10 Bold Predictions For Week 3 Of College Football
Magic 8-Ball, Can The Crimson Tide Contain Johnny Manziel?
What happens in the college football world from week to week is utterly unpredictable. Yet, each week us writers continue to pull out our Magic 8-Ball and take a shot at predicting what will happen on Saturday. We think up a proposition, shake the all-knowing plastic sphere and flip it over for a revelation.
Before we get into our predictions, let’s ask the Magic 8-Ball a few questions about Week 3:
Magic 8-Ball, is Urban Meyer somehow to blame for the improper benefits allegedly received by several SEC players? Response: Better not tell you now.
Magic 8-Ball, will all of my Week 3 predictions come true? Response: Don’t count on it.
Well, who can trust the opinion of a cheap piece of plastic full of strangely tinted liquid and weird triangular dice anyway? Enough with the novelty games, let’s get on to the actual Week 3 college football predictions – made with none of the insight but every bit of the accuracy of the Magic 8-Ball.
10. Auburn Tigers Will Snap 10-Game SEC Losing Streak
It’s been a long time since the Auburn Tigers have won a SEC game. The Tigers’ last conference win came against Ole Miss, 41-23, on Oct. 29, 2011. Heading into its Week 3 matchup with Mississippi State, Auburn is primed to snap its conference losing streak against the other SEC team from the Magnolia State. In two games, the Tigers have shown they can run the football and have scored more than 30 points in each contest. The Auburn defense has been tough when it counts, surrendering only three field goals in the last six quarters of play. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, looked completely inept on both sides of the ball against the only quality opponent they played so far, Oklahoma State. There aren’t many reasons to believe this team can go on the road and win its SEC opener.
9. Ole Miss Returns The Favor By Whipping Texas At Home
The Texas Longhorns had their way with Ole Miss last year, jumping out to a three-touchdown lead at the half and cruising to a 66-31 victory. Texas put up 676 yards of total offense, 326 through the air and 350 on the ground. But the tables will be turned when the Rebels roll into Austin this weekend. The Longhorns defense has already been exposed in a 41-20 loss to BYU last week that led to the replacement of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz with Greg Robinson. Many feel the Longhorns will bounce back strong this week, but it’s doubtful that so many issues on that side of the ball can be fixed in just a few days of practice. Furthermore, Texas could be without starting QB David Ash. This all adds up to a recipe for disaster, as the rising Rebels are hungry for success and revenge.
8. Michigan State’s Offense Will Outscore DE Shilique Calhoun
This may not sound like a bold prediction, but consider this: through two games, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun has three touchdowns, the Spartans offense, two. Calhoun has returned two fumbles and an interception for scores, while the offense has only managed to score two rushing TDs. The Spartans have tried two players at quarterback, Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook, but neither has been able to find the endzone. That is all likely to change in Week 3, as Michigan State hosts Youngstown State. The Spartans might struggle early, but the offense should have an easier time establishing a rhythm and eventually finding the endzone.
7. Virginia Tech Will Struggle Against East Carolina
Virginia Tech’s offense has been anything but consistent and if it fails to execute at East Carolina, the Hokies could be in for a close call, possibly an upset similar to the one they suffered at the hands of the Pirates in 2008. The question, and it’s a big one, is whether ECU can generate offense against VT. The Hokies defense made No. 1 Alabama look completely inept offensively, but there’s just a strange feeling that things may not be what they seem when these two teams play. Maybe that’s why Tech is only a seven-point favorite. Odds are, VT will win, but the Pirates could make it a much tougher proposition than Frank Beamer and company had hoped for.
6. Tennessee Fans Should Watch Duck Dynasty – The Show, Not The Football Team
After two lopsided wins, the air on Rocky Top seems sweeter than ever under new head coach Butch Jones. But the Tennessee Volunteers are in for a rude awakening on the West Coast in Week 3. Though the Vols defense is looking much better than the unit that was historically bad last season, it won’t be enough to slow down the high-flying Oregon Ducks. As mentioned above, everyone wearing hunter orange this weekend should turn the receiver to A&E and watch the other Duck Dynasty. That way, instead of sobbing through the reality that Tennessee can’t hang with the big boys just yet, they can enjoy some lighthearted humor at the expense of the Robertson clan.
