LAST WEEK: 3-3
Georgia, then South Carolina? Talk about your rude welcomes. Missouri's baptism by fire in the SEC continues with a trip to the league's other Columbia. Mizzou nearly blew a sizable lead against Arizona State last week while South Carolina has been operating on cruise control against UAB and East Carolina the last two weeks. Mizzou will start strong and keep it close for about a half but, much like the Georgia game, I expect South Carolina to pull away late with a few Marcus Lattimore touchdown runs.
THE PICK: SOUTH CAROLINA 27, MISSOURI 14
Since Denard Robinson arrived in Ann Arbor, this series has produced three wildly entertaining games, each crazier and more exciting than the last. It's also produced three straight Michigan wins. Notre Dame enters with the momentum of a 3-0 start, fresh off a smothering 20-3 win over Michigan State, and their best defense in years. Michigan's offense (aka, Denard Robinson) resumed its high-scoring, uber-prolific output after getting choked out in the season opener against Alabama. The question here is whether Michigan can find a way to exploit Notre Dame's thin secondary.The Michigan defense isn't good enough to shut down Everett Golson and the Notre Dame offense, so the offense is gonna need to find a way to put up a solid numbers on ND. On paper, this seems like a game where ND has the advantage and where their defense should be able to wreak some havoc... but this has been a weird series lately and I think Denard has a little more magic left in his shoes.
THE PICK: MICHIGAN 31, NOTRE DAME 28
Another big game, another shot for James Franklin to win a big game at Vandy. But this game... this doesn't look like a good shot for that big win. Georgia is too big, too fast, too talented, and too deep... and they're at home. Vandy would need a flawless game (especially out of QB Jordan Rodgers) and a really sloppy game out of Georgia. Don't see that happening.
THE PICK: GEORGIA 33, VANDERBILT 17
The season is already a quarter over for most teams, but it barely seems like Oklahoma's played this year. They opened with an ugly, ugly win over UTEP, then annihilated Florida A&M. K-State, meanwhile, is doing that same voodoo they do under Bill Snyder: play tough defense, get some good turnover luck (the biggest reason their win over Miami was a lopsided rout rather than simply a solid win), and ride QB/horse Collin Klein for all he's worth. Those are also some of the key ingredients to a potential upset in this game. If the defense can slow down the OU offense, if they can force a few turnovers, and if Klein and the offense can grind away and eat up clock (and shorten the game), K-State has a real chance of winning this game. Adding intrigue is the fact that this does not appear to be an elite OU offense; the line is already patchwork and they're not dripping with quite as much talent and speed on offense as usual. I think the upset is in play... but ultimately Oklahoma does just enough to eke out a win.
THE PICK: OKLAHOMA 24, KANSAS STATE 21
Clemson edged out a bad Auburn team in week one and rolled over Ball State and Furman in recent weeks, while Florida State has just put up a totally absurd 176-3 through three games. That... probably won't continue this week; Clemson is a touch better than Murray State, Savannah State, and Wake Forest. They should score the first TD on Florida State's defense this week. But, as noted, the only comparable team that Clemson has played is Auburn (and we're using "comparable" pretty loosely there) and they didn't exactly roll over them. In Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, Clemson undoubtedly has the horses to make things interesting against Florida State... but maybe not for an entire game. On the other hand, this is the sort of big spotlight game -- and yet another occasion to confirm that "Florida State is BACK" -- where Florida State has come up short in recent years. They need to flush their past failures to get the win here... and I think they will.
THE PICK: FLORIDA STATE 28, CLEMSON 17
Points, points, and more points! Arizona's been a pleasant surprise this year, but Oregon's been doing this kind of thing for a lot longer than RichRod's new charges. Sooner or later, their speed is going to break this game wide open. But Arizona should make it interesting for a bit.
THE PICK: OREGON 48, ARIZONA 31