College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIISeptember 12, 2013

College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

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    College football heads into Week 3 with a full slate of promising matchups. After the excitement of Week 2, the nation is asking, "What's next?"

    Here are all 62 answers to that question, complete with picks and final scores for every one of this week's games.


    *Games are presented in order as they appear on the ESPN schedule, and all times are according to ET.

No. 5 Stanford at Army

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    Final Score: Stanford 34, Army 20


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Stanford travels to take on the Army Black Knights this week. This game will be over quickly, as long as Stanford's rush defense—currently ranked No. 3 in the nation—holds up.

    The Black Knights will give that defensive line everything they've got, but the Cardinal will not blow a potential national championship run against Army.


    Prediction: Stanford 50, Army 17

No. 7 Louisville at Kentucky

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    Final Score: Louisville 27, Kentucky 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Kentucky lost to Western Kentucky in its season opener, and Week 3 features another in-state rivalry game.

    While you can throw what is supposed to happen out the window, you cannot deny that Teddy Bridgewater is more than capable of pulling off the win against the Wildcats.


    Prediction: Louisville 38, Kentucky 17

Akron at No. 11 Michigan

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    Final Score: Michigan 28, Akron 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Akron heads to Michigan this week to see if it can do what Notre Dame couldn't: beat the Wolverines. (Spoiler alert: The Zips won't be able to either.)

    Michigan is enjoying the "break" game that generally follows an early-season heavyweight bout, and the bottom of the team's depth chart will flood the field in the second half.

    Akron needs to focus on being successful against Michigan's third-string players. If the Zips can find success against them, that's a good indication Terry Bowden has the program on track for a relatively big season sooner than expected.


    Prediction: Michigan 52, Akron 7

Tulsa at No. 14 Oklahoma

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    Final Score: Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Oklahoma's rushing attack is doing well at making up for the team's current lack of aerial intimidation.

    There may come a time in the near future when that isn't good enough to win games, but it's going to be enough against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.


    Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Tulsa 13

No. 16 UCLA at No. 23 Nebraska

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    Final Score: UCLA 41, Nebraska 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    UCLA's Brett Hundley takes the trip to Nebraska to face Taylor Martinez and the Cornhuskers this week.

    The 'Huskers almost lost to an underrated Wyoming squad to open the season, and the Bruins have had a bye week after a big 58-20 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack.

    UCLA's bye week should have given it the necessary adjustment period to figure out exactly how to implement Anthony Barr and the rest of the defense against Ameer Abdullah and Nebraska's offense.

    Unfortunately, that same week saw walk-on wide receiver Nick Pasquale killed in an auto accident. Trying to win a football game while mourning their teammate will be one of the biggest challenges these men will face in their lifetime. It's natural to be affected by emotions, but Jim Mora was right to point out that the Bruins need to maintain control of theirs.

    After all, Nebraska isn't going to spot them points.


    Prediction: UCLA 38, Nebraska 34

Bowling Green at Indiana

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    Final Score: Indiana 42, Bowling Green 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Indiana is at a turning point here, and a win over Bowling Green is necessary to earn the respect of the Big Ten—not as a potential champion, but simply as an opponent.

    The Hoosiers take on Bowling Green this week. That would have originally been a predicted win, but Indiana just lost to the Navy Midshipmen, a squad comparable to Bowling Green. The Falcons have every reason to enter this game expecting to win.

    However, that wake-up call from Navy is going to push Indiana to victory.


    Prediction: Indiana 39, Bowling Green 35

Western Illinois at Minnesota

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    Final Score: Minnesota 29, Western Illinois 12


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Minnesota is heading into its last near-guaranteed win of the season.

    The Golden Gophers are going to demolish the Western Illinois Leathernecks, which will give them a nice 3-0 start to the season.


    Prediction: Minnesota 55, Western Illinois 3

Virignia Tech at East Carolina

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    Final Score: Virginia Tech 15, East Carolina 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    Virginia Tech and East Carolina head into a match that is difficult to predict.

    The Hokies displayed a stellar defensive line in the first two games of the season, but their offense is having serious issues with dropped passes and other minor details that add up to great adversity. If Virginia Tech shows up with sure-handed receivers, this game will be over by halftime. If not, QB Shane Carden and RB Vintavious Cooper will carry East Carolina into a competitive fourth quarter.

