It’s Week 3! We’ve got SEC games, Auburn in Happy Valley, and Pac-12 after dark. Let’s get straight into it.
Previous Week: 3-2
Season Record: 5-5
Notre Dame vs. Toledo +17 W
Aha! Toledo didn’t just hang! They gave Notre Dame a real run for their money, with the Irish needing a game-winning drive from Jack Coan to prevail. I really like the Rockets going forward; they’ll be a MAC favorite.
Colorado vs. Texas A&M -17 L
Unfortunate news for Texas A&M when they found out Haynes King would be missing indefinite time after undergoing surgery for a fractured leg suffered in the first quarter against the Buffaloes. Backup Zach Calzada jumped in, but really looked uncomfortable in the offense. As a result, the Aggies struggled and could only put up 10 points, which ended up being enough for a win. It’ll be interesting to see if Calzada can settle in going forward, as A&M’s hopes of a playoff berth depend on it.
Iowa State vs. Iowa +4.5 W
That Iowa defense! After an Ohio State loss to Oregon, Iowa stands alone as the highest ranked Big Ten team now. The Hawkeyes look really strong.
Kentucky -5.0 vs. Missouri W
Missouri gave the Wildcats quite the game, but Chris Rodriguez ran wild for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Kentucky is so dangerous going forward. Don’t be surprised if LSU walks into Lexington as firm underdogs in a few weeks.
USC -17.0 vs. Stanford L
A loss so bad Clay Helton got fired. Yikes. Stanford grabbed USC by the legs, flipped them over, and shook out everything they had in their pockets before shoving their head in the toilet. David Shaw survives another!
All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook as of 10:00 AM of 09/18
Cincinnati vs. Indiana, Saturday 09/18, 11:00 AM CT, ESPN
The Pick: Cincinnati -3.5
I’ve had this game circled in my preseason calendar for some time. The best of the Group of Five takes on a strong Big Ten opponent in Indiana in Bloomington. This is a super chance for the Bearcats to prove they belong in playoff conversations, with Luke Fickell just narrowly missing his bid last year. Desmond Ridder has been stellar through two games behind center, and despite the loss of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to leave for Notre Dame, Cincinnati is ranked 18th in total defense once again.
Indiana had a nice bounce back against Idaho after the rough loss to Iowa, and this could be a chance to level their season. I think, unfortunately for the Hoosiers, it will be Cincinnati getting the huge boost.
Score: Cincinnati 31, Indiana 27
Miami vs. Michigan State, Saturday 09/18, 11:00 AM CT, ABC
The Pick: Miami -6.5
Two programs with some storied histories yet underachieving the past few years face off in the first slate. Miami ran into the Alabama juggernaut Week 1 and were walked up and down the field by Nick Saban. Then, a tussel last week against Appalachian State almost ended in a disastrous 0-2 start.
This is a real chance for the Hurricanes to get back on track. Michigan State is still on the long road of a rebuild, and while Mel Tucker is making progress, I like Miami’s overall talent to win out. D’eriq King is still a solid quarterback who can win games. Here come the ‘Canes.
Score: Miami 31, Michigan State 20
Florida vs. Alabama, Saturday 09/18, 2:30 PM CT, CBS
The Pick: Alabama -14.5
CUE THE MUSIC! SEC ON CBS!
What better way to start than watching the Tide beat down another SEC East opponent! They have won 31 straight games against teams from the East, and with Bryce Young emerging as the Heisman frontrunner, I don’t think they’ll have any problems against the Gators who have great talent but have looked a little shaky against subpar opponents to start.
QB controversy is not something you want through two weeks, but it’s exactly what Florida has. Emory Jones has not been the answer after waiting his turn, with only two touchdowns and four interceptions through the first two games. Redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson came in and threw two touchdowns against South Florida but suffered a hamstring pull late in the game, so his availability is in doubt.
But honestly, would it even matter? No one is touching this Alabama team right now.
Pick Alabama. Profit.
Score: Alabama 38, Florida 10
Georgia vs. South Carolina, Saturday 09/18, 6:00 PM CT, ESPN
The Pick: South Carolina +31.5
Another SEC affair! It’s not that I don’t like Georgia to win. In fact, I think they’ll do so handily.
However, Georgia’s offense took a hit with the loss of JT Daniels for some time with injury. Their run game will carry them to victory, but I lack faith in Stetson Bennett’s ability to score a ton of points against an improving Gamecock defense.
South Carolina has a stud running back of their own in Kevin Harris. He rambled for 1297 yards and 16 touchdowns last season on the ground and was a second team preseason All-SEC selection. I think he and the rest of South Carolina’s offense will do just enough to keep them within the points they’ve been given.
Score: Georgia 38, South Carolina 14
Auburn vs. Penn State, Saturday 09/18, 6:30 PM CT, ABC
The Pick: Auburn +5.0
The game we have all been waiting to see. Has Bo Nix finally grown into one of the best QBs in the SEC? Is Penn State the real deal in the Big 10? Will Auburn emerge to challenge Alabama with A&M’s quarterback troubles?
So many questions to be answered. But I think the X-factor will be Auburn RB Tank Bigsby. This is going to be a game won at the line of scrimmage, and if Auburn can create just a little bit of space, the sophomore is going to have every college football fan know his name by the end of the night. I’ve been higher on Auburn than most this season and rate this matchup as a top-15 duel.
Keep an eye on Auburn LBs Owen Pappoe and Zakoby McClain. This might be the best duo in the SEC and they will be box to box wreaking havoc on the Nittany Lions offense.
If Nix can keep his cool and the Auburn offensive line can create enough holes, I like Auburn to win this game outright. This might be the year.