College four-play: Week 3 predictions

You know it’s Week 2 of the college football season when Rice-Memphis turns out to be the most exciting game on the board.

 

I happened across it when I was in that in-between-games zone on Saturday where the game you were just watching is over and you’re not really into the next game you’re going to watch yet.

 

(This is also known as the time when you allow your wife and children to talk to you briefly on college Saturdays.)  

 

I flipped over to this one just in time to see Rice’s Chase Clement take his dirty 1980s mustache, along with the Owls’ offense, 94 yards downfield on an impressive touchdown drive to bring Rice within two points with just over a minute left.

 

He then completed the two-point conversion pass on a zinger of a pass to James Casey and things were getting saucy in Memphis.

 

Next thing you know, Rice snags a pick-six for a score with 11 seconds left and jumps out to a 2-0 straight up and against the spread start that only the Messiah saw coming. The best part of that play though, was the reaction from the cop on the sidelines who is assumingly supposed to be working security for the game. 

 

The devastation on his pastry-swelled face is priceless.

 

But I must give Rice its due. Two seasons ago I called the Owls the worst team in college football and suddenly they look like a C-USA contender, not to mention a moneymaker.

 

This week, we don’t have to rely on a Rice-Memphis matchup to get us fired up. Week 3 usually means we’re getting into some heavyweight bouts in the college football world and this week doesn’t disappoint.

 

Ohio State travels to USC, CBS kicks off its SEC coverage, and there are a couple of other doozies on the board like Wisconsin-Fresno State.

 

Before I get into this week’s picks though, I want to take a moment to fuel the conspiracy theorist fires.

 

I went 3-0-1 with my picks last week (thank you), though I would have been a spotless 4-0 if Urban Meyer hadn’t blatantly made an attempt to cover the spread.

 

With just over a minute left against Miami, up 20 points, the Gators continued to drive for the touchdown instead of taking a couple of knees and letting the clock run out. They had to settle for the field goal, meaning my ATS win turned into a push with Miami at +23.

 

I’m not sure if this was an attempt to cover the spread or just to piss off an in-state rival, but the latter certainly worked. Canes coach Randy Shannon barely touched hands with Meyer before running to the locker room in disgust.

 

Hopefully you don’t get the same feeling after reading this week’s picks.

 

Rice vs. Vanderbilt (-8, 58)

 

After praising the Owls, now I have to fade them.

 

The Owls are much improved with plenty of talent on offense, but they won’t be able to hang with Vanderbilt unless the ‘Dores have a serious letdown.

 

Vandy is fast on both sides of the ball, it hits hard and has a dynamic quarterback in Chris Nickson, who looks like a better passer this year. He can throw on the run, beat you with his legs and has a great running back in Jared Hawkins, who did some damage against South Carolina last week.

 

Pick: Vandy

 

Oklahoma vs. Washington (-20 ½, 62)

 

What’s this? Players having fun? Players getting excited when you come back to score what should be the tying points against a ranked opponent at home in the final seconds of a game?

 

Tisk, tisk.

 

The Pac-10 should outlaw high-fiving, smiling and cheering during games while they’re at it. In case you didn’t see it last week, Huskies QB Jake Locker was flagged for celebrating a TD that would have tied the game against BYU, pending the extra point.

 

There was no taunting. No delay of game. Not even a spiked ball. He just tossed the ball behind his head as his teammates came barreling after him to hug him to death. BYU ended up blocking the extra point that was moved back 15 yards.


What a joke.

 

Well, Washington doesn’t have to worry about having fun this week. Oklahoma is looking incredible and coach Bob Stoops has been gearing them up all week for a big road performance.

 

The Sooners went just 3-2 and 1-4 against the spread on the road last year and Stoops isn’t happy about it.

 

Pick: Oklahoma

 

Wisconsin vs. Fresno State (+2, 48 ½)

 

Should be a tough, smash-mouth game here. Wisky should leave everything on the field with a bye week coming up next.

 

Pick: Wisky

 

Ohio State vs. USC (-11 ½, 44 ½)

 

I think Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is playing some mind games here. There’s the whole Beanie Wells is playing-he isn’t playing ordeal. And there’s that performance last weekend.

 

I mean, Ohio State got bullied by Ohio. I’ve seen the Buckeyes play some crap games in Tressel’s time, but I’ve never seen them get absolutely bullied on both sides of the ball by a MAC opponent before.

