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Post Week 3 picks

Thursday September 14, 2006

My Sisyphean quest to escape last place in UGASports.com’s media pick ’em starts this week, and what a week. The slate of games is fantastic, and cases could be made for either team to win in a lot of these games. You’d think I would have learned something about picking road teams last week, but here we go again.

Arkansas at Vanderbilt: Vandy is decent and will make a lot of teams look ugly, but Arkansas has more in the tank. If the Hogs do lose, it’s a pretty clear sign that they were outcoached, and it wil be a big nail in Nutt’s coffin.

Ole Miss at Kentucky: Similar to the Arkansas game, Ole Miss isn’t great but should be better than Kentucky. We’ll see how badly the Rebels were shaken by last weekend’s meltdown.

Florida at Tennessee: This doesn’t have so much to do with the Tennessee-Air Force game a week ago as it does with the relative strengths of the teams. Both are strong on defense, but Florida has a more mature and potentially explosive offense. This is a game where scheme might not be overrated. Tennessee doesn’t present many wrinkles for the Florida defense, but this is the third straight unique offense the Vol defense will see. In the first three weeks, they’ll have seen Tedford’s Cal offense (run pretty poorly), the flexbone-style option attack of Air Force, and now the spread option of Florida. Will the Vol defense be ready for anything that comes at them, or will their heads spin? On the other hand, what will Florida use as a running game to prevent open season on Chris Leak? Will the misdirection and running plays to talented speedsters like Harvin be enough? Last year, this was a 16-7 slugfest as the Florida defense asserted itself and Meyer’s offense struggled. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the same this year – perhaps a little higher-scoring.

LSU at Auburn: You have to ask yourself how far Auburn’s running game can carry it, especially as Irons begins to show signs of wear and tear in week two. LSU should be very familiar with the defensive style they’ll see from their former DC Will Muschamp. I just think that LSU has more on both sides of the ball, but I know not to underestimate Borges. Auburn has a very good chance to win this game with coaching and the home field, but I still like the all-around strength of LSU.

Michigan at Notre Dame: Finally going with a home team. I don’t think it will be quite the drubbing I saw coming for Penn State last week, but this is the kind of game where a title contender asserts itself at home.

Miami at Louisville: I struggled with this pick longer than any other. I think the obituary is being written a little too soon on Miami, and they have the talent and ability to rise up as they did at Virginia Tech a year ago. But that road win over the Hokies sticks out like a sore thumb next to losses to Georgia Tech, LSU, and FSU in other big games. This is Louisville’s annual bid to be considered in the title discussion. They came up just short a year ago in Miami, but I think they get it done at home this year. Miami won’t make it easy though.

Texas Tech at TCU: Texas Tech survived UTEP last week, and while TCU isn’t bad, the Red Raiders should win again.

Oklahoma at Oregon: Oklahoma will find out just how much Adrian Peterson can do on the road against a Top 15 team. I think Oregon plus the home field should be enough for another close Duck win. If Oklahoma wins, Texas should start sweating a bit.

Michigan State at Pittsburgh: Why not…another road team wins. Pitt isn’t bad though. This could be pretty entertaining and higher-scoring than some other games.

Tulane at Mississippi State: This might be Mississippi State’s best chance for a win, but first things first – they just need to score this season. I think they hold Tulane to a low score and eek out the win.

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