Last week ATS: 9-8-1 (4-1 National, 5-7-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 18-17-1 (6-4 National, 12-13-1 B1G)
For as far off as I was with some of last week’s results, I’m shocked the record for the week wasn’t below .500. Last week’s action threw MC&J some curveballs, but somehow luck was on our side to give us a nearly perfect national slate of games.
No. 9 Oklahoma State (-14.5) v. Pittsburgh - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
After spending last weekend in Mobile, Oklahoma State hits the road again, this time heading up to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers. The Cowboys had little trouble handling the Jaguars, scoring early and often to leave little doubt with the result. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has now put eight touchdowns on the board in two early season wins for Mike Gundy’s squad.
Pitt’s start to the season hasn’t been nearly as smooth as Oklahoma State’s. After needing overtime to beat Youngstown State, the Panthers had little to offer Penn State last weekend. The result could have been closer though if the Panthers didn’t squander some of their opportunities. In three trips inside the Penn State 10-yard line, the Panthers only were able to cash in six points.
While Pitt’s start to the year has been a bit rocky, I have a feeling that running back Qadree Ollison can keep the game close. The junior has rushed for nearly 100 yards in each of the first two games this year, and I could see him finding some room against an Oklahoma State defense that hasn’t been tested year. The Cowboys continue their perfect start to the year, but Pitt makes them sweat a bit.
Oklahoma State 31, Pittsburgh 21
No. 23 Tennessee v. No. 24 Florida (-5) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
We still don’t really know anything about this Florida team. The Gators saw little go right in their season opener against Michigan at Jerryworld before having last week’s game postponed due to Hurricane Irma. The scheduled contest against Northern Colorado would have at least given some of the Gators who were suspended for the Michigan game a chance to knock off some rust before they started SEC play against Tennessee.
The Volunteers were able to escape Atlanta with an overtime win against Georgia Tech, and last week coasted against Indiana State. Even though there aren’t quite as many questions following Tennessee as there is Florida, there are still a lot of unknowns about the Volunteers through two games. Quinten Dormady has been solid in his first two starts, but the Florida defense is the toughest the junior quarterback has faced so far, and not to mention this will definitely be the most hostile crowd Dormady has seen as a starter.
Florida will be itching to get back on the field, not only after the embarrassing loss to Michigan, but also after last week’s cancellation. In a game that usually always comes right down to the wire, five just seems like a few too many points to be giving up. Tennessee has the talent to keep up with Florida, it’s just going to come down to if the Volunteers can avoid some of the mistakes they are prone to committing down in Gainesville.
Florida 20, Tennessee 17
No. 12 LSU (-7) v. Mississippi State - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN
It’s that time of year again. Time for the annual LSU victory over Mississippi State in the early part of the season. The Bulldogs won in Baton Rouge in 2014, which was their first win against the Tigers since 1999. While LSU has gotten the better of Mississippi State over the past few decades, at least the series has been close recently, with the last three games being decided by a combined 10 points.
Derrius Guice has done a great job so far in making LSU forget about Leonard Fournette, with the junior running back amassing 224 yards rushing and four touchdowns in LSU’s first two games this year. Purdue transfer Danny Etling has been solid so far, but LSU hasn’t needed him to do all that much so far in two blowout wins.
Much like LSU, Mississippi State hasn’t been tested so far this ear, winning their first two games by a combined score of 106-21. Nick Fitzgerald gives Dan Mullen a dual-threat at quarterback, and the junior has been impressive so far this year, throwing for five touchdowns and adding another three touchdowns on the ground.
I can’t say that I think LSU has what it takes to win the SEC, but their defense is one of the best in the country. Stepping into conference play is never easier, and the difficulty is raised even more when you hit the road in the SEC. The Tigers escape Starkville with a win, but this game follows the recent trend of the series of being decided by a touchdown or less.
LSU 24, Mississippi State 20
No. 3 Clemson (-3.5) v. No. 14 Louisville - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
I’m sure there were plenty of people excited to watch Florida State and Miami on Saturday night in primetime, but this is the better ACC game of the weekend. Not only do we have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner on display, but Lamar Jackson will be looking for some revenge on the reigning national champs.
Last year’s game between these two schools was a classic. It looked like Clemson was on their way to an easy victory when they built up a 28-10 lead at halftime, but Jackson responded and led the Cardinals to a 36-34 lead late in the second half before Deshaun Watson saved the day for the Clemson.
The good news for Louisville is they won’t have to worry about Watson anymore. The bad news for Louisville is Clemson still has one of the nastiest defenses in the country. The difference this year though won’t only be the home field advantage Louisville will have, but also quarterback Kelly Bryant won’t be to rescue Clemson like Deshaun Watson did in 2016.
Louisville 38, Clemson 28
Texas v. No. 4 USC (-17) - 8:30 PM EST - FOX
Who can forget the 2006 BCS National Championship Game? Now I know the NCAA said everybody should forget it due to everything that went on with USC and Reggie Bush, be we were all watching and remember seeing one of the best college football games in history in Pasadena. Now for the first time since 1967 these two schools will face off during the regular season.
Texas has Tom Herman as their head coach, but things are still a mess for the Longhorns. After starting the regular season opener against Maryland, quarterback Shane Buechele didn’t play in last week’s 56-0 drubbing of San Jose State due to injury. Sam Ehlinger got the nod at quarterback with Buechele out against the Spartans. Buechele should be healthy enough to go this week, but Herman said we could see not Buechele and Ehlinger at quarterback, but also Jerrod Heard could be seen as well in the “18-Wheeler” package.
After struggling to put away Western Michigan in the season opener, USC looked like the fixed a lot of their problems in the week leading up to last week’s contest with Stanford. Sam Darnold rebounded from an uneven performance against the Broncos by throwing four touchdowns against the Cardinal last week. while running backs Stephen Carr and Ronald Jones II each ran for over 100 yards.
Texas has the potential on offense to keep pace with USC, but I just don’t see it happening. The story will likely be a lot different next year when USC visits Austin, but this year I just don’t see Herman’s team to be quite ready to challenge a team like USC just yet.
USC 48, Texas 27