NCAA – Week 3 Top Matchups

Welcome to week 3, things are starting to get more exciting with a big upset last week and a HUGE matchup this week. This season is really starting to pickup.

Last week both Steve and Jason went 4-2 (both missing badly on the Texas game). On the season that brings Steve to 9-3 and Jason to 8-4.

This week we have some good matchups with 2 battles vs ranked teams (with the higher ranked team on the road), 2 Tough matchups with Ranked teams at home against underrated opponents, and 2 games with ranked teams on the road against tough opponents.

Vanderbilt (3.7) @ South Carolina (4.10)
Vanderbilt Offense (3.83) vs USC Defense (4.18): This will be the “easiest” test yet for the South Carolina Defense which has gone against 2 of the better offenses in the nation so far (UGA and UNC). Vanderbilt is not easy however. South Carolina should be able to control the line of scrimmage, however look for Vandy to have a good gameplan to take Clowney out of the game (something that both UNC and UGA have been able to do). Vanderbilt should be able to put up a few points and move the ball in the air, but nothing with consistency. Give the advantage to USC.

USC Offense (4.01) vs Vanderbilt Defense (3.57): USC has a decided talent advantage here, particularly on the Line of Scrimmage. USC has been able to run with power on both UGA and UNC. However Vanderbilt’s defense is better than both of those defenses and plays over their talent level. Also Vanderbilt should be able to force USC into some turnovers in the passing game, as they thrive on that. I’ll go with a Toss up in this matchup.

Steve: Vanderbilt will make it a good game to watch and keep it close, but in the end the advantage in the trenches and being at home will prove too much for Vanderbilt to overcome USC 24-17

Jason: I continue to think South Carolina has been overrated from the start, but I just don’t think Vandy is going to have enough to win on the road. South Carolina 27-20.

Tennessee (4.36) @ Oregon (4.25)
Tennessee Offense (4.55) vs Oregon Defense (4.06): Tennessee has one of the most experienced and talented Offensive lines in the nation. So far it has focused on rushing the ball, gashing Western KY. Oregon has a good defensive line, but I like Tennessee in that matchup. Tennessee’s weakness is in the passing game, which is where Oregon is even better. Tennessee will try to run the ball to keep Oregon’s offense off the field and take the loud Oregon crowd out of the game. They should have success doing it as well. Despite Oregon’s superiority at the skill positions, I’ll give the advantage to Tennessee.

Oregon Offense (4.43) vs Tennessee Defense (4.16): Everyone knows what Oregon is going to try to do. Run plays at lightspeed and run the football with their zone Read. They gashed a decent Virginia defense last week. Tennessee’s defense is no better than Virginia’s. Tennessee will try to force Oregon to throw the ball and in force turnovers, as well as try to force Oregon into some quick 3 and outs, thus allowing their Offense to get back on the field and eat up the clock. I just don’t think they will be too successful. Big Advantage here to Oregon.

Steve: Tennessee was one of my pre-season surprise picks and have thus far done nothing to think otherwise. I do think Tennessee will keep this game close and give Oregon a run for their money, but in the end the home crowd and Oregon’s offense will put up too many points and force Tennessee out of their gameplan. Oregon 42-28

Jason: Were this in Tennessee, I might have called for an upset here as I think Tennessee is underrated and Oregon might be vulnerable after playing so well last week. I’ve got Oregon winning but closer than expected: Oregon 38-31.

Mississippi (4.11) @ Texas (5.04)
Ole Miss Offense (4.0) vs Texas Defense (5.11): Texas Defense has been much maligned this past week, firing their Defensive Coordinator. They are back in Austin and against an Offense that is built more for passing than rushing so the same problems that BYU presented against them, shouldn’t be an issue here. However how their defense reacts to a new coach in mid-season , etc is a mystery. On paper Texas should dominate this matchup, but with the questionable intangibles heading into this matchup, I’ll give it a Toss up.

Texas Offense (4.97) vs Ole Miss Defense (4.22): Ole Miss is very young on defense, but very talented. They made some mistakes against Vanderbilt, but also did some very nice things. Texas offense has looked good so far, but not great and Ole Miss is far and away the best defense they have and likely WILL face all season. However how will the young stars for Ole Miss fare in DKR stadium? I will give the slight advantage to Ole Miss in this matchup.

