In the past five years or so, many restaurants have popped up around the country that are considered “fusion” restaurants. These culinary kitchens blend two or more different types of food into a menu. For example, a Las Vegas restaurant at the Cosmopolitan called China Poblano mixes Asian and Mexican food into some unique dishes. This style of cooking offers the best of both food types while having its own flair on a combination of mixing the two food cultures.
For college football purposes, Week 3 is the “fusion” week in this young college football season. Mixing a little non-conference action with some conference play here and there looks to provide fans with a handful of delectable games on Saturday. Below is the Saturday slate, or in this case, Saturday’s smorgasbord.
ATS LW: 5-5
ATS Overall: 9-11
SU LW: 6-4
SU Overall: 12-8
Oklahoma vs Iowa State (Noon on ABC): Last year Oklahoma went into this game a 30+ point favorite at home. They lost 38-31. The Sooners’ only regular season loss of the year was a wake-up call to Lincoln Riley’s team and became bulletin board material in the locker room. This year’s matchup is nothing short of huge for each team as they both enter this game looking to gain ground in the Big 12 as this is both teams’ first conference game. Even though the Sooners have lost RB Rodney Anderson for the season to a knee injury, expect the Sooners to roll in this game. In short, Iowa State won’t be able to handle Boomer’s speed. Take Oklahoma and the points in this one as Boomer rolls 38-20. (OU -17.0)
Florida State vs Syracuse (Noon on ESPN): Oddly enough, Syracuse is the 2-0 team going into this game. FSU comes limping into the Carrier Dome coming off of a disastrous loss to Virginia Tech and a cringe of a win against FCS Samford. Granted, Syracuse hasn’t played anyone of FSU’s caliber to this point, but FSU hasn’t played anywhere close to their potential caliber yet. Given this game is a noon start and in the Carrier Dome, where dreams go to die, I tend to lean towards Syracuse in this one. FSU also hasn’t shown that they can dominate anyone yet. This game will be ugly and gritty, and like last year’s upset of Clemson on a Friday night in October, Syracuse and the Carrier Dome magic will strike again. Go with the Cuse 27-23 in this one. (FSU -2.5)
Vanderbilt vs Notre Dame (2:30 on NBC): In another visit to South Bend by an SEC team, Notre Dame faces a Vanderbilt team looking to build on two early season wins. The Irish manhandled Michigan two weeks ago, but struggled against Ball State last week. Even though Notre Dame won, eyebrows still rose as the Irish had to hold off a late surge by Ball State. Vanderbilt comes in with a solid 2-0 record with wins against Middle Tennessee and Nevada. As Notre Dame faltered last season against an SEC team in Georgia, don’t look for that to happen this year and this week. Irish win, but don’t cover 34-21. (ND -14.5)
LSU vs Auburn (3:30 on CBS): This year’s Tiger Bowl is the first of two HUGE SEC West matchups on the day. Last year Auburn blew a double digit lead and the Bayou Bengals got the upset victory. This year puts both teams coming into this game with similar experience early on. Both teams played ranked opponents in Week 1 and FCS opponents in Week 2. Their similar resumes make this one a hard game to slice, but with a double digit line favoring the home team, I have to go with experience. Overall, experience favors Auburn in this one. So does revenge. Take Auburn to win, but LSU to cover 31-23. (AUB -10.0)
West Virginia vs NC State (3:30 on ESPNU): As of Tuesday September 11, this game has been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
BYU vs Wisconsin (3:30 on ABC): In lieu of the cancelled West Virginia vs NC State game, and in order to provide picks on ten games in Week 3, this showdown in Madison brings itself to the forefront. With solid senior quarterbacks on both teams, this game could be an offensive showcase. Both BYU’s Tanner Magnum and Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook come into the game with 405 passing yards each. Both teams will also try to use the run to set up the pass. In terms of the run game, Wisconsin is well ahead of BYU, and it’s not even close. BYU will come play, but Wisconsin’s depth on defense, power running game, and overall speed mismatch will propel the Badgers to win, but they won’t cover. Take Wisky in this one, 34-14. (WIS -21.5)
Boise State vs Oklahoma State (3:30 on ESPN): This matchup doesn’t look overwhelmingly great on paper, but has the potential to be the best game of the week. Both offenses have played lights out in their first two games. Both defenses have also played well only giving up less than 16 points per game on average in their first two games. The key for both teams is going to be defensive play. Both offenses will score, and possibly at will. The winning team in this one though, will be the team that makes less mistakes and takes advantage of the other team’s mistakes. It may sound cliche, but in a game with teams of this equal caliber this early in the season, it’s going to come down to mistakes, and the team that makes the least will win. In that case I go with veteran leadership, and in terms of this game, I go with Boise in the upset 34-28. (OKST -3.5)
Alabama vs Ole Miss (7:00 on ESPN): The second monster SEC West matchup of the day puts Alabama in a hostile road environment at night against Ole Miss. Both teams have put up insane offensive stats and points in their first two games. The only difference between the two; defense. Alabama has played lights out on defense, while Ole Miss has given up plenty of yards and points to their opponents, including FCS Southern Illinois last week. This game screams “easy money” and I believe it will be. Alabama stays dominant and gets a great win on the road winning and covering. Tide keeps rolling 44-20. (BAMA -20.0)
USC vs Texas (8:00 on FOX): The Trojans and Longhorns meet again in what looks to be another epic game between these two storied programs. Last year it took double overtime for the Trojans to get the win in Los Angeles. This year both teams come into this game 1-1 on the season. Looking to gain some momentum going forward, a win for either team will set them up with a winning record as they both head into the heart of their conference schedules next week. If history is any indication as to how this game will play out, look for it to be close throughout. A small line is very reasonable and unsurprising in this game. Like last year, the minor advantage in this one goes to the home team. In this case, Texas is also the more experienced team. Take the Longhorns to win, but not to cover in a close 27-24 win. (TEX -3.5)
Ohio State vs TCU (8:00 on ABC): The marquee matchup of the day puts Ohio State and TCU in Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas. In terms of the game at hand, both teams have absolutely dominated on offense and have played impressively on defense. Statistically, both teams are very even in terms of team offense and team defense. Games of this magnitude always seem to come down to big players making big plays in key moments. In that case, Ohio State wins that battle. Players like QB Dwayne Haskins, RB J.K. Dobbins, and DE Nick Bosa are three huge reasons why the Buckeyes will not only win, but cover, 45-27 in this game. (OSU -13.0)
Washington vs Utah (10:00 on ESPN): A little “PAC 12 after dark” action will bring us a cross divisional game with conference implications on the line. Washington is playing away from home for the second time in three weeks, while Utah comes back home after escaping Northern Illinois with a 17-6 win. This will be both teams’ first conference game, so a win for either team gives them a leg up in their division. In terms of the game, take away their records and I have to go with Washington in this one outright. Overall leadership from QB Jake Browning will help guide the Huskies’ offense to win and cover in this one 28-20. (WASH -6.5)
Going forward into Week 3, here’s a look at my updated Top 25.
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- West Virginia
- Virginia Tech
- Notre Dame
- Mississippi State
- Boise State
- Oklahoma State
Enjoy this “fusion” style Saturday in college football. Next week a full course of conference matchups will be served.
To those in the Carolinas, from Charleston to Greensboro to the Outer Banks and everywhere in between, I wish you a safe weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with you.