College Football Week 3 Viewing and Betting Guide
Virginia Tech (-10) at Pittsburgh
The Hokies are coming off an easy win over Austin Peay after a big win over Georgia Tech on Monday night. The winner of the Virginia Tech matchup against Georgia Tech has determined the winner of the ACC for the last 54 years so it was a crucial win at home for Frank Beamer.
Logan Thomas, a man compared unfairly to Cam Newton simply because they are large and mobile African-American quarterbacks, has been good through the air so far with a 59% completion rate for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh couldn’t be much worse. Paul Chryst, who left Wisconsin for Pitt couldn’t have had a worse start. The Panthers opened the season by losing to Youngstown State and then getting demolished by Cincinnati on Thursday night. They host Virginia Tech but just can’t execute like the Hokies.
Cal at Ohio State (-17)
Both teams play their first good team. However, one team already has a loss to a non-AQ team. Cal opened the season with a loss to Nevada 31-24 in which the most noticeable thing on the field was Cal players getting on each other. It is a sign of unrest among the team that has probably been broiling in the fall. The Bears have been practicing at 8 am to ready themselves for an early game west coast time after being embarrassed when traveling east to Maryland a few years ago.
The Bears gave up 450 total yards of offense including 230 yards on the ground against a team that runs a read option. Even worse, the next week, aka last week, Cal gave up 371 yards to Southern Utah. In that game Maynard also looked somewhat average.
Ohio State on the other hand gets the benefit of being at home. They also have handily beaten Miami of Ohio and after a slow start pulled away from UCF, a team that is sneaky good. Braxton Miller is also operating at a 66.6% completion rate and is also the leading rusher on the team with 302 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Navy (+7) at Penn State
Penn State has been down in the dumps the last two weeks. They blew a second half lead against Ohio after suffering from “overjack” and then missed 4 out of 5 field goals to lose by one at Virginia. It would be hard to imagine the team mentality isn’t centered around “things seem to be only getting worse.”
Meanwhile, Navy got blown out by Notre Dame in Dublin and have had a full two weeks to think about it. They had a bye week before playing at Penn State. The triple option is best played when a team has only 6 days to prepare for it, but the blocking techniques are also just plain hard to deal with, which is why many teams try to avoid triple option teams all together. I like Penn State to win a close one for their first win of the year, mostly due to missed field goals.
Virginia (+10.5) at Georgia Tech
Virginia is coming off a win against Penn State. Sure the Cavaliers caught a few lucky breaks but also turned the ball over four times and put out similar yardage to the Nittany Lions. Virginia is better than they have played thus far. However, you can’t turn the ball over and create short fields for Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech was last seen losing in overtime to Virginia Tech when Tevin Washington had the brain fart of the year and tried to throw a touchdown while being sacked, only to have it picked off. Otherwise, Georgia Tech could have probably taken the Hokies to a second overtime. I like the Yellow Jackets to win, but Virginia to cover.
Alabama (-20) at Arkansas
The Razorbacks are fresh off an overtime loss to ULM. Tyler Wilson will not be playing as he has some sort of injury but the fact a #8 team loses to ULM means a lot more is wrong than simply the quarterback position. Since Petrino was fired the coach has just seemed lost. They have never looked effective for a full game and just have questions on execution.
The Crimson Tide is more dominant than ever. They cruised to a 35-0 over Western Kentucky, but that is after the dismantling of Michigan. Alabama is on a roll, and if they can beat a Michigan squad on the road with with a good quarterback they can certainly beat Arkansas by more than 20.
Florida at Tennessee (-3)
Florida has an ugly offense right now, but their defense is still impressive. They are a team that showed up in the second half against the Aggies by making short fields. Their offense is a continual crap shoot of awfulness and that is what will ultimately do them in this week.
This is a must win game for Derek Dooley at Tennessee. He has yet to beat Georgia, Florida, or South Carolina so far in his time at Tennessee. Sure, he didn’t get a great start after Lane Kiffin ran the program in to the ground and left, but he has to win this game. Tennessee is 2-0 with their first win over North Carolina State being the most impressive. Tyler Bray has been on fire so far this season with almost a 75% completion rate and 6 touchdowns to go with 643 yards passing. At home, with a good quarterback and lots of returning starters against a weakened division foe is a must in.
