IAKOW Staff Week 3 picks

Now things get real.

I remain one game ahead of NWB, thanks to BYU’s clutch win in the final minutes over Boise State. Let’s hope I can keep it that way, or even expand my lead, as we have multiple disagreements this week.


 

SEC Picks

Connecticut @ Missouri

NW Blackmon: Tigers weren’t convincing against Arkansas State last week. UConn is 2-0 under Bob Diaco, but I’d expect the Tigers to play much better ahead of their conference opener next weekend in Lexington. Mizzou 31, UConn 10

Neil Shulman: Maty Mauk already doesn’t have the playmakers around him that he used to, but now he’s without his star tailback Russell Hansbrough. Won’t matter. Mauk will make enough plays both through the air and with his legs to stave off a surging UConn program. Missouri 38, UConn 24

Nevada @ Texas A&M

NWB: The Wolfpack aren’t a cupcake by any stretch of the imagination, and they were hanging with Arizona for a half last weekend before they ran out of steam. Expect the same thing at Kyle Field. Aggies head into league play 3-0. Texas A & M 42, Nevada 17

NS: Nevada hasn’t been the same program since Colin Kaepernick left. Don Jackson will get the Wolfpack some yards on the ground and maybe even a touchdown or two, but no way the Aggies don’t lock this game up by the end of the third quarter. Texas A&M 49, Nevada 13

Auburn @ Louisiana State

NWB: There’s a line of thinking that Auburn received a needed wake-up call against Jacksonville State and that Will Muschamp’s defense will tighten up and keep the Tigers in the game in Baton Rouge. I think that line of thinking is correct. It also doesn’t mean Auburn wins the football game. The day game thing helps- LSU is more vulnerable at home in the day- but in the end there Jeremy Johnson isn’t ready to win this type of football game and LSU has the best player in the game in Leonard Fournette. LSU 27, Auburn 14

NS: I am among a gargantuan group of Gator fans who want to see Will Muschamp fail and watch his defense get utterly humiliated. Well, guess what fellow Gator fans? This may be our chance. Auburn’s defense has given up almost 1,000 yards through two games, one of which was a nail biter against a Jacksonville State team they were favored to beat by some 40 points. But the Tigers’ defense may not even matter. Unless Jeremy Johnson can transform from Jeff Driskel into Cam Newton in the span of a week, Auburn has no shot to pull it out in Death Valley. LSU 41, Auburn 10

Northwestern State @ Mississippi State

NWB: Dan Mullen’s team coming off a heartbreaker but they get a Devils squad that is bad by FCS standards, and they benefit from the wake-up call the SEC got last week, when multiple teams struggled against FCS and group of five football teams. Big win for a Bulldog team that might be better than I thought. Miss State 49, Northwestern State 3

NS: Mississippi State is steaming after coming so close to beating LSU twice in a row for the first time since 1990-91 and failing. They’ll take out their frustrations on a putrid FCS team. Mississippi State 38, Northwestern State 7

Austin Peay @ Vanderbilt

NWB: Derek Mason’s defense has played fantastic football for two straight weeks and the Commodores have no victories to show for it. That changes Saturday. Vanderbilt 31, Austin Peay 0

NS: I’m giving Vandy one last chance. If they lose this one, I will never pick them to win another game until they win two in a row. Vanderbilt 21, Austin Peay 3

South Carolina @ Georgia

NWB: Spurrier has won four of five against the hated red and black and if this game were in Columbia, I’d be tempted to pick the Cocks. But taking a former walk-on QB into Athens and leaving with a victory when you haven’t played a full game this season is a task too tall, even for the HBC. School Up North 28, South Carolina 17

NS: I think Steve Spurrier’s luck against Georgia is finally running out. His Gamecocks may have beaten Georgia last year despite having no business doing so, but I refuse to believe that will happen again- even if Greyson Lambert continues to struggle. School That’s Lost 19 Out Of The Last 25 Games To Florida 31, South Carolina 20

Texas Tech @ Arkansas

NWB: Kliff Kingsbury’s team is averaging 64.5 points a game, but there are always toughness questions. It’s hard to imagine Bret Bielema’s club being upset in their home state two games in a row, and it is even more difficult to imagine them doing that against the nation’s 120th ranked rushing defense. Arkansas 45, Texas Tech 31

NS: It’s easy to think that Arkansas could go completely down the drain after a devastating loss to Toledo. And in fact, that’s exactly what I think will happen eventually. But not against a porous Texas Tech defense that surrendered 45 points to Sam Houston State. Arkansas 49, Texas Tech 41

Western Carolina @ Tennessee

NWB: Vols may come out a bit flat after the heartbreaking loss to the Sooners (which saw me three points from the final score) but it won’t matter by the second half. Big get well win for the Vols before they head to the Swamp next week. Tennessee 45, Western Carolina 7

NS: This was supposed to be Tennessee’s year with Josh Dobbs at the controls full time. It all looked so good for them against Oklahoma. Then they choked away a 17-0 lead and blew it in double overtime. Like Arkansas, I expect the tough loss to lead to a downward spiral for the program. And also like Arkansas, I don’t think it starts this week. Tennessee 55, Western Carolina 17