    Again, the predicted winner has had an alarm go off in the past two weeks. Virginia Tech is not going to let that offensive performance against Alabama happen again this season.


    Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, East Carolina 28

Georgia State at West Virginia

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    Final Score: West Virginia 41, Georgia State 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at noon


    West Virginia faces one of the newest teams in the FBS this week, and this game will be as lopsided as the team's 16-7 loss to Oklahoma last week wasn't.

    West Virginia is worried about how to compete in the Big 12 this season, but the Georgia State Panthers are simply focusing on the long journey from expansion program to respectable football team.


    Prediction: West Virginia 42, Georgia State 0

Southern Miss at Arkansas

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    Final Score: Arkansas 24, Southern Miss 3


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12:21 p.m.


    Arkansas may or may not be one of the better teams in the SEC West this season, but there is no denying that the Razorbacks are far better than the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

    This is the last game before the major showdown at Rutgers, and it's all SEC foes for Arkansas after that.


    Prediction: Arkansas 45, Southern Miss 10

Louisiana-Monroe at Wake Forest

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    Final Score: Louisiana-Monroe 21, Wake Forest 19


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m.


    Louisiana-Monroe is somewhere between Presbyterian and Boston Collegeif you want to compare the Warhawks to Wake Forest's previous opponents.

    Wake Forest couldn't figure out how to stop Chase Rettig last week, and it will be difficult for the Demon Deacons to stop Kolton Browning as well.

    The saving grace for Wake is that ULM's defense shouldn't be nearly as effective as Boston College's was. Of course, "shouldn't" isn't the same as "won't," and home-field advantage will decide the game.


    Prediction: Wake Forest 34, Louisiana-Monroe 31

New Mexico at Pittsburgh

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    Final Score: Pittsburgh 49, New Mexico 27


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m.


    New Mexico has an excellent chance to expose this year's Pittsburgh squad as vastly inferior to its 2012 edition. Florida State lost 11 players to the 2013 draft yet managed to demolish the Panthers 41-13 in the season opener.

    Florida State proved that Pitt's offense is hurting badly after losing its starting quarterback this offseason. If it is as bad as it looks, then this will be a relatively close game. And if New Mexico is improved over last season, it will be even closer.


    Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, New Mexico 24

Eastern Michigan at Rutgers

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    Final Score: Rutgers 28, Eastern Michigan 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.


    Rutgers hosts Eastern Michigan the week before inviting the Arkansas Razorbacks to town.

    This is the final play-in game before that major battle, and Eastern Michigan would absolutely shock the nation if it managed to upset the Scarlet Knights.


    Prediction: Rutgers 41, Eastern Michigan 9

Fordham at Temple

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    Final Score: Fordham 30, Temple 29


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.


    After back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Houston, Temple welcomes the Fordham Rams to town expecting its first win of the season.

    This game should meet expectations, though Temple's performance will set the tone for the rest of the season.

    If it isn't a blowout win, then the Owls can look forward to a grueling and disappointing season in the American Athletic Conference.


    Prediction: Temple 45, Fordham 6

Fresno State at Colorado

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    *UPDATE, Sept. 13, 2013: This game has been postponed due to flooding in Colorado.


    When: TBD


    So far this season Colorado seems much improved, but opponent Fresno State took down AAC hopeful Rutgers just two weeks ago. Colorado can lose this game and still be on the track toward improvement.

    This is just one of those tough losses the Buffaloes are going to have to stomach for the time being.


    Prediction: TBD

Youngstown State at Michigan State

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    Final Score: Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 2 p.m.


    Michigan State might not look as good as some had hoped, but there's no way the Spartans lose to the Youngstown State Penguins.

    There are a ton of difficult games on Michigan State's schedule, but this is simply not one of them.


    Prediction: Michigan State 42, Youngstown State 17

Boston College at USC

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    Final Score: USC 35, Boston College 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3 p.m.


    USC is a tough one to call this week.

    The Trojans have flipped a complete 180 degrees since 2011, as they now field a great defense with a terrible offense. The good news for the Trojans is that a great defense may win the Boston College game for them.

    The Eagles have beaten two not-so-good teams this season in Villanova and Wake Forest. On the other hand, USC has a better defense than either of those squads.

    Chase Rettig can lead Boston College to victory here, but he's up against an awful lot of Trojan emotion after that Washington State upset last week.


