Professor’s Picks Week 3

Professor’s Picks
Week 3

Season Record: 24-7
Last Week’s Record: 13-2

Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 3 of Professor’s Picks for the 2010 season.

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.

Comment: Grades improved on “Monster Saturday” bringing semester scores up. This week’s slate features a few intersectional games, plus a couple of tough conference calls.

Best Pick: For the second week in a row, the Michigan bandwagon gained speed – this time with a thrilling victory over Notre Dame. Rich Rod and UM started the same way last year before faltering, but this team may have learned some lessons.

Worst Pick: Of the two losses, hardly anybody would have guessed on Georgia Tech getting wrecked at Kansas … but plenty of people picked Auburn to beat Miss State … the professor just wasn’t one of them.

Here are this week’s SEC picks and national games of interest.


SEC Picks

Arkansas (2-0, 0-0) at Georgia (1-1, 0-1)
12 p.m. ET ESPN UGA-199 / UA – 143 UGA-220 / UA – 122
Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Comment: Razorbacks snorted to two lopsided wins over easy prey, and the Bulldogs are wounded from a cockfight in Columbia. Last season Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett torched UGA for 5 TDs and no INTs in a losing effort. Hog fans expect this team to contend for the West title and the Georgia game kicks off a brutal five game stretch (Alabama, Texas A&M, at Auburn, Ole Miss). The Bama game has garnered much of the attention, so the Dogs might catch a break if Arkansas is looking ahead (although that is doubtful after two easy wins). This game is potentially very significant to Mark Richt and Georgia … should the Dogs fall to 0-2 in conference, with looming trips to Miss State and Colorado, and later games with Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia Tech the season could get away in a hurry. It’s a tough call, but watch for the Georgia offense – particularly the offensive line – to control the game, keep the high-flying Hog offense on the sideline, and Georgia to win by a touchdown or so.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1) at Ole Miss (1-1, 0-0)
11:21 a.m. CT SEC Network UM – 200 UM – 219
Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
Comment: The league’s worst scoring team (Vandy) meets the conference’s worst scoring defense (Ole Miss). Vanderbilt’s defense has acquitted itself well enough against two pretty good teams (Northwestern and LSU), but the offense is averaging only 12 per game. The biggest threat is super-soph running back Warren Norman. Ole Miss is averaging over 37 points and should be too big and strong for the Commodores. Jeremiah Masoli accounted for over 300 yards last week and is firmly entrenched as the Rebels starter.
Professor’s Pick: Ole Miss

Florida (2-0, 0-0) at Tennessee (1-1, 0-0)
3:30 p.m. ET CBS Sports UF – 143 / UT – 199 UF – 122 / UT – 220
Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)
Comment: Tennessee played well against high-powered Oregon … for thirty minutes. The second-half got downright ugly as the Vols fell apart in virtually all phases. Special teams – specifically defending the return game – pose a big threat to UT against fleet Florida. For one of the nation’s elite teams, the Gators caught plenty of criticism the first two weeks … initially because of fumbles and bad snaps in the season opener, then for struggling with South Florida for three quarters last week. Once Florida moved away from the option-shovel pass scheme, QB John Brantley seemed to open up and get more comfortable throwing downfield. Expect the improvement to continue this week, but I do not foresee a blowout.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

Alabama (2-0, 0-0) at Duke (1-1)
3:30 p.m. ET ABC Sports UA – 201 UA – 218
Durham, N.C. • Wallace-Wade Stadium (33,941)
Comment: The most interesting aspects of this game are historical. This is the biggest football contest in Durham since the 1942 Rose Bowl moved there for a year at the start of World War II. The coach for the Blue Devils at the time was Wallace Wade, famous former Alabama head coach who took the Tide to three Rose Bowls (1926, 1927, 1931) before leaving for Durham. About the only good news for Duke in this one is the profit from all the season tickets Bama fans snapped up in order to have good seats in smallish Wallace Wade Stadium.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama

Akron (0-2) at Kentucky (2-0, 0-0)
7 p.m. ET FSN UK – 201 UK – 218
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Kentucky fans need to enjoy this game with the Zips because the Wildcats may be blue after a pending six game gantlet of @Florida, @Ole Miss, Auburn, South Carolina, Georgia, @Miss State. Don’t think about that Cats … just get to 3-0.
Professor’s Pick: Kentucky

Furman (1-0) at South Carolina (2-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. ET USC PPV USC – 197 USC – 217
Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Comment: The professor ranks Furman’s beautful campus ahead of USC … the football team? Not so much. Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks may finally have a team to contend with the big boys although the schedule soon gets brutal. We’ve seen what happens when good FCS teams get overlooked however.
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina

