Predictions for College Football Week 3

Danny FlynnSenior Analyst ISeptember 13, 2012

Predictions for College Football Week 3

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    Week 3 of the college football season offers up an interesting mix of important conference clashes and intriguing nonconference showdowns.

    This weekend, the top two ranked teams in the country, No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 USC, will head out onto the road to take on capable conference foes.

    The Tide will head to Fayetteville to battle an Arkansas team that will be looking to make up for an embarrassing upset loss to Louisiana-Monroe last week, while the Trojans will take the trip up the California coast for a meeting with No. 21 Stanford.

    Those are two of the marquee matchups of the weekend, but there are plenty of other interesting games such as Florida vs. Tennessee, Notre Dame vs. Michigan State and Cal vs. Ohio State to keep an eye on.

    This is shaping up to be the best and most entertaining weekend of the college football season that we've seen so far.

    Here are a few predictions for this weekend's action.

USC Will Look Tired Against Stanford

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    USC just got through flying across the country and back for a Week 2 matchup with Syracuse in New Jersey.

    That's a total trip of about 5,000 miles.

    The Trojans are likely a bit tired and sluggish after such a long journey. It doesn't help that they'll have to go back out on the road again to play Stanford this weekend.

    It should be interesting to see just how much energy USC actually has on Saturday night.

A.J. McCarron Will Continue to Impress

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    Alabama QB A.J. McCarron is never brought up in the conversation about college football's best quarterbacks.

    Nevertheless, if McCarron keeps developing and performing at a high level this season, he won't be ignored for much longer.

    So far, McCarron has completed 62 percent of his passes for 418 yards, thrown six touchdowns compared to no interceptions and has helped the Tide's offense average 38 points per game.

    The junior signal-caller will now go up against an Arkansas defense that currently ranks 88th in the nation in total defense and 112th in pass defense.

    McCarron should be able to find plenty of holes in the Razorbacks secondary on Saturday, especially since the team will be without its best defensive back, CB Tevin Mitchel.

Penn State Will Pick Up Its First Win of the Season

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    Penn State endured a heartbreaking 17-16 loss on the road at Virginia last week. Kicker Sam Ficken missed four of his five field-goal attempts as well as an extra-point try.

    If the Nittany Lions can play a solid game against Navy this week, though, the game shouldn't come down to a field goal again.

    The Midshipmen looked listless in a 50-10 blowout loss to Notre Dame in Ireland back in Week 1, and there's no question that Penn State has more talent on both sides of the ball.

    If coach Bill O'Brien can get his team motivated after two tough losses, he should finally be able to pick up the first win of his young head-coaching career.

Mike Gillislee Will Carry the Florida Offense

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    This offseason, a lot of fans were wondering how Florida would replace its two best offensive players from 2011—scat backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.

    It didn't take long for them to get an answer. After just two games, Mike Gillislee has proven that he's ready to be a workhorse back for the Gators offense in 2012.

    Gillislee has run for 231 yards and scored four touchdowns on 38 carries, and he's been the team's offensive MVP in both of its wins.

    This weekend, the 5'11", 209-pound senior will once again put the Florida offense on his shoulders against Tennessee.

Braxton Miller Will Come Back Down to Earth

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    Ohio State QB Braxton Miller has put together a sensational start to the 2012 season.

    Even though he's only played two games in the Buckeyes' new offensive system, Miller's proven to be a perfect fit for Urban Meyer's spread offense. He's completed 66 percent of his passes for 362 yards, run for 302 yards and accounted for seven touchdowns.

    The problem is, Miller hasn't truly been challenged by a BCS-caliber defense yet, so it's hard to judge just how well he's really performing.

    The dual-threat quarterback will finally face a tough test this weekend when the Cal Golden Bears come to Columbus.

    Cal's secondary features talented playmakers such as cornerbacks Marc Anthony and Steve Williams and safety Josh Hill. They will make things tough on the sophomore signal-caller.

    It wouldn't be surprising to see Miller struggle to fit his passes into the tighter windows he'll see against the Golden Bears.

