The SEC is living up to its billing as the best conference in college football. Three of the top four teams in the recent national rankings reside in the SEC, but we are not going to see all three in the College Football Playoff at the end of the season.
LSU looks like the real deal after an offensive explosion helped take down Texas in a battle of top-10 teams last week. Alabama remains the team to beat in the SEC and has a date with South Carolina in its first road game. And don’t forget about Georgia, which rolled Murray State. The Bulldogs are facing one of the bigger spreads in Week 3, laying 33.5-points on the opening college football line to Arkansas State.
Those three are all behind Clemson, though, in the national rankings. The Tigers handled one of its tougher opponents, beating Texas AM last weekend to remain No. 1. And while they are a 28-point favorite for this week’s contest with Syracuse, the Orange have given Clemson fits the last two years, pulling off a massive upset in 2017, winning outright, 27-24, at home as a 23.5-point dog. Cuse nearly pulled off another upset last year only to be handed a 27-23 loss when the Tigers scored a late touchdown.
Rivalry games aren’t just for the end of the season anymore. With schools facing scheduling difficulties some of those important matchups show up earlier on the schedule. Penn State and Pittsburgh could be playing their last game for awhile with no meetings scheduled beyond Saturday’s tilt. The Nittany Lions opened as a 17-point favorite on the college football betting line. Iowa State opened -1 for its matchup with Iowa and the line jumped the fence to +2 with the Hawkeyes getting over 70 percent of the early action.
Four teams are favored by at least 31 points on the current line, and not surprisingly the four favorites are all ranked among the top-12 this week. The largest spread has Auburn a five-touchdown favorite over Kent State. The Tigers slipped past Tulane, 24-6, last week in less than spectacular fashion, though they did cover to improve to 2-0 SU and ATS. Notre Dame took last week off and moved up a spot in the rankings to No. 7. Before their schedule gets much tougher, the Irish have a gimme against New Mexico as a 34.5-point favorite.
Georgia is getting its cupcake games out of the way early laying 33.5-points to Arkansas State. The Dogs failed to cover the 49.5-point line in their 63-17 win over Murray State last week. They’ve been favored by at least 22-points in all three games. Texas showed off an impressive offense last week in a loss to LSU serving notice to the rest of the Big 12. The poor Owls from Rice are up next with the Horns looking to hand out some punishment after that tough outcome. Rice is getting 31-points and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be enough.
If you followed my upset picks last week you’d be rolling in dough right now. Yep, I hit both of my upset specials with BYU and Colorado coming through. Can I keep the ball rolling? I don’t know, but I’ll certainly give it a try. I’m not ready to give up on Khalil Tate and Arizona just yet. This is a talented offensive team that bounced back from a deflating loss to Hawai’i two weeks ago to hammer FCS Northern Arizona. The Wildcats led 51-13 at halftime and eased off the gas in the second half. That won’t happen this week against a talented Texas Tech squad and I’ll take U of A for the outright win.
Wake Forest is 2-0 and the Deacons are playing at home, however, I’m not convinced after watching them squeak by Utah State and allowing Rice to hang around for most of last week’s game. North Carolina beat a couple of formidable foes in South Carolina and Miami and the Tar Heels have a different vibe under Mack Brown. They also have a pretty good quarterback in freshman Sam Howell, who tossed the game-winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to upend the Canes. UNC is a confident group after a two narrow victories, and that confidence will continue to grow on the road.
Week 3 Lock
The way Florida State is going Willie Taggart will be lucky to make it through the season. The Noles imploded in a Week 1 loss to Boise State and nearly did the same last week against Louisiana-Monroe. It took a botched ULM extra point in overtime for FSU to escape with a 45-44 win as a 22.5-point favorite. Virginia has emerged as the favorite to win the ACC Coastal and the Cavs have a solid group in Year 4 of Bronco Mendenhall’s regime. After years of noogies and wedgies it’s time for UVA to get some payback and I’ll take the Cavs minus 7-points.
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