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2011 NCAA Football – Week 3 Best Games

What is it about Week 3 and college football? I don’t exactly remember everything about Week 3 from the last couple of years, but the 3rd week of the season always seems to be packed with big games. This season is no different as Oklahoma & Florida St. hook up for a game that could very well catapult the winner into the front runner’s seat regarding the BCS Championship! Let’s get right to it!

I just want to make a quick note and say that these are the most interesting games to me this week in descending order of importance. Obviously I think the most interesting and most important game of the week is the Sooners/Seminoles matchup. This should give you an idea of why the games are in the order they are.

We finally get a break from the SEC when it comes to the most important game of the week! Massive storylines in this game! What everyone is going to talk about is how will FSU’s secondary hold up against Landry Jones and the Oklahoma passing attack. It might not be that easy for Oklahoma as the ‘Noles boast arguably the best defensive line in college football. They also potentially have the 2nd best secondary (Alabama is untouchable) meaning Oklahoma is going to get an extremely DIFFICULT test on the road. Speaking of road games, the Sooners had big troubles last year on the road. Another storyline? How about FSU QB EJ Manuel playing in his first gigantic game of his career!? This could easily be the best game of the college season to date. Current Line: Oklahoma (-3)!
Vegas clearly hasn’t given up on Mississippi St. and neither should you. Sure the Tigers are 3 point favorites in Starkville, but it would be easy to think a team who beat Oregon playing a team that lost to Auburn would be more than a FG favorite even on the road. The gaffe at Auburn was huge for MSU, but they still have a team that can run the table save Bama and get to 10-2 and a BCS Bowl. With Lucky Les who knows what can happen, but the Bulldogs can right the ship at home if they can tighten up that rush defense. I think MSU gets the win. Current Line: LSU (-3).
Michigan St. has been fairly dominant in their first two games to get to 2-0 while the Irish have been mistake prone to start the year a ridiculous 0-2. The Irish still have the team to run the table, finish 10-2 and get to a BCS Game, but I think the Irish would be pretty happy with 9-3 and a shot to get to 10-wins in Year-2 of the Kelly Era. The one knock on Michigan St. is that they haven’t played anyone of merit just yet. These games are ALWAYS tough so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lady Luck bite the Irish again. Keep an eye out for both teams. If Sparty pulls a stunner then there is no reason why they can’t win 10-11 games. If ND wins then it could be the start of a big run until Stanford. Current Line: Notre Dame (-5).
This is a huge game for different reasons. I don’t think this game will have any impact on the national championship scene, but both teams need the win for different reasons. For Miami-FL they need the win because they could use the big boost to stay relevant. I think Al Golden is going to be a beast in Coral Gables, but “THE U” could use a little momentum after losing to Maryland. Plus that big Class of 2008 looks like a gigantic failure at this point. The Buckeyes need a win because they didn’t look so hot against Toledo last week in Columbus. This week will be tougher. We all thought Ohio St. would start 2-0. Will they start 3-0? It’s very interesting that the Canes are favored. Current Line: Miami-FL (-2.5).
I don’t have any idea what to make of Auburn. The win over Mississippi St. was HUGE in my opinion and will get better and better as the season goes on. If MSU beats LSU on Thursday night, War Eagle looks amazing! Here is a little something to take into account. Clemson’s first two games have come against Wofford & Troy. In those 2 games, Clemson has averaged allowing 219 rushing yards per game! Auburn has a RB you might have heard of named Michael Dyer who just lit Mississippi St. up for 150 yards on 18 carries. This would be another big win for Auburn and that kind of momentum starts building. Clemson has looked great offensively, but if Dyer runs all day, Clemson loses. Current Line: Clemson (-3).
Remember when this game was a big deal? Maybe it’s starting to be relevant again. Vegas loves the Gators here and it’s easy to see why. Florida has outscored their opponents 80-3 on the season. John Brantley hasn’t been fantastic, but he’s completing 67% of his passes while Chris Rainey & Jeff Demps simply run over people. It’ll be an interesting game because Tyler Bray has been Heisman-esque in his first two games while Tauren Poole has been pretty good. Both team defenses have been solid although neither squad has played much. I think UT’s win over Cincinnati is underrated. It’ll be interesting to see which offense prevails because it’ll tell us a bit about where these teams are. If Florida’s defense is as nasty as it has been the first two weeks, South Carolina is no shoe-in for the SEC East. Current Line: Florida (-10).