    Prediction: USC 24, Boston College 9

No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M

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    Final Score: Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Alabama allowed 153 rushing yards and 59 passing yards in its season opener against Virginia Tech. The Tide's passing defense is better than last season, but that 59-yard stat is still misleading. Virginia Tech had to punt more than once as a direct result of dropped passes.

    Texas A&M has allowed 899 yards of total offense in its two games—both home games—this season. It allowed 509 yards to Rice and 390 yards to Sam Houston State. Out of those 899 yards, 546 of them were rushing yards.

    Clearly, Alabama will win this game.

    Bottom line: Even if Alabama has to go to the Wildcat offense like it did against South Carolina in 2009, A&M's rushing defense is going to decide this game.


    Prediction: Alabama 45, Texas A&M 31

Tennessee at No. 2 Oregon

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    Final Score: Oregon 59, Tennessee 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Oregon hosts Tennessee this week in a cross-conference mismatch that is a much better opportunity for the SEC than for the Pac-12. (A Tennessee win here would mean far more for the SEC than an Oregon win would mean for the Pac-12.)

    Oregon should handle Tennessee easily. Though the Volunteers are looking better under Butch Jones, they are not yet ready to handle the likes of the Ducks. On the bright side, this will be a much better matchup than the Oregon-Virginia game last week.


    Prediction: Oregon 42, Tennessee 20

Nevada at No. 10 Florida State

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    Final Score: Florida State 62, Nevada 7

    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Florida State has had two weeks to prepare for Nevada, and Nevada has had two weeks to mull over its blowout loss to UCLA—with a game against UC Davis in the meantime.

    Nevada is going to show up ready to play, and this will be a much tougher game for Florida State than Pittsburgh was. Of course, this matchup will feature a Top 10 team playing against a team that's not a lock for Mountain West contention.

    Cody Fajardo will be Nevada's advantage in a lot of games this season, but not in this game. The Wolf Pack will stay close past halftime, but Jameis Winston will demolish the worn-out Nevada defense late in the game.


    Prediction: Florida State 52, Nevada 18

Cal Poly at Colorado State

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    Final Score: Colorado State 34, Cal Poly 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Colorado State faces the Cal Poly Mustangs in Week 3 in a game that should go the Rams' direction.

    However, the Mustangs are a solid FCS team, and it wouldn't be a truly embarrassing loss for Colorado if that were to happen.

    This game will not be nationally televised, but it could be one of the closest games of the week.


    Prediction: Colorado State 31, Cal Poly 28 (OT)

Georgia Tech at Duke

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    Final Score: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Duke and Georgia Tech get to battle for the ACC Coastal Division in Week 3.

    The Blue Devils, Yellow Jackets and Miami Hurricanes are the only three teams in that division without losses already, and this will decide who is the second-favorite behind the Hurricanes.

    Duke has Jamison Crowder lined up at wide receiver, and that's a huge advantage. On the other side of the field, Georgia Tech has a run-based offense that will give the Blue Devils fits.

    Ultimately, the difference will be Duke's quarterback play. With Sean Renfree under center, Duke lost 42-24 to the Yellow Jackets last season. Unless something has dramatically changed Duke's offense for the better, this game is a write-off.


    Prediction: Georgia Tech 45, Duke 17

Stony Brook at Buffalo

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    Final Score: Buffalo 26, Stony Brook 23 (5OT)


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Stony Brook is an unassuming little 10-win team from the FCS, and the Buffalo Bulls had better be ready for them.

    The Bulls haven't had a good game that can give people an indication of what to expect this season, but the Ohio State and Baylor games were losses by a combined score of 110-33.

    Like a USS Seawolf fast-attack submarine, Stony Brook is going to come in under the radar and torpedo the Buffalo Bulls.


    Prediction: Stony Brook 27, Buffalo 24

Delaware at Navy

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    Final Score: Navy 51, Delaware 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.


    Navy bested the Indiana Hoosiers 41-35 last week, and there are few FCS teams who could match up with that kind of skill. Navy's vaunted rushing attack is going to wreak havoc on the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens.

    There won't be much of a chance at stopping the Midshipmen this week, and Delaware will start its season with a 2-1 record.


    Prediction: Navy 49, Delaware 27

Wagner at Syracuse

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    Final Score: Syracuse 54, Wagner 0

    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.