Johnathan Franklin Will Total over 200 Yards

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    UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin has been one of the best individual performers in college football through the first two weeks of the season.

    Franklin has basically been unstoppable, as he's rushed for 431 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Bruins' first two games.

    The speedy senior will now face a Houston defense that currently ranks 119th in the country in total defense. It's a unit that is allowing 521 yards per game.

    Look for Franklin to have a third straight big performance and continue to show that he is indeed a legitimate Heisman contender.

Notre Dame Will Hold Le'Veon Bell Under 100 Rushing Yards

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    One running back that won't have such an easy time finding room to run on Saturday is Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell.

    Like Johnathan Franklin, Bell has been one of the most impressive players of the first two weeks of the season. The big, powerful 6'2", 244-pound junior has totaled 335 yards and scored four touchdowns in the first two games of the year.

    Bell might have a tougher time finding running room against Notre Dame's stout defensive front seven.

    The Irish are loaded with defensive difference-makers such as LB Manti Te'o, DE Stephon Tuitt and DT Louis Nix.

    Te'o, Tuitt and Nix are all big, strong, physical and fearless defenders who won't be intimidated by Bell.

E.J. Manuel Will Make Up for Last Year's Struggles

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    Florida State QB E.J. Manuel will be looking to make up for the poor performance he had against Wake Forest last year when the Demon Deacons come to Tallahassee on Saturday.

    Last year, Manuel struggled in a 35-30 loss, completing just 19 of his 35 passes and throwing two interceptions.

    The athletic 6'5", 245-pound senior has looked solid so far this season, but it's hard to tell just how good he's really been considering his opponents were Murray State and Savannah State.

    Now, Manuel will have the chance to prove himself against an ACC foe. He should be motivated to put together a huge performance at home against Wake Forest this weekend.

Stanford’s Defense Will Sack Matt Barkley 4 Times

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    Matt Barkley has only been sacked twice so far this season, but that total will rise when Barkley squares off with the Stanford defense on Saturday.

    The Cardinal have plenty of players on defense who know how to get to the quarterback, such as defensive end Ben Gardner and linebackers Chase Thomas, Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov.

    USC's offensive line may be one of the strongest front fives in the country, but the unit will have its hands full against Gardner, Thomas and company.

Kiehl Frazier Will Finally Have a Good Game

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    Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier currently has a passer rating of just 94, which ranks 110th among all quarterbacks in college football.

    Obviously, Frazier is not adapting to his new starting role, as well as the Tigers' new offensive system, all that well so far.

    Luckily, the sophomore signal-caller will now get to face UL-Monroe, which is a team that's sure to have a huge hangover after celebrating a monumental upset victory over Arkansas in Week 2.

    Frazier should finally be able to get on track with a solid outing against the Warhawks, and he should be able to get Auburn out of its 0-2 hole.

Pittsburgh’s Defense Will Step Up

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    Pittsburgh's defense has been a disaster in the first few weeks of the season.

    The Panthers currently rank 94th in the nation in scoring defense and 82nd in total defense. They've given up an average of 32 points and 422 yards per game.

    What makes things worse is that Paul Chryst's squad will now have to figure out how to stop one of the top quarterbacks in the country—Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas.

    The good news is that the team will at least have home-field advantage for the game.

    This unit has quality veteran defenders such as DE Aaron Donald, LB Shane Gordon and safety Jarred Holley, who will play with pride against the Hokies.

LSU, Georgia and South Carolina Will All Roll

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    While Arkansas and No. 1 Alabama are slugging it out on Saturday, the SEC's three other Top 10 teams—LSU, Georgia and South Carolina—will be beating up cupcake opponents.

    LSU hosts Idaho, Georgia hosts Florida Atlantic and South Carolina hosts UAB.

    All three teams should destroy their helpless opponents and win easily at home.

Bo Wallace Will Cause Problems for the Texas Defense

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    A fact most fans probably don't know is that Ole Miss currently leads the SEC in total offense.

    The Rebels are averaging 551 yards per game, and most of their success can be attributed to the play of first-year starting quarterback Bo Wallace.