 

Tressel was also screwing around with freshman Tyrelle Pryor at QB, which makes me think he has some tricks up his sleeve for this week. Maybe he’s learned something from the dual-QB systems he got whooped with each of the past two years in the national championship games.

 

At any rate, I know USC is good, but are they two-touchdowns better? I think Ohio State’s front seven will keep it closer than that.

 

If you like the underdog though, wait until game time before taking it. This line is on a one-way track

up.

 

Pick: Ohio State

 

 

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Posted by shepherd
6 years ago

bookbuster why do you do that? makes you look stupid...
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Posted by thebookbuster
6 years ago

Good writeup Doobie Oregon State a looser thoug GL
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Posted by robert23
6 years ago

BET THE HOUSE ON TE GEORGIA / SOUTH CAROLINA UNDER 45.O
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Posted by testrite
6 years ago

Parlay / 4026A... 2008-09-11 22:29 $15.00 $199.25 -- Placed NCAA Football/G- (Ohio St. @ USC) USC Point Spread -11.5 (-110) 2008-09-13 20:10 Placed NCAA Football/G- Michigan @ Notre Dame Over 37 (-110) 2008-09-13 15:40 Placed NCAA Football/G- (Michigan @ Notre Dame) Michigan Point Spread -2 (-110) 2008-09-13 15:40 Placed NCAA Football/G- Florida Atlantic @ Michigan St. Under 65 (-110) 2008-09-13 14:10 Placed
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Posted by DaisyDog
6 years ago

I have Vandy and over 581/2 as real strong plays. Rice went over 13 of the last 14 games. Geneally there totals is in the high 60's not 58. They can't stop npbody. I love Vandy to win by 14 pts.
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Posted by KasperNV
6 years ago

Jon, Yeah I think UCLA can give them a run for there money today. It seems the coach has them on track.
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Posted by KasperNV
6 years ago

AUSSIE, I prefer a Sheila as a pet.
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Posted by Aussieguy
6 years ago

Phew, Finally someone who likes Ohio State!!! It seems to me that every man and his pet kangaroo (nah just kidding. Honestly, we don't have kangaroos as pets here, even if the rest of America thinks so....) is on USC today! It's USC fade time, I say! Hopefully, you're going one better this week JC Best of luck mate AUSSIE
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Posted by Jon_Campbell
6 years ago

Thanks for the comments folks and good luck with your picks this weekend. Great game last night with an exciting finish in Tampa. Hopefully more to come today. Tough break for OSU with Beanie out. That offensive line has to do a better job than it did last week to help Maurice Wells out, though. Will be tough against that USC defense. I think they might surprise the Trojans, but we'll see. Another game I almost took for this column and will be on today is UCLA-BYU. That UCLA defense is tough and I'm surprised the Bruins are getting that many points. Craft has had two weeks to prepare and evaluate his first game so I'm expecting UCLA's offense to click a little better from the outset this week. There's some bad weather out there, so keep an eye on that today too. Good luck.
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Posted by ESPNTED
6 years ago

Beanies out for tomorrow. Just heard on ESPN
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Posted by KasperNV
6 years ago

Don't throw your money away. USC in a romp.
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Posted by hvacdawg
6 years ago

BEANIES PLAYIN TOMORROW. NO WAY IN HELL HE'S SITTIN THIS ONE OUT. GET READY TO APOLOGIZE FOR BASHING THE BUCKEYES.....TAKE THE POINTS FOR THE EASY MONEY....
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Posted by shepherd
6 years ago

he hits on one very good point... if you have USC in this game... the only thing you have to fear is Tyrel Pryor... because if Tressel does have something up his sleeve, that is it... he went out and got Pryor to compete in these kinds of games... and with Wells less than 100% (or out), they really have nothing to lose but the ballgame at this point... and if Pryor doesn't get into the game and make some big plays, they will definitely lose this ballgame...
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Posted by jeffjames
6 years ago

vandy should roll like oreg st too if ohio st gets to 13 might consider but no beenie no dice.
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Posted by derrius
6 years ago

SC will make an example of OSU. Somehow they still rank these CHUMPS ahead of SEC powers like the suprising LSU TIGERS.
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Posted by GeorgeCarlin
6 years ago

