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Showdowns between Florida State-Louisville and Alabama-Ole Miss top Week 3’s college football bets, odds

Six juicy matchups are on tap for this weekend’s national slate, with some teams stepping into conference play for the first time.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s results for MC&J matched what the schedule looked like heading into the week. Bad. Hopefully this week with the intrigue in the matchups picking up, the early season record can at least climb back to .500.

Last week ATS: 6-9 (1-4 National, 5-5 B1G)

Season ATS: 15-18 (7-6 National, 8-12 B1G)

National games (all games Saturday unless otherwise noted):

No. 6 Houston (-8.5) v. Cincinnati - Thursday 7:30 PM EST - ESPN

After taking down Oklahoma to open up the season, Houston got a breather last week when they hosted Lamar. The step down in class allowed the Cougars to give quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and running back Duke Catalon some extra time to rest injuries they suffered against the Sooners before Houston opens up conference play.

After a less than impressive start to the season, Cincinnati earned their first road win against a Big Ten team in 59 years as they took down Purdue in West Lafayette. Quarterback Hayden Moore showed why Tommy Tuberville went with the sophomore over Gunner Kiel, with Moore registering five touchdowns in the win.

So far this year Cincinnati has been doing a lot of what made Houston so successful last year, and that is forcing turnovers. Against Purdue, the Bearcats forced five turnovers, and they’ll be looking for more as they try to pull the upset over the Cougars. The last three meetings between the schools have been decided by a combined 17 points and I think this game will be no different.

Houston 35, Cincinnati 31

No. 2 Florida State (-2.5) v. No. 10 Louisville - 12:00 PM EST - ABC

Florida State was dealt a huge blow earlier this week when it was announced that All-American defensive back Derwin James would be lost for an extended period of time due to a knee injury. This comes at the worst possible time for the Seminoles as this week they are tasked with trying to slow down Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is coming off a performance against Syracuse in which he accounted for 610 total yards.

That’s not to say the Seminoles don’t have the talent to replace James, since Florida State is flush with talent. It’s easy to get lost in some of the incredible numbers Jackson is putting up so far this year, but don’t forget they have come against Charlotte and Syracuse. Not exactly the same as trying to do it against the Seminoles.

I think Louisville will come out hot, but unlike when they played Ole Miss a few weeks ago, Florida State won’t dig themselves such a big hole. In the end, Florida State will find a way to at least slow down Jackson, and the combination of Deondre Francois and Dalvin Cook will be too much for the Cardinals to keep up with.

Florida State 41, Louisville 31

No. 25 Miami (FL) (-4) v. Appalachian State - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN

Everything points to Appalachian State pulling the upset here. The Mountaineers will be playing their biggest home game in school history, and they have already taken Tennessee to the limit this year. Well, this one seems a little bit too easy.

Miami has gotten their feet under them in Mark Richt’s first two games by way of a couple of cupcakes. The 108 points the Hurricanes have scored so far this year are a school record for the first two games of the season. Things won’t be so easy on Saturday afternoon, but I still expect Brad Kaaya and company to be able to put points on the scoreboard.

The biggest reason I’m on Miami’s side this week is because of how much bigger their offensive line is compared to Appalachian State’s front seven. Over the course of the game the Hurricanes should be able to wear down the Mountaineers and allow for Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby to find some holes for big gains. Appalachian State puts forth a game effort, but it isn’t quite enough.

Miami (FL) 34, Appalachian State 27

No. 1 Alabama (-10) v. No. 19 Ole Miss - 3:30 PM EST - CBS

In true death robot head coach fashion, Nick Saban wasn’t pleased at all with Alabama’s 38-10 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. Saban is probably just adding some fuel to his team’s fire so he doesn’t fall to Ole Miss for a third straight season. I’m pretty sure the world would cease to exist if a coach was able to beat Saban three years in a row.

Ole Miss still does have the home field advantage in this game, as well as Chad Kelly behind center, but I just don’t think it will be enough. It feels like this Alabama team is an even better team than last year’s, especially on the defensive side of the football. Jalen Hurts is still a freshman, but he has been awfully impressive so far, and should keep Ole Miss on their toes with his dual-threat ability.

If Ole Miss can play like they did in the first half against Florida State than they certainly have a shot to make it three straight over Alabama. I just don’t see that happening though. The Crimson Tide defense forces Kelly into some bad mistakes and Alabama jumps out to a lead that Ole Miss just can’t recover from.

Alabama 33 Ole Miss 21

USC v. No. 7 Stanford (-9) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC

Who really knows what USC team we’ll get in this contest. Will it be the one that got destroyed by Alabama in the opening weekend or the one that rebounded to crush Utah State? Not like the Trojans have had much success against the Cardinal lately, losing six of the last eight.

After taking down Kansas State in the season opener, Stanford got an early bye last week. Even though the Cardinal wasn’t terribly impressive against the Wildcats, Christian McCaffery still accounted for over 200 yards in the win. Last year in the Pac-12 Championship Game against the Trojans, McCaffery had 461 all-purpose yards.

Even though seven of the last ten meetings have been decided by eight points or less, I still like the Cardinal to win by double-digits here. Stanford has a tough two games after this, with UCLA and Washington on deck, so they’ll want to get this stretch started strong.

Stanford 38, USC 24

No. 11 Texas (-8) v. California - 10:30 PM EST - ESPN

With the late start time, and how these two teams can put up points, this game might not end until Monday. After taking down Notre Dame 50-47, Texas found things a little easier against UTEP, winning 41-7. Shane Buechele continued to impress, throwing for four touchdowns in the rout.

After taking down Hawaii in Australia, Cal didn’t have much fun in their return to the mainland, falling to San Diego State 45-40. The Golden Bears may have Davis Webb, who has been great in replacing Jared Goff, but the California defense leaves a lot to be desired.

Texas will be looking for a little revenge after last year Cal won 45-44 in Austin. While the Golden Bears have the offense to keep pace with the newly dangerous Texas attack, the Golden Bears are so bad on defense that I can’t side with them here.

Texas 49, California 35