Lets face it, last weeks picks were dreadful. But, hey, I did call Houston playing Oklahoma State close, I just didn’t think they would win. South Carolina should have beaten Georgia. The 78 points produced in that game are more than the point totals of their previous three meetings combined. Georgia also had 119 less total yards than South Carolina. With 255 yards coming on Georgia returns, it proves that special teams should never be counted out.
Well, a new week, new picks, more fun. I’m extremely disappointed I didn’t get this out before last night’s trouncing of Georgia Tech by Miami. I expected Miami to be better this year and they’ve proven me right so far. They were crowned the ESPN recruiting champion in 2008, and have had top ten finishes in recruiting for the last 3 years. Randy Shannon is bringing the once-feared Hurricanes back to national prominence. The team’s off the field progress shouldn’t be discounted. When was the last time you saw a Miami player headlining ESPN because of off-the-field-issues? It’s been a while. Here’s an interesting stat: Miami has had only 2 players arrested over the past two years; instate rivals, Florida and Florida State have had a combined total of 42.
All right let’s get down to business. Here are the games to watch and my picks for week three:
1. #19 Nebraska at #13 Virginia Tech
There are only two games this week where both teams playing are ranked. One was played Thursday night. Last week I picked the upset of Nebraska, and obviously, I was terribly wrong. This week will be much different for the Huskers. Virginia Tech, more than likely, saw its biggest test until bowl season, in week one against then #5 Alabama. Nebraska has played weak, non-BCS opponents back to back. I expect Tech’s defense to punch Nebraska in the mouth early. I can’t say I’m sold on Tyrod Taylor yet. His passing stats have been less than average, and his running skills were seriously held in check in week one against, arguably, the best defense in the nation. Nebraska’s passing game, on the other hand, has been on target with new starter Zac Lee. He passed for 553 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. Don’t expect that good touchdown to interception ratio to stay the same. If Virginia Tech can put pressure on him, the way they did Marshall QB Brian Anderson and Alabama QB Greg McElroy, Zac Lee could have a long day. The real key to this game will be how well Tech’s ground game can start off against Bo Pelini’s always-tough front seven. Tech pulls it out in a relatively close match until the end. Virginia Tech 28- Nebraska 19
2. #1 Florida vs. Tennessee
Ok, you probably know who I’m going to pick. It doesn’t really matter; everyone should still watch this game. The winner of this historic rivalry has traditionally gone on to win the SEC East title. This year will probably be no exception. Now if your thinking this will be a blowout,
you might be right, but that’s beside the point. We know Florida will show up; the only question is what Volunteer squad will show up. The rowdy bunch that whooped Western Kentucky, yes I know its Western Kentucky, or the stagnant group that lost to UCLA last week. I think Tennessee will show up ready to play.
Even though I think Lane Kiffin is a scam artist who lucked into the last two high profile jobs he’s undeservedly been given; he really is a master motivator. Look for Tennessee’s players and fans alike to be as hyped about this game as they’ve ever been. There’s never a guarantee in the SEC, but Florida is about as close as you can get. I expect the Vols to keep it close with sure determination and energy, but Florida pulls away in the third. Florida 38- Tennessee 24
3. #7 BYU vs. Florida State
BYU fans will bring plenty of wildness to Levell Edwards Stadium, and they’ll be hoping to keep their 18-home game-winning streak alive against the struggling Florida State Seminoles. Bowden and company have given up 599 yards through the air in their first two games. This does not bode well for them. BYU senior, Max Hall, has lit up the best of the best, and hopes to continue. Granted, he struggled at times against Oklahoma, but he made plays when he needed to, and that’s the sign of a winner. I expect nothing less of him in this game. State’s week-two victory was less than comforting to Seminole nation. Jackson State troubled them throughout and at one point had the game in their hands. Florida State, obviously, cannot play that unenthusiastically against BYU this week. Florida State can compete if QB Chris Ponder keeps playing well, but he’ll have to start putting more in the end zone. We’ll see if Bowden has some more tricks up his sleeve, but I’m not sure even that would help. I still think Florida State hasn’t given up yet and are by no means done. They realize how important this game is to get to 2-1 and not be 1-2. They’ll compete, but BYU will handle them. BYU 32- Florida St. 20
4. #23 Georgia at Arkansas
I like Arkansas; I’m just not sure how much, yet. No doubt, they are vastly improved from last year’s week-three squad. Georgia is Georgia. Mark Richt always has them playing for ten wins. I liked South Carolina better last week for the upset. Ryan Mallet is definitely better than Stephen Garcia, and maybe Spurrier would be winning if he had a good QB. Mallet has a great mentor in Bobby Petrino, and should blossom under his coaching. We’ll see next week how far he’s come with Arkansas’s first SEC test. I still don’t think their secondary, though improved, is up to par. Look for sophomore sensation A.J. Greene to run wild, and Joe Cox to step up and be the Georgia QB everyone expects him to be. Georgia’s defense was exhausted last Saturday, and if the Razorback’s offense can keep them on the field this week, they’ll have a shot. I’m not sure they will, though. Georgia wins another close one on the road. Georgia 27-Arkansas 24
5. #8 California at Minnesota
Cal fans seem to think this is the year they get past USC and win the Pac 10 crown. They even think this could be their year to win the “Big One.” Sorry Cal, I’m not so sure that’s going to be the case. Cal is good, with arguably the best secondary in the nation. Jahvid Best is among the elite running backs in the nation and is always a game-breaker. Minnesota’s strength is in their passing game, with standout Aaron Decker at wide receiver. Average Joe QB, Adam Weber will have to play better than his 112.01 passer-rating (467 yards, one touchdown and one interception) merits. This may be tough with Cal only allowing 388 yards in two blowout victories over Maryland and Eastern Michigan. I’m seeing a third blowout, but Minnesota fans believe and they’ll be out in droves in Minneapolis this Saturday to support their Golden Gophers. Jahvid Best runs wild in this one and Cal never lets up. California 42- Minnesota 17