Week 3 Top 25 Preview: Everyone Wants Ohio State to Lose, Right?
If you followed my picks in Week 1, you made money. If you followed my picks in Week 2, you also made money. Last week I was 6-4 against the spread. For the year, I’m sitting at 14-8-1. You can follow the picks all year here. Or check the recap on the Tweets:
A quick check-in on schedule strength and elite games.
Through last week, 12 teams had played in Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups. Four of those teams hailed from the SEC, which was more than any other conference. The ACC and Pac-12 each had three. The Big Ten had 1 team in a ranked vs. ranked matchup and Notre Dame represented one such game. This week, we get three ranked vs. ranked games:
- LSU at Auburn
- Boise State at Oklahoma State
- Ohio State at TCU
The involvement of such games by each conference will now stand as follows:
- SEC: 6 (Auburn x 2, LSU x 2, Georgia, South Carolina)
- ACC: 3 (Miami, Florida State, VA Tech)
- Pac-12: 3 (Washington, Southern Cal, Stanford)
- Big Ten: 2 (Michigan, Ohio State)
- Big 12: 2 (Oklahoma State, TCU)
- Mountain West: 1 (Boise State)
- Independent: 1 (Notre Dame)
I mentioned this in relation to my inaugural Top 25 Poll, but all that really matters in terms of schedule strength is games against Top 25 opponents. It’s interesting that the SEC is criticized for weak early-season scheduling but the conference has played twice as many Top 25 vs. Top 25 games as any other conference.
With that out of the way, here are the games and the picks.
3:30 p.m. #12 LSU at #7 Auburn (-9.5) (CBS)
We still don’t know much about either of these teams, so I’m working on two theories: 1. Any team with talent and a semblance of preparation could have beat Mark Richt and Miami in Week 1 because Mark Richt is the coach at Miami. 2. Auburn is starting slow (which it always does) and this year’s slow start was a win over a Top 10 Washington team. If I buy into those two preconceived notions, Auburn is the better team. But 9.5 points still seems large. Further, I feel like if this game is ugly, it plays to LSU’s advantage. My professional gambling advice would actually be to take the LSU money line (+295) because I do think there is a better than 1-in-3 or 1-in-4 chance LSU makes it ugly enough to win. But this column isn’t about moneylines. So I’m hedging a bit.
Picks: Auburn outright and LSU +9.5
3:30 p.m. #17 Boise State at #24 Oklahoma State (-2.5) (ESPN)
Boise State came out of the gates HOT this year. Troy was a trendy upset pick in Week 1, but the Broncos won 56-20 thanks in no small part to four forced turnovers. Last week, Boise State galloped to a 62-7 win over UConn. Even more impressive than the final score: Boise State outgained UConn 818 to 193. Neither of those numbers are typos. Boise State ranks 4th nationally in total offense (617 per contest) and Oklahoma State is sitting in first place (675 per game), so this should be a shootout, but to an extent I think the Broncos are more seasoned. Frankly, I think this line is spot-on, but I’m going against it. Either way, this should be a fun game to watch. If it’s not, I think that bodes well for the Broncos.
Picks: Boise State outright and Boise State +2.5
7:00 p.m. #4 Ohio State (-13) at #15 TCU (ABC)
TCU is probably the Top 15 team I know the least about. Ohio State is probably the Top 15 team that everyone in the country most hates right now. So I’m going with the people. Nah, I can’t quite do that. I think Ohio State is too explosive on offense (though I’d love to be wrong). I do think TCU will cover though. How’s that for analysis?
Picks: Ohio State outright but TCU +13.
That’s all I got/