This is a special USC team, which we will all have to acknowledge after the game. Guess we have to make the state of Ohio see it--they decide our President, too.
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Posted by GeorgeCarlin
6 years ago

Like your OKLA pick however. Wash has no offense, do they? Guess that will show itself on Sat.
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Posted by GeorgeCarlin
6 years ago

Tressel is being tricky, so that warrants hard earned cash$$$$$$$$$$ Frosh QB going into Pasadena, to take on a defense where most of them will be playing on Sundays. If Tressel thinks he will dink dink dink his passes on this D, think again. Beanie Wells, if wasnt injured before, he will be. Nice to have Ohio St come out & play someone.
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Posted by doobiebrother
6 years ago

Lettin’ her rip this weekend, and the bets are in. here’s analysis for Saturday’s plays. CFB 9-7-1 TY (+7.4). Duke (-1.5) – Cutliffe has instilled new attitude and Devils have impressed, especially on “D” (10 starters), allowing 16% (4-21) on 3rd down. Dominated FCS powerhouse James Madison 31-7, holding them to 238 total yards. Lost to revenge minded Northwestern 24-20, but 472-328 yardage edge, containing good Cat offense (8 starters back, 428 YPG LY), and Sutton (66). Duke offense (7 starters) has shown excellent balance (396 rush, 440 pass) and QB Lewis no picks in L4G (159 attempts). Devils have chance to go 2-1, with 2 weeks to prepare for ACC opener H vs. Virginia, a winnable game. Navy one of few with less talent than Duke, and Blue Man Group gets the “W” here. Oregon St. (-13) - Beavers 0-2, but shown some big offense. Lost at Stanford, winning yardage battle 490-301, but losing TOs 3-0. Penn St.’s high powered offense lit them up but OSU offense got 250 passing and 92 rushing vs. staunch PSU “D”. Beavers have big (avg. 311) veteran OL and WR Sammy Stroughter, who was 1st team All-Pac 10 in ‘06 before ‘07 injury. He and fellow senior WR Morales have combined for 33 catches and 404 yards in the first 2 games, while QB Maevao has completed 62.3% of his passes for 654 yards. Freshman RB Rodgers has impressed (153 yards, 4.3 YPR, 2 TD). Hawaii traveled a bit L2 weeks, long flight to Florida, back to Hawaii, then to Oregon. Their “D” returns just 5 starters (1 DL), and has little chance to stop OSU offense. Hawaii offense with 4 returning starters, and learning new system, will be pressed to keep up. OSU 6-1 ATS H, 13-2 ATS off back-to-back losses, and gone bowling in 7 of L9Y. At 0-2, and with next week off, this will get their full attention. Penn St. (-28) – Syracuse has to be depressed after getting blown out at H by Akron, and little hope of beating anyone else on rugged schedule, except Northeastern, who they host next week. Defense that allowed 35 PPG and 469 YPG LY has been especially bad, allowing 484 to Northwestern and 478 to Akron, who combined had 487 rushing yards on 5.7 YPR. ‘Cuse has now allowed 38> in 6 of L7 at H. In rolls PSU with explosive offense that returns 8 starters, including all 5 OL, from team that averaged 400 YPG and 30 PPG LY, including 194 rushing at 4.8 YPR. Lions trashed decent Oregon St. “D” last week, with 45 points and 454 yards, including 239 on the ground (6.3 YPR). This after hanging 66 and 594 on Coastal Carolina. With PSU also returning 7 starters to killer “D”, and nothing but H game vs. Temple on deck, no hope here for Orange, who are 0-6 ATS as H dog. The phrase “run at will” has rarely fit a game so perfectly. Stanford/TCU under (41) – Should have changed this to Friday night too, as game time (1 pm est) forecast 25 mph winds with strong gusts, increasing as game goes forward. Doesn’t hurt that TCU has allowed 14< in 13 of 15 at H, including 7< 8 times. Buffalo (-6.5) – With Buffalo returning 18 starters and Temple 21, more or less same cast as LY, when Bulls buried Owls in Philly 42-7, outgaining them 414-141. Buffalo has played well, trouncing UTEP 42-17 (yardage 484-266), then going into Pitt, who gave them full attention after BG upset, and playing tough (yardage 348-352, 17-16 after 3). Only 1 team topped 358 vs. Pitt “D” (7 starters) all LY, and BG got just 254 in opener. Temple played decent in wet, windy 3 point H loss to UConn, but was actually outgained in 35-7 win at hapless Army (250-284), getting TDs on KO return and fumble return. Buffalo 3-1 SU & ATS H vs. MAC LY, with 3 double digit wins, and should get another here. Ohio St. (+11.5) – Let’s dispel some misconceptions about Buckeyes. OSU offense has good chance to score on USC (who gave up 24> 5 times LY), or any other team they play. Buckeyes return 9 starters to offense that produced 31 PPG and 396 YPG last year and stuck 24 points and 353 yards on LSU in title game, rushing for 4.8 YPR. QB returns with 146.7 rating (12th in CFB), plus #1 rated overall recruit as backup. LSU did not dominate OSU in title game. Tigers made red zone plays and notched 38, but had just 174 passing yards, 152 rushing (on just 3.1 YPR) and were outgained in the game. Key OSU TOs were the difference, and don’t forget game not played on neutral field. USC starters have no more talent and are no faster than OSU. Anyone who follows high school recruiting or the players’ times knows this is true, and it’s not an opinion, but an indisputable fact. USC is not a sure thing to score major points. How does offense with 4 starters back (1 OL) get mythical, almost god-like reputation with public, by routing Virginia team with 28 returning lettermen (lowest in CFB) and not a single returning DL? Assuming Trojans score big vs. LY’s #1 ranked “D” is not a logical assumption. Any where, any team, any time, Buckeyes +11.5 is a play. USC 2-4 ATS at H and OSU 9-0 ATS A vs. .667>. New Mexico (+10.5) – Though ‘Zona in revenge, same matchup remains that caused 29-26 H loss to Lobos LY, with NM “D” vs. pass happy Arizona offense. NM secondary returns intact and was 20th (197 YPG) vs. the pass LY, held Nevada to 137 in bowl shutout, and 123 YPG TY. Lobos’ offense returns excellent skill players with QB Porterie (3006 pass yards), all-MWC RB Ferguson, and RB Baker (bowl MVP). They do have 4 new OL, but after facing TCU and A&M, they’ll be taking big step down to ‘Zona “D” that lost 8 starters, including entire DL. Lobos 6-1 ATS as H dog of 8>, and should have beat A&M last week, outgaining them 370-236. They’ve gone bowling in 5 of L6 years, and outright upset would not surprise. 5 USF 3 Baylor 3 Duke 3 Oregon St. 3 PSU 3 Stanford/TCU Under 3 Buffalo 3 Ohio St. 3 NMU
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Posted by jelswood
6 years ago