Vegas would have the Broncos almost at -30 if this game was being played on the blue turf in Boise! That’s really amazing because I think Toledo is better than you think. The Rockets went into Columbus and gave Ohio St. a scare especially on the last drive of the game where a Toledo score would have sent shock waves around the college world with an upset win over Ohio St. in Columbus. It seems all Kellen Moore does is win football games so I don’t think Boise loses, but Toledo doesn’t have a bad pass defense, so maybe they contain Moore just a bit? A blowout win for Boise makes Ohio St. look even worse, but I think Toledo is very solid and can hold their own here. Current Line: Boise St. (-20).
What is it with Arizona playing future NFL QBs? Last week they traveled to Stillwater for the Brandon Weeden show. This week they go back home to Tuscon, but Andrew Luck comes to town. I don’t think Arizona has much of a shot at winning, but it’ll be interesting to see how Stanford’s defense holds up against a quality QB like Nick Foles. I think Arizona has the ability to put together a solid game. It won’t be this week because Luck is too good and we saw how Weeden sliced up the Wildcats defense, but a decent Pac-12 test for Stanford makes for a very watchable game. Current Line: Stanford (-9).
I’m telling you Doug Marrone is the real deal and him coaching Syracuse is about as perfect a fit as you can get in college football. The Orange don’t look fantastic on paper as they are in massive rebuilding mode on the defensive side of the ball, but the Trojans have had massive trouble with both Utah & Minnesota even in the Coliseum! Syracuse has struggled too early with wins over Rhode Island & Wake Forest. Still, nobody thought Minnesota was going to hang with USC either. USC is close though. Matt Barkley has been unstoppable, but USC can’t run the football. If that rushin game gets going, USC is almost back to where they were. They need a blowout, but Marrone’s crew is getting tough. Current Line: USC (-16.5).
As Vegas points out, this shouldn’t be a close game, but Navy is a team that simply won’t beat itself while SC in the Stephen Garcia years seem to have an innate ability to self destruct at certain times. Navy hasn’t played anyone but leads FBS teams with over 400 rush yards per game. The Gamecocks are averaging 51ppg, but the defense hasn’t been fantastic. When SC has the ball they are going to dominate the outsized Navy defense, but Navy has a ball control offense that could limit SC possessions. SC should role, but who knows? Current Line: South Carolina (-16.5).
Both teams are 2-0 with Arizona St. coming off a very impressive showing beating Missouri 37-30 last week. ASU QB Brock Osweiler has been outstanding leading this ASU team and the Sun Devils certainly have a team capable of getting into the Pac 12 championship game with USC ineligible. Illinois doesn’t have that signature win, but the Illini have been playing ground & pound football much to their benefit. Neither team is championship material, but both teams could win double digit games and it’ll be a good matchup for conference bragging rights. Vegas sees it right down the middle. Current Line: Illinois (-2).
Iowa is coming off a very tough loss to in-state rival Iowa St., and it’ll be interesting to see how the Hawkeyes bounce back. I thought Iowa would have a tough year this season and not get to .500. This is a game I thought the Hawkeyes would lose, but I didn’t think they’d lose to Iowa St. It’ll be interesting to see how Kirk Ferentz tries to get Iowa out of the mire if they do lose to Pittsburgh. The Panthers are 2-0 but are coming off a close win over Maine. The Big East needs some interconference wins. This could be one. Current Line: Iowa (-3).
Another interesting interconference game. Washington is having to rebuild at QB after Jake Locker departure, but Steve Sarkisian is a helluva coach and it’ll be interesting to see if he can gameplan with his defensive coaches some schemes directed at stopping Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez from making play after play after play with this scrambling ability. The Huskies are 2-0 with close wins over Eastern Washington & Hawaii. They aren’t walking into Lincoln and beating Nebraska, but the defensive schemes will be interesting to watch. Current Line: Nebraska (-17).
From a pure football standpoint this game probably should be much higher. Randy Edsall got a HUGE first win over Miami-FL 2 weeks ago and now had quite a long time to prepare for Dana Holgerson’s offensive prowess. The WVU head coach hasn’t disappointed as WVU has averaged 45ppg in their first two contests. Maryland might be better than I thought, and this means a WVU win here could be fairly large. With Pittsburgh coming out flat, it looks like WVU & South Florida are battling for a BCS spot. On the other hand, if Maryland comes out 2-0 with wins over Miami-FL & West Virginia? How are they not AT LEAST a top-20 squad? Current Line: Maryland (-1).
