The Big E College Football Picks: Week Three

After a decent start of betting in week one, I fell below .500 for the second week.

It's all Lane Kiffin and USC's fault.

The Trojans late-game touchdown was taken away due to an unsportsmanlike penalty, but then put back on the board after the game by the NCAA.

That's bush league, and shows a complete lack of respect for the rules of the game and the referees who work so tirelessly to enforce them.

Let's take a look back at the rest of week two...

Last Week: 5-6

Overall: 11-10

After fumbling late in the 4th quarter and letting South Carolina score a touchdown, Aaron Murray marched Georgia down the field scoring quickly, but ultimately the Bulldogs couldn't pull any closer making the game a push. 

Wins

*Wisconsin shut out Oregon State 35-0 and held the Beavers to 1 yard rushing. OSU had some success through the air but was unable to put up any points, while the Badgers racked up over 200 yards rushing like they are Wisconsin or something.

*North Carolina outplayed Rutgers but like Notre Dame turned the ball over 5 times and let the Scarlet Knights hang around and make a game of it. The Tar Heels then weren't able to cover.

*Stanford covered their 20 point spread by beating Duke by a ho-hum 30 points. Hey, Andrew Luck at least threw an interception!

*In a complete replay of last year's battle in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide methodically took care of business against Penn State. Poor Joe Pa...he did all he could. 

*In a bit of a surprise, TCU beat Air Force by 16 points, although the Falcons outgained the Frogs by 6 yards with 416 total yards. That just goes to show you that you have to put points on the board and bury teams early (TCU led 35-9 after three quarters).

Losses

*Michigan upset Notre Dame. Denard Robinson poops horseshoes.

*Despite cutting through Auburn's defense left and right, piling up 333 yards on the ground and 531 total yards, Mississippi State was stuffed at the goal line losing by seven to their SEC rivals. When will Auburn finally lose a game?

*We all learned another hard lesson and that is to never bet on Virginia Tech to cover against East Carolina. The Pirates had only 112 total yards, but zero penalties to the Hokies' 12 flags. Yeah, not fishy at all.

*Cincinnati continues their post-Brian Kelly decline with a 22 point drubbing at the hands of Rocky Top Tennessee. Do the Volunteers actually have a competent offense now? 531 total yards and an absurd 34 of 41, 405 yard, 4 touchdown, interception free game from QB Tyler Bray? Whoa.

*Garrett Gilbert was pulled after going 2 for 8 with 2 picks and the Texas offense looked like it did in 2010 again. The Longhorns escaped with a one-point victory, but it wasn't enough to cover.

*The aforementioned USC game with the points put back on the board allowing the Trojans to cover by a half point over Utah---still a bunch of BS.

Now on to the week three picks....

Michigan State (+4.5) at Notre Dame

Pick: Notre Dame

See post titled Irish Seek Win Over Ranked Opponent.

Pittsburgh (+3) at Iowa

Pick: Pittsburgh

I chuckled during the offseason when I saw a few people rate Pitt as one of the top two or three toughest opponents for Notre Dame this year. What were those people smoking? The Panthers struggled to put Buffalo away and narrowly escaped from Maine last week---not good signs.

Iowa on the other hand, just lost to Iowa State so I'm not sure they will be anything but mediocre this year either. I have a little more faith in Pitt's ability to move the ball out of the spread so I'll take the underdog in this one. But seriously, both of these teams are looking at dismal campaigns in 2011. 

West Virginia (+1.5) at Maryland

Pick: Maryland

Maryland has always been the hot pick for Notre Dame fans to say, "Oh my God, this team is so much better than anyone realizes!!" As such, the Terrapins will be willed to a good record this year.

Both teams can throw the ball really well, but I'm not liking West Virginia's ground game right now. How can Holgo the Barbarian explain piss poor rushing stats against two weak opponents? I'll take the home team here, especially since they are coming off of a bye and a defeat of Da U. 