    Wallace has completed 76 percent of his passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns, and he's also run for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

    The 6'5", 210-pound sophomore signal-caller is the type of dual-threat quarterback that could cause a lot of problems for Texas' talented defense.

    The Longhorns have one of the best secondaries in the country. It's a unit that includes three of the top defensive backs in the Big 12—cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs and safety Kenny Vaccaro.

    Still, don't be surprised if Texas gets put to the test by Wallace, RB Jeff Scott and WR Donte Moncrief.

Dennis Johnson Will Be Arkansas’ Key Playmaker

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    During the offseason, everyone was focusing on Arkansas' offensive group of skill-position players comprised of QB Tyler Wilson, RB Knile Davis, WR Cobi Hamilton and TE Chris Gragg.

    One Razorback that tended to be overlooked was RB Dennis Johnson.

    Even though he doesn't receive a ton of attention, Johnson is one of the most gifted running backs in the SEC. The problem is, he just so happens to be in the same backfield as the much-hyped Davis.

    Last year, Johnson only carried the ball three times and finished with negative-three yards in the 38-14 loss to Alabama. However, he should play a much bigger role in this year's game.

    Alabama's defense may be one of the strongest units in the country, but the 5'9", 213-pound senior could cause some havoc for the Tide once he gets the ball in his hands.

Wisconsin’s Offense Will Look Flat Again

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    In case you needed proof that this isn't the same Wisconsin team that won the Big Ten last season, all you had to do was watch the Badgers' pitiful performance in a 10-7 loss to Oregon State last week.

    The offense could only muster up 207 total yards and 13 first downs in Corvallis.

    Many are probably expecting the team to regroup at home against Utah State this weekend.

    That may not necessarily be the case, though.

    The offensive line is just not playing like a vintage Wisconsin offensive line right now. QB Danny O'Brien is nowhere near the same type of playmaker that Russell Wilson was. Plus, Montee Ball isn't running with the same authority we saw from him last year.

    The Badgers have a lot of problems that they have to correct, and it's certainly not a given that they'll just snap their fingers and magically turn into an offensive juggernaut in just one week.

There Will Be Some Great Lane Kiffin Signs on College GameDay

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    ESPN's College GameDay heads to Knoxville this weekend for the big SEC East showdown between Tennessee and Florida.

    GameDay hasn't been to Tennessee since 2004, so you can bet that the Vols fans will be ready to go wild once the cameras turn on.

    We're only two weeks into the season, but there have already been some memorable GameDay signs this year. Keep a lookout for plenty of Lane Kiffin-bashing signs from Tennessee fans, who are always looking to show their disdain for the coach that left them high and dry after just one year.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan State Will Come Down to a Late Field Goal

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    Two out of the last three games between Notre Dame and Michigan State have been won by just three points.

    This year's matchup is shaping up to be another hard-fought, close affair that could come down to the final minutes.

    Don't be surprised if the battle between the Irish and the Spartans is decided by a late field goal.

Stepfan Taylor Will Hammer USC’s Defense

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    Now that Andrew Luck is gone, RB Stepfan Taylor has assumed the role as the Stanford offense's key player.

    Taylor has already rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns this season. Now, he'll be looking to make a statement in a spotlight game against No. 2 USC on Saturday.

    The 5'11", 215-pound senior has had great success against the Trojans during his career.

    In the last two meetings, Taylor has rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns. He should once again be able to carve up USC's defense in this year's matchup.

Keenan Allen Will Score 2 Touchdowns

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    Ohio State has one of the best cornerback tandems in the country comprised of Bradley Roby and Travis Howard. However, they've yet to face a receiver the caliber of Cal's Keenan Allen.

    Allen has been held to just 11 catches and two total touchdowns so far this season, but he's ready to have a breakout performance on a big stage this weekend.

    The supremely athletic 6'3", 195-pound junior is a matchup nightmare, who will really put a lot of stress on Ohio State's defensive backfield on Saturday.

    If he gets consistent play from his half-brother, QB Zach Maynard, Allen has the chance to find the end zone multiple times against the Buckeyes.

