Last week's record should have been considerably better than where it finished up, but still hard to be mad about splitting the 14 games picked. Auburn decided to quit which allowed Louisville to earn the backdoor cover. Purdue remembered they were Purdue and lost their cover late against Marshall. The good news is I was pretty spot on in terms of picking scores. Michigan State-Western Michigan, BYU-Nebraska, Wisconsin-Alabama, and Ohio State-Virginia Tech were games I was just a few points off in each direction from hitting the score on the nose.
Last week ATS: 7-7 (5-5 National, 2-2 B1G)
#9 Notre Dame (-13) v. Virginia - 3:30 p.m. - ABC
Malik Zaire certainly didn't disappoint in Notre Dame's thrashing of Texas to start the 2015 season. The junior threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns and now has only thrown three incompletions in each of his first two starts for Notre Dame. Lost between Zaire's sparkling performance and Notre Dame laying a defensive smackdown on Texas was losing running back Tarean Folston for the year with a knee injury.
Virginia went out west and were Josh Rosen's first victim. The true freshman looked like a seasoned vet in his first start, throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns against the defense of the Cavaliers. A late Virginia touchdown was enough to give the Hoos a backdoor cover, and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see a repeat of that this week.
I could see this being a bit of a sandwich game for Notre Dame. Last week they crushed Texas at home. Next week they return to South Bend to take on Georgia Tech in a highly anticipated matchup. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Fighting Irish struggle a bit against a Virginia team that has a pretty stingy defense at times.
Notre Dame 27 Virginia 20
#10 Georgia (-21) v. Vanderbilt - 3:30 p.m. - CBS
As expected, Georgia had little problem with Louisiana-Monroe in their season opener, cruising 51-14 before the game was called due to weather in the fourth quarter. Nick Chubb ran for 120 yards and two scores, while Keith Marshall and Sony Michel were able to get some work as well. The Bulldogs will be hoping this trip to Nashville doesn't go the same as their last, which ended with a 31-27 loss to the Commodores in 2013.
I don't exactly know what to make of Vanderbilt's season opener. They did hold a Western Kentucky offense that scored 44 points per game last year to just 14 points last week, but their offense looked terrible. Vandy was able to get the ball inside the 10 yard line on three occasions, but threw two interceptions and missed a field goal with those opportunities.
With South Carolina on deck for Georgia next week, I think the Bulldogs win but I don't think it's a total blowout. Vanderbilt showed their defense can play a bit last week, and because of that I think they keep it within three touchdowns.
Georgia 34 Vanderbilt 17
#19 Oklahoma (-1) v. #23 Tennessee - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN
In terms of this week's non-conference games, the matchup between the Sooners and Volunteers only trails Oregon and Michigan State. If Oklahoma is able to get Baker Mayfield and the passing game working as the same time as Samaje Perine and the Sooner running game, they could make a run at the College Football Playoff. This marks only the second trip for Oklahoma to the state of Tennessee, with the first coming when they traveled to Vanderbilt in 1976.
Tennessee's win over Bowling Green on Saturday marked the first time since New Year's Day 2008 that the Volunteers registered a win as a ranked team. After rolling up 399 yards on the ground against the Eagles, Tennessee might have a little more difficulty finding success on the ground against the Big 12's best run defense last year. Bowling Green's Matt Johnson was able to throw for 424 yards against Tennessee on Saturday, which is a cause for concern with Lincoln Riley's "air-raid" offense coming into town.
The Volunteers have to have a bad taste in their mouth after losing 34-10 in Norman last year. I'm not really happy taking the road team in what should be a raucous environment at Neyland Stadium. If the spread was a little larger I'd probably back Tennessee, but I'll take the better team in a pick 'em game. I can see this game going back-and-forth, but in the end I think the Sooners earn the win.
Oklahoma 38 Tennessee 31
#14 LSU (-4.5) v. #25 Mississippi State - 9:15 p.m. - ESPN
When these teams met in Baton Rouge last year, Mississippi State was able to top LSU for the first time since 1999. The win at Tiger Stadium was the first win there for the Bulldogs since 1991. With their season opener with McNeese State cancelled due to inclement weather, this will be the first time we'll be able to see LSU this year. Brandon Harris is getting the nod at quarterback, but really what everybody wants to see is how running back Leonard Fournette follows up his freshman season.
Unlike LSU, Mississippi State was able to play last week, pulling away from Southern Mississippi in the second half. Dan Mullen will need Dak Prescott and the rest of the Bulldog offense to do their best to replicate the 570 yard performance from last year's game against LSU. A win would be the first back-to-back wins for Mississippi State against LSU since 1990-91.
I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. I think the fact that LSU didn't get to play last week is really going to hurt them. Going into the craziness of Starkvegas isn't going to be easy task for the Tigers to open up their season with. Mississippi State was able to get out on the field and get a look at some of the areas they need to tighten up. I'll take the home underdog and think the Bulldogs can win this game straight up.
Mississippi State 31 LSU 27
#20 Boise State (-3) v. BYU - 10:15 p.m. - ESPN2
I can't even imagine the range of emotions BYU fans went through on Saturday against Nebraska. First you hear the terrible news that Taysom Hill was injured for the season again. Then his replacement throws a 42-yard hail mary to give the Cougars a 33-28 win. Now the redshirt freshman from just outside of Boise will get his first career start against the Broncos.
Boise State looked good early last week, but sputtered to the finish, winning 16-13 against Washington. The big problem was with the offense, with Ryan Finley only throwing for 129 yards. As bad as the offense was, the Boise State defense was just as good, only allowing the Huskies to accumulate 179 yards of offense. The Broncos have had the upper hand lately in the series, winning four of the last five against BYU.
Boise State's offense looked pretty bad against Washington, and some of that might have been due to Chris Petersen's familiarity with the Broncos, but it's hard to imagine a huge turnaround in Provo. While the Cougars may have lost Taysom Hill to injury, Mangum can sling the pigskin. I'll happily take the points in what I think will be a pretty defensive contest.
BYU 23 Boise State 20