Viewers Guide, Picks: Week 3

We are back with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 3.

Le'Veon Bell leads MSU, while Manti Te'o leads Notre Dame

I ended up 18-7 straight-up and was 14-10 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 43-12 SU and 26-23 ATS.

In Big Ten games, I was 9-3 straight-up (with losses on Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa) and also 7-4 ATS. Through two weeks, I am 19-5 straight-up and 10-10 ATS.

Here we go with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 3 of the college football season:

Thursday’s Game

* Rutgers at South Florida (-7 ½), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Rutgers is 2-0, but lightly tested after wins over Tulane and I-AA Howard. USF set a school record with a comeback from down 11 in the fourth quarter to nip host Nevada 32-31 last week. Rutgers is 5-2 all-time vs. USF. The last two meetings have been nail-biters with USF winning 28-27 at home in 2010 and Rutgers winning 20-17 in overtime at home last year. Should be a good one. South Florida 27-24 in overtime

Friday’s Game

* Washington State (-8 ½)at UNLV, 9 p.m. (ESPN) – UNLV has battled but all it has to show for it so far are three-point losses to Minnesota (in overtime) and I-AA Northern Arizona. Washington State opened the Mike Leach era with a 30-6 home loss to BYU before beating I-AA Eastern Washington 24-20 last week. I think this one goes down to the wire. UNLV 34-31

Saturday’s Games

* Wake Forest at Florida State (-28), noon (ESPN) – Wake Forest opened ACC play last week with a 28-27 win over North Carolina in Winston-Salem. FSU has walloped two I-AA teams in Murray State and Savannah State by a combined score of 124-3. (Why is a top-five team playing two I-AA teams, by the way?) Wake has won four of the last six meetings with FSU, including 35-30 at home last year. I think the Noles will be fine at the Doak, but shouldn’t Wake mount some kind of challenge? Florida State 33-20

* California at Ohio State (-16 ½), noon (ABC) – The Buckeyes have double-digit wins over Miami (Ohio) and Central Florida and now welcome in Cal. The Bears opened with a home loss to Nevada and came back last week with a 50-31 triumph over I-AA Southern Utah. The schools haven’t met in 40 years. OSU owns a 5-1 all-time edge. Cal QB Zach Maynard, when he’s on, can be tough to control. Of course, so can OSU QB Braxton Miller. The Buckeyes will play without starting RB Carlos Hyde (knee), but should get back RB Jordan Hall (foot). Ohio State 38-17

* Virginia Tech (-10) at Pittsburgh, noon (ESPNU) – These schools were old Big East rivals and will resume that rivalry as ACC opponents next year. This is just a nonconference game. Pitt is 0-2 after losses to I-AA Youngstown State and at Cincinnati. Tech needed overtime to beat Georgia Tech in its opener before rolling over I-AA Austin Peay last week. Virginia Tech has won a school- and ACC-record 13 straight true road games. The schools have not played since 2003. Virginia Tech 31-13

* Arkansas State at Nebraska (-24 ½), noon (ESPN2) – Nebraska is licking its wounds after last week’s 36-30 loss at UCLA where the Huskers surrendered 653 yards total offense to the Bruins. Now comes Arkansas State (and innovative HC Gus Malzahn), which opened with a loss at Oregon (57-34) and came home to defeat Memphis (33-28). Nebraska was just 1 of 11 on third downs last week at UCLA. It’s unclear whether RB Rex Burkhead will be back to take some heat off of QB Taylor Martinez. The teams last met in 2009, when Nebraska took a 38-9 win. Nebraska 37-20

* TCU (-21) at Kansas, noon (FX) – TCU makes its Big 12 debut with this game in Lawrence. The Charlie Weis era is already a disappointment after last week’s home loss to Rice (25-24). TCU blasted I-AA Grambling 56-0 in its opener. TCU 38-24