Arizona State (+6) at Missouri
I’m in on Arizona State. Sure they decimated Illinois, who may not be great, but the Sun Devils have just played well in their last two games. Missouri could be coming off a hangover after losing a game against “old man football.” Franklin, the calmest quarterback in college football, has completed over 60% of his passes.
Taylor Kelly has been the star so far for the Sun Devils as he’s thrown 33/43 for 496 yards and 2 touchdowns. I like ASU’s odds, especially when they’ve been outscoring foes 108-20. Missouri may win, but ASU is surely covering.
USC at Stanford (+9)
Matt Barkley has yet to beat the Stanford Cardinal, but this is also his first year playing a Luck-less Cardinal team. The biggest benefit for Stanford in this game is that they are playing at home rather than the LA Coliseum. Josh Nunes hasn’t been amazing so far but he has been good, with a noticeable improvement from the San Jose State to the showdown against the Duke Blue Devils. Most importantly, the Cardinal have always been a power running attack, it was just a huge plus they had the most NFL-ready quarterback since John Elway also on their roster.
It is hard to imagine though a team with an easy 9 NFL players on offense couldn’t outscore the Cardinal. Stanford took advantage of an undisciplined USC squad last year, which opened up huge holes to run through on offense. Let’s see if USC has tightened things up on defense, because the offense will produce. There isn’t a passing attack better than Barkley/Woods/Lee and I like USC to win, but Stanford to have enough magic left to make the game interesting.
Utah State (+14) at Wisconsin
Wisconsin just fired their offensive line coach because Heisman finalist Montee Ball couldn’t run well against OREGON STATE. Oregon State was awful last year, and while they may have improved, they can’t have improved that much that quickly. Utah State meanwhile had seven close losses last year and beat up on Utah last week on a Friday. The game may be in Madison but I like Utah State to pull an upset and make the season rougher for the Badgers.
Notre Dame at Michigan State (-6)
Notre Dame has been impressive in their first two weeks. First, they shredded a Navy team in Dublin, Ireland 50-10. The Irsh rushed for an astonishing 293 yards, making it look easy. Theo Riddick had the speed to rush for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Everett Golson in his two games so far as starter has thrown only one pick, which was against Navy, has a 67.3% completion rate and has 433 yards passing. Most importantly, Notre Dame has been able to avoid turnovers. Turnovers decimated Notre Dame last year and cost them at least two, and probably three wins.
The Spartans are for real though. Right now they look like the best Big-Ten team by far that is eligible for the postseason. I would still pick them to win over Ohio State. They opened with an impressive win against Boise State and crushed them defensively. While Boise State had to replace a lot on offense, it is not like Michigan State wasn’t getting constant pressure and stuffing running plays at the line. It was more of the same when Sparty played Central Michigan and won 41-7. Le’Veon Bell has been a workhorse carrying the ball 62 times already for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns. I like Michigan State at home to win by a touchdown.
Texas at Ole Miss (+10.5)
An SEC-style Big-12 team is squaring off against an actual SEC team. Both teams really have yet to play anybody significant. Texas has played Wyoming on the road and New Mexico at home. Ole Miss has played Central Arkansas and UTEP. The Rebels have outgained both opponents by nearly 180 yards each game. Texas’ yardage hasn’t been too drastic a difference between their opponents and benefited from turnovers more than Ole Miss has thus far.
Ole Miss is built on defense and speed like every other SEC team, they just aren’t as good. Texas has been adopting a SEC-type system featuring a defense capable of squeezing the life out of an opponent and on offense that will march down the field and not make mistakes. I like Texas to win but Ole Miss to cover.
BYU (-4) at Utah
I wish Utah was a better team and hope that they bring more to the conference than just their television market. So far though they are best known for losing 24-20 to Utah State last Friday night. BYU was last seen shredding the Washington State Cougars at home. Utah just couldn’t put it together against Utah State. I like BYU to win the holy war, as much as it pains me to say it.