Florida @ Kentucky

NWB: In a classic head vs. heart game, I’ll go with the head. Will Grier struggles in his first road game and a late Treon Harris rally comes up short. Patrick Towles and a veteran OL move the ball effectively against the Gator defense, which was exposed last week without Alex Anzalone. The Gators make Jim McElwain the first head coach since the 80’s to lose his first road game as a Gator, and the streak over UK ends at 28. Big win for Mark Stoops’s program and one that puts them in decent position in the wide open east. Kentucky 28, Florida 24

NS: Yeah, um, I don’t know about that, NWB. Yes, Florida struggled against ECU’s Air Raid offense, and yes, Kentucky also runs the Air Raid, but a) it’s a weaker and less effective version of it and b) Florida will have starting corner Vernon Hargreaves and starting safety Keanu Neal back- both of whom were out against ECU. I don’t think it’s a pretty win by any means, but I have faith that the strengthened Gator defense will stuff the Wildcats down the stretch and the offense will do enough to pull it out. Florida 33, Kentucky 20.

Mississippi @ Alabama

NWB: I just don’t trust Chad Kelly, no matter how many points he put up against Fresno State and UT-Martin. Jake Coker manages the game and the Tide win the game in the fourth quarter with Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Alabama 20, Ole Miss 14

NS: Bo Wallace played the game of his life last year against Alabama. Without a similarly spectacular performance from Chad Kelly, the Rebels won’t have a prayer. LaQuon Treadwell and Cody Core will need to help him out by making some big plays, and Jaylen Walton will have to get going on the ground in order to make Alabama respect the running threat. But Nick Saban just doesn’t lose to the same team twice in a row (except LSU in 2010 and 2011, and we all remember what happened the next time they played). Too much Derrick Henry. Too much abuse at the point of attack. Too much Bama. Alabama 34, Mississippi 17


 

National Games

Florida State @ Boston College

NWB: Steve Adazzio’s club is playing well- turns out the Dazzler is a fine head coach, just not a good coordinator– and they sport the nation’s #1 rushing defense. They’ll need it to halt Dalvin Cook, but if they stop him, all bets are off, because the Noles appear to be limited in the passing game. I think it is a four quarter game and the team with the best football player wins. FSU 21, Boston College 14

NS: Good thing Dalvin Cook has been so explosive for the Noles so far. Without him, FSU would be lost offensively. But they do have him, and as long as Everett Golson can make a few plays with his arm to make the BC defense back off, he should lead the Noles to a 3-0 start. Florida State 28, Boston College 10

Northwestern @ Duke

NWB: Having already beat Stanford, Cats go for Brain Bowl sweep, and get it, in a narrow, exciting win over another well-coached ball club. Northwestern 24, Duke 21

NS: Justin Jackson has been difficult to stop on the ground so far this year for the Big Purple. He’ll continue to be a problem for a Duke defense that’s only allowed 7 points so far this year (against North Carolina Central and Tulane, yippee!) and will give up a hell of a lot more than that in a loss to a team that could quietly contend for the Big 10 West Championship. Northwestern 31, Duke 14

Stanford @ Southern California

NWB: Cardinal have been a problem for the Trojans of late but this is a game where USC shows the sanctions are mostly behind them and they are legitimate playoff contenders. USC 30, Stanford 17 

NS: This game has sneakily turned into one of the biggest rivalries in college football over the last decade or so. The two private schools in California, both claiming the color cardinal, battling it out, often with the team that’s deemed to be worse losing? Sounds like fun to me! Thing is, though, USC seems to have turned the corner after a rough ride under Lane Kiffin. Cody Kessler puts up big numbers in a statement win. USC 34, Stanford 21

Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame

NWB: Jackets wouldn’t win this game in South Bend in a world where Malik Zaire could play but his injury changes things. A Tech win puts the Jackets in the thick of a playoff conversation, and the way they’ve played since falling just short in the ACC Title game last winter, that’s reasonable. Georgia Tech 27, Notre Dame 21

NS: Forced to step in for Malik Zaire, DeShone Kizer saved the day against Virginia. I don’t think he’ll have anywhere near that level of success against Georgia Tech, though. The Ramblin’ Wreck walks into South Bend and steals one right from under the Irish’s nose. Georgia Tech 17, Notre Dame 16

Nebraska @ Miami

NWB: Huskers held on in Lincoln a year ago but the Canes will win the home leg. After a miserable half in Boca Raton, Al Golden’s squad showed you why at least some analysts felt they would be one of the nation’s surprise teams this season. Jury out on that, but they’ll be 3-0 come Sunday. Miami 30, Nebraska 21

NS: The rematch of the rematch of the 2001 national championship game will be a home game for Miami. That means about as much for Nebraska as playing football in your friend’s backyard instead of your own. The Hurricanes struggled to stop Florida Atlantic, so I have trouble believing they’ll be able to stop Tommy Armstrong Jr. Nebraska’s season is teetering on the brink following the devastating week one loss to BYU, but they’ll save it with a big win over the Canes. Nebraska 20, Miami 13

Brigham Young @ UCLA

NWB: Cougars got a nice win over Boise State last week and somehow appear no worse for wear despite losing their QB 1 and RB 1. It stops this week, in an exciting game at the Rose Bowl. #PAC12AFTERDARK, too. UCLA 31, BYU 20

NS: BYU has won their first two games in rather head tilting fashion. Now, they finally play a good team, and so their luck/success/whatever you want to call it will run out. Josh Rosen will have a huge day as the Bruins roll. UCLA 38, BYU 14

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