Johnson’s system, especially since the Yellow Jackets are at home. I’ve also been honking UNC for a while, but in this case, I’ve gotta go with my heart and not my head. I’m probably going to regret this pick. No, I’m definitely going to regret it.
Pick: Georgia Tech
Indiana (3-0) at (23) Michigan (3-0) (-21)
Okay, so we’re toast this week. Michigan has all kinds of momentum, plus it’s at The Big House where IU hasn’t won in 42 years (also the length of time since our last Rose Bowl appearance), plus I still don’t trust our offense. We’re dead, right?
Not so, er, quickly, my friend.
One of the main issues with frosh-laden teams like Michigan is they take crap teams like IU lightly and get beaten. We’re going to need a huge effort from the defense, and Chappell is going to have to be much more accurate when he throws, but I’m telling you, IU can play close in this game. What? How DARE you call me a homer!
Pick: Michigan wins but doesn’t cover
(7) Louisiana State (3-0) at Mississippi State (2-1) (+12.5)
Go here to read my preview for this game at SECfootballblogger.com
Fresno State (1-2) at (14) Cincinnati (3-0) (-16.5)
You have to hand it to Fresno State for their schedule this year. Okay, so they opened with UC Davis. Lame. But then it was Wisconsin, Boise State, and now Cincinnati. That’s two very good teams and a somewhat fallen Big Ten power. And while they’re playing tough in pretty much all their games, that schedule has taken its toll. Pat Hill has never lost less than two games in his time at Fresno, they’ve already reached that mark this year, and they’re about to make it three.
Cincy’s offense has been outstanding so far. Tony Pike and the boys are putting up huge points and numbers on a weekly basis now, which is a little bit shocking even though this very team won the Big East last year. Nice to see at least one squad in that conference isn’t a total loss. Will Fresno present a challenge to the Bearcats at home? After that second-half fiasco against Boise, especially watching Fresno’s quarterback Ryan Colburn take huge hits and throw change ups on every pass play (put it this way, Jamie Moyer likes the look of his fastball), I’m inclined to think blowout by Cincinnati.
3:30 pm ET
Illinois (1-1) at (13) Ohio State (2-1) (-14)
This is one of those games The Man wants you to think is a big one but really isn’t. Don’t listen to The Man. I’m sure The Man is gonna stick those of us in the Midwest with this game on ABC too. Bastard.
Pick: Ohio State
(15) Texas Christian (2-0) at Clemson (2-1) (-3)
Please tell me I’m not hallucinating. Clemson is f*cking favored against TCU? This is free money from the oddsmakers. I don’t care where the game is played. Clemson is so overrated it’s embarrassing, and Clemson is always overrated.
(9) Miami (FL) (2-0) at (11) Virginia Tech (2-1) (-3)
Going to Virginia Tech and playing a Hokies team they should beat has to be weird for Miami. And make no mistake, they should beat the Hokies. Virginia Tech barely beat Nebraska last week and Miami presents quite a few more challenges that the Cornhuskers. Jacory Harris is going to need to be great again, but with the running game and a suddenly stout defense, it makes a lot of sense to think the Hurricanes can win in Blacksburg. It might be ugly, seeing as how Tech’s defense and Frank Beamer are involved, but Miami is only going to need 21 points to win if it plays mistake-free football.
Arkansas (1-1) at (3) Alabama (3-0) (-17)
I’d love to pick the upset, but I know Nick Saban will be able to take advantage of the still-developing Arkansas offense. The Hogs can put up a ton of yards, but they’re not efficient yet and Alabama has the horses to prevent big plays. Saban is going to sucker Ryan Mallett into some bad throws that are going to kill Arkansas’ chances at beating the Tide. Next year, I’m taking Arkansas in this game no matter what, but this year, the Hogs just aren’t there yet.
Pick: Alabama wins but doesn’t cover
(6) California (3-0) at Oregon (2-1) (+6)
Okay, Jahvid Best, you had a pretty good game last week at Minnesota. Now, do it again. Only this time, do it better because Oregon isn’t going to get beaten on lame pass plays like Minnesota was.
I don’t trust Cal’s defense, but I really don’t trust Oregon’s offense. Who’s going to make plays for them? Year one under Chip Kelly definitely hasn’t turned out as expected, but shit, the Ducks are still 2-1. Cal will need to be perfect, and though Best is their entire offense, this game comes down to whether Kevin Riley can avoid screwing them or not. I think he’ll be okay.
6 pm ET
(1) Florida (3-0) at Kentucky (2-0) (+21.5)
I wouldn’t be picking this game at all if Florida had destroyed Tennessee last Saturday. Now? Well, Kentucky is gonna lose, but with the pluck and good attitude these SEC doormats have come to be known for. Hey, Florida, try not to suck ass on offense again, okay? And definitely don’t blame the playcalling of the other team either.
Colorado State (3-0) at (19) Brigham Young (2-1) (-16)
A CSU team I vastly, vastly underrated is coming to Provo to find out if BYU has any juice left after getting embarrassed by Florida State at home last week. Worse for BYU, State can smell a surprise Mountain West season starting here, so they’re playing with nothing to lose. It’s the “no one believed in us” thing the Sports Guy won’t shut up about. Bad news, Rams, BYU is just fine with that BCS monkey off their back.
