These are the kinds of weeks that deliver chaos in bulk.
Sure, some might look at the slate of Week 3 college football games with skeptical eyes. I get it. It's not the most robust lineup we will see this year. But I implore you to celebrate the offerings of this weekend's lineup, because there's a good chance it will surprise. It often does.
Just between us, I love this card. I really do. We have a handful of meaningful games on deck, although there are possibilities scattered across the board.
After last week, our first losing week of the year, I needed a card like this. I'll get to hits and misses in a second, although I'm still encouraged by our standing.
Through three-plus weeks, Locks of the Week are 12-9-1.
We can do better. No, we will do better.
Before we get to the picks, here is the good and the bad from Week 2.
The Good: Michigan (-7) vs. Washington: Many thought Washington would bounce back; I felt the opposite. And while Michigan's run-heavy approach isn't the most watchable football, it can be effective. One of the few stress-free bets all weekend.
The Bad: Ohio State (-14.5) vs. Oregon: There's really not much to say. Ohio State's defense is a bit of a mess, and Oregon took full advantage. While the Buckeyes flirted with a comeback, the spread really never was in doubt. Bad pick. Simple as that.
With that, we're onto Week 3, using point spreads courtesy of DraftKings.
West Virginia (-3) vs. Virginia Tech
First, a fun fact.
What is the mascot of Long Island University?
That would be the Sharks.
That might seem random, although this is the football team West Virginia beat 66-0 last week. (Yes, the Mountaineers covered.)
Before that, WVU lost a back-and-forth game to open the season at Maryland. That might scare many to back the other side. Not me.
The Hokies are 2-0. They beat North Carolina in the opener—a pick I made in this weekly staple. But this will be their first road game of the year, and I expect one of the best environments in college football to make this game miserable on the visitors.
Also, Virginia Tech is currently ranked No. 15 in the AP Poll and getting points. That doesn't feel quite right. In fact, it feels downright wrong.
WVU with the points. WVU straight up.
Indiana (+4) vs. Cincinnati
On the topic of teams in the AP Poll in a position to lose, allow me to present Cincinnati.
Now, this pains me. I love what Cincinnati is building, and I am rooting for College Football Playoff chaos. A team like this should get a crack at the postseason, and I want to see it happen in this format.
However, loyalty has no home in gambling. What I want and what I wager on have no business doing business together. And with that, I can't help but back the Hoosiers as a small underdog at home.
Cincinnati is currently ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll. As such, the favorite is likely to generate a ton of public interest.
Indiana was blitzed by Iowa in the opener, although that loss doesn't look so bad a few weeks later. After a magical 2020 season, look for the Hoosiers to find that magic again.
I like 'em with the spread, and I like 'em outright.
Wake Forest (-5.5) vs. Florida State
I don't mean to pile on. Again, this is only business. But I simply don't know how Florida State is able to rally after losing to Jacksonville State in such devastating fashion in Week 2.
That is part of my reasoning for backing Wake Forest. The other part is more direct.
Minus the emotional aspect that comes with a loss that bad, the Demon Deacons are a far superior football team.
Granted, beating Old Dominion and Norfolk State don't tell us much. But after a respectable 2020, Wake Forest seems to be on the right track.
Five years ago, I would have scoffed at the possibility of backing the Demon Deacons against Florida State at this spread. I might have laughed you right out of the room.
But now? I hope Wake Forest doesn't take FSU lightly, and I mean that in the most genuine and somewhat hilarious way possible.
Wake Forest 37, Florida State 24.
Oklahoma vs. Nebraska (Over 61.5)
To be clear, I want nothing to do with this point spread. If I were forced to pick a side, I would lay the points—all 22 of them—and take Oklahoma.
That's a big number. While I don't necessarily disagree with it after seeing Nebraska-Illinois in person, I'm going to stay away.
Instead, I'll saddle up with the over.
This total has actually dropped some since it opened on Sunday, which is at least partially why I will be indulging. And as I process this number, I land on a pretty simple conclusion.
The Sooners should put up at least 40-45 points in this game. Spencer Rattler was somewhat shaky in Week 1 against Tulane, and the offense still hit this threshold. It will happen again.
That means Nebraska needs to do its part, which is not a given. The Huskers offense struggled against Illinois, although it looked better the past two weeks (albeit against weaker competition).
If I (well, we) can get three touchdowns out of the Cornhuskers, the over should coast.
North Carolina (-9) vs. Virginia
I began the season by fading North Carolina against Virginia Tech. A few weeks later, I am now backing the Tar Heels against another Virginia school in the ACC coming off a dominating out-of-conference win.
Let's talk about that win. The Cavaliers easily covered against Illinois as a double-digit favorite. I thought long and hard about including this game in last week's Locks. I can safely say I wish I would have.
But now? I'm going the other way. This is an aggressive point spread that will likely draw plenty of interest in the underdog. Virginia is 2-0, although beating William & Mary and Illinois doesn't exactly inspire a great deal of confidence. While UNC is still looking for its first marquee victory of the year, playing at home will certainly help those efforts.
This just feels like a Sam Howell game. Look for UNC's QB to throw for four touchdowns to power the Tar Heels' potent offense.
North Carolina 41, Virginia 28.
Other Plays on the Card
Memphis (+3) vs. Mississippi State
After beating North Carolina State last week, Mississippi State will be a popular play, especially considering the spread. I love what I've seen from freshman QB Seth Henigan, and I think he guides Memphis to a small upset.
Penn State vs. Auburn (Under 53)
The atmosphere at this game should be one of the best all year. While I don't love a side, I do like what I've seen from both of these defenses. To me, 53 points is just too many. This feels like a tight, low-scoring game.
Nevada (-2) at Kansas State
What a sneaky-good football game, and what a fascinating spread. The absence of Skylar Thompson for Kansas State, which is an incredible bummer, is also a big deal. Nevada's Week 1 win against Cal was eye-opening, and I see that momentum carrying forward.
Marshall (-10) vs. East Carolina
While I am normally a contrarian gambler, I am joining the crowd on this one. After backing East Carolina last weekend (and losing), I am jumping to the other side. It's not because I am mad at the Pirates—they fought hard. This is, per usual, strictly business.
Odds accurate as of Wednesday.
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