Take it to the Bank: Football Picks--Week 3

Friday Night Lights. First Big Game of the Season. Without further ado: The Games of Week 3:

FRIDAY:

1. KU +3.5 at South Florida

Before the start of the season, I anticipated that the spread in this game would be KU-2.5. That was before I saw the state of our running game. Through two games, both at Home, the offensive line has not opened holes against vastly inferior teams. What will it do against a legitimate BCS conference team—one ranked in the Top 20? I am not inclined to believe that the Hawks have been sandbagging the running game in order to deceive USF into thinking that our O-Line is our Achilles heel.

Could be that the running game will suddenly come around Friday night. But that’s not the way to bet.

So, running game aside, is it enough that the Jayhawks’ passing game might be the best in the nation? Especially with our D fast coming together, meaning the game will never get out of hand.

Two years ago, Grothe was impressive as a freshman in Lawrence. Almost pulled out a USF W in the game’s waning seconds. I compared him at the time to our own freshman QB, red-shirting (at the time) TD Todd. Two years later, I am still high on Grothe. As good as our own QB is, I don’t think this position will decide the game.

What will decide the game is the Jayhawks’ maturity. Take last years’ Orange Bowl champions and place them in the Buccaneers’ stadium this Friday evening, and they carry the day. But this is a new team, with its own personality, despite having much of last year’s nucleus.

Tough call. KU is the better team. But USF will be sky high. It is the biggest game in the program’s history. A chance to establish its brand. The Bulls will neither give up nor let up. The Hawks had better bring their A game and lots and lots of poise.

They will. It is, after all, a chance for KU to take another step in establishing its own football brand. Which makes the game a tossup. Quite likely decided by a Field Goal or less.

Meaning that getting ½ point more than a Field Goal is a good bet:

KU

SATURDAY:

2. Nevada +26.5 at Mizzou

Nevada stayed within 17 of a similar team (Texas Tech) last week.

They are in for a rude awakening when they leave Reno and play a Top 10 team on the Road.

MIZZOU

3. Iowa St +13.5 at Iowa

Iowa is looking for revenge after last year’s loss in Ames. And they might well get it.

But not by two TD’s. Iowa St is not a spectacular team, but they are solid and becoming solider by the week.

IOWA ST

4. Oklahoma -20.5 at Washington

The Huskies looked competitive last week in almost taking out BYU at Home.

However, OU is not BYU. Norman is not Seattle.

OU

5. Arkansas +24 at Texas

Don’t sleep on Arkansas. They are 2-0, having dispatched Western Illinois 28-24 and powerhouse La. Monroe 28-27.

UT might not be able to name the score as it has vs. its first two opponents (52-10 and 42-13), but they will hold the Razorbacks under 28 (let’s say 10 or under) and score 35 (or more).

TEXAS

6. Washington St -2 at Baylor

This is what they call being on the horns of a dilemma; between the Scylla and the Charibdas; or a rock and a hard place. Your only choices are Washington St to win on the Road or Baylor to stay within a point of a team from a BCS conference. As they say north of the border, “Diabolical, eh? “ I have a good friend in Houston who proclaims that he never picks Baylor. NEVER. (Although he did once.)

This week, that is good advice.

WSU

7. Navy +1.5 at Duke

Duke is for REAL—spreadwise, that is. Their skill level is running ahead of Vegas’s respect level by a good three points. Covered against Northwestern last Saturday--getting seven, losing by only four.

DUKE

8. UCLA +8.5 at BYU

UCLA’s first Road game under a new coach and with a new QB. Sounds like a disaster in the making.

BYU

9. Oregon -7.5 at Purdue

Nice job on this one, Vegas. Taking Purdue down by more than a TD in West Lafayette is a tough task, indeed. Oregon, though, is on an early season roll.

OREGON

10. Georgia -7 at South Carolina

If Georgia is truly deserving of their pre-season No. 1 ranking, they will cover this spread without breaking a sweat. And they are motivated, having already dropped behind another USC in the polls.

UGA

11. Penn St -27.5 at Syracuse

Already, the refrain can be heard in upstate New York: “Wait ‘til basketball season!”

PENN ST

12. Michigan -1 at Notre Dame

Fact or fiction proposition on a recent College Game Day Show: “Michigan will win more games than Notre Dame.” Could come down to this stinker. The Wolverines do what San Diego St could not: end N.D.’s dreams of an undefeated season.

MICHIGAN

13. Ohio St +10.5 at Southern Cal

I have no idea how many points it would take to entice me to take Ohio St in this game. This is not an early season showdown among two teams in serious contention for the pretend national championship. It is more like a bloodletting.

USC

14. Arizona -10 at New Mexico

AU is approaching respectability. I am not a believer, however, that they are ready to cover a double digit spread on the Road.

UNM

15. Utah -24.5 at Utah St

Utah took out Michigan in Ann Arbor. They should be able to name the score, even away from Home, against the worst or next to worst team in the country.

UTAH

--Mark

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