    Syracuse is in dire need of a win to help motivate itself past Week 3. The Orange have already started the season 0-2, with losses against Penn State and Northwestern.

    This week they take on the Wagner Seahawks, who won nine games last season. The Seahawks will probably give Syracuse a little scare early on, but the Orange will be fine at the end.


    Prediction: Syracuse 37, Wagner 7

Ball State at North Texas

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    Final Score: North Texas 34, Ball State 27


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.


    Ball State and North Texas are fighting for more than some think. A Ball State win would confirm suspicions that the Cardinals are for real, but a North Texas win would be huge.

    The Mean Green have been doing well so far this season, with their only loss coming by six points to the Ohio Bobcats. North Texas is still not seen as a true Conference USA contender, but a win over the Cardinals would instantly put them into the conversation.

    Ball State is going to be the favorite here, but if the Bobcats are as good as they were last season, an upset by North Texas wouldn't be shocking considering its performance against Ohio.


    Prediction: Ball State 31, North Texas 28 (OT)

Northern Colorado at Wyoming

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    Final Score: Wyoming 35, Northern Colorado 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.


    Wyoming almost defeated Nebraska to open the season, thanks to quarterback Brett Smith's ability to exploit even the biggest teams' defenses for at least a few touchdowns.

    Last week he dominated Idaho, and he is poised to lead the Cowboys to a much better season than the one they produced in 2012.

    If anyone will stand in his way, it isn't Northern Colorado.


    Prediction: Wyoming 42, Northern Colorado 13

Northern Illinois at Idaho

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    Final Score: Northern Illinois 45, Idaho 35


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.


    Jordan Lynch and the Northern Illinois Huskies are off to an undefeated start to the 2013 season, and if this season goes the same way 2012 did, they'll be undefeated in the regular season. Idaho hosts the Huskies this week in what is sure to be a Lynch showcase from start to bench.

    At some point, the backups will go in and finish off the Vandals. The boys from Idaho really need to figure out how to market better. With Boise State in the middle of a lull, this would be the perfect moment to strike on the recruiting trail.


    Prediction: Northern Illinois 52, Idaho 28 (Idaho scores after the backups come in)

No. 19 Washington at Illinois

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    Final Score: Washington 34, Illinois 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.


    Washington hasn't played football since it decimated the Boise State Broncos on opening night. Illinois hasn't given us a complete look at what it can do all season, as its second win came over a Cincinnati team that lost its starting quarterback to injury late in the game.

    Washington's Keith Price has a lot of talent, but this Illini team already looks nothing like its 2012 self. In the end, though, it's difficult to see a team as good as Washington getting rolled by Illinois.


    Prediction: Washington 39, Illinois 35

Iowa at Iowa State

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    Final Score: Iowa 27, Iowa State 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.


    Iowa State is playing its second in-state game at home in a row, this time against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Cyclones lost to Northern Iowa, a perennial FCS playoff contender, two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes lost to 2012 BCS buster Northern Illinois before defeating Missouri State last week.

    Both teams have the motivation to win in equal amounts, but there can be only one winner. The past two meetings were decided by three points each, and it might just be Iowa's year to break Iowa State's momentum.


    Prediction: Iowa 31, Iowa State 28


    Final Score:

UCF at Penn State

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    Final Score: UCF 34, Penn State 31


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.


    Penn State hosts UCF in what will be a great quarterback duel. UCF's Blake Bortles has won his last two games by a combined score of 76-7, and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg has won his contests 68-24.

    The Nittany Lions get the nod here because their quality of opponent over the past two weeks has been higher than Central Florida's.

    Hackenberg is the wave of the future at Penn State, and the Lions continue to prove that they struck gold on the recruiting trail last year.


    Prediction: Penn State 29, UCF 18

Howard at Old Dominion

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    Final Score: Old Dominion 76, Howard 19


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.


    Howard and Old Dominion collide in what will be the Monarchs' first win of the 2013 season.

    ODU is facing its first transitional schedule, and it will have wins peppered throughout the season. The next four games are against non-FBS opponents, and the Monarchs should walk away with a few decisive victories during that stretch.


    Prediction: Old Dominion 49, Howard 9

Bethune-Cookman at Florida International

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    Final Score: Bethune-Cookman 34, Florida International 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.


