5-5 after the first two weeks was slightly under my goal. It seems like I've had more bad luck than good so far so maybe the ball bounces my way a little. And for a change there don't appear to be any emotional picks making my list this week. We're still in the part of the season where offenses are gelling and getting a little better. In a couple of weeks the defenses will catch up and there'll also be more upsets. But for now, it's still time to roll over the cupcakes.
Utah -24 UTAH STATE
I'll hand things over to ESPN for a second:
"No. 22 Utah visits Logan on Saturday night looking for its 11th straight win over its non-conference rival.
Utah State took the first meeting between the teams in 1892, winning 12-0, but that was hardly a sign of things to come. The Utes have won more than 70 percent of their games against the Aggies, going 75-28-4 in 107 meetings."
Utah has already been tested on the road at Michigan and then kept their composure to dispatch UNLV last week. Utah State is licking their wounds after a 42 point defeat in Eugene, OR last week. I think the mighty Utes get up for this rivalry game and put a hurting on the Aggies.
Georgia -7.5 SOUTH CAROLINA
Why would I pick UGA to cover after they've let me down so many times? I'm pretty sure I've sworn to only pick the over/under in Mark Richt games before. And hell I once declared UGA covering in the 2004 edition of this game to be the lock of the century to only watch them fail to cover. Me picking UGA to cover basically reminds me of this:
But this line just seems like bullshit. South Carolina hasn't been pulling any punches the last two weeks, they look impotent offensively. I know that Spurrier seems to get his team up for big games and can at special times find a way to exploit a defense. I think the daytime kickoff for UGA helps, and I really don't expect South Carolina's defense to keep the Dawgs in check all day. UGA by at least 14.
Oregon -8 PURDUE
I seriously thought about taking the over 60.5 in this game. I know that the Ducks can put up the points, but Purdue is still untested at this point. I don't see any reason to believe that the Boilermakers are a tougher test than Washington at this point. Also, maybe it's just me but Oregon seems to fly under the radar a little bit as a top 16 program in the nation? They've been consistently good for around a decade. Off the top of my head and in no order I'd maybe list the top 16 over the last 10 years as:
Oregon, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Auburn, UGA, UF, Tennessee, FSU, Virginia Tech, Miami, Wisconsin and then maybe another Big 12 team (Nebraska or Kansas State?)
MICHIGAN STATE -17 Florida Atlantic
First off, I respect The Schnellenberger. But FAU got spanked by 42 in Austin. The Spartans proved their offensive mettle by putting up 31 at Cal and then putting away E. Mich by 32 points last weekend. It's a long trip up to East Lansing and I expect it to be a longer trip back.
ILLINOIS 25.5 U. La. La.
It's always fun when the Rajun Cajuns of Oohlala come to town. The Illini appear to have a juggernaut of an offense and the Cajuns are more than willing to let that status remain true. On the other side of the ball, Illinois' defensive weaknesses should be masked slightly by Lafayette's one dimensional offense. Even the Zooker can put 8-9 men in the box. You know that Illinois is good for a minimum of 45 points so it becomes a question of how much ULALA can score. I don't think it's more than 21.
Last Week: 3-2
AUBURN VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE PREVIEW
It appears to my untrained eye that Auburn has the ability to put together everything offensively but it certainly isn't a given. Chris Todd isn't lights out with his current arm strength and Kodi has been relegated to DJ Shockley/Tebow duties as a specialty QB. The rest of the skill players are quality but there aren't really a lot of All SEC guys there. The offensive line appears to be top notch though. So given the current offensive philosophy Auburn is capable of putting up 30-50 points but it's going to require every player hitting on all cylinders. This is not an offensive team that's going to rattle off 2-3 long touchdowns a game at this point. Part of that is recruiting and part is the unfortunate injuries the WR corps has already suffered.
Miss State has been sporting a solid defense for a couple of years now and should at the very least be able to slow Auburn's rushing game. However I don't think they are particularly capable of stopping a spread attack. Playing nickel or dime doesn't play to their personnel strengths.
The Auburn defense vs. Miss State putrid offense should be a near shutout performance. The Tigers front seven is a talented and six of the positions have great depths (Weak DE is a concern). The secondary is paper thin but the starters are more than capable. Auburn should grab an interception or two and generally harass the Bulldogs offense all day. Once again, I'm not an X's and O's expert, but it appears to me that Auburn has stuck to a pretty base defense the first two weeks. I haven't seen many blitzes at all. I don't know if that's holding out for SEC games or LSU specifically or just Rhoads' generally conservative philosophy.
There could easily be some special teams fireworks from either team that swing the game. But when it comes down to it, Auburn pulls out the victory. By 3, 7 or 10 someway they make sure to put enough points on the board to come out victorious. And of course there is always the chance they whip out a 30 point victory.