7 pm ET
Arizona State (2-0) at (21) Georgia (2-1) (-12)
Letdown Game Alert! Joe Cox and the Georgia offense looked a little TOO good last week against Arkansas. It could be that the Hogs defense is just that bad, but something was a little too perfect about the way the Bulldogs played last week. It could very well be time for a letdown. The good news is Arizona State isn’t all that good and the game is in Athens, so I’m not buying upset here. But a surprise close game for a while? Definitely.
Pick: Georgia wins but doesn’t cover
(8) Boise State (3-0) at Bowling Green (1-2) (+17)
I keep waiting for Boise to slow down and take a game off, and maybe even lose, but it hasn’t happened yet. They’re going all the way the hell over to Ohio for this random matchup against a feisty, if somewhat punchless Bowling Green team. A road game far from home on a Saturday night like this is a prime chance for a crapfest by an otherwise excellent Boise team. Plus, they know their conference schedule is starting for real soon, meaning they can basically take the rest of the season off anyway. Don’t quit too early on me, Boise. I need a BCS buster to survive.
Pick: Boise State
7:35 pm ET
Arizona (2-1) at Oregon State (2-1) (+2)
I would imagine this line swung the other way since I made my pick. There’s no way Oregon State is going to be a home underdog to a weak Arizona team. The Wildcats can play defense, but I’d be shocked if they scored 21 points on the Beavers, and Oregon State hardly ever scores less than that at home (with the game last week against Cincinnati being the exception). I can’t believe I’m trusting a Mike Riley offense for the second week in a row after they let me down so badly last week. There’s got to be something wrong with me.
Pick: Oregon State
8 pm ET
Iowa (3-0) at (5) Penn State (3-0) (-10)
Iowa won’t come close. I don’t care if they’ve improved every week since week one. Penn State is going to grind on them for four quarters and get themselves a Big Ten blowout. Which means a 31-10 win.
Pick: Penn State
Notre Dame (2-1) at Purdue (1-2) (+7)
I think Notre Dame comes in and blows Purdue out. There is nothing Purdue does on offense that Notre Dame can’t handle and Clausen and the O are still good enough without Michael Floyd. Purdue is going to put up a fight, but they’re still a bad team and Danny Hope is probably realizing just how big his rebuilding project is. I do think the Boilers will be better when Robert Marve is the quarterback next year, but until then, the team has no offensive balance. No one is afraid of the passing game, which has been the case since Kyle Orton graduated. Now that’s crazy.
Pick: Notre Dame
9 pm ET
(24) Washington (2-1) at Stanford (2-1) (-7)
Wow, is this a letdown game. Washington’s young team just beat USC and it had to be hard to even get up for practice on Tuesday, let alone fire up for going to Nor-Cal to play the doormat of the Pac-10.
That said, I can’t imagine why Stanford is a touchdown favorite just because they’re at home. Are the oddsmakers putting that much stock in the possibility of a UW letdown on the road? I know Washington is still not very good, but there’s no way Stanford is that much better. Hell, if Jim Harbaugh’s squad really does win this game, THEY are the ones who should be receiving national press because there’s no way a Stanford team should ever be 3-1 unless they’ve played four 1-AA teams. So while a letdown scares me, I have a lot of trouble seeing Stanford doing enough offensively to win.
9:15 pm ET
Texas Tech (2-1) at (17) Houston (2-0) (-1.5)
Houston is so going down. If they don’t, they’re a legit BCS-Buster along with Boise State, and Texas Tech is way, way worse than we think they are. The issue with both these teams is they could lose at any time because of the style they play. An even slightly off game from Case Keenum means doom for the Cougars. The same goes for Taylor Potts, but Tech may be down, but they still have their pride and Big XII athletes on their team. This is just like the BYU/FSU game last week. I think Houston puts up an amazing fight, but goes down in the end. If they don’t, I’m jumping on that bandwagon so fast you’d think I was Usain Bolt.
Pick: Texas Tech
10:15 pm ET
Washington State (1-2) at (12) Southern California (2-1) (-45)
This is a blowout if Matt Barkley or Mitch Mustain starts for USC. If Aaron Corp starts, USC is gonna win 28-0. He was that terrible agaisnt Washington last week. So terrible, in fact, the loss would be totally his fault if it weren’t for a gutless performance by the defense at the end. This is now the third USC quarterback in a row since Matt Leinart graduated to suck the fat one against an unranked Pac-10 doormat. John David Booty did it agaisnt Oregon State and Stanford. Mark Sanchez did it against Oregon State too. And now Aaron Corp got his one shot at getting his starting gig back and instead did a very solid JaMarcus Russell impression. USC is going to play angry, so the real shocker would be if Wazzu scored a touchdown at any point in the game. Though I will say this: the last time I laid points like this, a certain LA-based college team went down to Stanford in the biggest upset ever.