Finally, we are making our way into conference play, which means more meaningful matchups, and speaking of meaningful matchups, in my year-long competition with Walking On Sunshine I omitted one of my losses in tallying my season record, in turn, raising my win percentage. This is my formal apology (which hopefully goes over better than Jameis Winston's attempt Wednesday).
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (-7.5), ESPN- This contest pits two teams that know the art of inconsistency all too well. The Yellow Jackets gave up touchdowns on four consecutive drives last week at home to Georgia Southern. The Hokies, coming off beating Ohio State in Columbus, lost to a fighting East Carolina squad at home. Take the birds to beat the bees and cover.
Troy at No. 12 Georgia (-39), SEC Network- Not touching this line, it's just that this an SEC game on early and it'll be worth watching the Bulldogs back at it after a gut-wrenching loss at South Carolina. My gut would say the Todd Gurley won't stay in long enough to build up the 40-point win, but that doesn't mean freshman Nick Chubb won't help them get it.
Florida at No. 3 Alabama (-14.5), 3:30 p.m., CBS- This line keeps dropping the closer we get to kickoff. Why I am not sure. The Gator defense is good; the Tide offense isn't. I think Nick Saban will beat his pupil, Will Muschamp, because the UF offense is that much the weaker link.
Mississippi State at No. 8 LSU (-9.5), 7 p.m., ESPN- The Bulldog offense has looked good against inferior competition thus far in the early season. Per usual, LSU has skill on defense and hasn't figured out the offensive gameplan. Going against the Bayou Bengals in a night home game is against my constitution. Take the Tigers.
Northern Illinois at Arkansas (-13.5), 7 p.m., ESPNU- I, like most all of you, am on a Hog high. While the Huskie defense may start out strong in the first half, look for our boys and their No. 2 rushing attack in the country to wear them down in true SEC fashion. Bertball. Woo. No chance for the high-fiving Huskies.
No. 4 Oklahoma (-7.5) at West Virginia, 7:15 p.m., FOX- The most puzzling pick of the weekend for me. The Sooners are now down a starting running back (two if you count freshman Joe Mixon's suspension in the preseason for alleged assault on a female) after being one of my favorites for the title a week ago. The Moutaineers are down their top cornerback Daryl Worley (not to be confused with noted country artist Darryl "Double R" Worley. No I haven't forgotten. Have you?) for an alleged violence against a female. Side note: This has to stop at all levels of football. It's not just an NFL issue. With no confidence, take WVU's Clint Tricket for a few passing scores and burning couches at home.
No. 22 Clemson at No. 1 Florida State (-19.5), 8 p.m., ABC- A near 20-point line seemed high before the Winston suspension because of their struggles in the first two games. Now with the reigning Heisman winner out for a half, give me points. Clemson's offensive coordinator Chad Morris can't be as bad this game as he was in the second half of the Georgia contest or last year hosting the Seminoles.
No. 2 Oregon (-23.5) at Washington State, 10:30 p.m., ESPN- Marcus Mariota should be the first quarterback taken in the draft in April at this point. With his over 800 yards and 8 touchdowns through three games including a win over a first class defense in Michigan State, he's on pace for an even better season than 2013. His astounding 11.8 yards per completion is better than your NCAA 14 video game stat that won the Heisman. Out to further prove why his Ducks deserve a spot in the Final Four, he has a big day on the road.
No. 14 South Carolina (-21.5) at Vanderbilt
Bowling Green at No. 19 Wisconsin (-25)
North Carolina at East Carolina (-2)
Last week: 5-6
Season: 13-17-1 (43%)
- Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas Preview Q&A with some MACtion
- Hogs vs Huskies, Tough Sledding?
- On The Arkansas Razorbacks and "Learning to Win"
- Arkansas Recruiting Update: Jeremiah Ledbetter Commits to the Razorbacks
- Arkansas Fight Panel Discussion: Texas Tech Final Thoughts; Looking Toward Northern Illinois