Games to Watch - Week 3

Games to Watch - Week 3

Games to Watch - Week 3
By Chris David

Friday - Kansas at South Florida (ESPN2, 8:00 p.m.)
   
Kansas at South Florida


Skinny
The Big 12 and the Big East take over Friday's festivities when No. 13 Kansas travels to Tampa for a clash with No. 19 South Florida. The Jayhawks have carried over their momentum from last year, jumping out to a 2-0 record while outscoring opponents 69-10. QB Todd Reesing (668 yards, 6 TDs) and the offense get all the press in Lawrence, but the KU defense is deep and talented. That unit will get tested against South Florida's versatile quarterback Matt Grothe (515 total yards, 5 TDs). The Bulls almost a blew a 14-point lead to UCF last week, but managed to capture a 31-24 victory in overtime. USF's defense thrived on turnovers last year (+9) but haven't been ball hawking this year (-5) so far.   

Gambling Notes
Even though USF is listed as the lower ranked team, Jim Leavitt's club is still the favorite for this battle. USF was 2-1 against higher ranked teams last year, notching upsets against Auburn and West Virginia. The Bulls have been a solid look as home favorites, going 5-1 ATS in their last six. Kansas and head coach Mark Mangino were 2-0 both SU and ATS as underdogs last year. The Jayhawks stopped South Florida 13-7 in 2006 as a 3½-point home favorite.


Saturday - Georgia at South Carolina (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)

Georgia at South Carolina


Skinny
The Gamecocks were caught looking last Thursday against Vanderbilt (17-24) and now faces a much tougher test against No. 2 Georgia. South Carolina's strength is its defense and it will need to step up against the Bulldogs attack of QB Matthew Stafford (488 yards, 4 TDs) and RB Knowshon Moreno (6 TDs). Head coach Steve Spurrier still hasn't been able to find any offensive rhythm in Columbia this year, watching his two quarterback attack (Smelley, Beecher) toss six interceptions in just two games   

Gambling Notes
SC captured a 16-12 victory as a 3 ½-point underdog in Athens last year, snapping a five-game losing skid to Georgia. Stafford completed just 43 percent of his passes and Moreno was held to 104 yards on 14 carries. The 'under' has been a serious money maker in this head-to-head series, posting a perfect 10-0 mark in the last 10 games. South Carolina is only 3-6 ATS as a home underdog under head coach Steve Spurrier.


Saturday - UCLA at BYU (Versus, 3:30 p.m.)

UCLA at BYU


Skinny
UCLA started the Rick Neuheisel era with a thrilling 27-24 overtime win against Tennessee on Labor Day. QB Kevin Craft tossed four interceptions in the first half before completing 18-of-25 passes for 193 yards and a score in the final 30 minutes. The Bruins were outplayed in all facets of the game except special teams, blocking a punt for a touchdown and added two field goals. BYU won a controversial 28-27 victory over Washington last Saturday by blocking a potential game tying PAT by the Huskies as time expired. BYU is only as good as quarterback Max Hall (78%, 823 yards, 5 TDs) plays and he's been outstanding in the team's 2-0 start.   

Gambling Notes
The Bruins and Cougars met twice last year, with each team claiming a victory. UCLA captured a 27-17 win at home, while BYU avenged that loss with a 17-16 triumph in the Las Vegas Bowl. Hall led the Cougars with 232 passing yards and two scores in the win. The Bruins are 5-1 ATS in their last six spots as road underdogs. BYU is 13-0 SU and 8-3 ATS in its last 13 games at Provo, winning 11 by double digits. The 'under' went 2-0 in the two battles last year.


Saturday - Ohio State at Southern California (ABC, 8:00 p.m.)

Ohio State at Southern California


Skinny
The "Game of the Week" takes place on the West Coast as two of the premier programs in the country, USC and Ohio State, battle from the Coliseum on Saturday. The Trojans get an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes after opening the season with a 52-7 whitewashing of Virginia in Week 1. Ohio State looked sluggish in its 26-14 win over Ohio last Saturday but did receive good news that running back Chris "Beanie" Wells is good to go after hurting his foot in the Bucks' opener. A defensive battle is expected in this matchup, especially with the Trojans' Rey Maualuga and Buckeyes' James Laurinatis roaming the field.   

Gambling Notes
These two powerhouses haven't met since 1990 when Southern California stopped Ohio State 35-26. The Trojans own an 11-9-1 all-time edge over the Buckeyes. USC has gone 7-0 both SU and ATS in its last seven meetings against Big Ten schools, including a 49-17 win over Illinois in last year's Rose Bowl. All seven of the victories have been by double digits, which is probably a factor in this week's point-spread. OSU can stick its chest out against the Pac 10 as well, going 8-1 both SU and ATS in its last nine against the conference. Head coach Pete Carroll has only lost three home games in his tenure, two coming in his debut season and last year's shocker to Stanford. Jim Tressel owns a 4-5 ATS mark as an underdog during his tenure at Ohio State.


Saturday - Wisconsin at Ohio State (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.)

Wisconsin at Fresno State


Skinny
Wisconsin joins OSU as another Big Ten school making a trip to the West Coast this weekend as it invades Northern California for an intriguing matchup against Fresno State. The Badgers opened the year with a pair of double-digit wins over Akron (38-17) and Marshall (51-14). The school showed that it can beat you with both the run and the pass, which is what will be needed against Fresno State. The Bulldogs are off a bye after stopping Rutgers 24-7 in their road opener. FSU running back Ryan Mathews (163 yards, 3 TDs) will try to counter the Badgers' running game led by P.J. Hill (4 TDs) and Zach Brown (2 TDs).   

Gambling Notes
The Badgers are 7-0 SU in their last seven non-conference games outside of Madison. However, don't be surprised to see a close game with the last four being decided by single digits. Fresno State is 1-4 versus the Big Ten, with the lone victory coming against Wisconsin. The Bulldogs were 2-1 ATS against ranked opponents last year. The road only gets tougher for FSU, with back-to-back road battles against Toledo and UCLA looming. No look-ahead for Wisky, with a bye on deck.


Other Games to Watch

Oregon at Purdue


Possible shootout happening in West Lafayette this Saturday afternoon when Mike Bellotti's Ducks square off against Joe Tiller and the Boilermakers. Oregon is averaging 55 PPG while Purdue posted 42 in its opener.

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech

A great coaching battle takes place in Blacksburg when Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets face Frank Beamer and the Hokies. Georgia Tech's new option look will test the defense of Virginia Tech. Expect a lot of running in the trenches all day.

Michigan at Nevada

A once-storied matchup now appears lackluster on paper. The Wolverines and Fighting Irish both earned their first victories last week, but neither team impressed. This one could be tough to watch. Perhaps the first one to three wins?

Oklahoma at Washington

The Sooners and quarterback Sam Bradford look like serious national title contenders, outscoring their first two opponents 109-28. Washington showed some guts last week in a 28-27 loss to BYU, but Tyrone Willingham's team (0-2) is still searching for a win.

Rice at Vanderbilt

This battle pits a pair of 2-0 smart schools up against one another. Vanderbilt has been led by stellar defense and special teams play, while Rice likes to light up the scoreboard. Something will have to give in Nashville come Saturday.

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