College Football Picks Week 3: Picking the Top Week 3 Games
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We’ve had a week to recover from all the excitement that Week 2 provided and now it’s time to gear up for another big weekend of action, starting with tonight’s game between No. 3 LSU and No. 25 Mississippi State.
Oklahoma at Florida State is the marquee matchup of the weekend, but there are plenty of other games that will have an effect on next week’s polls.
Can Auburn keep its winning streak alive?
Will Toledo shock Boise State?
Can Notre Dame find a win?
And will it be the Seminoles or the Sooners celebrating on Saturday night?
Let’s answer some of the most important Week 3 questions with picks for this weekend’s biggest games.
LSU at Mississippi State
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Pick: Mississippi State (+3.5)
I like the tag-team backfield of QB Chris Relf and RB Vick Ballard, but I do have to admit, that LSU defensive front seven scares me.
Still, if Relf, Ballard and LaDarius Perkins can move the ball downhill on the LSU defense, the Tigers will be in trouble.
It’s time to see what LSU QB Jarrett Lee is made of.
Boise State at Toledo
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Pick: Toledo (+20)
Boise State usually dominates out-of-conference games but this Toledo team is no joke.
The Rockets gave Ohio State all they could handle last weekend, and they have an offensive trio comprised of QB Austin Dantin, RB Adonis Thomas and WR Eric Page that can be extremely difficult to contain.
Chris Petersen better hope his team is done celebrating the Georgia win and fully focused on this matchup.
West Virginia at Maryland
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Pick: Maryland (-1.5)
Can you say trap game?
Throughout the spring and the summer, all the West Virgina football team has been hearing about is the importance of the LSU game on Sept. 24.
Too bad everyone forgot to remind them that they had to make a visit to Maryland to face a talented and rested Terrapins squad.
Randy Edsall broke the Mountaineers’ back when he was coaching at Connecticut last year, and he’s got the type of playmakers at Maryland on both offense and defense to really cause Dana Holgorsen some headaches.
Auburn at Clemson
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Pick: Clemson (-3)
When you look back on Auburn’s 2010 season, you start to realize how many games there were that the Tigers came so close to losing.
Last year’s matchup between these two teams went to overtime and ended on a missed field goal, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see this one come down to the wire as well.
Clemson RB Andre Ellington is one of the most underrated players in the country and he’s going to be a handful to deal with for a young and inexperienced defense, which has given up an average of 36 points in the first two games of the season.
Pittsburgh at Iowa
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Pick: Pittsburgh (+3)
If the Big East has any hope of sending a Heisman contender to New York this year, Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham will need to keep up the blistering tear he’s started the season on.
Graham ran for 322 yards and six touchdowns in the first two games of the season.
So much for missing Dion Lewis.
Iowa is feeling the sting after losing to in-state rival Iowa State for the first time since 2007.
It should be interesting to see what type of intensity the Hawkeyes have for this one.
Michigan State at Notre Dame
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Pick: Michigan State (+5)
There’s no reason to trust Notre Dame right now.
Yes, the Irish have talent.
Yes, Tommy Rees at least looks like he could be the answer.
Yes, Brian Kelly can probably turn things around.
But they’ve got to prove they can get the job done first.
Michigan State is the real deal on offense and the defense is more athletic than it gets credit for.
Tennessee at Florida
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Pick: Tennessee (+9)
The Derek Dooley era is in need of a signature victory and I say the Vols will get it this weekend when they head down to Gainesville to take on Florida.
Tennessee hasn’t beaten the Gators since 2004, but with QB Tyler Bray at the helm, the Volunteers finally have the offensive pieces in place to make it happen.
Oklahoma at Florida State
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Pick: Florida State (+3.5)
I’m rooting for Florida State in this one because I like E.J. Manuel, but this is a tall order for the Seminoles.
Don’t just disregard the hype; Oklahoma is loaded with top-notch talent.
Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles are one of the nation’s most explosive passing combinations but they’re far from the only two difference-makers that Oklahoma is going to hit the Seminoles with on Saturday night.
I like this Florida State defense, though, especially DE Brandon Jenkins and CB Xavier Rhodes.
Jenkins can neutralize Jones to a degree and Rhodes can keep Oklahoma’s receivers contained.
The real key is Manuel.
If Manuel plays up to the potential that we witnessed in Florida State's last two bowl games, the Sooners should be worried.
Ohio State at Miami
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Pick: Ohio State (+2.5)
I’m still not sure if I want to hop on board with Al Golden's decision to start Jacory Harris.
Harris was terrible against Ohio State last year, throwing four interceptions, and I’m not sure what would lead you to believe he’s gotten considerably better since then.
A close call against Toledo last week woke the Buckeyes up and they’ll be ready for this one.
Miami has the athletes to compete, but Harris has to prove he can handle this kind of spotlight.
Utah at BYU
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Pick: BYU (-4.5)
BYU’s offense hasn’t exactly exploded in the first two games, but you have to remember they were going up against Ole Miss and Texas on the road.
Now that the Cougars are headed home to the friendly confines of Provo, QB Jake Heaps and the rest of the offense should have an easier time getting points on the board against in-state rival Utah.
The Utes won last year’s meeting 17-16 but this one has a chance to be much more high-scoring.
Stanford at Arizona
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Pick: Arizona (+10)
I know no one wants to pick against college football’s golden boy Andrew Luck, but it’s still hard to trust this Stanford team just yet.
The Cardinal haven’t played a worthy opponent yet and heading to Tucson to face QB Nick Foles and the Arizona offense presents a tough test for the Luck-led machine.
If Foles plays with confidence, he can shoot some big holes in the Stanford secondary.