Week 3 of the 2022 NCAAF schedule is a little lighter than normal. Conference play is not yet in full swing with many major programs still taking by weeks or games against inferior competition. Even week 2 of this season featured more marquee matchups, but I will never complain about watching football on a Saturday.
Oklahoma Sooners (6) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers 12:00 EST
Line: Sooners -11, 66
This matchup does not carry the same weight this year as it normally would in past primarily due to the terribly poor start to this season we have already witnessed from the Cornhuskers.
Head Coach Scott Frost was already on the hot seat after another poor season last year, but a week 0 loss to North Western and another loss last week to Georgia Southern was enough to cost Frost his job. The firing triggered an early buy-out clause in his contract that was reportedly worth more than $8 million. That is a lot of cash just to make someone exit the room early and reflects how bad the situation in Nebraska must have been. It is hard to imagine all the Cornhusker’s problems being fixed by just removing one person, but presumably, things should be lighter now.
Nebraska did play this game close last year but still lost. The biggest threat for the Sooners is the possibility their opponents actually played poorly deliberately to get their head coach out. I am not saying that is what happened, but it is possible.
Oklahoma is a quality program and should win this game most years regardless of who is coaching. Taking the favourite in this matchup can be the only real option until we see some better play from Nebraska.
My Pick: Sooners (-11)
Oregon Ducks (25) Vs BYU Cougars (12) 3:30 EST
Line: Ducks -3.5, 58
The Ducks were humiliated in week 1, 49-3 to the defending champions from Georgia. They failed to replicate their early season upset from last year they pulled off at the horseshoe in Ohio St. They managed a big win over Eastern Washington last week but entering week 3, Oregon still has not played a competitive game.
BYU played a high-pressure game last week defeating the defending BIG 12 champs from Baylor in 2OT. The 12th-ranked Cougars could vault into a top-tier program with a win in this game. There is even a possibility of them running the table this season which would present them with a ticket to the playoffs as an independent.
There is a real possibility that BYU is the far superior team in this matchup, but frankly, we have not seen enough from either team yet to say that for certain. QB Jaren Hall has impressed many with his play through two games and the Cougar’s defence is tough and physical. The Cougars will be a tough out for any NCAAF team this season.
Oregon finished last season losing three of their final four games including the PAC 12 Championship game to Utah, and the Alamo Bowl to Oklahoma. Those are all tough games, but it is a clear downward trajectory for the Ducks. This matchup against BYU will be a good gauge of where the program currently sits.
My Pick: BYU (+3.5)
Auburn Tigers Vs Penn St. Nittany Lions (22) 3:30 EST
Line: Lions -3, 47.5
This is a fascinating matchup between two top-tier programs. Auburn travelled to Penn St last year to face the whiteout at Jordan-Hare stadium. Ultimately, the Tigers succumbed to the crowd noise and hostile environment losing 28-20. This season, the Nittany Lions return the favour by travelling to Auburn.
Once again, home-field advantage will inevitably play a major factor in who wins this rematch. Auburn is well known for being one of the most difficult places to play in all NCAAF and the crowd will be intent on proving that fact again Saturday.
But if you look at these two teams objectively, the visitors should have a clear advantage in talent. Auburn and RB Tank Bigsby will struggle to run the ball in this game against the strong defensive line of Penn St.
Fourth-year starting QB Sean Clifford leads Lion's offence which looks even better this year than last thanks to an improved rushing attack. Ultimately I see that being the difference in the game as Penn St will be able to run the ball with more success in the fourth quarter when the crowd noise will be at its peak.
My Pick: Nittany Lions (-145) ML
Texas A&M Aggies (24) Vs Miami Hurricanes (13), 9:00 EST
Line: Aggies -6, 44
This is an unusually late kickoff time from Texas because it is the featured late game of the day.
The Aggies as surely still reeling from the devastating 17-14 loss to Appalachian State last week as 18-point favourites. The big question is how does A&M respond to the terrible result from last week that potentially cost them a shot at an SEC title?
Head coach Jimbo Fisher was heavily criticized after the game for being too conservative in his play calling and playing down to their less talented opponents from Appalachia. I expect him to be more aggressive this week against the Hurricanes who present a much tougher challenge than they failed to stand up to last week.
Miami’s 7-5 record from last season was a bit misleading. They dropped three conference games by three points or less. They also had the blowout loss to Alabama. The Canes are touted by many to challenge for the ACC title this season, but many questions still need to be answered.
It is always difficult to make good betting decisions based on a small sample size so early in the season. But this may turn out to be a game that we look back on late in the season and wonder why Miami was getting so many points against a weaker foe.
My Pick: Miami (+6)
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