College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 3

Can Iowa State make it two straight against Oklahoma?

The Week 3 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by some key conference matchups (LSU at Auburn, Washington at Utah and Oklahoma at Iowa State) as well as some intriguing non-league games (Missouri at Purdue, Boise State at Oklahoma State and Ohio State at TCU). Here is every upcoming game on the Week 3 slate:

 

Friday, Sept. 14

 

Georgia State at Memphis

Memphis suffered a damaging defeat last Saturday, losing a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter at Navy — one of the teams the Tigers will be battling for the AAC West Division title. Georgia State is 1–1, with a narrow win over Kennesaw State and a 41–7 loss at NC State. Memphis 47, Georgia State 21

 

Saturday, Sept. 15

 

Ball State at Indiana

It’s still early, but Ball State appears to be much improved — which isn’t a huge surprise considering how many injuries the Cardinals dealt with in 2017. Indiana is 2–0, with wins at FIU and at home vs. Virginia. The Hoosiers could be halfway to bowl eligibility by the end of Saturday. Indiana 41, Ball State 24

 

Florida State at Syracuse

This is an important game for Florida State, which has looked sluggish (at best) en route to a 1–1 start — with both games at home. Syracuse has scored 117 points in two games, a 55–42 win at Western Michigan and a 62–10 win at home against Wagner. This is an outstanding offensive team that has yet to be tested. Syracuse 28, Florida State 24

 

Hawaii at Army

Hawaii is one of the surprise teams early in the 2018 season, with wins at Colorado State and at home over Navy and Rice — each by nine points or more. Army rebounded from a loss at Duke to beat Liberty at home. This is one of the top games not involving a Power 5 team on the Week 3 slate. Army 34, Hawaii 30

 

Kent State at Penn State

Kent State pounded Howard — the same Howard team that almost upset MAC favorite Ohio in the opener — one week after nearly beating Illinois on the road. It’s clear the Golden Flashes are improved under first-year coach Sean Lewis. Improved enough to make Penn State sweat? Not likely. Penn State 48, Kent State 13

 

Miami (Fla.) at Toledo

Toledo is one of the few teams that did not play in Week 2. Miami played but didn’t have to try very hard; the Canes beat Savannah State 77–0 and held the Tigers to 78 yards on 58 plays. This trip to Ohio could be tricky for Mark Richt’s club. Miami 34, Toledo 21

 

Murray State at Kentucky

Kentucky recorded arguably the top win of the Mark Stoops era Saturday night, knocking off Florida for the first time since 1986 and the first time in Gainesville since 1979. Murray State is 0–2, with lopsided losses to Southern Illinois and Central Arkansas. No hangover worries for UK in this one. Kentucky 47, Murray State 0

 

Oklahoma at Iowa State

Over the summer, this was discussed as one of the more difficult games on Oklahoma’s 2018 slate. It will still be a challenge, but through two weeks OU looks better than expected while Iowa State is 0–1 and has yet to score a touchdown. Oklahoma 37, Iowa State 17

 

Rhode Island at Connecticut

The numbers through two games for UConn are not pretty: The Huskies have been outscored by a combined 118–24 in losses to UCF and Boise State and are allowing a horrific 9.9 yards per play — last in the country. Rhode Island, which won at Delaware in its opener, is not a gimme. UConn 21, Rhode Island 14

 

Rutgers at Kansas

Kansas broke into the win column last week with an “upset” at Central Michigan. That followed a loss at home to Nicholls. Rutgers limps into Lawrence on the heels of a disheartening 52–3 loss at Ohio State, and the Scarlet Knights will be without quarterback Artur Sitkowski (injury). Kansas 21, Rutgers 20

 

Temple at Maryland

It’s been a rough start for Year 2 of the Geoff Collins era at Temple. The Owls are 0–2, with losses at home to FCS foe Villanova and Buffalo. The two defeats have been by a combined nine points, but this is still a brutal start for a team that was expected to be a factor in the AAC East Division race. Maryland 38, Temple 17

 