Oklahoma State Will Play with Discipline

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    Oklahoma State played its most inefficient game of the Mike Gundy era last week.

    The Cowboys set a school record with 167 penalty yards, the receivers dropped seven passes and the Pokes turned the ball over four times in a 59-38 loss to Arizona.

    You can bet that Gundy and the rest of the coaching staff let the players know in practice this week that type of effort and lack of discipline will not be tolerated.

    The team should turn things around and play much better this week at home against Louisiana-Lafayette.

TCU Will Have Trouble with Kansas

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    TCU will make its Big 12 debut this weekend when the Horned Frogs travel to Kansas to take on a Jayhawks team that's coming off a disappointing loss to Rice in Week 2.

    On paper, Gary Patterson's squad clearly has the advantage, but don't doubt Kansas.

    Sure, Dayne Crist may be one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks in the country, but this team does have the talent to compete with TCU.

    The Jayhawks may not have enough playmakers on offense to pull off an upset, but they could definitely make this game a lot closer than many are probably expecting.

Boise State Will Look Sloppy Again

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    Boise State had a bye week in Week 2 to regroup after its miserable offensive performance against Michigan State in the season opener.

    Now, the Broncos will host Miami (Ohio) as they look for their first win of the year.

    QB Joe Southwick and the rest of the offense still have a lot of work to do in order to even come close to matching the offensive output that the team has had over the last few years.

    Chris Petersen's squad is usually dominant at home, but don't be surprised if the team looks a lot sloppier than usual against the RedHawks.

James Franklin Will Total over 300 Yards of Offense

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    One of the predictions I made last week was that Missouri QB James Franklin would total over 300 yards of offense against Georgia.

    Sadly, though, Franklin came up six yards short, as he totaled 294 yards of offense against the Bulldogs.

    I expect a big game out of the dual-threat quarterback this weekend when Arizona State comes to town.

    Last year, the athletic junior signal-caller torched the Sun Devils defense, throwing for 319 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 84 yards and a score in just his second career start.

De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner Will Share the Spotlight

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    Oregon running backs De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are two of the most explosive and electrifying playmakers in the country.

    Thomas received most of the attention after the Ducks' Week 1 win over Arkansas State, but it was Barner who garnered most of the publicity and headlines for his performance in Week 2.

    Now, both backs should be able to share the spotlight in Week 3, since they will each likely flourish and put up big numbers against a weak Tennessee Tech defense on Saturday.

Phillip Sims Will Play Better Than Michael Rocco

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    Virginia coach Mike London has said that Michael Rocco will be the team's starter for this weekend's game against Georgia Tech, but just like last week, Phillip Sims will also see some snaps.

    Rocco's performance against Penn State wasn't all that encouraging, as the offense remained stagnant for most of the game.

    If Rocco struggles again on Saturday, London should give Sims the opportunity to prove himself, which is exactly what the Alabama transfer has been waiting for.

Mike Glennon Will Throw 5 Touchdowns

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    N.C. State QB Mike Glennon entered the 2012 season hoping to prove to NFL scouts that he has what it takes to be a high draft pick. However, Glennon has not looked impressive in the Wolfpack's first two games against Tennessee and Connecticut.

    The 6'6", 232-pound senior has only completed 55 percent of his passes, thrown four interceptions and been sacked seven times.

    In Glennon's defense, the Tennessee and Connecticut defenses are both better than people give them credit for.

    Luckily, the South Alabama defense is just as bad as people think.

    Glennon should finally show off his skills and light up the Jaguars on Saturday.

Randy Edsall Will Get Beat by His Old Team

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    Maryland will host Connecticut on Saturday in what should be a very sentimental game for coach Randy Edsall.

    Edsall coached the Huskies from 1999 to 2010, and he led the team to its first BCS bowl game in his final season.

    Connecticut players remember the way Edsall left them without saying goodbye, as he decided not to take the plane back from the Fiesta Bowl with them. They ultimately learned of his departure through the media or text messages from family and friends.

    The Huskies will surely be looking to release their pent-up frustration on Saturday when they visit Edsall and his Terrapins.

