The 2017 college football season keeps rolling right along, as we now enter the third full week of play. Last weekend, we had a couple of statement wins by USC and Oklahoma (which I predicted here) en route to another outrageous weekend.
This week, we've got five more OUTRAGEOUS* predictions. And be warned – I'm batting .300 with these picks through two weeks. Think about that before laughing – especially if your team shows up on the short end of one of these predictions.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 3
SMU upsets TCU
The Mustangs know how to get the ball in the end zone. They've scored 112 points in two games, and they show no signs of slowing down. The TCU Horned Frogs are far and away the best defense SMU will have faced in 2017, but no matter. There's not a defensive back on TCU's roster who can handle Mustangs wide receiver Courtland Sutton. He'll likely be the first wideout taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he already has five touchdown catches this season. Look for the Mustangs to win a shootout with Sutton adding three more scores to his season tally.
Air Force leads Michigan at halftime
Normally defenses make slight changes in their preparation in accordance with the small differences they see from opposing offenses from week to week. When you play Air Force, however, you need to start from scratch. That's going to be particularly hard to do for a talented-but-young Michigan defense. The Wolverine offense hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire, so look for Air Force to match them score for score early and go up by a field goal before intermission. Michigan will make adjustments and pull away late, but this one will be closer than most think.
Mason Rudolph tosses seven touchdowns against Pitt
My pick for the Heisman Trophy in 2017 is having himself a season already. He's got six touchdown passes and no interceptions through two games. I say he beats his season total in one game, as Pitt simply does not have the horses to keep up with the traveling track meet that Mike Gundy is bringing to the Steel City. The Panthers will struggle to mount an effective pass rush and won't be able to cover the arsenal of weapons Rudolph has downfield. This performance will vault Rudolph into the thick of the Heisman conversation.
The Big Ten goes 11-0
The way I see it, there are only two games standing in the way of this happening. The first one is Purdue's trip to Missouri. After going toe-to-toe with Louisville, I don't expect Jeff Brohm's Boilermakers to have much trouble with Mizzou. The other game to keep an eye on is Illinois at South Florida. The Illini have some confidence right now and would love to notch a huge upset win on the field where their head coach last roamed the NFL sidelines. A gritty defensive performance gets it done for Illinois.
Louisville tops Clemson by double digits
Crazy things happen when you visit Papa John's Cardinal Stadium early in the season – just ask Florida State. The Cardinals survived Purdue in the opener and outlasted North Carolina last week, and now are ready to put it all together against the defending champs. It'll be a blackout under the lights for Louisville. Against the black backdrop, reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson will scorch the Clemson defense for 300 yards through the air and another 200 on the ground en route to a statement win to match what Oklahoma did last weekend.
*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as “wildly exaggerated or improbable,” and “very bold, unusual, and startling.” These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also covers the Big Ten for Black Heart Gold Pants, Iowa's SB Nation blog. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.