Troy at Nebraska

The Cornhuskers avoided disaster when it was discovered that Adrian Martinez’s injury will not sideline him for the rest of the season. He is questionable for this weekend. It probably won’t matter. Nebraska 41, Troy 20

 

UTEP at Tennessee

Tennessee picked up win No. 1 for Jeremy Pruitt, cruising to a 59–3 victory over neighboring East Tennessee State. Win No. 2 will also come without much trouble. UTEP is arguably the worst FBS team in the nation. Tennessee 51, UTEP 0

 

Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh

Georgia Tech rolled up 602 yards of offense and averaged 8.0 yards per play — yet lost by 11 points on the road, 49–38 at South Florida. The main culprits? Special teams (USF returned two kickoffs for touchdowns) and turnovers (Tech committed three). Pittsburgh must regroup after a humbling 51–6 loss at home to rival Penn State. Georgia Tech 33, Pittsburgh 27

 

Tulane at UAB

Here’s a line that I didn’t expect to see before the season started: Tulane is a 4-point favorite at UAB. That’s what happens when one team (UAB) is coming off a 47–24 loss at Coastal Carolina and the other team (Tulane) took Wake Forest to overtime and beat Nicholls by 25. Tulane 27, UAB 24

 

UC Davis at Stanford

UC Davis, coached by former Boise State and Colorado boss Dan Hawkins, already has one win over a Bay Area FBS team (the Aggies beat San Jose State 44–38 in Week 1). This week’s challenge is a bit more daunting. Stanford 38, UC Davis 10

 

Vanderbilt at Notre Dame

Fun fact: Vanderbilt’s two opponents to date (Middle Tennessee and Nevada) have scored 17 points against the Commodores and a combined 133 points in their other games. Sure, those games were against Portland State and Tennessee-Martin, but it’s still an impressive stat. Notre Dame 28, Vanderbilt 20

 

Ohio vs. Virginia (in Nashville)

The good news: Virginia appears to have found a quarterback (Bryce Perkins has run for 100-plus yards in each game while combining to throw four touchdowns and one interception). The bad news: The Cavs managed only 294 yards and lost at Indiana last week. Virginia 27, Ohio 17

 

Boise State at Oklahoma State

Boise State has quietly put together two dominant performances. The Broncos have defeated Troy (on the road) and UConn by a combined score of 118–27 and outgained those two teams by an average of 4.5 yards per play. Oklahoma State has overpowered two overmatched teams (Missouri State and South Alabama) in Stillwater. Boise State 38, Oklahoma State 34

 

BYU at Wisconsin

BYU comes to town for the final game of Wisconsin’s season-opening homestand. The improved Cougars figure to put up a bigger fight than Western Kentucky and New Mexico, but the Badgers should head to Iowa City next week with a 3–0 record. Wisconsin 31, BYU 14

 

Central Michigan at Northern Illinois

Central Michigan was in the news for the wrong reason over the weekend: The Chippewas became the first to lose at home to Kansas since 2009. Now, the Chips must hit the road to face the preseason favorite in the MAC West. Northern Illinois 23, Central Michigan 16

 

Duke at Baylor

Duke’s very promising season — the Blue Devils opened with wins over Army and at Northwestern — took a difficult turn when quarterback Daniel Jones and cornerback Mark Gilbert went down with injuries. Gilbert is lost for the season; Jones, who injured his collarbone, could return in mid-October. Junior Quentin Harris will step in as the starter, beginning with this trip to Waco. Baylor 24, Duke 20

 

Georgia Southern at Clemson

Clemson returns home for a tune-up against Georgia Southern before ACC play begins with a trip to Georgia Tech on Sept. 22. The Eagles are 2–0 under first-year coach Chad Lunsford. They are soon to be 2–1. Clemson 44, Georgia Southern 14

 

Lehigh at Navy

Navy got back on track after a disappointing loss at Hawaii by rallying to beat Memphis in a key AAC West showdown. The Midshipmen are still trying to figure out what to do at QB — they’ve played three in both games — but Ken Niumatalolo’s club shouldn’t have to break too much of a sweat this weekend. Navy 45, Lehigh 10

 

