By: Nick Radivoj
It feels like College Football just kicked off yesterday and here we are already entering Week 3. We had our first major upset of the year as Texas A&M loses at home to an unranked Appalachian State team causing them to fall 18 slots in the polls. Alabama sneaks out of Texas with a last second field goal as defending champs Georgia cruises along and hops up to the #1 team in doing so. We are currently 11-9 over the course of the first 2 weeks putting us up 1.1u taking the juice into consideration. Let’s give us some wiggle room with a fun Week 3 slate.
#1 Georgia (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1)
When: 12 PM on 9/17
Line: UGA -24
It has only been 2 weeks but Georgia is beginning to look like a problem this year as many thought they would take a step back after losing so much from their National Championship team. Stetson Bennett has shown a mastery of this offense in distributing to playmakers left and right. Georgia cruised to a win last week over Samford while South Carolina was in a battle on the road against Arkansas. Spencer Rattler finished with a serviceable stat line although in a losing effort. Rattler will need to limit the sacks and turnover worthy plays in this one if South Carolina has a chance to pull off the upset. After fielding a historic defense last year, Georgia still seems to have a top tier defense under HC Kirby Smart. Unless I’m not taking the crowd into full context here, I think this one will get ugly as Georgia cruises to their third win this season.
The Play: Georgia -24
#6 Oklahoma (2-0) at Nebraska (1-2)
When: 12 PM on 9/17
Line: Oklahoma -11.5
A new HC will lead the Cornhuskers into battle Saturday as Nebraska and Scott Frost part ways after opening the season 1-2 and losing to Georgia Southern at home. Offense did not seem to be the issue last week for Nebraska as the defense surrendered over 40 points to Georgia Southern. Meanwhile, new HC Brent Venables and transfer QB Dillon Gabriel look every bit the Big 12 front runner they are after two weeks. Never underestimate the impact playing on the road will have for college students as it’s never easy to go into unknown territory and pull out a win as shown last week by Alabama. I love following the trend of trailing teams the week after they part ways with a head coach as the team almost always seems to rally for a hard-fought battle. This historic rivalry has seen a one score game over its past few contests and I expect the same here.
The Play: Nebraska +11.5
#12 BYU (2-0) at #25 Oregon (1-1)
When: 3:30 PM on 9/17
Line: Oregon -3.5
BYU travels on the road for another Top 25 matchup this week after winning in overtime last week against Baylor. In normal circumstances this would be a BYU play al day, but teams often come out flat after an emotional victory. BYU played a draining game against Baylor last week while Oregon bounced back with an easy victory over Eastern Washington putting up 70 points in the process. Having seen Bo Nix at Auburn, I’m very hesitant to lay 3.5 with the Ducks as he’s prone to make bone headed turnovers which can turn a game over on its head. I expect BYU to unfortunately come out flat this week after extending themselves against Baylor as well as Oregon HC Dan Lanning having a solid gameplan to keep BYU QB Jaren Hall in check. I find myself eyeing the total as BYU has a formidable defense of their own.
The Play: Under 57.5
#22 Penn State (2-0) at Auburn (2-0)
When: 3:30 on 9/17
Line: Penn State -3
Penn State travels to Auburn in a rematch of lat year’s exciting game which ultimately came down to the wire. Something has to give here in this meeting sa Penn State is 1-6 against the spread in their last 7 games against SEC opponents while Auburn is also 1-6 against the spread in their last 7 games against Big 10 teams. Nick Singleton provides Penn State their first 100-yard rusher in what seems like eons as he climbs over the century mark in last week’s win over Ohio. This game will be decided in the trenches as Auburn will look to establish their run game while attacking Penn State QB Sean Clifford on the other side with a very polished defensive line. I wouldn’t be doing you any justice to be on the lookout for whatever witchcraft will be in store inside Jordan-Hare stadium as it always seems the luck falls Auburns way there. I feel like the line is exactly right here so give me a slow methodical game of running the ball here.
The Play: Under 47
#20 Ole Miss (2-0) at Georgia Tech (1-1)
When: 3:30 PM on 9/17
Line: Ole Miss -16
Both teams are coming off commanding wins last week but that may not be the best thing for one of them. Georgia Tech is 1-10 against the spread in their last 11 games coming off of a win and 2-14 against the spread in their last 16 non-conference games. This contest will showcase good versus bad as Ole Miss brings in a Top 20 rushing offense while Georgia Tech has a bottom rushing defense nationally. I don’t see Georgia Tech having the firepower to keep up with Lane Kiffin’s offense as the offensive mastermind shouldn’t have too much difficulty putting up points. Georgia Tech QB Jeff Sims doesn’t have much help on offense but also doesn’t help himself making mistakes week over week. A rather easy one here as we can’t back the Jackets given their trends.