Jon Hays Will Be a Solid Starter

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    After experiencing the fourth shoulder injury of his college career against Utah State last Friday night, Utah QB Jordan Wynn decided to call it quits this week.

    That means that his backup Jon Hays will take over as the team's new starting quarterback.

    Hays has experience as a starter, as he led the Utes when Wynn went down last year, helping the team win six of its last eight games.

    The 6'1", 208-pound junior will have to face a tough opponent right away, as No. 25 BYU will visit Salt Lake City on Saturday. However, Hays shouldn't be intimidated by the Cougars.

Colorado’s Misery Will Continue

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    Expectations certainly weren't high for Colorado going into the 2012 season since the Buffaloes had a ton of inexperience at key positions.

    Still, not even the most pessimistic Buffaloes fans thought that the team would start the season 0-2 with a loss to FCS foe Sacramento State.

    Now, Jon Embree will have to take his team on the road for a tough test against QB Derek Carr, RB Robbie Rouse and the Fresno State Bulldogs.

    After such a bad loss last week, it's going to be tough for Colorado to rebound on the road.

Collin Klein and John Hubert Will Dominate

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    QB Collin Klein and RB John Hubert are developing into quite a dynamic and dangerous duo in Kansas State's backfield.

    So far this season, Klein and Hubert have combined to total 786 yards of offense and eight touchdowns.

    They will have the chance to pad their stats this weekend against North Texas' defense.

Jeff Driskel Will Throw 2 Critical Interceptions

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    Florida QB Jeff Driskel handled his first SEC road game as the starter fairly well, as he completed 13 of his 16 passes for 162 yards in a 20-17 victory over Texas A&M in Week 2.

    The question is, will Driskel be fazed by the raucous environment at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium on Saturday?

    The Volunteers have some dangerous playmakers in the secondary such as Prentiss Waggner, Eric Gordon and Brian Randolph, who can all make the sophomore signal-caller pay if he isn't careful with the ball.

Justin Fuente Will Get His First Win as Memphis Head Coach

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    Memphis may be one of the worst teams in the country this season, but this weekend, the Tigers just so happen to play a team that's even worse than they are in Middle Tennessee State.

    First-year head coach Justin Fuente likely won't win many games this season, but he does have a great chance to pick up his first victory this weekend at home against the Blue Raiders.

Mississippi State Will Have a Let Down Performance at Troy

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    Mississippi State just picked up one of the biggest wins of the Dan Mullen era last week.

    The Bulldogs finally got the SEC statement win they've been looking for with a 28-10 victory over Auburn.

    The problem is, the team now has to go on the road to play a tricky Troy team, which is averaging 31 points and 520 yards per game this season.

    The Trojans may not be able to pull off the upset, but they could definitely take advantage of Mississippi State's miscues if the Bulldogs don't come ready to play.

Oregon’s Secondary Will Have Problems Containing Da'Rick Rogers

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    Former Tennessee WR Da'Rick Rogers is one of the most dangerous offensive players in the country, and he should cause a lot of problems for Oregon's secondary on Saturday.

    The Ducks will be without star safety John Boyett, who is out for the season with a knee injury, which means the Tennessee Tech offense will be looking to expose that weakness with a lot of deep passes to Rogers.

    Even though the 6'3", 206-pound junior is still trying to learn the playbook after transferring right before the season started, he's already caught eight passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

    Rogers is the type of big, fast and instinctive pass-catcher who could expose Oregon's banged-up secondary.

Johnny Manziel Will Struggle in His Second Start

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    Even though he wasn't able to lead Texas A&M to a victory over Florida in his first career start, QB Johnny Manziel had a terrific debut in Week 2.

    Manziel completed 23 of his 30 passes for 173 yards and also ran for 60 yards and a score in the 20-17 loss.

    The electric dual-threat quarterback looks like he should become one of college football's most exciting players to watch this season.

    Still, it remains to be seen how Manziel will handle himself on the road, especially against an SMU defense that includes intimidating front-seven players such as DE Margus Hunt and linebackers Ja'Gared Davis and Taylor Reed.

