Week 3, College Football Picks 2017: Spread & Predictions

For anyone that looks forward to college football Saturdays, it goes without saying that a seemingly lop-sided matchup can become a competitive clash for the ages. The unpredictability of these games is what makes college football one of the most intriguing and emotionally intense sports that any football fan can become engrossed in. While keeping a close eye on the marquee games is paramount to receiving insight into how the College Football Playoff will turn out, the under the radar contests offer a glimpse into some of the unranked competitors that could make a run at a New York Years Six bowl game if they can string enough impressive victories together at the right time. With that in mind, here are the top 10 college football match ups and predictions going into week 3.

1. UCLA Bruins (25) vs. Memphis Tigers

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Day 2 at Camp Lambuth. #GoTigersGo

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After pulling off one of the biggest comebacks ever against the Texas A&M Aggies, the high-flying offense of the UCLA Bruins will look to overshadow the potent rushing attack of the Memphis Tigers. While quarterback Josh Rosen is an incredibly smart and confident passer, I believe that the Memphis Tigers’ running game will prevail over a UCLA defense that has been abysmal at keeping the opposition out of the end zone.

Final Score: Bruins 34 Tigers 40 Spread: UCLA -3.0

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

Two weeks into the season, 103 points for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Granted their first two opponents were Tulsa and South Alabama respectively, but the Cowboys have arguably one of the most dynamic offenses in college football. Pittsburgh on the other hand struggled mightily against an elite Penn State program. Barring a miracle, the Panthers are destined to suffer a similar fate when they take on Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys relentless offense at home.

Final Score: Cowboys 48 Panthers 28 Spread: Oklahoma State -12.5

3. Duke Blue Devils vs. Baylor Bears

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After sustaining several devastating injuries on defense while working through growing pains with the freshman quarterback Daniel Jones, the Duke Blue Devils have looked spectacular on both offense and defense this season. The Baylor Bears on the other hand have looked bad….like losing to Liberty and UTSA bad. While the Bears will dig deep and find a way to be competitive for the first half, their lack of consistency on defense and offense will do them in when all is said and done.

Final Score: Blue Devils 34 Bears 20 Spread: Duke -14.0

4. Tennessee Volunteers (23) vs. Florida Gators (24)

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Two big name SEC programs with even bigger expectations will go head to head to find out if either one is legimately ready to take a decisive step towards getting into the College Football Playoff. While Volunteers quarterback Quinten Dormady has looked respectable thus far, he has not faced a defense as dominant as Florida’s. Conversely, the Gators looked incredible against the Alabama Crimson Tide throughout most of the game defensively, but were gassed down the stretch due to an offense without a solidified identity. I’ll give the Gators the slight edge here because they’re at home and have a suffocating defense that should rattle the Volunteers offense just enough for them to sneak away with a much needed victory.

Final Score: Volunteers 13 Gators 20 Spread: Florida -4.5

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Boston College Eagles

After a devastating loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in week 2, the Fighting Irish will be immensely determined to bounce back emphatically against the Eagles. While Fighting Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush is still a work in progress, they have a terrific veteran running back in Josh Adams who is more than capable of carrying his team against weaker defenses. Although the Eagles have a few nice playmakers on defense, as a whole it won’t be enough to stop Notre Dame.

Final Score: Fighting Irish 30 Eagles 21 Spread: Notre Dame -13.0

6. Wisconsin Badgers (9) vs. BYU Cougars

Once again, the Wisconsin Badgers will be reliant on a stout defense and a physical running game to overcome their opponents. While this may not be enough to compete for a national title, it will be more than enough to dispatch a Cougars team that is devoid of any reputable offensive playmakers.

Final Score: Badgers 28 Cougars 10 Spread: Wisconsin -16.0

7. LSU Tigers (12) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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Although LSU quarterback Danny Etling has not looked like an elite passer this season, he is at least better at protecting the football while allowing his potent rushing attack and formidable defense to do most of the heavy lifting. While the Bulldogs have quarterback issues of their own, their defense and running game has shown moments of greatness. For any LSU fan that is overlooking this game as an easy win, I would strongly advise against it. This one will come down to the final seconds of the game.

Final Score: Tigers 29 Bulldogs 28 Spread: LSU 7.5

8. Oregon Ducks vs. Wyoming Cowboys

A notable match up in particular because of all the attention surrounding Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen, this game could offer more intrigue than it appears. Ducks quarterback Justin Herbet has been nothing short of spectacular and Josh Allen looked decidedly better against Gardner-Webb in week 2. It’ll be a close one, but I expect the improved play of Allen and an underrated Cowboys defense to get the job done at home.

Final Score: Ducks 27 Cowboys 33 Spread: Oregon 14.5

9. Clemson Tigers (3) vs. Louisville Cardinals (14)

By far the most exciting match up of the weekend, this wild rematch should be extremely competitive considering the improved quarterback play of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and the crushing defense of Clemson. While Clemson no longer has DeShaun Watson at the helm, Kelly Bryant can make all of the throws Watson can while using his legs to gain first downs if a play breaks down. In the end, the fact that Clemson is a better all-around team will be too much for Lamar Jackson to overcome in this intriguing primetime affair.

Final Score: Tigers 37 Cardinals 27 Spread: Clemson -3.0

10. Texas Longhorns vs. USC Trojans (4)

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With both teams bouncing back to have stellar performances in week 2, the Longhorns and the Trojans will look to keep the good times rolling when they meet in Los Angeles on Saturday. However, unless the Longhorns can figure out their defensive woes, the Trojans will easily steam roll their way to decisive victory on the backs of running back of Ronald Jones II and quarterback Sam Darnold.

Final Score: Trojans 54 Longhorns 30 Spread: USC -15.5

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