Every Thursday during the college football season, I'll be picking the 10 best games of the week against the spread, plus one upset special. Here are my picks for Week 3.
Last week ATS: 6-5
Houston (-7.5) at Cincinnati (Thursday)
Cincinnati ran the ball well and notched five INTs in last week’s win at Purdue. Houston has a stout run defense, and Greg Ward Jr. won’t throw five picks.
Pick: Houston 31, Cincinnati 20 | Tickets
Getty ImagesThomas B. Shea
Ohio State at Oklahoma (+1.5)
Ohio State’s defense could not have looked better against Bowling Green and Tulsa, but this is the first road game in a hostile atmosphere for a lot of inexperienced players. Bob Stoops is 97-8 at home. Oklahoma bounces back from the Houston loss.
Pick: Oklahoma 27, Ohio State 24 (Saturday, 7 ET on FOX) | Tickets
Alabama (-11) at Ole Miss
Game-turning defensive plays keyed Ole Miss’ 2014 and ’15 upsets of Alabama. The Rebels’ 45-34 loss to Florida State did not inspire much confidence that this year’s inexperienced secondary can do the same.
Pick: Alabama 34, Ole Miss 17 | Tickets
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsMarvin Gentry
Florida State (-2) at Louisville
FSU will surely miss injured S Derwin James, but its D-line should dominate Louisville’s O-line, which should help cut down on Cardinals star Lamar Jackson’s big plays. ‘Noles QB Deondre Francois may himself have a big day.
Pick: Florida State 36, Louisville 28 | Tickets
Getty ImagesDon Juan Moore
Michigan State (+7.5) at Notre Dame
Texas exposed an inexperienced Irish defense that may struggle to rush the passer this season. But Michigan State might not be able to exploit that.
Pick: Notre Dame 26, Michigan State 20 | Tickets
USC at Stanford (-8.5)
USC will test Stanford’s secondary in a way Kansas State couldn’t and may notch some big plays, but the Trojans have no answer for Christian McCaffrey.
Pick: Stanford 41, USC 24 | Tickets
UCLA (-3) at BYU
BYU may have trouble putting its heartbreaking loss to rival Utah behind it. Bruins RB Soso Jamabo breaks a few big plays to give UCLA some distance.
Pick: UCLA 27, BYU 17 | Tickets
Oregon at Nebraska (-3)
Ducks RB Royce Freeman is a stud, but Nebraska’s Devine Ozigbo and Terrell Newby are also capable and going up against an atrocious Oregon rush D.
Pick: Nebraska 42, Oregon 37 | Tickets
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsBrian Spurlock
Texas A&M (+3.5) at Auburn
Who knows which version of Auburn will show up for this one, but A&M’s defensive front should shut down whichever QB Auburn puts on the field.
Pick: Texas A&M 24, Auburn 17 | Tickets
Getty ImagesBob Levey
Texas at Cal (+8)
No team in the country is allowing more yards per rushing attempt than Cal (6.85). Texas’ Chris Warren III could have a huge night, but so could Bears QB Davis Webb.
Pick: Texas 52, Cal 48 | Tickets
Getty ImagesCooper Neill
Upset Special: Miami at Appalachian State (+3.5)
Too obvious? App State won’t sneak up on the ‘Canes after nearly upsetting Tennessee, but the Mountaineers are talented enough to pull this one off at home.