    Bethune-Cookman was a nine-win FCS program last season, and it's already 2-0 in 2013. The good news for Florida International is that those Wildcats won their only FCS game by a score of 12-9.

    While FIU is 0-2 and has scored just 10 points so far this season, the Golden Panthers should be able to win this one. If not, they might just be the worst team in the FBS this season.


    Prediction: Florida International 21, Bethune-Cookman 17

Southern Utah at Washington State

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    Final Score: Washington State 48, Southern Utah 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m.


    Washington State just upset the USC Trojans, and the Cougars are lining up against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds this week.

    Washington State has the potential to make a decent bowl game, and Southern Utah isn't going to stand in the way of that.

    Other Pac-12 teams? Sure. But not the Thunderbirds.


    Prediction: Washington State 41, Southern Utah 7


    Final Score:

No. 4 Ohio State at California

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    Final Score: Ohio State 52, California 34


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Cal edged Portland State last week 37-30, and the Bears lost 44-30 to Northwestern the week before. Ohio State was busy winning in both weeks, most recently 42-7 against San Diego State in spite of the loss of Braxton Miller.

    While Miller is the heart of this offense, Kenny Guiton went 19-of-28 for 152 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his absence. He also ran for 83 yards and a score against the Aztecs.

    Guiton is not a step back from Miller, but the Cal defense might just hand Ohio State more than it can handle in Week 3. On the bright side for Ohio State fans, Urban Meyer is "fairly optimistic" that Miller will start this game.


    Prediction: California 48, Ohio State 37

Kent State at No. 8 LSU

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    Final Score: LSU 45, Kent State 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    LSU hosts Kent State this week, and the Tigers have already started rising toward the top of the rankings at the expense of teams like TCU.

    The Horned Frogs are much better than the Golden Flashes; LSU will demolish Kent State accordingly.


    Prediction: LSU 42, Kent State 6

Vanderbilt at No. 13 South Carolina

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    Final Score: South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 25


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    South Carolina brings yet another foe into Williams-Brice Stadium in an attempt to regain a little of its reputation after failing to convert the win against Georgia last week.

    This is a potential season-making game for the Vanderbilt Commodores, who are already 0-1 in conference play after letting Ole Miss finish off a comeback on opening weekend.

    The Gamecocks should put a lopsided score on the board this week, but not if they haven't prepared for a scrappy unit from Vandy.


    Prediction: South Carolina 42, Vanderbilt 29

Mississippi State at Auburn

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    Final Score: Auburn 24, Mississippi State 20

    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Mississippi State at Auburn is the SEC's mid-tier marquee bout in Week 3, and 2013 is already looking vastly different for the Tigers.

    There is a distinct advantage Mississippi State will miss in this game, and that's the home crowd full of cowbells. That may or may not make the difference, but Gus Malzahn has the Tigers looking like they are going to score a major upset at some point this season. (Auburn fans hope that's against Alabama.)

    This will be an Auburn win, but it won't be an easy one, not even with Malzahn's offense.


    Prediction: Auburn 31, Mississippi State 28 (OT)

Florida Atlantic at South Florida

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    Final Score: Florida Atlantic 28, South Florida 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    This battle isn't nearly as interesting as the Miami Hurricanes-Florida Gators matchup from last week, but it should be just as intense. Both Florida Atlantic and South Florida are looking for any available evidence of improvement, and one of them will get it.

    Both teams are 0-2 heading into the game, but Florida Atlantic has the "better losses" of the two teams. McNeese State blew South Florida out in a 53-21 embarrassment of a loss, and the Cowboys were a seven-win FCS team last season.


    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 38, South Florida 28

Nicholls State at Louisiana-Lafayette

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    Final Score: Louisiana-Lafayette 70, Nicholls State 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Louisiana-Lafayette has been a punching bag for two FBS teams so far, Arkansas and Kansas State. Nicholls State has been one for two FBS teams, though the Colonels didn't get the memo and beat Western Michigan anyway.

    This time, it's ULL's turn to do some punching, but this won't be nearly as lopsided as Nicholls' loss to Oregon.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 42, Nicholls State 13

Northwestern State at Cincinnati

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    Final Score: Cincinnati 66, Northwestern State 9


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Cincinnati hosts Northwestern State at the perfect time. The Bearcats are adjusting to a different face under center, and that's going to cause minor issues all over the offense until Brendon Kay can acclimate himself to the responsibilities.

