Week 3 Preview
Each week, I’ll do my best to make a few predictions and follow-up on some of the interesting happenings around college football.
Here’s a look at the games that will be airing before Saturday.
- Cincinnati @ North Carolina State (ESPN, 6:30 pm CST)
- Kansas @ Southern Miss (ESPN, 7 pm CST)
- California @ Nevada (ESPN2, 9 pm CST)
AROUND the SEC
Arkansas (2-0) @ Georgia (1-1, 0-1)
- 11 am, CST, ESPN
Arkansas looks to notch its first win against the Georgia Bulldogs since 1993 this Saturday.
Neither team brings a shutdown defense to the table so I expect a lot of scoring (UGA won 52-41 last year). Arkansas does have its x-factor in QB Ryan Mallett, however they will be without playmaker Dennis Johnson. Johnson is an excellent returner and provides a boost to the Arkansas running game.
The Razorbacks offense has struggled at times despite putting up some big numbers. Arkansas didn’t run the ball very well against La. Monroe and only carried a 7-0 lead into the half. Arkansas trailed Tennessee Tech
after the 1st quarter, 3-0, in its first game of the season. The Razorbacks are also making a lot of mental mistakes. They have 15 penalties and 6 turnovers in their first two games. They can’t afford to do that on the road.
Georgia expects to hear today on whether A.J. Green’s four-game suspension will be lifted. If this happens, Georgia will almost certainly win as I don’t feel that Arkansas’ defense could stop him.I think the Dawgs will be okay without him, though. They should run the ball and work the clock to keep Mallett off the field and out of rhythm.
THE LINE: Georgia -2.5
OUTCOME: Regardless of Green’s status, I expect Georgia to win this game. Georgia has home field advantage and Arkansas has been slow out of the gate the past two weeks. Final prediction: 35-28 UGA
Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1) @ Ole Miss (1-1, 0-0)
- 11:21 am CST, ESPN3 (Formerly Lincoln Financial Sports for the Southeast folk)
Jeremiah Masoli is the starter for the Rebels now and that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to most. Masoli will lead the Rebels to their first SEC victory of the year. Ole Miss has been productive on offense at times. The problem has been second half meltdowns. Let’s see how the Rebels respond in the 2nd half this week.
Vanderbilt’s offense was nonexistent last week against LSU. They are averaging 12 points per game and they rank 101st overall in passing yards per game and 84th overall in rushing yards per game, but they did put up solid numbers against Northwestern.
THE LINE: Ole Miss -12
OUTCOME: I expect the Rebels to win this one. Final Prediction: 30-17 Ole Miss
Florida (2-0, 0-0) @ Tennessee (1-1, 0-0)
- CBS, 2:30 pm CST
Florida’s offense seemed to wake up a bit last Saturday in the 2nd half against South Florida, while Tennessee fell apart in the 2nd half against Oregon. I’m not sure Tennessee has the depth to compete with Florida for 4 quarters. The Gators seem to be getting dissed by most despite winning by double digits in both of their contests. It is true that they looked awful against Miami (OH), but they came back with a better effort last week. Florida can’t afford to keep starting slow, though. If they do, they will be in hot water quick.
The Volunteers have shown some potential under new coach Derek Dooley. They rushed for 332 yards against Tennessee-Martin and while they didn’t break 200 yards rushing against Oregon, they did average 5 yards per carry. If the Volunteers control the clock in this game, then it will come down to the wire.
OUTCOME: The Gators need to contain the Tennessee running game. They are a better defensive unit than Oregon and UT-Martin, but it is alarming that they let USF run the ball so well against them. Tennessee needs to find some way to control the clock and keep their defense off the field. I’m picking the Gators to win this one. Final Prediction: 30-12
THE LINE: Florida -14
Alabama (2-0, 0-0) @ Duke (1-1, 0-1)
- ABC, 2:30 pm CST
Alabama hits the road for the first time this season and will be playing in front of about 30,000 fans. Quite a change from the 100,000 they are somewhat used to. Duke is set to honor their 1945 team that beat Alabama at half time. It’s a nice, subtle prick at the Crimson Tide fans.
I don’t see Duke stopping Alabama on offense. They’ve allowed over 900 yards of offense in their first two games (Elon, Wake Forest) as well as 81 points. It seems unlikely that Duke could manage to stop Alabama. Duke does bring a nice offense to the table. David Cutcliffe is a solid offensive mind and a former SEC coach.
OUTCOME: I think Alabama’s defensive secondary will struggle a bit early on, but it won’t be close. The Tide’s defense will benefit from getting Marcel Dareus back. It will be interesting to see how the pressure improves up front. I may have been a little conservative on my earlier prediction, but I’ve got Alabama winning. Final Prediction: 49-20
THE LINE: Alabama -24
Clemson (2-0, 0-0) @ Auburn (2-0, 1-0)
- ESPN, 6 pm CST
This is a tough game to call. This is Clemson’s first test of the season, so its difficult to get a gauge how good they are. A couple of potential problems for Clemson are their lack of efficiency on 3rd down so far (4-19). They also couldn’t keep North Texas’ offense off the field. The Mean Green piled up 462 yards and controlled the clock for a whopping 41 minutes. Clemson nearly managed to out gain them even with the lopsided clock management.
THE LINE: Auburn -7
OUTCOME: Whoever makes the most mistakes usually loses the game. Especially in match ups like this. I’m giving Auburn the slight edge here. Final Prediction: 38-28 AUB
Akron (0-2) @ Kentucky (2-0, 0-0)
- ESPN3, 6 pm CST
OUTCOME: I don’t expect Kentucky will have any issues here. They should win in blowout fashion. Final Prediction: 48-14 UK
THE LINE: Kentucky -24.5
Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1) @ LSU (2-0, 1-0)
- ESPNU, 6 pm CST
Ah, Les Miles. You continue to elude the hot seat. Not for long, though. The Bayou Bengals will survive another week, but not without a struggle.
LSU will need Jordan Jefferson to perform better than he did last week. I think he will.
Tyler Russell was fantastic for MSU in Week 1. Not so much in Week 2 against an SEC defense. The Bulldogs can’t afford the inconsistency on offense in Baton Rouge. MSU is capable of pulling off the upset here, but I just don’t see it happening this week. Especially if they have to drive the field late in the game.
THE LINE: LSU -8
LES MILES JOB SECURITY: Stable …
Final Prediction: 24-14 LSU
Furman (1-0) @ South Carolina (2-0, 1-0)
- ESPN3, 6 pm CST
THE LINE: Off right now
I expect South Carolina to handle the Paladins in Columbia. I don’t think we’ll see any kind of James Madison-esque upset. Gamecocks roll in this one.
My Current SEC Record: 6-2
- No tough calls yet. That will start to change.
Other Key Match Ups
Most of the Top 25 will be able to take it easy this week. There are a few games worth mentioning, though.
- Texas @ Texas Tech: Texas Tech upsets the Longhorns
- Texas favored by 3
- Oklahoma is on upset alert as they match up against Air Force
- Oklahoma wins, but Air Force will stick around.
- Iowa @ Arizona: I’m going with Iowa and their defense here. THE LINE: Iowa -2
- Arizona State @ Wisconsin: Same story here. I think Wisconsin’s defense wins out and they win by two touchdowns.
- Nebraska @ Washington: Watch out Nebraska… The line is Nebraska -4 here. I’m saying Washington wins this one.
- Maryland @ West Virginia: The Mountaineers are on upset alert here. I think Maryland pulls it off.
- Notre Dame over Michigan State
Out of Conference Record: 2-2
Combined Record: 8-4