Get ready for some fireworks. I thought Tulsa would score more on Oklahoma when they opened up with the Sooners, but I was wrong. OSU isn’t as strong as Oklahoma on defense and the Hurricane will be at home so maybe the offense gets rolling. The problem is that Brandon Weeden might throw for 600 yards with Justin Blackmon catching 25 passes for 400 of them! Tulsa’s defense is terrible, but this game is still interesting and I think it’s odd that Vegas has the Cowboys as less than 14 point favorites! Can Tulsa catch some magic and stun the Cowboys? Current Line: Oklahoma St. (-13.5).
I don’t really have any storylines associated with this game. I do like that Colorado St. has opened up 2-0. I like college football better when the Rams are players although they aren’t a significant contributor to the national scene. This is one of my favorite state rivalry games, but I think I like it best when it’s played in Fort Collins. Unfortunately this match will take place in Denver. I think that takes quite a bit away from the rivalry. Fort Collins is a tremendous setting and Boulder isn’t so bad either! Current Line: Colorado (-7.5).
Texas has started the season 2-0 although last week had a bit of trouble with BYU which was to be expected I suppose. UCLA lost the opener to Houston, but didn’t have an easy time of it with San Jose St., a team Stanford utterly destroyed! Vegas has this being somewhat of a close game, and I’m intrigued with the game in LA. Rick Neuheisel needs some wins desperately. His seat is getting hot. While a loss to Texas is certainly not a punishable offense, it would certainly be a feather in Neuheisel’s cap. Texas starting off 3-0 with wins over Rice, UCLA & BYU look pretty good. Current Line: Texas (-3.5).
Another intrastate rivalry game that I have a fondness for. Times are interesting in Louisville where Charlie Strong’s seat is a little warm after the Louisville had a rough time with Murray State & followed that up with a loss to Florida International! Kentucky hasn’t had it easy either although they have opened up 2-0 with wins over W. Kentucky & C. Michigan. QB Morgan Newton has been next to awful and UK is feeling the loss of former QB Mike Hartline. The game is in “The Lex” so the Wildcats have that going for them. Louisville wasn’t going to be great, but another loss could doom them to 2-10/3-9. Strong isn’t on the hot seat, but it’s a surprising start. Current Line: Kentucky (-5).
Another in-state rivalry game in a week with quite a few of these. No great storyline here other than the rivalry itself. Both teams are a big down with BYU coming off a loos to Texas while Utah is coming off a loss to USC. It’s interesting that Utah winds up in the Pac-12 instead of BYU, but wouldn’t it be weird if the Big XII survives to see the Cougars get into a BCS conference? Vegas sees this being a really tight affair with BYU being the smallest favorite on a neutral field. Lucky for BYU they get the game at home. Current Line: BYU (-3.5).
Nothing really to say other than that both teams have started the year 2-0. That’s a big start for the Cougars given how bad they’ve been in recent years. San Diego St. is a pretty solid football team so a Wazzou win would definitely be a huge boost for the team. Unfortunately it’s a road game and who is betting for Washington St.? They are going to have to win a lot more games to make a believer out of me, but beating San Diego St. is a huge step in the right direction. Current Line: San Diego St. (-5.5).
You always hear that if the Florida based teams can keep their recruits within the confines of Florida, then those programs are likely to be top-25 programs because the high school talent is deep in Florida. That may be true, but there is a great progression to see where teams are within the state. The top schools are Miami-FL, Florida St. & Florida. A middling school is obviously South Florida. FIU & UCF are two Florida schools that would like to get into that elite grouping, but they aren’t quite there. It’s interesting to see FIU in the bottom tear playing UCF who might be in the 2nd tier. Either way, it’d be cool to show some ability too like when. It’s also interesting that both teams are 2-0 team. Current Line: Central Florida (-6).
Once again I have no real storylines here, but last week Minnesota HC Jerry Kill apparently was having min-strokes on the sideline and actually missed last week’s game too. Kill is going to get the program no question asked, but it would be great to see him roaming the sidelines for the Gophers. Current Line: Oregon (-5).

September 15, 2011 - Posted by | Arizona, Auburn, Boise St., Clemson, Florida, Florida St., LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi St., Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee, Toledo

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