Week 2 lacked punch on the schedule, but turned in some memorable games including a top-ten team going down as Louisiana Monroe took out the Razorbacks. This week, there are several matchups pitting top 25 teams against each other and the #2 team in the country facing a tough road test against an in-state rival.
Last week, my entry ended up with just 33 points but still was above the average of 31. Thankfully my 10-points were safe thanks to LSU which kept me in the top 10% of entries. It was good enough to keep my in front of the 11-player Fantasy CPR Group (click here for info to join). The best entry of the week though was “TD Dean” who scored 37 points and picked the Beavers to pull off the upset.
Here’s my picks and confidence for this week’s slate:
1 point-Notre Dame over Michigan State: Saturday night’s showcase game on ABC features a great rivalry and a top 25 matchup as number 20 Notre Dame heads to East Lansing to visit the Spartans. Both teams are 2-0 after the first two weeks. State hasn’t given up an offensive TD yet this season, but played Boise State close before blowing out Central Michigan last week. The Irish will have Everett Golson and Tommy Rees both available for Coach Brian Kelly to utilize at QB, and they’ll also get Cierre Wood back from suspension. Wood was the Irish leading rusher last season. In last year’s matchup the unranked Irish knocked off the Spartans 31-13 in South Bend. This game will be a close one, but I think Kelly and Notre Dame’s close victory last week against a solid Purdue team gives them an edge at the end of this one so I’ll go with the Golden-Domers in this one.
2 points- Penn State over Navy: Two teams searching for their first win meet at Happy Valley Saturday afternoon at 3:30 on ABC/ESPN2. Penn State lost by a point last week at Virginia and looked better than they did in an opening loss to Ohio. At home, it’s hard to go against the Nittany Lions and Bill O’Brien. I think he’ll get his first win against a Navy team that will struggle to run the ball against a still tough Penn State defense. Navy dropped their only game 50-10 to Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland week one.
3 points- Arizona State over Missouri: Arizona State travels to Missouri for what should be quite the shootout at Faurot Field. ASU has scored 63 and 45 in their first two games and handled Illinois last week 45-14. Missouri scored 62 week one against SE Louisiana but lost last week to Georgia 41-20. I like the Sun Devils new look offense and don’t think the Tigers can keep up.
5 points- Texas over Ole Miss: Texas visits Oxford in a meeting of two unbeatens. The Longhorns are double-digit favorites and should win, but going on the road to an SEC school is never an easy win.
6 points- USC over Stanford: This will be a great game at Stanford Saturday night on FOX. USC will be looking to snap it’s three game losing streak against the Cardinal, but their passing game has been in great form in their first two weeks. Matt Barkley wasn’t happy with their consistency against Syracuse last week, but Robert Woods had another big game. He dominated Stanford last year with 313 yards, 21 catches, and four TDs last year in two games. He’ll dominate again and Marqise Lee will have a big game too as the Trojans stay right on the Tide’s heels at the top of the polls.
7 points- Louisville over North Carolina: Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals get their stiffest test of the season as they look to go 3-0 as they host UNC. Bridgewater has been great in big wins over Kentucky and Missouri State but will now face a talented Tar Heels defense. UNC lots last week at Wake Forest 28-27.
8 points- BYU over Utah: Utah fell to Utah State last week and now hosts another in-state rival as they welcome BYU in for the so-called “Holy War.” Last year, the Utes waxed the Cougars forcing seven turnovers and rolling 54-10. Utah will face a tough BYU defense which is averaging 9.5 points per game allowed, and they’ll be forced to start a new QB after Jordan Wynn retired from football after another shoulder injury. New QB, fired up D, and a team out for revenge means I’m seeing BYU in a big way late Saturday (10:00 kickoff on ESPN2). The only reason I’m not more confident is that Utah has won four of the last five meetings at Utah.
9 points- Alabama over Arkansas: Alabama is really, really good. Arkansas not only got upset last week but they lost their starting QB as well. The Tide is one of the safest picks on the board as they travel to Little Rock and face the Razorbacks at 3:30 on CBS. The only reason I’m not going 10 is that it is an in-conference road game.
10 points- Ohio State over California: The Buckeyes have been impressive in Urban Meyer’s first two games as head coach going 2-0 with convincing wins against Miami (OH) and UCF. Braxton Miller has looked good in the offense and now they’ll play a Cal team in Columbus who lost the opener to Nevada and beat Southern Utah unconvincingly last week. The Golden Bears struggle to stop the run and will have problems running the ball against a swarming Buckeye defense without starting RB Carlos Hyde. If the Big 10 can ever beat the Pac 12, everything lines up correctly for this to be the time.