Welcome back to the San Diego State Sports MBA college football picks segment! We hope you all enjoyed Week 2 and are getting ready for what may be the biggest week of the year (save conference and national championships, of course!).
First, let’s see how we did with our Week 2 predictions:
We have a tie atop the leaderboard as Adam correctly predicted three games to Blake and Dan’s two. With Dan getting the Extra Point for most closely predicting the score of the SDSU game (Congratulations, Dan!), he moves to three total points.
This week, we welcome into the fold SDSU undergraduate alum Logan Irons. Logan, a few words since you were absent Week 2?
“I apologize to all of the eager fans out there who missed me while I was on the injured reserve last week. I should have listened to the doctors when they said I would not be ready for week two.”
Thank you, Logan. Good luck this year.
This week we take our shots at some real barnburners. Click through to see the games and predictions!
This week’s four games are the following:
Alabama @ Texas A&M
UCLA @ Nebraska
Ohio St @ Cal
Tennessee @ Oregon
These are some high-profile, high-powered matchups. There’s a lot of potential for mayhem, so let’s get straight into it.
Alabama @ Texas A&M
Well, this is it. The one matchup everyone, including Dr. John Francis, has been waiting for. Mr. Football (™?) has put up some big numbers since his return, but Bama always has a stout defense. This was a classic last year; expect nothing different this year. This one should rest on the Aggies defense’s ability to shut down the Tide.
42-38 (Roll) Tide
Prepare yourselves for the media circus this game will be. There are so many storylines going on during this game, making it much more than your typical hard fought SEC West matchup. Johnny Manziel will get few opportunities to use his “cash money” celebration during this game. Nick Saban and the Tide can downplay the revenge factor as much as they want to this week but they have been replaying last year’s loss in their weight room all spring and summer. Bama is going to come in motivated AND they had a week off to prepare, there is no way they will lose to the Aggies again.
This was likely the most hyped game this offseason. Nick Saban’s defense goes against Johnny Football. I’ll make my prediction based on the assumption that Nick Saban watched the Texas A&M film about 50 times this offseason and Johnny Football used the film as a coaster.
Alabama is the closest thing to a college dynasty we will see in our lifetime while Johnny Manziel is more celebrity than football player. Expect to see Nick Saban’s Rip/Liz Match Defense that allows a zone coverage to convert to man coverage based on the routes being run, giving the defensive backs more time to keep an eye on Manziel.
29-16 Crimson Tide
UCLA @ Nebraska
The Bruins come off a Bye week having thumped Nevada in Week 1. The Huskers, now a Big Ten power, are coming off two weeks in which they should not have had much trouble but did, specifically against Wyoming. Winning in Lincoln is never easy. I think it is doable for the Bruins, but ultimately I think Nebraska’s offense will be too much.
This game is going to be a race to 40 points. Both teams have good offenses led by two dynamic dual-threat QBs Hundley and Martinez. I will say that if UCLA can play defense like they did in the second half of their opener against my Wolf Pack, this game could get out of hand. Nebraska’s defense looked better last week and forced some turnovers, which they will need in order to beat this school from the West Coast. I think Martinez and the Huskers will be able to keep this game fairly close at home.
2 of the most exciting QBs in NCAA, Taylor Martinez vs. Brett Hundley. I expect Anthony Barr to contain Taylor Martinez enough for UCLA to win, but close.
Nebraska has been playing underwhelming competition so far this year. They also have a knack for slipping up against an opponent they should beat. Meanwhile, Brett Hundley, quarterback for UCLA, has proven to be a legitimate dual threat quarterback.
Ohio State @ California
The Buckeyes roll into Berkeley off two easy wins. There are question marks about Braxton Miller’s health, but backup Kenny Guiton has shown he can competently lead the offense if need be. The Golden Bears were beaten rather soundly in Week 1 by a Northwestern squad that, by year’s end, we might find are better that they are being given credit for right now. Particularly troubling for Cal were the turnovers that led to the loss. OSU defense > NW defense, in my opinion, so this one goes to the Buckeyes on the road.
Cal’s freshman QB Jared Goff has thrown for 930 yards in his first two games and they get Ohio State when their own QB Braxton Miller is dealing with knee issues. I am interested to see how the Buckeyes do traveling west. Cal has already played one tough Big 10 school in Northwestern and I believe that experience helps them out in this one. I am skeptical about Ohio State and I think this one will be a lot closer than most people think; I wouldn’t be stunned by an upset.
28-24 Ohio St.
Ohio State faces their toughest out of conference matchup of the season, possibly without Braxton Miller. Kenny Guiton is an underrated backup and will be able to carry the offense just enough.
45-24 Ohio State
Cal, first year head coach Sonny Dykes, barely squeaked by PORTLAND STATE last week by a score of 37-30. With a game next week vs. #2 Oregon, Cal should be hoping to get out with minimal injuries to their roster and their pride. Oh yeah, Ohio State beat the tar out of my San Diego State Aztecs last week.
47-9 Ohio State
Tennessee @ Oregon
New Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich has shown that he can lead the team in the same fashion Chip Kelly did…which is to say the Ducks can still put up ridiculous offensive numbers. Averaging 62.5 pts/gm., Oregon will look to challenge a Volunteers defense that has not yet been tested, giving up only 20 total points to two cupcakes, only one of which was an FBS team. I get the feeling that Butch Jones will be getting his first Rocky Top shellacking in this one.
Both Tennessee and Oregon have blown up their opponents in their first two games, averaging over 48 and 62 points a game, respectively. Both of these offenses can put up points but the difference is at QB. The Vols are playing a QB going into his third game as a starter and Marcus Mariota is one of the premier talents at the position. I think Mariota is going to continue his Heisman campaign with a huge game on Saturday. Oregon loves getting up early and making opposing offenses one-dimensional. Tennessee will have to throw the ball much more than they want to when they are down three scores by half. Oregon keeps on rolling and runs away with this one.
Oregon won’t turn the ball over seven times like Western Kentucky did last week. Five of the next six games for Tennessee come against teams ranked in the top 18. The machine that is Oregon will not be stopped by this defense.
Occasionally an underdog will surprise the college football world by pulling off an upset on the road. This is not one of those times. Oregon is hitting their stride with their high-powered offense under quarterback Marcus Mariota and first-year head coach Mark Helfrich. Tennessee is still trying to find their way back in to national relevance under yet another new head coach. Look for this one to get ugly early.
For the visual learners, here is a recap of this week’s picks:
Some might have expected these games to be polarizing, but apparently we are all on the same page. Only UCLA-Nebraska offers a chance to gain points.
Should be a great weekend in college football. Enjoy your Saturday, everyone! See you next week.