Auburn (+3) at Clemson

Pick: Auburn

I'm a little surprised by this line because even though Auburn is young and their defense has been pretty terrible this year, they are still an SEC team that has a lot of talent and has refused to lose this year. Meanwhile, Clemson is still Clemson.

Auburn's winning streak lives to see another week. 

Washington (+16.5) at Nebraska

Pick: Washington

I hate picking Nerbaska when the spread is this large---not with their volatile offense that is dependent upon a volatile player making dozens of plays every game. 

Washington hasn't been off to a great start in their first post-Locker season, but this is way too many points for Steve Sarkisian to work with. I think this game is much closer than the experts think. 

Tennessee (+9.5) at Florida

Pick: Florida

After careful consideration and flirtation with picking Tennessee, I am going with the Gators. It's in the Swamp, the Gators are still in their Charlie Weis Honeymoon phase, and the Volunteers will find it much more difficult to move the ball against the speedy and powerful UF defense.

9.5 points is a lot to lay on a Florida team that hasn't really proven THAT much this year, especially now that Tennessee appears improved from last year. Last year's game was an offensive nightmare for both teams---in 2011 this game will be much better on that side of the ball. It's just Florida is going to score a little more.

Texas (-3.5) at UCLA

Pick: UCLA

I'm really torn on this game because I want to take Texas, but I just can't trust their quarterback situation right now. I want to believe that the Horns offense is improved and that they can make up for last year's blowout loss to the Bruins, but I can't do it.

I am picturing a close game right into the fourth quarter and a field goal winning this one. That half point forced me to take UCLA in this game. 

Navy (+17) at South Carolina

Pick: Navy

It figures that once I acquiesce to South Carolina's defensive prowess this preseason, after doubting their true worth for a couple years, the Gamecocks go ahead and give up 79 points and 781 yards in their first two games. What is going on with that? Should we be concerned?

I'm going with Navy here because the Middies will eat up a lot of clock, and so will South Carolina trying to ride Marcus Lattimore all afternoon. The Gamecocks have put up 101 points so far this year, but they're yardage isn't really corresponding to a team that should consistently score that much. I like Navy to keep this somewhat close.

Ohio State (+2.5) at Miami [FL]

Pick: Ohio State

This line is probably due to Ohio State being scared by Toledo last week, but the Rockets are a really good football team and dangerous in the role of David. I bet gamblers think the Buckeyes will be all sorts of distracted down in southern Florida too. Well, I think it's a bit foolish to walk away from an underdog Ohio State team playing what is really an underwhelming Miami squad.

Buckeyes all day long in this one.

Oklahoma (-3) at Florida State

Pick: Oklahoma

The No. 1 versus the No. 5 team, so you're thinking take the underdog and the points, right? Ah, I just can't do it. From top to bottom I think the Sooners are just a little bit better than Florida State, and I love Bob Stoops ability to have his team ready to play these big regular season games. 

Most of all, I'm not sure I trust Florida State's offense, and I sure as heck trust Oklahoma's. 

Utah (+4.5) at BYU

Pick: Utah

Utah just hung with a very talented USC team, but it seems the professionals are being brutally honest in their assessment of the Utes not being very good this year. I don't know what to think of this game, other than it is a rivalry and should be close. 

BYU has played a couple BCS teams close, but could easily be sitting at 0-2 right now. I'm not sold that they are worth getting almost 5 points against Utah. Taking the points once again here. 

Stanford (-10) at Arizona

Pick: Stanford

Arizona is living off of an undeserved quality reputation, while Vegas continues to undervalue Stanford. The Wildcats were blown out in all three games against ranked opponents last year, and ninja kicked in the nuts by Stanford to the tune of 42-17.

After watching Oklahoma State almost put up 600 yards on Arizona, is anyone willing to bet they can slow down Andrew Luck & Co? This might be a high scoring affair, but the Cardinal should cover once again.

Enjoy the weekend! 

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