LSU at Auburn

This is always a big game in the SEC West, but LSU’s strong showing in Week 1 against Miami (Fla.) has added even more intrigue. Maybe LSU is good enough this season to elbow its way to contender status in the division? Maybe the Tigers finally have found a quarterback to jumpstart what has been a rather ordinary offense in recent years? We’ll have more answers early Saturday evening when this one is over. Auburn 23, LSU 16

 

Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota

Minnesota suffered a big blow over the weekend when Rodney Smith, its top running back, was lost for the season with a knee injury. Smith’s absence — and keep in mind Shannon Brooks also is out for the year — will put even more pressure on true freshman QB Zack Annexstad to lead the offense. Minnesota 20, Miami 7

 

South Florida at Illinois

South Florida rallied to beat Georgia Tech last week in Tampa despite giving up more than 600 yards of total offense. The Bulls have found a quarterback — one-time Alabama starter Blake Barnett — but defense could be an issue all season. South Florida 37, Illinois 20

 

SMU at Michigan

It’s still early, but SMU has taken several steps back offensively in the transition from Chad Morris to Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs are averaging 4.3 yards per play and only 2.6 yards per rushing attempt, down from 6.4 and 4.9 a year ago. Those averages figure to dip even more after this trip to the Big House. Michigan 37, SMU 10

 

Colorado State at Florida

This was supposed to pit Florida coach Jim McElwain against his former school, but McElwain didn’t make to his fourth year in Gainesville. Now, Dan Mullen is simply looking for a win after the Gators’ disappointing loss at home to Kentucky. The offense was unproductive, and the defense was gashed all night long by the Wildcats’ running game. Colorado State is 1–0 against the SEC this season after rallying to beat Arkansas in Fort Collins, but this is a game Florida should win with relative ease. Florida 27, Colorado State 10

 

Eastern Kentucky at Bowling Green

Bowling Green led Oregon 10–0 in Eugene in Week 1 (before losing 58–24). Bowling Green led Maryland 14–10 at halftime in Week 2 (before losing 45–14). This week, expect the Falcons to lead early … and late as they pick up win No. 1. Bowling Green 38, Eastern Kentucky 27

 

North Texas at Arkansas

Chad Morris went 3–0 against North Texas as the coach at SMU. This North Texas team, however, is better than any of the previous three that Morris faced while with the Mustangs. The Mean Green dominated SMU in the opener and then beat Incarnate Word 58–16. This will be a challenge for the Razorbacks. Arkansas 28, North Texas 24

 

UTSA at Kansas State

It’s been a rough start for Kansas State, which had to rally to beat South Dakota in the opener and then was overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage in a 31–10 loss at home to Mississippi State. The Wildcats should record win No. 2 this week, but it’s hard to see them being much of a factor in the Big 12 unless they start to play better at the point of attack. Kansas State 33, UTSA 14

 

Wofford at Wyoming

Wyoming was riding high after an easier-than-expected 29–7 win at New Mexico State in Week 0, but the Cowboys have since lost back-to-back games to Washington State and Missouri by scores of 41–19 and 40–13. In two weeks, the Cowboys host Boise State, the overwhelming favorite in the Mountain Division. Don’t be surprised if Wyoming isn’t at its best this weekend against a solid Wofford team. Wyoming 24, Wofford 17

 

Houston at Texas Tech

Houston has been very impressive early in the 2018 season, opening with a 45–27 win at Rice and then beating Arizona 45–18 with surprising ease. Ed Oliver steals most of the headlines — and deservedly so — but QB D’Eric King has been very good for Major Applewhite’s club. This is an important game for Texas Tech, which looked bad in a Week 1 loss to Ole Miss before returning home to pound Lamar 77–0. Texas Tech 41, Houston 38

 

New Hampshire at Colorado

Colorado is off to a strong 2–0 start, highlighted by last week’s exciting win in Lincoln. Could the Buffaloes possibly go from worst to first to worst to first? It’s a bit early for that bold proclamation, but there’s no doubt this team is fun to watch. Colorado 41, New Hampshire 13 

 

San Jose State at Oregon

Newsflash: San Jose State is not good at football. Oregon 56, San Jose State 0

 