* Western Michigan at Minnesota (-2 ½), noon (Big Ten Network) – Minnesota leads the all-time series with WMU 3-0, although the teams have not played since 1977. Western rebounded from its opening loss at Illinois (24-7) by rolling over I-AA Eastern Illinois 52-21 last week. The Gophers will be going for their first 3-0 start since opening 2008 at 4-0. Minnesota 31-20

* Charleston Southern at Illinois (no line), noon (Big Ten Network) – The Illini will try and regroup after last week’s 45-14 loss at Arizona State. They should be in good shape here against I-AA CSU, which has opened 0-2. It’s unclear whether QB Nathan Scheelhaase (ankle) will play, but they probably don’t need him anyway. Illinois 44-14

* Eastern Michigan at Purdue (-24), noon (Big Ten Network) – Purdue moves on without backup/changeup QB Robert Marve after he suffered an ACL tear in last week’s tough loss at Notre Dame (20-17). But Purdue still has Rob Henry on reserve if Caleb TerBush veers off course. That should not be an issue against 0-2 Eastern, which comes off a 31-14 loss to I-AA Illinois State. Purdue 45-17

* Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (-16 ½), 12:20 p.m. (SEC Network) – ULM stunned Arkansas 34-31 in overtime last week in Little Rock. Auburn comes in at 0-2, although the losses were to respectable teams in Clemson (26-19) and Mississippi State (28-10). Two years removed from a national title, Gene Chizik is feeling some heat on The Plains. The Tigers wake up and get this one, though. Auburn 35-24

* Alabama (-21) at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) – This was seen as a huge game before the season … well, until Arkansas was upset by Louisiana-Monroe last week and lost QB Tyler Wilson to a head injury. His status is unclear. Alabama opened with a 41-14 win over Michigan before stopping Western Kentucky 35-0 last week. Alabama has won five straight in the series, including 38-14 last year in Tuscaloosa. Alabama 33-17

* Massachusetts at Michigan (-45 ½), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – UMass’ move to the I-A ranks hasn’t gone well as the Minutemen have been outscored 82-6 in losses to Connecticut and Indiana. Now comes Michigan and QB Denard Robinson, who will be looking for a tune-up to get ready for next week’s showdown at Notre Dame. Michigan 47-7

* North Carolina at Louisville (-3), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Louisville can get to 3-0 for the first time since 2006 with a win over visiting UNC, which comes in off its ACC opening loss to Wake Forest. UL was impressive in blasting Kentucky 32-14 in Week 1. UNC won this game 14-7 last year in Chapel Hill. QB Teddy Bridgewater has been on fire for the Cardinals so far this year. Louisville 27-20

* Virginia at Georgia Tech (-10 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU) – Virginia held on (for dear life) and beat visiting Penn State last week to get to 2-0. Tech came back from its OT loss to Virginia Tech by blasting I-AA Presbyterian 59-3 last week. The home team is 14-3 in this series. Virginia won 24-21 at home last year. Georgia Tech 29-14

* Boston College at Northwestern (-3 ½), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – Northwestern can become the only team with three wins over BCS conference opponents to open the season. But it won’t be easy with rugged Boston College (1-1) visiting Evanston. BC dropped its opener at home to Miami (Fla.) 41-32 before routing I-AA Maine 34-3 last week. Northwestern leads the all-time series 3-1 and won at BC 24-17 last week. Northwestern 31-25

* Navy at Penn State (-5 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Penn State is still looking for its first win for coach Bill O’Brien. Navy has not played since losing to Notre Dame 50-10 on Sept. 1 in Dublin, Ireland. Penn State leads the series 18-17-2 all-time, although the teams have not played since 1974. Penn State gets it done. Penn State 27-19

* Northern Iowa at Iowa (no line), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – Iowa desperately needs to find some offense and a “scrimmage” against I-AA Northern Iowa should be a good place to start finding it. Now UNI did give Iowa a scare three years ago in Iowa City before the Hawkeyes blocked a field goal on the final play and won 17-16. Plus, UNI narrowly lost its opener at Wisconsin (26-21). Iowa is 14-1 all-time against UNI. Iowa 37-17

