LAST WEEK: 2-4 (oof)
WAKE FOREST (2-0, 1-0) at #5 FLORIDA STATE (2-0, 0-0)
Improbably, Wake Forest has won four of the last six games against Florida State. Yes, Wake. They snatched a 35-30 victory a year ago in Winston-Salem and grabbed a surprising 28-27 win over North Carolina last week. Of course, they also just beat Liberty, 20-17, in week one. Florida State has thrashed their first two opponents, Murray State and Savannah State, by a combined score of 124-3. Of course, Wake Forest is also a little better than Murray State and Savannah State. This looks like a loaded, talented FSU team -- probably too loaded and too talented for Wake, frankly. Recent history says it's unwise to ignore Wake's upset ability, but this seems like too much for them.
THE PICK: Florida State 38, Wake Forest 14
#1 ALABAMA (2-0, 0-0) at ARKANSAS (1-1, 0-0)
Before the season, Arkansas was a chic pick to win the SEC West -- or at least hand Bama a loss. That was before Bobby Petrino's motorcycle-related mayhem led to his coaching demise and John L. Smith's unlikely coaching ascension. Before All-SEC QB Tyler Wilson got hurt a week ago. Before Arkansas dropped a stunner to UL-Monroe in that same game. Now the only question is how much Bama beats them by. My guess? A whole lot. Bama's offensive line will give AJ McCarron plenty of time and open plenty of holes for Bama's horde of running backs. That'll be more than enough to win in a rout.
THE PICK: Alabama 38, Arkansas 10
#18 FLORIDA (2-0, 1-0) at #23 TENNESSEE (2-0, 0-0)
Florida welcomed SEC newbie Texas A&M with a loss in College Station a week ago; now they get to take on a seemingly-resurgent old rival in Knoxville. Tennessee has looked impressive through two weeks, particularly QB Tyler Bray, but Florida is a definite step forward in competition from NC State and Georgia State. This should be a great indication of just how improved Tennessee truly is this season. It's also a chance for Tennessee to end Florida's seven-game winning streak in the series; the Vols haven't come out on top in this game since 2004. For Florida, it's a second-straight week to prove their road game bona fides in the SEC. I don't think they can win two in a row, especially against a hungry, talented group of Vols.
THE PICK: Tennessee 27, Florida 21
#2 USC (2-0, 0-0) at #21 STANFORD (2-0, 0-0)
Speaking of streaks... USC's lost three in a row (and four of five) to the Cardinal in recent years. Unfortunately for Stanford, Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck aren't walking through that door. Stanford rebounded from an unimpressive win over San Jose State in week one to drill Duke, 50-13. USC, meanwhile, struggled to a degree with Syracuse -- they were only up 21-16 after three quarters. Given their struggles with Stanford in recent years (the Cardinal are the one Pac 12 team Matt Barkley has yet to defeat at USC), though, you'd have to expect that they'll be ready for this game. Stanford will make it interesting, but ultimately Barkley and his cornucopia of offensive weapons should be a little too much for them to handle.
THE PICK: USC 34, Stanford 28
#20 NOTRE DAME (2-0) at #10 MICHIGAN STATE (2-0, 0-0)
Through two games, Michigan State has yet to concede an offensive touchdown. That's... rather good. The news heading into the season was that the Sparty defense would be very good and so far that's been very much the case. But as is the case with so many teams this week, they'll be getting their first real test. Notre Dame's offense looked unstoppable in running roughshod over Navy and a little more subdued in their thrilling win over Purdue last week, but they'll still be the best offense MSU has faced this year. The Sparty offense was the Le'Veon Bell show in week one against Boise State, but new QB Andrew Maxwell worked out the kinks nicely against Central Michigan last week (20/31, 275 yards, 2 TD). Against a Notre Dame defense that's stronger up front and that will geared to stop Bell, the onus may be on Maxwell to exploit Notre Dame's thin secondary. I see a tight, defensive struggle here, with Maxwell making just enough big plays in the passing game for MSU to win.
THE PICK: Michigan State 24, Notre Dame 14
#25 BYU (2-0) at Utah (1-1, 0-0)
The Holy War! This game lost a little luster when Utah got shocked by another in-state rival, Utah State, a week ago, but it's still one of the fiercest rivalries in college football. It's also often been one of the most exciting rivalry games in college football. Last year was an ugly 54-10 rout for the Utes, but five of the previous six clashes were decided by a touchdown or less and several were decided by scores on the final possession. This year's game is in Salt Lake City, and the Utes may need every bit of home-cooking to rebound from their loss to Utah State and knock off a solid-looking BYU squad. Call it a hunch, but I think Utah bounces back from the Utah State loss and gets a little late-game magic to steal a win over BYU.
THE PICK: Utah 24, BYU 23