    Cincinnati can still make a run for the AAC title, but the big games aren't going to be nearly as winnable anymore. That is not because Kay isn't good, but because its best quarterback isn't there anymore.


    Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Northwestern State 18

Massachusetts at Kansas State

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    Final Score: Kansas State 37, Massachusetts 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Kansas State lost to the 2012 FCS national champion during the opening ceremonies, but that team was far better than Massachusetts is. After that initial kick in the pants, the Wildcats looked much better in the second week.

    After what Texas did against BYU, Kansas State could take control of the Big 12 title race with a Week 4 win over the Longhorns. This likely pattern doesn't include a loss to UMass.


    Prediction: Kansas State 52, Massachusetts 0

Memphis at Middle Tennessee

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    Final Score: Middle Tennessee 17, Memphis 15


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Memphis has played just one game in 2013, a 28-14 loss to the Duke Blue Devils. Middle Tennessee has played two, a 45-24 win over Western Carolina and a 40-20 loss to North Carolina.

    These teams are more evenly matched than Vegas gives them credit for (MTSU is a seven-point favorite according to


    Prediction: Middle Tennessee 34, Memphis 31

Eastern Washington at Toledo

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    Final Score: Toledo 33, Eastern Washington 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.


    Eastern Washington takes on the Toledo Rockets in Week 3, and the Eagles may just do something special: defeat two FBS teams in a three-game span to take a 3-0 start to their FCS season.

    Toledo's losses to Florida and Missouri were against solid teams, but it's tough to say if either of those teams is as harmoniously built as Eastern Washington. Though Toledo is better on paper, something about a potential undefeated start for the Eagles points to another massive performance.

    Toledo will be working its hardest to make sure this doesn't happen, but that leaves one question: Will one week of hard work make it better than a team that already took out a ranked Oregon State Beavers squad?


    Prediction: Eastern Washington 49, Toledo 30

Lamar at No. 12 Oklahoma State

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    Final Score: Oklahoma State 59, Lamar 3


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.


    Oklahoma State already beat Mississippi State and UTSA, both of which are better than the Lamar Cardinals. This is a money game that is not against an FCS national champion or playoff contender.

    Oklahoma State will roll over the speed bump and move on to preparing for West Virginia.


    Prediction: Oklahoma State 70, Lamar 13 (OSU's backups will allow most of these points.)

Western Kentucky at South Alabama

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    Final Score: South Alabama 31, Western Kentucky 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.


    Western Kentucky at South Alabama is a much more interesting matchup after having seen the Jaguars put up 41 points on Tulane (and win, mind you). The other bonus fact is that WKU beat Kentucky 35-26 in its season opener.

    This game will be close until halftime. After that, the Hilltoppers will pull away and seal the two-possession victory.


    Prediction: Western Kentucky 45, South Alabama 30

Maryland at Connecticut

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    Final Score: Maryland 32, Connecticut 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.


    Connecticut hosts Maryland in what is almost certainly going to be a disappointing scheduling option for the Huskies. The Terrapins are 2-0 against Florida International and Old Dominion, two break-in teams that have given them an opportunity to get comfortable in their skins.

    UConn lost to Towson in the season opener, and it was a two-possession loss by a score of 33-18. That does not inspire confidence in the Huskies at all.

    Maryland has Stefon Diggs, and it has a solid offense. The defense is largely unknown, but it does say something that it could hold Old Dominion's Taylor Heinicke to just 10 points.

    Connecticut may want this win far more than Maryland does, but heart isn't going to keep Diggs from streaking to the end zone.


    Prediction: Maryland 45, Connecticut 18

Kansas at Rice

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    Final Score: Rice 23, Kansas 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.


    Kansas and Rice have both played just one game since the start of the season, but Rice is the one coming directly off its bye week. Kansas defeated South Dakota 31-14 in its opener, and Rice lost to Texas A&M 52-31.

    The Jayhawks are in their second season under Charlie Weis, and he has a lot of work to do to get them into Big 12 shape. The first step, though, is getting them into good enough shape to take down the cross-conference foes.

    They aren't there yet.


    Prediction: Rice 41, Kansas 28

No. 21 Notre Dame at Purdue

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    Final Score: Notre Dame 31, Purdue 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.


