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College Capper: Picking Games for Week 3

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

I mentioned last week that Week 2 was somewhat of a testing ground, which means that Week 3 is time for adjustments. Time to adjust your thinking and take the lessons you learned in Week 2.

Now, that's not to say that you forget Week 1 altogether, but in most cases, teams in action last week played their second game of the season, and that's a truer read of what's to come.

Admittedly, I struggled a bit with my initial read on certain teams, but as long as I avoid harboring any ill will toward these teams - in other words, as long as I can adjust my initial assessment of these teams - I can move forward with a clear mind.

The slate this week is void of any big-time match-ups, from a top-25 perspective, but there are plenty of good opportunities.

Let's look at the card this week.

WEEK 3

Cream of the Crop:
(Week: 1-6-0/Season: 0-4-0)

Saturday

Massachusetts at Michigan:
I'm a little worried that I'm the rat going after the electrified cheese time and time again, but I think Michigan has more than what we've seen to this point. Look at it this way, the Wolverines were blown out in Week 1, they were caught with a hangover last week against a decent Air Force team and now it's time to finally show the nation they're not just a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team. Oh, and UMass has been outscored 82-6 this season.

Side: Michigan -45.5

Florida at Tennessee:
This week will be a good indicator of where the Vols program is as the Gators are sure to provide a tough test. Tennessee looked solid a couple weeks ago in its opener, but this is an entirely different beast. Florida picked up a solid road victory at Texas A&M last week, but it wasn't exactly an emphatic victory. Sure, a win is a win, but if the Gators had looked a little more impressive, it would be easier to side with them here. This is a big game for both teams, but more is on the line for the Vols as they look to build momentum for the rest of the season. Expect a close game with Tennessee coming out on top.

Side: Tennessee -3

Utah State at Wisconsin:
Did I mention the rat/cheese analogy already? The Badgers could not have looked worse last week. They struggled all day to score on a middle-of-the-road PAC-12 team, and their defense wasn't exactly stout. Utah State, meanwhile, is coming off a nationally televised win over in-state rival Utah. It's a classic high/low case as everyone is down on the Badgers and most are jumping on the underdog. The line even moved off the magical "14" in favor of Utah State. Wisconsin simply has too much on both sides of the ball to remain in this rut, and this week the Badgers break out in style.

Side: Wisconsin -13.5

Notre Dame at Michigan State:
I like MSU in this game, but unfortunately, all the money is coming in on that side as well, and the line is moving into a territory that I'd rather avoid. That's OK, though, because I like the total better anyway. Both teams are capable of scoring in bunches, and although the Spartans defense appears to be stout this year, I doubt it can completely contain the Irish offense - and that's what it will have to do for the under to hit.

Total:
Over 43.5

Best of the Rest
(Week: 2-3-0/Season: 4-6-0)

Saturday

Navy at Penn State:
Penn State doesn't have much, if any, firepower left on its squad, but that might not matter this week as Navy comes to town. When we last saw Navy it was being obliterated by Notre Dame, and while Penn State is no Notre Dame ... wait a minute ... A funny thing just happened while writing this - it occurred to me that I don't believe it. Penn State hasn't scored on anyone this season, and although Navy was destroyed in Ireland two weeks ago, that was a pretty good Notre Dame squad that laid the smack down. Penn State might pick up its first win this week, but it will likely be a close game.

Side: Navy +5.5

Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh:
In years past, I would be all over the Panthers here as public perception of Pitt could not be any lower. But Pittsburgh looked horrible the first two weeks and now faces its toughest test of the year. Pittsburgh is one bad half from throwing in the towel on the season.

Side: Virginia Tech -10

USC at Stanford:
Stanford always gives USC a tough time, and the Trojans are coming off a less-than-impressive performance against Syracuse last week, so what better time to fade them, right? Wrong. I have a sneaking suspicion that USC is about to explode, and Stanford will be incapable of doing anything about it. USC easily won both its games this season without any sense of urgency to push it along. Now that the Trojans are in-conference against an opponent that's given them fits the last few years. Expect the Trojans' best performance to date.

Side: USC -9

Arizona State at Missouri:
It's tough to gauge either of these teams as a whole, but one thing is certain, they can both put points on the board. Sure, Missouri had a tough time last week, but that was against an upper-tier SEC team. ASU is no such team. ASU handled Illinois last week on both sides of the ball, but consider that Illinois was without its starting quarterback and your left with more questions than answers on the defensive side.

Total:
Over 64.5

PASSing Thoughts:
(Week: 1-3-0/Season: 5-5-0)

Thursday

Rutgers at South Florida:
As long as ESPN continues to put Big East games on every Thursday night, I'll force myself to come up with an opinion. But as last week proved, the Big East is a poor conference and these teams will be difficult to peg all year. As for this game, South Florida is coming off a solid win at Nevada last week, and while the Bulls will have to travel from the West Coast on a short week, I think they'll find a way to pull away here.

Side: South Florida -8.5

Friday

Washington State at UNLV:
It's bad vs. worse as Washington State travels to the desert this week to face the Running Rebels. The line opened with WSU laying double-digits, but the public, or someone, quickly corrected that mistake. That's not to say UNLV is a lock, but bad teams aren't supposed to lay this kind of number on the road. WSU certainly won't be as bad as it was just five years ago, but the Cougars haven't made much progress since the lowest of the lows a half-decade ago.

Side: UNLV +8.5

Saturday

Alabama at Arkansas:
Just like Pittsburgh, public perception of Arkansas is extremely low, low enough that the 'Hogs are three touchdown dogs - at home! I'm sure Arkansas is going to come out strong this week in an effort to put last week's miserable loss behind it, but if anything goes wrong early, it's going to be a long night. Considering the opponent, something will go wrong early.

Side: Alabama -20.5