The Play: Ole Miss -16
UL Monroe (1-1) at #2 Alabama (2-0)
When: 4 PM on 9/17
Line: Alabama -49
I would love to be a fly on the wall in Alabama’s locker room after their narrow victory over Texas in Austin last week. For starters, Alabama came in as a 3-touchdown favorite against Texas and won on a last second field goal as time expires and the players feel the need to give the horns down sign?? Rightfully so, Nick Saban put that to a screeching halt. Nonetheless, a win is a win. Coach Saban does not have a short memory and doesn’t forget when ULM came into Alabama and upset the Tide at home in 2007. Bryce Young and company will look to get the offense back on track as they had a pedestrian game for their standards in Austin while the defense was able to keep the game tight while the offense sputtered. In no way, shape, or form am I predicting an upset from 2007 but it boils down to how much is the victory by? Ultimately, I believe defense can pitch a shutout or close to it once again while the offense does their damage to cruise in the second half.
The Play: Under 60.5
Texas Tech (2-0) at #16 NC State (2-0)
When: 7 PM on 9/17
Line: NC State -9.5
Texas Tech heads on the road this week to face another Top 25 team in NC State after prevailing over Houston at home. Texas Tech QB Donovan Smith was able to pull off the overtime win over Houston but didn’t look as sharp as he did in Week 1 throwing 3 interceptions in this contest. A performance like that on the road will surely find Texas Tech in the losers’ circle. Devin Leary and the Wolfpack cruised to a Week 2 victory after escaping their first contest against East Carolina with a win. I don’t want to sound too much like a broken record but with Texas Tech coming off an emotional overtime victory and travelling on the road doesn’t sound like a winning recipe to me. A tad unsure how I find myself laying the points with NC State again after they broke my heart in the opening game of the season but here I am.
The Play: NC State -9.5
#11 Michigan State (2-0) at Washington (2-0)
When: 7:30 PM on 9/17
Line: Washington -3.5
Both teams come into this contest 2-0 but both will have their first real test of the season here as they didn’t face A Power 5 team over the first 2 weeks of the season. Where Washington is most vulnerable is in the secondary as they lost multiple starters last year to the NFL draft and are pretty banged up in the secondary to start this year as well. The question here is if Michigan State can exploit that weakness? Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the talent under center is there for the Spartans to capitalize on the road against a tough Huskies team. I’m interested to see how this one unfolds as I haven’t had the pleasure to watch much of either of these team sthis year.
The Play: Washington -3.5
#13 Miami (2-0) at #24 Texas A&M (1-1)
When: 9 PM on 9/17
Line: TAMU -5.5
Texas A&M found themselves looking ahead to this game last week as they lose to Appalachian State at home as 19-point favorites. This game lost some of its shine as TAMU falls 18 points in the rankings to 24. I guess Jimbo Fisher may need to give Nick Saban an apology as it isn’t quite as easy as he says it is to win with the undisputed top recruiting class. New Miami HC Mario Cristobal and QB Tyler Van Dyke will face their toughest test in their short time together as a night game inside Kyle Field is no easy task. Jimbo Fisher will need to get his offense back on track as it’s quite embarrassing to only put up 14 points against an Appalachian State defense that gave up over 60 to North Carolina the week prior (7 of TAMU’s points came off of a kick return TD as well). This game will fall on the shoulders of Tyler Van Dyke and if he can withstand the pressure and noise come Saturday night in College Station. Give me a 1 score game with TAMU prevailing in the end.
The Play: Miami +5.5
Fresno State (1-1) at #7 USC (2-0)
When: 10:30 PM on 9/17
Line: USC -12
Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams cruise to another win as they take down Stanford at home last week. The offense seems to be in midseason form as Riley brings in a balanced attack able to establish the run and throw downfield with weapon Jordan Addison on the outside. USC’s defense is still an unknown as they did give up some points to Stanford last week and will face a tougher test this week as Fresno State brings a more prevalent offense to town behind QB Jake Haener. I don’t see either one of these defenses slowing down the opposing offense this weekend and would have loved playing the over but can’t recommend as it’s moved 5 points off its opening total of 68.5. Stanford found themselves within 2 TD’s last week and with a better offense I see Fresno State in this game late.
The Play: Fresno State +12