Clemson (2-0) at Auburn (2-0, 1-0)
6 p.m. CT ESPN / ESPN 3D AU – 200 AU – 219
Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: Along with Arkansas-Georgia, the week’s top game in SEC country. Auburn struggled on the scoreboard in a close win over Mississippi State, but appeared in control for the most part. Big QB Cam Newton is a load, and all the misdirection on offense provides him plenty of running lanes (120 ypg) as he has joined with Onterio McCalebb (8th) and Michael Dyer (9th) to give the league’s best running attack three of the SEC’s top ten rushers. Clemson QB Kyle Parker was the only freshman signal-caller in America to lead his team to a conference title game in 2009 and structured his professional baseball contract in a way that let him lead the Tigers another season. Clemson also boasts a strong running game (229 ypg) and ranks 12th nationally in scoring. These schools have played quite a bit (46 times) with Auburn dominating (13 wins in a row dating back to 1951). Should be a fun game and atmosphere with Game Day crew on campus.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1) at LSU (2-0, 1-0)
6 p.m. CT ESPNU LSU – 199 LSU – 220 / MSU – 125
Baton Rouge, La. • Tiger Stadium (92,400)
Comment: This type game is what separates the SEC from other conferences. The league is just so deep. Miss State played Auburn to a near-draw, so the Bullies cannot be overlooked against the unpredictable Bayou Bengals. For a half, LSU dominated a suspension-riddled North Carolina to kick off the season before faltering late and nearly blowing the game (something Tiger fans have become familiar with). Last week, RB Stevan Ridley gashed Vanderbilt for 159 yards (including 144 in the second half), and the Tiger D shut down the Commodores. State had a couple of extra days to recover from the Thursday home loss to Auburn and the Dogs probably needed it because all the off-season talk in Starkville had focused on that game. No walk in the park, but LSU should win.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Maryland at West Virginia (12:00 ESPNU) … Bill Stewart and the Mountaineers pulled a Houdini-act to escape with a win at Marshall, while the Terps cruised past Morgan State after a close opening win over Navy. Professor’s Pick: West Virginia

Georgia Tech at North Carolina (12:00 GAMEPLAN) … Still cannot figure how the Jackets wrecked against Kansas last week, but they must recover because the ACC Coastal is wide-open and this is a big game. UNC has had a long layoff after losing an emotional game to LSU, so the Heels will have no excuses (other than all the suspended players that is). A tough call, but Paul Johnson doesn’t often lose two in a row (and has not at Tech).  Professor’s Pick: Georgia Tech

U Conn at Temple (12:00 GAMEPLAN) … You have to like what Al Golden has done with the Owls and his squad is a threat to drop Conn to 1-2 on the season. Still think the Huskies of the Big East are a bit better. Professor’s Pick: U Conn

Air Force at Oklahoma (3:30 No TV) … Sooners spanked Florida State last week, but I think the Falcons are a tougher test. Air Force leads the nation in rushing and crushed BYU last week (and we all remember what BYU did to Oklahoma last year). If OU gets past the next three weeks (AFA, Cincinnati, Texas) the Sooners will be in the thick of the national title race. Professor’s Pick: Oklahoma

Nebraska at Washington (3:30 ABC) … The Huskers are rushing for well over 300 yards a game, but have played mediocre opposition (Western Kentucky and Idaho). The Huskies lost a close game to BYU then crushed the Syracuse Orange by three touchdowns. I’d rank the UW schedule as tough as anybody’s (how about @USC, Arizona St, Oregon St, @Arizona, Stanford, @Oregon the next six games?) so the Huskies need to win when they can. I say they upset the Cornhuskers.  Professor’s Pick: Washington

Arizona State at Wisconsin (3:30 ABC) … A typical contrast between PAC-10 and Big Ten. The Badgers boast a huge offensive line, a pretty steady QB in Scott Tolzien, and a moose at tailback in John Clay. The Sun Devils prefer to move through the air behind Steven Threet (a Michigan transfer) and a nice, deep group of receivers. Camp Randall and the long trip to dairy land seems too much for ASU to overcome.  Professor’s Pick: Wisconsin

USC at Minnesota (3:30 ESPN) … Minnesota is a touchdown away from losing to Middle Tennessee and South Dakota (the Gophers prevailed over MTSU but lost to the Coyotes) so the Trojans would normally be a lock. With Lane Kiffin at the USC helm however, lock will probably only refer to cell doors from here on, so it might be a close game. The Trojans handled Hawaii and Virginia but struggled to win both games. The prettiest part of this pairing may be beautiful TCF Bank Stadium. Professor’s Pick: USC

Texas at Texas Tech (8:00 ABC) … UT-TT brings to mind the best game of 2008 when Michael Crabtree made the miraculous catch and tightrope TD to hook the Horns. This game will be lower scoring than that one, but there should still be plenty of fireworks. New Raider coach Tommy Tuberville gets his first taste of trying to tame Bevo. Not this time. Professor’s Pick: Texas

Notre Dame at Mich State (8:00 ABC) … The Irish continued a recent trend of losing close games by giving up a late touchdown to Michigan. A head injury to QB Dayne Crist hampered the Irish attack, but was no excuse for allowing over 500 yards to one player (Denard Robinson). If Crist proves injury prone (he missed most of last year with a knee injury), the Irish cupboard is bare at QB for this year. The Spartans have owned ND lately (won 9 of 13), and have a nice 1-2 ground punch with Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker and a sound QB in Kirk Cousins. Still, I like this Irish team more than their predecessors and believe Brian Kelly will have them ready to bounce back. Professor’s Pick: Notre Dame

Iowa at Arizona (10:30 ESPN) … The professor really likes Iowa – a steady coach, steady quarterback, and solid D. Traveling to the desert to play a late game against the Wildcats will be a challenging test for the Hawkeyes. A toss up, but go with Iowa to ground out a win. Professor’s Pick: Iowa

Enjoy the games.

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