    Notre Dame is still reeling from the loss to Michigan, and Purdue has the 42-7 loss to Cincinnati in the back of its mind. This is another quality-of-loss comparison, because neither of their wins were that good.

    If you just take the scores from the games they lost, the Irish would walk away with a 30-7 victory here. That is obviously not how it works, though. Purdue's defense is not Michigan's, and Notre Dame's offense is not Cincinnati's.

    Purdue might have made this game unreasonably close last season, but the Irish will not let that happen again. You don't need Nick Saban to win this rematch.


    Prediction: Notre Dame 40, Purdue 13

No. 25 Ole Miss at Texas

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    Final Score: Ole Miss 44, Texas 23


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.


    Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz following its embarrassing loss to BYU last week. That is going to prove to be one of the worst decisions Mack Brown has made, which says something if you're an anti-Brown camper.

    The reason is not that he shouldn't have gotten rid of him (though that may be a valid concern before too long); it's that he should have waited at least until the end of the Ole Miss game. Here are three good reasons:

    1. Diaz helped Texas secure a 66-31 victory over Ole Miss last season.
    2. Texas' offense isn't as good as it was last season, meaning it will need that defense now.
    3. Texas isn't going to do better than that performance while it is busy implementing a new scheme.

    That's not to say that the Longhorns have no hope of winning, but it's the entire staff's responsibility to get a defense clicking. The coordinator may turn out to not have been the issue at all.

    Ole Miss scored a valiant comeback victory over Vanderbilt on opening weekend, and the Rebels are coming into DKR Stadium with revenge on their minds. If you think home-field advantage will decide this game, think again: Texas laid that 66-31 beatdown at Ole Miss. (Also, Ole Miss was at Vanderbilt in Week 1.)


    Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Texas 24

UTEP at New Mexico State

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    Final Score: UTEP 42, New Mexico State 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.


    UTEP lost to New Mexico in Week 1, 42-35, but the Lobos barely made it happen with a back-and-forth fourth quarter. The Miners are not going to let that happen against New Mexico State.

    The Aggies have had trouble scoring points, which was not exactly evident until BYU blew Texas out of the water. In light of that game, their seven-point performance against the Longhorns looks absolutely atrocious.


    Prediction: UTEP 35, New Mexico State 28

Marshall at Ohio

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    Final Score: Ohio 34, Marshall 31


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.


    In the preseason, this looked like a great game that would last until the fourth quarter. After Ohio's plucky win over the North Texas Mean Green, it started to look like it would be a blowout in Marshall's favor.

    The bottom line is that 2012 taught us what these teams are capable of, and two games in 2013 aren't going to change a solid year of knowledge about the marquee players. It's far more likely that North Texas got pretty good than that Ohio just forgot how to play football.


    Prediction: Marshall 52, Ohio 47

Weber State at Utah State

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    Final Score: Utah State 70, Weber State 6


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.


    Utah State lost to Utah 30-26, and Utah beat Weber State 70-7. From that, we can determine that Weber State is not nearly as good as these FBS teams on its schedule.

    The Aggies have a lot of challenging games on their schedule (see Utah), but Weber is a win if they simply show up and play like they mean it.


    Prediction: Utah State 56, Weber State 0

Western Michigan at No. 17 Northwestern

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    Final Score: Northwestern 38, Western Michigan 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 p.m.


    Northwestern is preparing for a potential Big Ten title this season. Western Michigan is simply fighting to stay out of the bottom 10 of the FBS.

    The Wildcats have already taken down California and Syracuse this year, and the Broncos aren't going to be the team that derails their train.


    Prediction: Northwestern 56, Western Michigan 0

Oregon State at Utah

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    Final Score: Oregon State 51, Utah 48 (OT)


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m.


    Utah enters this match with a 2-0 record after wins against Utah State and Weber State. Oregon State brings the baggage of contributing to the FCS's impressive opening weekend, but it also brings a 19-point win over Hawaii.

    Neither game convinced anyone that Oregon State had taken a step forward from last season, and the Utah game did the opposite for the Utes. This may provoke some yelling in the comments, but Utah will emerge victorious.


    Prediction: Utah 34, Oregon State 31 (OT)

Central Michigan at UNLV

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    Final Score: UNLV 31, Central Michigan 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m.