* Florida at Tennessee (-3), 6 p.m. (ESPN) – ESPN’s College Game Day is in Knoxville this week as the Vols are hoping this is the year they get up off the mat in the SEC. Tennessee hasn’t beaten Florida since 2004, but the Vols are talking a big game going into this one. Florida eked out a tough 20-17 win at Texas A&M last week. Tennessee has been impressive in wins over N.C. State and I-AA Georgia State. This should be one heck of a match-up. Tennessee ends the streak. Tennessee 27-20

* Arizona State at Missouri (-6 ½), 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – Can Missouri get back up after last week’s deflating SEC opening home loss to Georgia (41-20). Can ASU come down from its lopsided win over Illinois (45-14)? Don’t ask me why, but I like ASU here. Arizona State 28-26

* USC (-8 ½) at Stanford, 7:30 p.m. (FOX) – Stanford has won three straight in this series, including a 56-48 triple overtime barnburner at the Coliseum last year. But Andrew Luck has moved on to the NFL and Matt Barkley is still at QB for USC. USC traveled cross-country to defeat Syracuse (42-29) last week, while Stanford crushed Duke (50-13) in Palo Alto. USC 31-21

* Notre Dame at Michigan State (-6), 8 p.m. (ABC) – This game has produced a lot of great memories, even if last year’s 31-13 win by the Irish in South Bend was not necessarily one of them. Two years ago, MSU won 34-31 in overtime on the “Little Giants” fake field goal touchdown pass. Notre Dame leads the all-time series at 46-28-1. It sounds like ND will start Everett Golson at QB, but Brian Kelly won’t hesitate to go to Tommy Rees if need be. That could happen because MSU boasts one of the best defenses in the country. Both teams are 2-0. Why do I feel this one is going down to the wire (again)? After all, four of their last seven meetings have been decided by a field goal. Michigan State 26-23

* Utah State at Wisconsin (-14), 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – Wisconsin could not muster much offense in its woeful 10-7 loss at Oregon State. Bret Bielema fired his OL coach and hired a GA to replace him as a result. RB Montee Ball is still waiting to explode. Meanwhile, Utah State comes in sky high after knocking off instate rival Utah 27-20 in overtime last week. Something tells me the Badgers put it together this week. Wisconsin 34-16

* Ball State at Indiana (-2 ½), 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – At 2-0, Indiana has already doubled its win total from a year ago. They welcome in Ball State, which took a 27-20 win over the Hoosiers last year in Indianapolis. IU is 4-2 all-time against its instate neighbor from the north. JUCO transfer Cam Coffman takes over at QB after Tre Roberson broke his leg in last week’s win over UMass. Ball State comes in at 1-1 after a 52-27 loss at Clemson. Should be a fun game in Bloomington. Indiana 37-31

* Texas (-10) at Ole Miss, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN) – Both teams are 2-0. Ole Miss comes in off a 28-10 win over UTEP, while Texas blanked New Mexico 45-0. QB David Ash is starting to come into his own for Texas, but Ole Miss can’t be overlooked. Texas 31-14

* BYU (-4) at Utah, 10 p.m. (ESPN2) – BYU is looking for its first 3-0 start since 2008. Utah will be without QB Jordan Wynn, who has quit the game due to injuries. Utah has won four of the last five in the series. Should also be a good one here. BYU 33-24

* Houston at UCLA (-17), 10:30 p.m. (Pac 12 Networks) – Can UCLA parlay its win over Nebraska into a 3-0 start? Houston, which won its first 12 games a year ago, has opened 0-2 with losses to Texas State and Louisiana Tech. UCLA was like a runaway freight train with the ball last week, riding RB Johnathan Franklin to a huge win. That should continue here. UCLA 45-22

Enjoy this big weekend of college football and best of luck to your team!

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