The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama.
Who would have thought NC State would have converted on four fourth-downs to hand Florida State it's first and only ACC loss of the year last fall? Did anyone see Oregon scoring just 14 points at home and losing to Stanford? Who picked Baylor to beat undefeated Kansas State by four touchdowns? What about two years ago, when Wisconsin basically missed a shot at the national championship game because of not one but two Hail Mary's and Oklahoma State missed out because of a road loss to Iowa State?
Certainly, no one picked a three-star recruit-turned-redshirt freshman quarterback from Texas A&M to win the Heisman Trophy?
With that in mind, here are out our outrageous Week 3 College Football predictions.
Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.
Missouri will be the last unbeaten in the SEC East
This one is sort of a layup, but had anyone uttered the above statement in the preseason they would have been laughed out of the room. Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all have lost in marquee showdowns with quality opponents while Vanderbilt and Kentucky lost to Ole Miss and Western Kentucky already, respectively. That leaves Tennessee and Mizzou left unbeaten in the SEC East. And since the Volunteers are heading west to Eugene to face Oregon this weekend and the Tigers are off, Gary Pinkel's squad will be the final unbeaten SEC East team entering the fourth weekend of the season.
Ole Miss will have more yards against Texas than BYU
The Cougars produced 679 yards of total offense last week against Texas, including a school record for both the BYU offense and the Texas defense with 550 rushing yards. Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and hired in-house analyst Greg Robinson, but don't expect a dramatically different outcome this weekend. Ole Miss comes to town with a load of playmakers, a great offensive scheme and tons of confidence. The Rebels rolled up 489 yards of offense on the road in the season opener against an SEC defense before hanging 532 yards on poor little Southeast Missouri State last week. This was a game that featured 97 total points and 1,075 total yards of offense last year in Oxford. Expect much of the same this weekend.
AJ McCarron will out-pass Johnny Manziel
To show how outlandish this one is, Manziel enters the game with 520 yards passing in six quarters while his roommate at the Manning Passing Academy has just 110 yards in four. Of course, this says nothing of broken-play, Houdini rushing yards Manziel will have to create in order to defeat Alabama, but, through the air, McCarron will have the better day in College Station. This after McCarron's worst game of his career on offense against Virginia Tech (10 of 23). While Bama has one of the best defenses in the nation, the Aggies have been on their heels defensively against the likes of Rice and Sam Houston State. Texas A&M ranks 94th on that side of the ball at 449.5 yards allowed per game and has given up 59 points in two games. Look for Amari Cooper and Co. to find plenty of space in the Texas A&M secondary this weekend.
The Big Ten will go 4-0 against the Pac-12
The Pac-12 is the better league both at the top and in the middle of the league as compared to the Big Ten. Yet, after this weekend, the Big Ten could have Rose Bowl-esque bragging rights. Ohio State's defense will be tested by Jared Goff and Cal but should win handily in Berkeley. Nebraska has enough offensive firepower to take advantage of UCLA's rebuilt secondary at home in Lincoln despite its own defensive short-comings. Wisconsin, the three-time defending Big Ten champion, has the most daunting task by heading southwest to Tempe, but it has yet to allow a point in back-to-back six-touchdown blowouts to start the year. Not to mention the Badgers' back-to-back games with thee different 100-yard rushers. And Illinois' neutral site bout with Washington in Chicago has gotten dramatically more interesting as Illini offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and quarteback Nathan Scheelhaase appear to be perfectly suited for one another. Don't be that shocked if the Big Ten goes unbeaten against the Pac-12 this weekend.
Andre Williams will outgain the entire USC offense
USC should should score more points than Boston College this weekend, but the Eagles running back likely will be the most productive offensive player on the field. Williams has rushed for 318 yards — good for third in the nation — and two touchdowns on 58 carries in two games for BC. USC has a total 557 yards of offense in two games, making them the 115th-rated unit in the nation. Both the Eagles (300.5 ypg, 29th nationally) and Trojans (226.5 ypg, 11th) are salty on defense and will be on display in what should be yet another low-scoring, ugly affair. Williams could be the difference.
Lane Kiffin will burn Max Browne's redshirt
This one will be on this list for the entire season — or until it happens. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are clearly not getting the job done for one of the worst passing offenses in the nation — ranked 114th nationally (113.0 ypg). Max Browne was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation last cycle and is being redshirted. But should the Trojans lose to Boston College at home to start the year 1-2, Browne could be forced into action much sooner than anticipated.
Paul Richardson will top 200 yards for the third straight game
The Colorado Buffaloes have taken to new coach Mike MacIntrye's system in short order. Richardson, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, has posted two career games in a row after 208 yards on 10 receptions against Colorado State in Week 1 and 209 yards on 11 catches last week against Central Arkansas. The Buffs will face Fresno State, a team that ranks 109th in scoring defense after allowing 76 points to Rutgers and Cal Poly. There could easily be 1,000 total yards and 100 total points scored in this one. Don't look away.
Vanderbilt will have more sacks than South Carolina
Yes, that includes Jadeveon Clowney. The loser of the Vanderbilt-South Carolina game in Columbia this weekend will start the year in an 0-2 SEC hole. And offensive line play will be huge. The Carolina defensive line might be the best in the nation, despite giving up big yards to a powerful Georgia, but it is the Commodores who lead the SEC in sacks (fourth nationally) after two games. The Dores have eight sacks thus far with four coming against rising SEC contender Ole Miss in the opener. On the flip side, Vandy's offensive line has allowed just one QB sack this season, good for eighth nationally. Could the Commodores' D-Line out-play the Gamecocks' D-Line?