College Football Spoiler Alert: Week 3
The CFS got off to a bit of a tough week last week, coming in at 6-4 thanks to a few upsets, but even the Upset Special couldn't pull through. That's getting me in a pre-New Year's bowl, but I think we can set the bar high than that, no? After all, we at SportsGrid are a Power 5 school. Let's take a look at this week's slate as I try to redeem "the program"....
Illinois (2-0) @ North Carolina (1-1)
Unlike Big Ten brethren Rutgers, Illinois has responded to a early season crisis pretty well with a 2-0 start since the abrupt preseason firing of Tim Beckman. Granted, they've been over Kent State and West Carolina, but the Fighting Illini won't argue about taking a win. However, reality is going to set with a visit to Chapel Hill. UNC is reeling from an opening weekend loss to South Carolina, which was a missed opportunity to prove they can contend for the ACC Coastal Division title. Beating a Big Ten team would do a lot to get their confidence back up, as they round out their non-conference slate next week against Delaware before starting ACC play against a highly potent Georgia Tech team.
North Carolina 28, Illinois 10
#23 Northwestern (2-0) @ Duke (2-0)
12:30 PM, Espn3.com
Northwestern beat a ranked Stanford team, and still had to wait another week to be inserted into the Top 25. Overlooked thanks to a series of disappointing seasons, the Cats have some legitimate talent that can make them a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. How quickly we forget that just three seasons ago, this was a 10 win team, and now it's one that's playing inspired with their coaching staff on the hot seat. A great place to get respect is Durham, where Duke has been contending in the ACC over the past few seasons. The Wildcats' schedule is rather week from this point on, so expect them to try and pile up the points on the talented but outmatched Blue Devils.
Northwestern 42, Duke 17
#14 Georgia Tech (2-0) @ #8 Notre Dame (2-0)
3:30 PM, NBC
Notre Dame is a much better team than last weekend's nailbiter against Virginia indicated, but the fact remains that they were taken to the brink by a UVA team that's projected to finish near the bottom of the ACC totem pole and still moved up in the rankings. Expect that to change this week, as the Yellow Jackets won't be so forgiving. The Irish defense, so dominant against Texas, will keep this game close, and backup QB DeShone Kizer isn't bad as far as backup options go, but in the end, a Georgia Tech defense that's allowed a mere 19 points this season (yes, to Alcorn State and Tulane but still impressive) will prevail. I foresee ND getting at least one win in this brutal five game stretch that also includes Clemson and USC, but it's not coming today.
UPSET SPECIAL: Georgia Tech 20, Notre Dame 14
#18 Auburn (2-0) @ #13 LSU (1-0)
3:30 PM, CBS
How about LSU's schedule? While other SEC baked cupcakes for their September slates, the Tigers have opened with back-to-back ranked opponents to start their season, a pair of games that the College Football Playoff Committee will look kindly upon come decision time. Auburn is still licking their wounds following a game that saw them mere yards from losing to Jacksonville State....at home. If JSU was able to run freely all over the Auburn, just imagine what potential Heisman winner Leonard Fournette will do in Baton Rouge. This one could get ugly in a hurry.
LSU 31, Auburn 3
Nebraska (1-1) @ Miami (FL) (2-0)
Losing so many players to the NFL this past offseason, it's important for the Hurricanes to start off strong if they wish to remain in contention for the ACC Coastal title. They took care of business against lesser competition, and now it's time to play with the big boys. They have an extremely Brad Kayya, who recently stated he would've gladly traded in his 359 yard performance as a freshman against the Huskers for a win last season. With a year of experience under his belt and playing in front of the hometown fans of Coral Gables, Kayya gets a great chance to enter the national Heisman discussion.
Miami (FL) 27, Nebraska 17
Cal (2-0) @ Texas (1-1)
7:30 PM, FOX
In Cal, you have a once proud team team that appears to be shaking off the cobwebs of tough seasons, slowly working their way back to respectability. In Texas, on the other hand, you have a squad that appears to be trapped in another year of rebuilding mediocrity. A once proud Longhorns offense appeared lost and confused in an opening weekend loss to Notre Dame, ranking in the 100s after they were crushed by the Irish. Cal isn't exactly the '85 Bears when it comes to defense, but with QB Jared Goff leading the way on the national stage, the Golden Bears might not need much to tame Texas.
Cal 24, Texas 3
Pittsburgh (2-0) @ Iowa (2-0)
8 PM, BTN
Here we have two teams that probably won't win their tough conferences, but could potentially squeak out an 8 or 9 win season. Right now, I'm going to give the advantage to the Hawkeyes, coming off a nice win over bitter rival Iowa State. The Hawkeye offense has also put up a solid 453 yards per game in their first couple of contests, as Pittsburgh's O once again is struggling to get it going. Pitt had a little trouble getting it going last week against MAC foe Akron, so who knows what Iowa has in store for them.
Iowa 19, Pittsburgh 6
Stanford (1-1) @ #6 USC (2-0)
8 PM, ABC
The Stanford Cardinal have been a thorn in the side of both Southern California school during the David Shaw era. Heck if it weren't for a few key Cardinal wins over the Trojans, we could very potentially be talking about some USC national titles. However, this is the year the Trojans take revenge. Armed with Cody Kessler, dual threat CB/WR Adoree Jackson and many other weapons, the Trojans will be relentless in extracting revenge on the hapless Cardinal. Stanford is still talented enough to the point it won't get too out of hand, but USC will take in-state bragging rights for the time being.
USC 37, Stanford 21
#15 Ole Miss (2-0) @ #2 Alabama (2-0)
9:15 PM, ESPN
For all the talk that the Crimson Tide were going to struggle this season, they've looked pretty strong in their first two games against a ranked Wisconsin and Sun Belt power Middle Tennessee. They'll also be FURIOUS as they take an Ole Miss team that handed them a rare loss last season. Hell hath no fury like an angry Nick Saban team, and it's looking like a great night for Derrick Henry to formally introduce himself to the nation, as well as for QB Jacob Coker to have a breakout game. Don't sleep on the Rebels, though, who posses the defense to shock the world.
Alabama 28, Ole Miss 24
#19 BYU @ #10 UCLA
UCLA hasn't lost a step with new QB Josh Rosen under center. Nor has BYU with backup Tanner Mangum. Something's gotta give tonight. BYU has gotten away with two huge wins thanks to late game magic, but expect that luck to run out tonight. The Bruins have taken care of business in their first two contests, making sure to put opponents away early. And that'll be the key against a BYU team that's looked rather mediocre before the 4th quarter. That's not to say the Cougars won't make this a tight game, but I don't see them topping the Top 10 Bruins.
UCLA 30, BYU 20
Last Week: 6-4
Upset Specials: 1-1
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