Bethune-Cookman at FAU

FAU rebounded from its 49-point loss at Oklahoma in Week 1 with a solid 33–27 victory over Air Force. That was the good news. The bad news? Devin Singletary has yet to get going; he followed up his 69-yard, 18-carry effort against Oklahoma with 57 yards on 16 carries against Air Force. FAU 48, Bethune-Cookman 14

 

Eastern Michigan at Buffalo

A pair of MAC teams coming off big road wins — Eastern Michigan at Purdue and Buffalo at Temple — get together at UB Stadium. This game will feature two of the best Group of 5 coaches in the nation, EMU’s Chris Creighton and Buffalo’s Lance Leipold. Buffalo 34, Eastern Michigan 27

 

Idaho State at California

California is 2–0, with wins over North Carolina and BYU, despite ranking last in the Pac-12 in both yards per game (338.5) and yards per play (4.4). The Golden Bears should pad those numbers this week, but at some point they are going to have to show some spark on offense to win some games in the Pac-12. California 34, Idaho State 7

 

Alabama A&M at Cincinnati

Cincinnati is 2–0 and has yet to play a true home game. The Bearcats beat UCLA on the road and Miami (Ohio) at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. UC returns to Nippert Stadium this week. Cincinnati 44, Alabama A&M 10

 

Arkansas State at Tulsa

So Arkansas State loses 57–7 at Alabama yet finds itself as a slight favorite on the road this week at Tulsa. I believe it could take the Red Wolves more than a week to recover from the bloodbath in Tuscaloosa. Tulsa 30, Arkansas State 24

 

Alabama at Ole Miss

The good news: Ole Miss has scored 16 touchdowns in two games. The bad news: Ole Miss gave up 41 points to Southern Illinois last week. What does this mean with Alabama coming to town? The best guess is that the Rebels will score some points but that Alabama will score a lot more. Alabama 49, Ole Miss 24

 

Delaware State at Western Michigan

Delaware State is 0–2 and has lost its two games by a combined 69 points. This will not go well for the Hornets. Western Michigan 49, Delaware State 10

 

Oregon State at Nevada

Oregon State is still one of the weaker Power 5 teams in the nation, but the Beavers have done some good things on offense early in Jonathan Smith’s tenure. They managed 392 total yards in the loss at Ohio State — including a more-than-respectable 190 in the first half — and followed up with 649 yards in a 48–25 win over Southern Utah. Nevada struggled on both sides of the ball in a 41–10 loss at Vanderbilt last week. The Wolf Pack had trouble with Vanderbilt’s size at the line of scrimmage. Oregon State 38, Nevada 31

 

Texas State at South Alabama

Steve Campbell is still looking for his first win with Jaguars. That win should come this weekend against a Texas State program that has recorded two victories over FBS programs in the past two-plus seasons. South Alabama 30, Texas State 24

 

Middle Tennessee at Georgia

Middle Tennessee plays its second of three games this season against SEC East teams as it heads to Athens for the second time. The Blue Raiders lost at Vanderbilt 35–7 in Week 1 and will visit Kentucky in November. Georgia 49, Middle Tennessee 13

 

Akron at Northwestern

Northwestern’s home opener didn’t go quite as expected; the Wildcats lost at home to Duke and scored only seven points. They will try to get their offense going this week against Akron before they dive back into their Big Ten slate. Northwestern 38, Akron 13

 

Louisiana at Mississippi State

Here’s a stat you don’t expect to see from a team that is 2–0, with wins by 57 and 21: Mississippi State ranks second to last in the nation in completion percentage (42.6, 26 of 61). Mississippi State 38, Louisiana 17

 

ULM at Texas A&M

Texas A&M is back in action at Kyle Field one week after the best loss in school history. There might be a bit of a hangover, but the Aggies should roll. Texas A&M 47, ULM 17

 

Massachusetts at FIU

FIU has played relatively well early this season, losing at home to Indiana by 10 followed by a solid 10-point win at Old Dominion. UMass posted gaudy numbers in a Week 0 win over Duquesne but has since struggled against FBS competition, losing at Boston College 55–21 and at Georgia Southern 34–13. FIU 37, UMass 27