Steve: Everything is telling me to pick Texas at home. They will bounce back, etc. But I want to pick Ole Miss because of the uncertainties around Texas. In the end the pounding that Texas gave Ole Miss last year (@ Ole Miss) stands out in my head. Going with Texas 42-38

Jason: Like Steve, I can’t forget what happened when these teams played last year at Ole Miss. Texas 38-34

Wisconsin (3.42) @ Arizona State (3.74)
Wisconsin Offense (3.45) vs ASU Defense (3.82): These teams are a pretty even matchup, particularly on the line of scrimmage. Wisconsin likes to run the ball and has a solid Offensive Line. ASU’s strength lies in their secondary. Look for ASU to load the box and try to force Wisconsin to throw the ball. Wisconsin’s offense has looked good against bad opponents this year. I will give the very slight advantage to Wisconsin because of their ability to run the ball.

ASU Offense (3.65) vs Wisconsin Defense (3.39): Again the matchup is very close on the line of scrimmage, with ASU having the advantage at the skill positions. ASU is very balanced on offense and will try to remain so. Wisconsin will likely try to take away the run first as their strength lies in their front 7. I will give the advantage here to ASU.

Steve: This is a tough game to call as both teams have played garbage opponents, looking good in every game. Neither team has been scored on as of yet. That should change relatively quick. With both teams equal in the trenches, I’ll go with the team with more speed and that is at home. Arizona St 32-28

Jason: I’m not sold on either team, but I’ve got the home team winning here. ASU 34-31

UCLA (4.22) @ Nebraska (3.83)
UCLA Offense (4.15) vs Nebraska Defense (3.95): UCLA has one of the most under valued QB’s in the nation with some nice skill positions to go with him. However Nebraska does hold an advantage on the Line of Scrimmage. Nebraska has looked sub-par on defense again this year (and both games were at home against non-AQ teams). UCLA should have a good day against this defense, Big advantage UCLA.

Nebraska Offense (3.71) vs UCLA Defense (4.3): UCLA has one of the most talented Defensive Lines in the nation, Nebraska’s Offensive Line is a far cry from the Osborne days. Nebraska’s offense revolves around Taylor Martinez. UCLA will try to contain him and force him to throw the ball. He is a dynamic playmaker though and will get some big plays as UCLA’s defense is inexperienced. In the end I will give this matchup a Toss Up.

Steve: UCLA is the better team and I think a top 10 team in the country right now. However Nebraska is not an easy place to win and having a QB like Taylor Martinez gives and team a chance. In the end UCLA will prove to much for Nebraska UCLA 42-24

Jason: At the risk of agreeing with Steve across the board, UCLA 45-31

Now for the game most CFB fans have been waiting for since last year…

Alabama (4.57) vs Texas A&M (4.01)
Alabama Offense (4.55) vs TAMU Defense (3.78): Alabama’s offense looked like garbage against a very tough Virginia Tech Defense (something we called for here at Simplified Football). TAMU’s defense has looked like garbage against bad opponents. Alabama has the decided advantage upfront and at the skill position players. Despite their poor showing in the first game Alabama should be able to run at will against Texas A&M and AJ McCarron should find plenty of open WR’s. Huge advantage Alabama.

TAMU Offense (4.25) vs Alabama Defense (4.59): Alabama’s defense stymied a good QB with wheels in Logan Thomas in game one, consider it preparation for Johnny Manziel (who is a better player than Thomas). Despite the Off-Field issues TAMU and Manziel have looked sensational this year. Expect the best Defensive Coaching staff to have come up with some new wrinkles to try and stop Manziel. Give a Toss-Up to this matchup.

Steve: Nick Saban is the master at “revenge” games, Rarely does someone beat him with the same thing twice (think Tim Tebow trying a jump pass against Bama and getting stuffed). Manziel is a gamer, but I do not expect him to have the game that he did last year. The only thing that keeps this close is the Kyle Field 12th man. Alabama 42-28

Jason: I just don’t see how this game is going to be much different here because of “revenge” factors. I called last year’s upset and still think Manziel and the TAMU offense present problems for the Bama defense, which lacks elite edge rushers and (surprisingly) lacks elite coverage players in the secondary. I think this game is still basically a coin flip, but I just can’t pull the trigger for TAMU this year due to my lack of faith in this year’s Aggie defense and the fact that Bama won the last three quarters in last year’s game. I’m taking Bama 38-31

There are a few other games you should keep an eye on such as UCF @ Penn St, Miss st @ Auburn, and Washington @ Illinois. Here’s to a great weekend for College Football Fans!

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