I appreciate your thinking. I'll go with two of the four. Oklahoma will win but not cover, and Fresno wins and covers. Great article.
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Posted by Mike-Jones2
6 years ago

Like the picks till the last one.. USC has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game, and always plays well in the big ones! USC rolls big time at home! Ohio st.'s national championship chase will be over after saturday, and you will be 3-1.
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Posted by west44
6 years ago

I think Fresno has a shot here tough game though , may be no play for me would not go against that home doggie ... you must be listening to Lou Holtz on espn this guy is such a trojan hater because they beat the garbage out of notre dame every year now , USC is loaded , I dont like the spread though , could go either way i kind of smell a 27-17 game USC winning or they could roll big , or I have seen them squeek out games in the coliseum , who knows huge game , cant wait though Vandy may be a trap , looks like it to me
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Posted by Blackshirt51
6 years ago

I hope your right on Vandy.After watching the scarlet knights last night get trounced by UNC Wisky looks good to me against Fresno!! Good LUCK Love the selections
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Posted by KasperNV
6 years ago

You had me going until the last one. USC will cover the spread with ease, They might even run up the score on them with Carroll at the helm.
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Posted by bikinibabesrbes
6 years ago

I am a die hard OSU fan...but I am of the 'all be it' early opinion...that the PAC 10 is that much better than the BIG TEN....and USC is the best of the bunch....after OSU's defense is on the field for the better part of the first half...It is my humbled opinion..that there will no stopping USC in the second half. Good Luck to All!!
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Top Response

Posted by bikinibabesrbes
6 years ago

"I am a die hard OSU fan...but I am of the 'all be it' early opinion...that the PAC 10 is that much better than the BIG TEN....and USC is the best of the bunch....after OSU's defense is on the field for the better part of the first half...It is my hum..."