Things aren't going as planned in Lincoln
"Close but no cigar" sums up the Outrageous prediction series so far in the 2019 college football season. We've been in the ballpark of some actual outcomes over the first couple of weeks, but still technically batting .000.
Heading into Week 3, we have another slate full of opportunities for the outrageous to occur. Some of the players and teams we are looking at this week are repeat offenders in terms of being targeted for OUTRAGEOUS* predictions. I have a good feeling we'll get a hit this week.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 3
Mack Brown and North Carolina win big at Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons are the favorites, but Mack Brown's Tar Heels are playing with some swagger after starting the season with two impressive wins over Power 5 programs. Winning is a mentality and a culture. Brown has brought both to Chapel Hill, and both will travel to Winston-Salem on Friday night to help North Carolina start 3-0 in blowout fashion.
Jalen Hurts passes for 300 yards, runs for 200
Right now, Hurts is one of a handful of early front-runners in the Heisman race. He has a great chance to put some separation between himself and the top competitors this weekend against a UCLA team that seems to be having a tough time figuring out who they are. A prime-time showcase on national TV in Pasadena is the perfect time for Hurts to cement himself as the Heisman favorite. Look for Hurts — and his team — to take advantage of the moment.
Northern Illinois takes Nebraska to overtime
Nebraska is licking its wounds after last week's overtime loss to Colorado — a game in which the Huskers led 17-0 at halftime. It was a gutshot, and ideally you want to come home and get right against an inferior opponent. That was probably the plan when the schedule was put together, but nobody factored in a Northern Illinois Huskies team that appears ready for another dogfight (pun intended).
The Huskies had Pac-12 favorite Utah looking for the door a couple of times last week. Nebraska still has too many flaws, question marks and weaknesses to put away a team like Northern Illinois early. The Cornhuskers need to learn how to win the close ones, and they'll get another opportunity to do that Saturday night.
Iowa keeps Iowa State out of the end zone
This is being hyped as one of the biggest games in the history of the in-state rivalry — and for good reason. Both teams are unbeaten and shouldering great expectations in 2019.
That said, the Cyclones struggled in their opener with Northern Iowa, and the Hawkeyes are quietly fielding what looks like a championship defense. The home crowd in Ames is about to be let down on Saturday, and the in-state rival reminds them once again that the Hawkeyes run the Hawkeye State.
Indiana stuns Ohio State
The Buckeyes are feeling pretty good about outscoring their first two opponents 77-21 under new head coach Ryan Day. Now they'll travel outside the Buckeye State to face a team that has outscored its first two opponents 86-24.
The Hoosier offense is relentless, and they're easily the best unit Ohio State has faced so far. The early kickoff leaves the door open for a sluggish start for the visitors in front of a Bloomington crowd that will be wide awake and ready to create a raucous enviroment. This is going to be that head-scratcher that we've come to expect every year from Ohio State.
*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. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, USA Today and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.