I had to rush to be able to put up my week 3 picks before the start of the Mississippi State-Louisiana State kickoff. But I did it.
I was literally half an inch short of an overtime deciding the one pick I missed, MSU-Auburn, and am kicking myself for doubting the luck of Gene Chizik. Not only do his Tigers get lucky with Cam Newton, they get lucky without him, too. But I’m still 20-2 on the year. Not bad.
Onto the picks:
(3)Louisiana State @(25)Mississippi State, 8:00PM Thursday, ESPN
It’s in Starkville, which is never good for opponents, and it’s the maroon dogs’ home opener which is even less good. And they have a nasty streak to break against LSU, whom they are not especially fond of, especially after a loss, especially especially after an agonizing loss in a game they were favored in against a team they hate. No matter; this is LSU, a team that dismantled BCS Championship contender Oregon two weeks ago. They don’t need an offense, just the smothering D they already have. The Tigers shut down Chris Relf and Michael Ford and Spencer Ware each do enough to carry the offense to an ugly win.
LSU 17, MSU 7
(21)Auburn @Clemson, 12:00N, ABC
The Tiger Bowl, as it’s called, has had a few notable meetings recently, none more so than last year. These teams and their fans know each other from a bowl game and a classic Auburn comeback a year ago… with Cam Newton leading the way. Barrett Trotter is no Newton, but he is a decent enough starter to get wins. Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb should provide enough offense to get the win… but not before Auburn fans get scared… again.
Auburn 38, Clemson 34
Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt, 12:20PM, SEC Network
The game that has seen the underdog win the last few years comes at us again. Just call it the confusing bowl. Or the worst of each division bowl. Call it whatever, but these are the two worst teams in the SEC right here so far. Ole Miss has shown nothing outside of Jeff Scott, and Vanderbit has shown… slightly more than nothing. Larry Smith gets it done at home to go 3-0.
Vanderbilt 37, Ole Miss 14
Coastal Carolina @Georgia, 1:00PM ESPN3
The Bulldogs are better than 0-2, and they’ll show it against helpless little Coastal Carolina. This is an angry, talented, and desperate team and you know that’s a bad combination for such a weak team to face. It’ll be the Aaron Murray to Orson Charles show, combined with a little Isaiah Crowell, and a Georgia blowout.
Georgia 52, Coastal Carolina 13
Tennessee @ (16)Florida, 3:30PM, CBS
The big game. The one you’ve all been waiting for. It’s here, very soon. The Gators get Sharrif Floyd back, which is a monster help for a front 7 that’s been very good so far and is only going to get better. Tyler Bray and the Tennessee offense have been great so far… but will it be enough against a ferocious Florida D in the Swamp? Will Janzen Jackson-less Tennessee be able to stop the likes of Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Andre Debose, Quinton Dunbar… and so on? Probably not.
Florida 34, Tennessee 13
Navy @(10)South Carolina, 6:00PM, ESPN2
There’s no way SC should lose this game. Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffrey are rolling along. But nobody, I repeat, NOBODY, has more heart and guts than the Midshipmen. It’s just too bad for them that they no longer have Ricky Dobbs, who ran their offense so well, or Wyatt Middleton, the havoc-wreaking linebacker. And it’s too bad they have to play an SEC team.
South Carolina 44, Navy 12
Louisville @Kentucky, 7:00PM, ESPNU
Kentucky has shown very little to be impressed about so far. The lone bright spot on offense has been Josh Clemons, and the defense, led by Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy, has done enough to go 2-0. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are coming off an embarrassing loss to Florida International. That’s enough for me. Kentucky wins.
Kentucky 34, Louisville 17
Troy @(14)Arkansas, 7:30PM, ESPN3
Troy is not only a legitimate FBS team with bowl appearances and wins, but also a legitimate threat to pull off an upset if you mess around. I don’t think Tyler Wilson and his high powered attack will, though. Barring a series a free footballs, Arkansas shouldn’t have any trouble, not when you look at the dizzying array of weapons Wilson has to choose from.
Arkansas 59, Troy 34
North Texas @(2)Alabama, 7:30PM, ESPN3
Why does Alabama keep scheduling this type of game? It’s the second time in three years the Crimson Tide play the mean green. Notice the lowercase letters. I like UNT because Dan McCarney coached the Gators’ d-line, but they can’t move the ball against a nasty Alabama defense. Nor can they stop my favorite non-Gator player to watch, Trent Richardson.
Alabama 38, North Texas 16