5. Big 10 Suffering Begins When Bowling Green Beats Indiana
Indiana’s season is hanging by a thread already, following a 41-35 loss to Navy last week. The Hoosiers desperately need to beat Bowling Green this week, not only to earn the respect of the rest of the Big 10 but to maintain some national respect for the conference. This game would have originally been a predicted win coming into the year, but given how the Hoosiers lost to the Midshipmen in Week 2 – a team that is very comparable to Bowling Green – it appears the Falcons have every reason to enter this game expecting to win. Though Indiana’s offense is lighting up the scoreboard, so are its opponents. Navy racked up 555 yards, with a staggering 444 coming on the ground. Bowling Green has a solid rushing attack, averaging 226 on the ground, which is just what it needs to win in Bloomington.
4. Big 10 Suffering Continues With Losses In At Least 3 Of 4 Against Pac 12
The Pac 12 will bring more suffering to the Big 10 in Week 3. The UCLA Bruins will beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers for a second-straight year, the Washington Huskies will roll over Illinois and the Wisconsin Badgers will perish in the desert to Arizona State. That leaves the Big 10’s hopes in avoiding a Pac 12 sweep in Week 3 solely on the shoulders of its top team – Ohio State, which takes on Cal. Though the Buckeyes are more than two-touchdown favorites on the road, star quarterback Braxton Miller is questionable with a knee injury and there are plenty of reasons to believe this team is anything but invincible.
3. LSU Tiger Odell Beckham Will Score On Special Teams (Again)
Forget about the “Honey Badger” (Tyran Mathieu), the LSU Tigers have a new ridiculously dangerous return man – Odell Beckham. The wide receiver is racking up all-purpose yards at a startling rate, averaging either 250-plus or 300-plus a game, depending on whether or not you include his 100-yard missed field goal return against UAB last week. The Tigers take on an athletically inferior opponent in Week 3, Kent State, against which Beckham should be able to break loose for some big plays in the return game. I’m betting the highlights will come on punt returns, as the Golden Flashes likely will not score too often against LSU.
2. USC Will Be Upset At Home For 2nd Straight Week
SoCal native and Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig will enjoy a happy homecoming as the Eagles knock off the USC Trojans in the L.A. Colesium. Somehow, the odds-makers have the Trojans as a more than two-touchdown favorite. USC has been atrocious offensively, ranking 99th nationally in scoring. In two games, the Trojans offense has only managed three touchdowns. While the USC defense has been dominant against the run game, it has been just OK against the passing game. The Trojans rank 60th in the country in passing defense, giving up 211.5 yards a game. Rettig has been highly efficient through two games, completing 30 of 44 passes for 408 yards and four touchdowns. As bad as USC is on offense, BC should only need a couple of scores to pull off the upset.
1. Alabama Will Win Comfortably Over Texas A&M
We’ve been waiting nearly a year since for the rematch of Alabama-Texas A&M since the Aggies upset the No. 1 Crimson Tide 29-24 in Tuscaloosa, catapulting Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy and the Aggies to a top-five finish. This weekend, however, things will not go a little, but a lot differently. In 2012, the Crimson Tide were coming off a grueling win over LSU the previous week, and started the game flat – not to mention with a terrible defensive gameplan. The Aggies took full advantage by jumping out to an early 20-0 lead. But after Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart made adjustments and AJ McCarron and the offense settled down, Alabama outscored the A&M 24-9 the rest of the way. With an extra week to prepare, you can bet every Crimson Tide player will carry those lessons into Saturday’s game and will not be caught off-guard. Final point: Have you seen the Aggies’ defense play? Texas A&M has allowed a total of 899 yards of total offense in its two home games this season. Out of those yards, 546 were gained on the ground. Playing this unit could be just the cure for Bama’s offensive struggles. Clearly, the Crimson Tide will win this one comfortably by 10 points or more.