Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bilo's College Football Games of the Week and Notes: Week 3

Week three is what week two was not, a week loaded with high profile games across the board. With so much action coming our way, let us take a look at the biggest games in FBS and FCS football hitting the field this week!


Houston at Cincinnati
The Cougars will be hitting the official road for the first time this season, but have no fear, as Greg Ward and Duke Catalon will both be healthy and playing in the AAC opener for both teams. Ward was held out against Lamar last week for precautionary reasons, and the Cougars went to the ground in dominating the FCS Cardinals, 42-0. Look for a return to an air/ground mix this week.
Cincinnati is also 2-0, but they have been far less impressive in wins over UT-Martin and Purdue. Hayden Moore finally broke out last week at QB for the Bearcats, but they have not seen anyone near what Houston brings yet.
Pick: Houston

Western Michigan at Illinois
The Broncos rank 28th in our weekly PRS rankings this week, and already took down one Big 10 team in Northwestern WMU tries to go 2-0 against the Big 10 while strengthening their position to make a run at a NY6 bid. Illinois is coming off a bad home loss to North Carolina, so this is a possible win for WMU.
Pick: Western Michigan

Florida State at Louisville
The Seminoles have been strong against Ole Miss (2nd half, anyway) and Charleston Southern (FCS squad who was missing 14 players), but Louisville has scored at a rate of 66.5 points per game in wins over Charlotte and Syracuse. Lamar Jackson is an early Heisman favorite out of nowhere after scoring 13 TDs in 2 games, but don't look past FSU QB DeAndre Francois, who has been doing damage of his own as a freshman. This is the best match of the early season.
Pick: Louisville

Oregon at Nebraska
The Ducks get their toughest contest of the year in their final non-con match at the Huskers, and their defense has hardly been great. Oregon has given up solid points to Virginia and FCS member UC Davis, so Nebraska has some options to take some shots. The Huskers may be slightly favored here, but the Ducks may have more weapons on offense to outlast the Huskers in a track meet. QB Dakota Prukop is the real deal for the Ducks.
Pick: Oregon

Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State
Pitt is coming off a huge win against Penn State that almost got away from them, and Oklahoma State is coming off of a shocking loss to Central Michigan that may not have happened if not for some official shenanigans. Pitt has a solid ability to run clock and slow the game down, which is something that Oklahoma State does not possess. Oklahoma State needs this game in a huge way, but can they push tempo against Pitt? That's a really good question.
Pick: Pitt

Michigan State at Notre Dame
Neither side has put the pedal to the metal yet. Notre Dame was beaten by Texas, but took down Nevada after a slow start last week. Deshone Kizer has been impressive early on so far, and is carrying the Irish offense. Michigan State was idle last week, but struggled at home against FCS member Furman the week before, only leading 21-13 in the 4th. Both teams need to get to it and show who they are this week, but this game is always a classic.
Pick: Irish

Texas A&M at Auburn
Kevin Sumlin and Gus Malzahn are both on the hot seat. The Aggies are heading on the road for the first time, while Auburn spilt their first two on the plains. Texas A&M has been more impressive early, but look for War Eagle to look for the home edge in a game that they really have to win.
Pick: Aggies

Ohio State at Oklahoma
Every game is a must win, but for the Sooners, this personifies that statement. After falling badly to Houston in the opener, the Sooners came back and hammered UL-Monroe last week, but they cannot lose at home to the Buckeyes, who are coming off a massive win over Tulsa. The Buckeyes can ill afford to lose here either, but a loss for OU will put them squarely out of a title chase before the end of September, and would put place Bob Stoops on the hot seat after starting the season ranked third.
Pick: Ohio State

Alabama at Ole Miss
Nick Saban hates the Grove. Alabama has had bad luck at Ole Miss in the last few years, and the Rebels will be remembering this. Ole Miss has already lost, and really collapsed against Florida State. Alabama has two solid blowout on their ticket. Ole Miss is against the ropes here, and anything can happen, but Alabama should be able to stop Chad Kelly and company from spoiling their party this time.
Pick: Alabama

USC at Stanford
USC already showed us a glimpse of how outclassed they were against Alabama. Stanford has only played one game, and this begins the meat grinder part of their early schedule. USC blew out Utah State last week, but did so in a sloppy manner, and their offense still does not look right. If they are off their A game this week, Stanford could beat them down in the PAC-12 opener for both.

Texas at California
Texas has their first major test since beating Notre Dame 2 weeks ago, as they blew out undermanned UTEP last week. Texas has to take the Buechele show on the road this time against an offensive power in Cal. The good news is that Cal has zero defense. If Texas can score at will, they pass this all important road test.
Pick: Texas


Colgate at Yale
This is the opener of all Ivy League schools this week, and Yale is coming off a strong season in 2015. Look for the Bulldogs to get a solid, if not severely challenging jump off at home against the Red Raiders, who fell to Syracuse two weeks ago.
Pick: Yale

Coastal Carolina at Jacksonville State
Coastal is in transition to FBS football, but this is still a hell of an FCS billing. Both teams would be FCS deep runners in the playoffs this season if CCU was not ineligible. Look for a huge show here.
Pick: Jacksonville State

Eastern Illinois at Illinois State
EIU beat Miami (Ohio) last week, and Illinois State beat Northwestern. This leaves us with two teams coming off of massive wins for their programs, and they both may be trying to calm down this week. Illinois State has a slight edge, but not by much.
Pick: Illinois State

Tennessee State at Bethune-Cookman
The TSU Tigers are 2-0 this season, and need a win here to show us they are for real in their most challenging game of the season thus far. The Wildcats are coming off a loss to North Texas, but are strong as can be at home. This is a tough spot for both.
Pick: Tennessee State

New Hampshire at Dartmouth
Always a great game, UNH is looking to show that they are bouncing back froma 31-0 season opening drubbing by San Diego State. They narrowly defeated Holy Cross last week, so they have some room to improve. Dartmouth is a top 4 team in the Ivy League, and is looking to make a statement in their season opener at home.
Pick: UNH

Holy Cross at Albany
Speaking of the Holy Cross Crusaders, they had several chances to win last week at UNH, but came up short. Albany has a win over Buffalo, and crushed Rhode Island in their CAA opener last week 35-7, and the Great Danes find themselves sitting at #1 this week in our PRS rankings for FCS football. This will be, however, the biggest test yet for Albany, who is coming off of a losing season in 2015.
Pick: Holy Cross

Northern Iowa at Eastern Washington
An expanded playoff format allows teams to play not one, but multiple big games in a season. FBS should listen up here. The Panthers had a tough loss to Montana after upsetting Iowa State the week before, and Eastern Washington is coming off a heart breaking OT loss at North Dakota State after beating Washington State the week before. Both teams are looking to get back on track, and could cross each other in the FCS playoffs later in the year.
Pick: EWU

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