 

Missouri at Purdue

Few would have guessed after watching Purdue dismantle Missouri in Columbia last September with stunning ease that the Boilermakers would be a 7-point underdog at home in the return game of this home-and-home series. That’s what happens when you open the season 0–2 at home, with one of the losses to Eastern Michigan. Missouri 34, Purdue 24

 

Northern Iowa at Iowa

Iowa has been dominant on defense through two games, giving up a total of 10 points in home wins over Northern Illinois and Iowa State. Northern Iowa managed only 268 yards of offense in a 26–23 loss at Montana in its opener. Iowa 27, Northern Iowa 0

 

Western Kentucky at Louisville

Few programs have dropped further down the college football food chain in recent seasons than Western Kentucky. After winning a total of 23 games in 2015 and ’16, the Hilltoppers slumped to 6–7 last season (and it was a very soft 6–7) and are 0–2 in 2018 after losing at home Saturday night to Maine. Louisville rebounded from its sobering 51–14 loss to Alabama by beating Indiana State 31–7 in a game that was stopped multiple times for weather delays. The Cardinals are ready to erupt. Louisville 41, Western Kentucky 10

 

Eastern Washington at Washington State

No Alex Grinch. No problem at Washington State. At least so far. The Cougars are 2–0 and have allowed an average of 165 yards in wins over Wyoming and San Jose State. Washington State 41, Eastern Washington 10

 

New Mexico at New Mexico State

New Mexico leads the all-time series 60–22–2 but has lost the last two, by scores of 30–28 and 32–31. The Lobos’ modest losing streak should come to an end. New Mexico 28, New Mexico State 20

 

Ohio State vs. TCU (Arlington, Texas)

The competition hasn’t been taxing — though both Oregon State and Rutgers are Power 5 teams — but Ohio State has been downright scary, especially on offense, in its first two games. The Buckeyes are averaging 64.5 points and 650.0 yards per game and 8.3 yards per play while converting 72.4 percent on third down and scoring TDs on 10 of 12 trips into the red zone. TCU has been solid in its two wins, beating Southern 55–7 at home and SMU 42–12 on the road. This pick, however, is all about Ohio State and its dominance. Ohio State 41, TCU 17

 

USC at Texas

Neither team has impressed two games into the 2017 season. I wouldn’t want to be the coach that loses this game. Texas 13, USC 10

 

Prairie View at UNLV

UNLV senior Lexington Thomas has rushed for 263 yards on an 8.5-yard average, including 136 yards on 14 carries vs. USC in the opener. He should enjoy another productive Saturday. UNLV 48, Prairie View A&M 17

 

Washington at Utah

Washington, which opened with a loss vs. Auburn, has another enormous game this weekend as it heads to Salt Lake City. The Huskies have won four of the five meetings since Utah joined the Pac-12, including both trips to Rice-Eccles Stadium (2011, 2016). Washington 24, Utah 21

 

Arizona State at San Diego State

Arizona State hits the road for the first time under Herm Edwards — and the Sun Devils are doing so with a ton of confidence after Saturday night’s big win over Michigan State. ASU is getting quality play from its stars on offense — notably QB Manny Wilkens and wideout N’Keal Harry — and the defense has allowed only 20 points in two games. San Diego State hasn’t been impressive early this season — a 21-point loss at Stanford and a 14-point win over Sacramento State — and the Aztecs will be without starting quarterback Christian Chapman and top defensive lineman Noble Hall. This is a good spot for Arizona State. Arizona State 30, San Diego State 20

 

Fresno State at UCLA

Chip Kelly never lost two straight games (in the same season) during his four years as the coach at Oregon. It took him two games at UCLA to lose two straight. Avoiding a third consecutive defeat will be a challenge. UCLA 27, Fresno State 24

 

Southern Utah at Arizona

The Kevin Sumlin era is off to a rocky start — and that’s being kind. It doesn’t help that the other new coach in the state, Arizona State’s Herm Edwards, is 2–0 after last week’s win over Michigan State. Sumlin really, really, really needs his team to play well this week. Arizona 44, Southern Utah 13

 

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