Ohio vs. Marshall Will Be One of the Most Entertaining Games of Week 3

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    You won't be able to watch the Ohio vs. Marshall game on television this weekend, which is a shame because it has the chance to be one of the best games of Week 3.

    Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton and Marshall QB Rakeem Cato are two of the top playmaking quarterbacks outside of the BCS conferences. They should put on a great show on Saturday.

    The Bobcats are the clear-cut favorite to win the MAC this season. However, the Herd are one of the most underrated teams in Conference USA, and they have the talent on both sides of the ball to give Frank Solich's squad a run for its money.

Louisiana Tech Will Score at Least 8 Touchdowns Again

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    Louisiana Tech totaled 598 yards and 38 first downs in a wild 56-49 win at Houston last week.

    The Bulldogs should again find the end zone at least eight times this week when they host Rice.

    QB Colby Cameron and receivers Quinton Patton and Myles White are the type of explosive passing combination that the Owls just won't have an answer for.

BYU Will Beat Utah

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    Utah may have a new quarterback, but the Utes still have RB John White, WR DeVonte Christopher and a defense that has enough talent to at least slow down BYU's explosive offense.

    Jon Hays doesn't have to be great for Utah to win the Holy War; he just has to play efficiently and take care of the football.

    Ultimately, though, even if Hays plays well, his counterpart Riley Nelson is the type of savvy playmaker that will find a way to get his team the "W" on the road.

    BYU remembers the 54 points that the Utes put up in last year's matchup, and that will give the Cougars the extra motivation they need to get the job done.

    Prediction: BYU 38, Utah 30

Virginia Tech Will Beat Pittsburgh

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    Virginia Tech is known to have one or two big letdown games every season, so it wouldn't surprise me if the Hokies underperform against a Pitt team that's on the ropes after two early-season losses.

    The Panthers look lost right now, but they should be ready to compete hard for this game.

    QB Logan Thomas is one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, but his lack of consistent accuracy concerns me.

    If Thomas can't put the ball where it needs to be, Pitt could make this game a lot tighter than it probably should be.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Pittsburgh 16

Georgia Tech Will Beat Virginia

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    Georgia Tech has one of the most powerful rushing attacks in college football.

    Virginia is going to find that out this weekend when the Cavaliers are forced to try to contain QB Tevin Washington and the Yellow Jackets' deep and talented stable of running backs.

    It's hard to trust the Virginia offense after that subpar performance against Penn State last weekend.

    In the end, the Cavs just won't be able to keep pace with Georgia Tech's potent triple-option offense.

    Prediction: Georgia Tech 35, Virginia 20

North Carolina Will Beat Louisville

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    The quarterback battle between North Carolina's Bryn Renner and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater has a chance to be a whole lot of fun.

    Renner and Bridgewater are both second-year starters who are developing into two of the most dangerous passers in the country.

    What this game will really come down to, though, is the play in the trenches. The Tar Heels offensive line, led by future high NFL draft picks Jonathan Cooper, James Hurst and Travis Bond, is one of the strongest units in the country.

    The Cardinals just don't have the strength up front to bang around with North Carolina for four quarters, which is why Renner and crew should come up with a hard-fought victory.

    Prediction: North Carolina 30, Louisville 28

Florida State Will Beat Wake Forest

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    Florida State QB E.J. Manuel and the rest of the Seminoles still remember how bad it felt losing to Wake Forest last year, and they'll use that lingering pain as motivation for this game.

    Wake Forest is a well-coached team that always plays hard no matter who the opponent is. However, the reality is the Demon Deacons just don't have the athletes to hang with Florida State this year.

    The Seminoles will use this as a statement game to show that those first two blowout wins against inferior FCS schools were no fluke.

    Get ready to hear the war chant all day long.

    Prediction: Florida State 49, Wake Forest 17

Ohio State Will Beat Cal

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    I don't expect Ohio State QB Braxton Miller to have a great day throwing the ball against Cal's secondary.

