Friday, September 16, 2016

Your NCAA Football Week 3 Primer (With Picks!)

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook is a tough man to get a hold of.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Man, last week was weird.

We didn't even have one match up of ranked teams, but there were still plenty of wild games, including Central Michigan knocking off Oklahoma State, proving that you should stop betting on teams from Oklahoma this year. Meanwhile, both Clemson and Georgia nearly lost to schools you couldn't find on a map, causing many to re-think their preseason expectations in the ACC Atlantic and SEC East.

Bascially, last week kicked my butt. After starting 10-5 against the spread in Week 1, I went an abysmal 5-13 last week, as I pressed pretty much all the wrong buttons (Texas is due for a down game… Clemson is about to explode… Alabama always covers against weak teams… Iowa State always plays Iowa tough…).

Yeah, I feel a little silly about all those, but onward we go with our Week 3 preview and picks.

This week's slate is a little better, as we get four different meetings of ranked teams, and a few other games featuring ranked teams battling major conference competition.

Here are my (potentially awful) picks for every game featuring a ranked team.

Picking Week 3

Last Week Against the Spread: 5-13
Year Against the Spread to Date: 15-18

Home Team in CAPS


RICE (+31.5) over No. 21 Baylor

I did well picking against Baylor when the Bears had to cover a 30+ point spread against a bad in-state opponent. Since that was, maybe, my only good call last week, I'll make the same one this week as Baylor travels to Rice.


NO. 5 CLEMSON (-Too many) over South Carolina State

Maybe this is the week Clemson finally gets its offense going…

No. 2 Florida State (-1.5) over NO. 10 LOUISVILLE

Buckle up, because this one's gonna be a bumpy ride. Louisville is scoring about 300 points per game, but they haven't seen a defense with speed like FSU's yet. But, the Noles will be without star safety Derwin James, and that defense is going through some growing pains.

Still, I loved what I saw from FSU in the second half of their Week 1 comeback win against Ole Miss, and I think the Noles will be able to come out of Papa John's Stadium (least intimidating name for a venue ever?) with a  shootout win.

NO. 15 TENNESSEE (-27) over Ohio

It looks like the Vols have bounced back nicely from near disaster in Week 1 against Appalachian State. It also doesn't hurt that Ohio couldn't keep pace with Kansas. Tennessee ain't great, but it ain't Kansas either.

I feel like that could also just be the state motto of Tennessee.

NO. 13 IOWA (-This game should have a line) over North Dakota St.

NDSU is an FCS dynasty, and Iowa is only pretty good. This game absolutely should have a line, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was still competitive in the second half. That said, you have to pick the ranked FBS team, but if any FCS team can pull off the upset, it's North Dakota State.

NO. 9 WISCONSIN (-35) over Georgia State

How the hell does this game have a line? NDSU is better than Georgia State, I think, and I'm not all that convinced that Wisconsin is much better than Iowa. Still, the Badgers pounded an over matched Akron team last week, and I'd expect them to do the same here.

No. 25 Miami (-3.5) over APPALACHIAN STATE

Oh boy. We seriously have a ranked team ONLY favored by 3.5 against Appalachian State? I mean, the Mountaineers' defense did look good for 2.5 quarters against Tennessee, and they did bounce back to crush Old Dominion last week.

But still, Miami's gonna win this thing by more than a field goal. Right?…

No. 1 Alabama (-11) over NO. 19 OLE MISS

I'm not betting against Nick Saban until the line hits 14.5, or he's facing a legit Top-10 team.

*Remembers that Ole Miss has beaten the Tide two years in a row*

Nah, still going with Bama.

NO. 4 MICHIGAN (-19.5) over Colorado

Michigan is really good, and Jim Harbaugh, as Nick Saban would say,  "is not as forgiving as I am."

No. 22 Oregon (+3.5) over NEBRASKA

I get that Nebraska is the home team here, and that Oregon has underwhelmed thus far, but come on! Gimme the Ducks and the points, in a game that may feature over 500 yards rushing.

No. 17 Texas A&M (+3.5) over AUBURN

I'm not convinced either of these teams is actually that good. But, like the Oregon-Nebraska game, gimme the ranked team if I'm getting more than a field goal, even if they're on the road.

Mississippi State (+14.5) over NO. 20 LSU

Are we sure LSU is good? I mean, are we really sure?

North Texas (+36.5) over NO. 23 FLORIDA

I cannot bet on the Gators to cover these large spread when their offense is this suspect. Oh, they score a billion points on Kentucky (only 45, actually), you say? Well yeah, that's what Florida has done since the Cretaceous period, but it never translates to other games.

No. 12 Michigan State (+8) over NO. 18 NOTRE DAME

MSU hasn't played anybody of note yet (sorry Furman), and ND is at home, but I have to believe Mark Dantonio will have his team ready enough to keep this thing within a touchdown. Plus, ever since Notre Dame decided to discontinue the annual rivalry, Michigan State now only gets the chance every few years to top the Irish.

I don't think they'll waste it.

NO. 24 ARKANSAS (-30.5) over Texas State

Holy cow, Arkansas is ranked? Holy cow, there's a Texas STATE?

No. 16 Georgia (-6.5) over MISSOURI

The Dawgs were nearly embarrassed last week against Nichols, and methinks Nick Chubb and company are primed to bounce back, especially on offense.

No. 3 Ohio State (-1.5) over NO. 14 OKLAHOMA

This game would have a lot more juice if Oklahoma hadn't dropped its opener to Houston, but it should still be a great one. Both teams have tremendous talent but, while Oklahoma has a bit more experience, OSU is just better across the board. Also, gimme Urban Meyer over Bob Stoops, a coach quickly approaching "what have you done for me lately" territory.

NO. 8 WASHINGTON (-A Lot) Portland State


NO. 7 STANFORD (-8) over USC

Christian McCaffrey reminds the nation why he's the most dangerous man in the college football with the ball in his hands. USC continues to struggle against an offense with a pulse, and a defense that can defend the run with 6 or 7 in the box.

No. 11 Texas (-11) over CAL

Am I a believer in Texas yet? Not quite, but Cal lost a shootout to San Diego State last week. Somehow, Charlie Strong still hasn't figured out how to play defense at Texas, but he may not have to this week, against a Golden Bears team that has already given up 76 points to a pair of mid-major opponents.

No comments :