Have you ever been on a Gravitron? It is one of those rides at a county fair that probably has not passed a safety code in your lifetime. It spins faster and faster and faster, pressing you up against the walls until you can’t even sit up, whizzing you around like flotsam in a tornado. That’s what the college football season is, a Gravitron picking up speed until it is whisking you away in the madness.
And Week Three is when the season starts kicking into the next gear.
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The Hipster Classic (A Game Only College Football Psychos Could Love) – Tulane Green Wave vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Fresh off displacement caused by hurricane Ida, the Green Wave took it to Oklahoma with 21 second-half points and a near comeback. Through two weeks, Tulane averages 53 points per game and allows 30. The Green Wave is all in for track meets up and down the field, which should be music to the ears of QB Matt Corral and the Rebels.
Corral is 12th in passing yards and seventh in passing touchdowns, and he is the only quarterback that gave a champion Alabama squad a run for its money (I’m still singing his prases for that game, it was so impressive).
Also: This is the best uniform matchup of the week, maybe history. Tulane’s sea green and blue against the deep red and powder blue of Ole Miss is just exquisite.
The Pick – Ole Miss -14
The Car Crash (A Disaster, But You Can’t Look Away) – Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
I am so excited about this game, and it will be an absolute disaster. Every drive with Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez is a coin flip on what you will get. Sometimes he shocks you with a blindingly foolish play; sometimes, he stuns you with pure speed or a pass tossed with just the flick of his wrist.
But the Sooners defense is more than willing to give up points to an able body offense. Or even an offense that is just a bit better than the Western Carolina Catamounts.
On the flip side, Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler’s play is about big game hunting and searching for the kill shot. It is a style that leads to some mistakes, but it is wildly entertaining.
Expect plenty of points and do not anticipate the Sooners put away the Cornhuskers.
The Pick – Nebraska +22
A Pleasant Surprise (You Did Not Anticipate Enjoying This Game So Much) – Michigan State Spartans vs. Miami Hurricanes
The Heisman trophy campaign is a bit like the run for the MVP award in the NFL. Part of it is narrative, part of it is spotlight performances and part of it is actual stats.
Kenneth Walker III is backed by narrative; riding the Michigan State football-might-be-back roller coaster. He already is compiling the stats, with 321 yards and five touchdowns in two games.
And now he is playing Miami. It isn’t Bama, but the Hurricanes are going to draw more attention than the Northwestern Wildcats (sorry Northwestern fans, you know it is true). Get in early on the Walker III Heisman run.
The Pick – Michigan State +6.5
A Solid Second Horse (Missed First Place By Just That Much) – Cinncinati Bearcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Two things you can take to the bank: Desmond Ridder is the truth at quarterback for the Bearcats. He is a true multi-tool, dual-threat QB who is completing 72% of his passes and averaging 11.4 yards per attempt.
And the secondary for Cinncinati is a gauntlet, allowing just 129 passing yards per game. That back end is also a big reason the Bearcats allow just 10.5 points per game. Cincinnati surprised college football last year, but they are backing it up with consistency early this season.
Indiana had a nice run in a strange year. The magic is gone, and Cindarella’s carriage is a pumpkin again.
The Pick – Cinncinati -3.5
The Title Fight (Aka: The Game Of The Week) – Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators
Finally, after crushing Miami and looking bored with the Mercer Bears, Florida offers a challenge for the top team in college football, on the road.
Two games in, it is clear Bryce Young is the answer at QB, and the Alabama roster is yet again littered with first-round draft talent on both sides of the ball.
But do not count out the Gators. After two shaky starts from Emory Jones, redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson saw the field against both the South Florida Bulls and FAU.
Richardson promptly became the first Florida quarterback to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games. He is an elite athlete with a cannon for an arm and a Cam Newton rumble on the ground.
The 2020 prospect will make an appearance, and a difference in this game, even if he doesn’t get the outright nod over Jones. Look for the back door cover.
The Pick – Florida +15.5