College football picks, Week 3: Iowa-Iowa State is your headliner

first_imgWeek 3 of the college football season is here and it’s … not the best.This week’s slate of games offers no matchups of top-25 teams, and several in-conference games like Alabama-South Carolina and Clemson-Syracuse that feature double-digit lines. The biggest game of the week by far should be the annual meeting of Iowa and Iowa State for the Cy-Hawk trophy. Iowa, despite being ranked No. 19 in the country, is a one-point underdog for the home-team Cyclones, which hasn’t won a game in this series since 2014. MORE: SN’s Week 3 bowl projectionsSporting News will resume its weekly college football picks after a brief hiatus in Week 2. We went 5-3 in our Week 1 picks, so we feel confident we can improve on that this week.That said, your Week 3 college football picks (provided courtesy of Sportsbook Review as of Monday, Sept. 9).Pitt at No. 13 Penn State (-17)Penn State suffered a brief scare in its game against Buffalo, getting vastly out-gained — and out-played —  heading into halftime with a 10-7 deficit. But the Nittany Lions rebounded nicely and shouldn’t have too much trouble dispatching a Pitt team that has averaged 17 points per game this season. Sure, there’s the rivalry factor — again, this is a rivalry — but that likely won’t have too big an impact on this game. Happy Valley will remain happy after the Nittany Lions win the last installment of this series for the foreseeable future.Pick: Penn State 38, Pitt 21No. 2 Alabama (-25.5) at South CarolinaThis game presents several interesting storylines to unpack, not the least of which is the fact Alabama lost the last time it played in Williams-Brice Stadium. The Crimson Tide offensive line hasn’t been able to get much push up front, so it will be interesting to see how it handles South Carolina’s defense, which has allowed an average of 155 rushing yards per game this season and has 14 tackles for loss and four sacks this season. Tua Tagovailoa should be fine with his host of receivers, but his Gamecocks counterpart, Ryan Hilinski, has a heck of a challenge against the Tide defense. Still, we know South Carolina can put up points after its 72-0 drubbing of Charleston Southern, so maybe it can stay within the line.Pick: Alabama 45, South Carolina 20MORE: SN Week 3 college football rankingsArizona State at No. 18 Michigan State (-11)Herm Edwards’ squad scored one of the biggest upsets of the early season last, beating Michigan State 16-13 in Tempe. Will the same hold true in East Lansing in 2019? Not if Michigan State’s defense has anything to say about it. The Spartans lead the country in rushing defense with minus-6 rushing yards through two games. It will be paramount for Arizona State’s chances to have a good game from running back Eno Benjamin, but he has only averaged 3.7 yards per carry this season. If ASU is forced to become one-dimensional on offense, this could be a long game.Pick: Michigan State 30, Arizona State 20No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State (-1)How important is this game for Matt Campbell and the Cyclones? The team took a Week 2 bye simply to give them another week of preparation for what would be the team’s first win in this series since 2014. Unfortunately — or perhaps fortunately — Iowa State got a wake-up call early with a near loss to Northern Iowa to start the season. They’ll have to take on a balanced Iowa offense led by Nate Stanley, who has 63.8 completion percentage and six passing touchdowns to zero interceptions. It’s going to be another close one.Pick: Iowa 24, Iowa State 23MORE: Buying and selling Week 3’s biggest storylinesNo. 9 Florida (-8.5) at KentuckyRemember last year when Kentucky beat Florida for the first time in 32 tries? You can bet that’s going to be a major storyline in the Gators’ locker room come Saturday. Dan Mullen’s team looks ready to go after playing a lot better in its 45-0 beatdown of UT Martin on Saturday than it did against Miami to start the season. That includes from Feleipe Franks, who completed 25 of 27 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. The Gators also added another five sacks, giving them the national lead with 15 for the season. That doesn’t bode well for Kentucky, which lost starting quarterback Terry Wilson for the season with a knee injury. There will be no upset in 2019.Pick: Florida 35, Kentucky 10No. 1 Clemson (-26) at SyracuseThis matchup was once considered a trap game for Clemson. It still could be, if we’re being honest, but the way in which the Tigers manhandled Texas A&M, coupled with Syracuse’s complete inability to slow down Maryland’s offense, leads us to believe Clemson will roll. The Tigers simply have too many offensive playmakers in Trevor Lawrence, Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Travis Etienne and others. That said: It will be curious to see whether Lawrence has a better outing against the Orange after throwing two touchdowns to three interceptions in his first two games. Cuse safety Andre Cisco is one of the best at his position and will look to make a big ball-hawking plays.Pick: Clemson 42, Syracuse 17MORE: Week 3 Playoff pictureFlorida State at No. 25 Virginia (-7.5)Virginia has to feel good heading into this one after watching Florida State narrowly avoid disaster against ULM on Saturday. The Seminoles’ defense is one of the worst in the country, ranking 125th nationally with 1,040 total yards surrendered (520 on average per game). Bryce Perkins should be able to gash the Seminoles defense, but has to be careful with the ball after tossing two interceptions so far this season. If Cam Akers can’t help keep FSU’s offense in this, then Virginia could very well run away with it — and force some uncomfortable conversations in Tallahassee. Pick: Virginia 35, Florida State 27No. 5 Oklahoma (-20) at UCLAIf UCLA’s record this season is anything to go by — the Bruins are 0-2, against Group of 5 competition — than this game will not end well. The Bruins rank in the bottom half of the country in yards allowed, while Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts-led offense ranks first in total offense. Hurts already has 591 passing yards and six touchdowns, not to mention 223 rushing yards and three rushing scores. He should be able to terrorize a woebegone Bruins defense en route to another convincing victory for Lincoln Riley.Pick: Oklahoma 56, UCLA 21last_img

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