    Central Michigan's 2013 resume to this point is abysmal, yet it has a better record than UNLV. The Rebels played Minnesota and Arizona, while the Chippewas played Michigan and New Hampshire.

    New Hampshire is a great FCS team, but it isn't comparable to Minnesota. Arizona and Michigan are highly comparable to each other, but the nod goes to Michigan at the moment.


    Prediction: UNLV 28, Central Michigan 25

No. 20 Wisconsin at Arizona State

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    Final Score: Arizona State 32, Wisconsin 30


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10:30 p.m.


    This match features something no other match of the week does: two teams who have not given up a single point the entire season. Wisconsin shut out Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech, and Arizona State shut out Sacramento State.

    The average score for each team is 46.5 for the Badgers and 55 for the Sun Devils. There is a reason that this game shows up as tied for latest on the schedule. This is exactly what you want in a nightcap—something to stay up late for.

    There is little to no information about defense going on here, as both teams have shown no weaknesses. Offensively, they are clearly well matched.

    With teams so completely similar, you have to wonder who will be the difference-maker. Common sense says it will either be Will Sutton or Melvin Gordon. Luckily, they will be on the field at the same time for the majority of the game.


    Prediction: Arizona State 45, Wisconsin 42 (OT)

UTSA at Arizona

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    Final Score: Arizona 38, UTSA 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10:30 p.m.


    Arizona has the other 10:30 p.m. time slot, and it has a tune-up game against UTSA before heading into conference play against No. 19 Washington. The Roadrunners are improving, but anyone can see that they are years away from upsetting a team as good as Arizona.

    The Wildcats will run them out of the stadium, but they'll get about a year's worth of experience watching an offense like Arizona firsthand.


    Prediction: Arizona 56, UTSA 10

Air Force at Boise State

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    Final Score: Boise State 42, Air Force 20

    When: Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m.


    Boise State and Air Force face off again this season, just as the Falcons are coming off a 52-20 loss at the hands of the Utah State Aggies.

    Boise State and Utah State are comparable football programs this season, and Air Force is going to find that out on Friday night.

    Air Force will get a couple of trips to the red zone, but Boise State's defense will handle the Falcons.


    Prediction: Boise State 45, Air Force 10

Tulane at Louisiana Tech

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    Final Score: Tulane 24, Louisiana Tech 15


    When: Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m.


    Tulane is going to hand Louisiana Tech everything it can handle, and the Bulldogs have shown they can't handle nearly as much as they could last season.

    Colby Cameron was the leader of this offense last year, and his departure, along with the loss of head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin to California, has left Louisiana Tech in dire straits this season.

    Look for a competitive game, but also look for Tulane's kicker to be the difference in this matchup.


    Prediction: Tulane 31, Louisiana Tech 29

Troy at Arkansas State

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    Final Score: Arkansas State 41, Troy 34


    When: Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m.


    Troy has started the season off with a 2-0 record, including a perception-altering win over UAB. However, Arkansas State will hand the Trojans their first loss of the season.

    After five seasons at the top of the Sun Belt, Troy has finished under .500 the last two years. Much like its upgraded football facilities, Troy's upgrade in the standings is going to take a few seasons.

    Arkansas State, on the other hand, has been a 10-win school since head coach Hugh Freeze pushed the team to double-digit wins in 2011. However, the Red Wolves are coming off a 38-9 loss to an Auburn squad that looks infinitely better than it did over the last two seasons.

    The sting of that humiliation, along with the talent Arkansas State possesses, will lead the Red Wolves to victory.


    Prediction: Arkansas State 35, Troy 27

No. 24 TCU at Texas Tech

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    Final Score: Texas Tech 20, TCU 10


    When: Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m.


    Trevone Boykin will start at quarterback for TCU due to Casey Pachall's broken arm, and Texas Tech will field freshman Baker Mayfield as its starter again. The Horned Frogs have a clear experience advantage here, but it's not like Boykin is an insurmountable obstacle to overcome.

    Mayfield is a skill advantage for the Red Raiders, as he has already proven himself as a mobile quarterback. He's not a dual threat in the Michael Vick/Vince Young sense, but he's able to move the chains and sustain drives.

    Ultimately, the difference in this game will be TCU's defense. With Devonte Fields coming back from suspension, the Frogs defense is among the best in the Big 12.


    Prediction: TCU 28, Texas Tech 24