    Regardless, Miller's running ability will simply be too much for the Golden Bears' defensive front seven to deal with for four quarters.

    Prediction: Ohio State 23, Cal 14

Arizona State Will Beat Missouri

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    If you didn't get the chance to see Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly pick apart the Illinois defense last week, then make sure you tune into the Sun Devils' game against Missouri this weekend.

    Folks, we could be watching a star emerging right before our eyes.

    The strong-armed sophomore signal-caller has completed 33 of his 43 pass attempts for 496 yards this season, and he's displayed some standout skills.

    Missouri might be the better overall team. However, the Tigers expended a lot of energy trying to get ready for their SEC debut against Georgia last weekend, and they may not be able to perform at a high level on Saturday.

    Prediction: Arizona State 28, Missouri 27

Notre Dame Will Beat Michigan State

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    This game could come down to which quarterback makes fewer key mistakes—Notre Dame's Everett Golson or Michigan State's Andrew Maxwell.

    Maxwell may have the backing of the home crowd to help him out, but he'll also have DE Stephon Tuitt and LB Manti Te'o staring him down the whole game.

    The Spartans will clearly be trying to establish the run with big bulldozer back Le'Veon Bell. However, the Irish could counter them with their two talented backs, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.

    Ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised if this game turns out to be a physical, hard-fought battle that comes down to the last possession.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Michigan State 21

Tennessee Will Beat Florida

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    Tennessee hasn't beaten Florida since 2004, but this may just be the best Volunteers team that we've seen since then.

    QB Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson form one of the most dangerous passing trios in the country.

    The offensive line, led by future high NFL draft pick OG Dallas Thomas, has improved dramatically after last year's struggles.

    As well, the defense, led by linebackers Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson, has the speed and athleticism to go toe-to-toe with any offense in the SEC.

    This will be Florida's second road game in a row after a tough, physical battle at Texas A&M last week.

    You have to figure that the Gators are still a little sore and banged up.

    The fans will be getting pumped up all day long since College GameDay will be in the house, and Neyland Stadium should be absolutely rocking for this one.

    Derek Dooley has been searching for a statement SEC win for the past two years, and he'll finally get it on Saturday.

    Prediction: Tennessee 26, Florida 20

USC Will Beat Stanford

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    USC just finished flying across the country and back for its game against Syracuse in New Jersey, and the Trojans' energy level isn't going to be at 100 percent for their road trip to Stanford.

    The Cardinal may not have QB Andrew Luck behind center. However, they've still got one of the best running backs in the country, Stepfan Taylor, as well as a host of playmakers on defense, including the outstanding linebacker duo of Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov.

    QB Matt Barkley hasn't been hassled or rattled very much this season, but he's definitely going to feel some heat in this game.

    If Stanford QB Josh Nunes doesn't fold under the pressure, this game could end up being another wild affair just like last year's overtime shootout.

    Prediction: USC 40, Stanford 30

Alabama Will Beat Arkansas

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    Everyone's going to make a big deal about whether Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson should or shouldn't play in this game.

    I'll tell you right now, though: Whether Wilson plays or not is inconsequential, because the Razorbacks are going to get demolished either way.

    Arkansas' defense is nowhere near a championship-caliber unit, as we've witnessed over the last two weeks.

    QB A.J. McCarron, running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, WR Kevin Norwood and the Tide's powerful offensive line are going to roll right over the Razorbacks on Saturday.

    Prediction: Alabama 45, Arkansas 17

Upset Special: Ole Miss Will Beat Texas

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    OK, I have to make at least one bold prediction for a Top 25 team to fall this week.

    Last week, I picked Arizona over Oklahoma State, and the Wildcats delivered.

    This week, I'm going out on a limb and picking Ole Miss at home over Texas.

    Before the season started, the Rebels looked like they were a team that wouldn't even belong out on the same field as the Longhorns. However, QB Bo Wallace has added some magic to this offense.

    Texas is a team that hasn't exactly been the model of consistency over the past two years, and it wouldn't surprise me if Mack Brown's squad gets caught snoozing in Oxford this weekend.

    Prediction: Ole Miss 23, Texas 19