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Week 3 NCAA Football Top Review

We’re now a full month into the college football season and the time seems to be flying. We saw a bunch of close ones, and even a few big surprises on what was the fourth weekend of the college football season. Here’s a recap from the Top 10 this past weekend.
Clemson 17 – #1  Florida State 23
Whenever two teams that are ranked in the Top 25 go against one another, you can rest assured knowing that it’s going to be one of the most watched games on the weekend. However, add in all of the drama that has occurred with Florida State’s Jameis Winston this past week and you can see why Saturday’s matchup was even more anticipated.
Just before the game it was announced that Winston’s original half-game suspension had been extended to a complete game, so the reigning National Champions would need to find a way to win without their Heisman Trophy leader. Luckily for them, a variety of different FSU players were able to step up to the plate and the Seminoles were able to squeak out a 23-17 overtime win.
This is big for Florida State because not only did they get a win against a Top 25 team to stay undefeated, but they did so without their most exciting player. In Winston’s absence, Sean Maguire was 21/39 for 305 yards, 140 of which came in the fourth quarter. He did have a touchdown, but he also gave up two interceptions. 135 of those passing yards went to Rashad Greene.
As for Clemson, the Tigers are now 1-2 on the season and things are not looking good for them. While the Seminoles remain the team with the top odds in the nation at 11/2, the Tigers have now dropped to 110/1.

#2 Oregon 38 – Washington St. 31
The Washington State Cougars gave #2 Oregon a scare on Saturday night, but Marcus Mariota threw for five touchdowns to help the Ducks stay undefeated and escape with a 38-31 victory. Many people consider Mariota to be on of the most likely candidates for this year’s Heisman Trophy, so on a night where Jameis Winston didn’t play for FSU, this is exactly the type of performance that voters wanted to see.
The Cougars came out hot, outscoring a team that is consistently known for running up the scoreboard in the game. At the end of one quarter, Washington State had a 14-7 lead thanks to a pair of touchdowns from Dom Williams. However, Oregon came out in the second and quickly took a 21-14 lead when Mariota hit Keanon Lowe and Devon Allen in the end zone just four minutes apart. With just under three minutes left in the half, Connor Halliday threw his third touchdown of the day, this time to Rickey Galvin, and we were all tied up going into half.
The only score of the third would come from Pharaoh Brown on an 8-yard pass from Mariota. When Halliday threw another pass in with 8:57 left in the fourth, we were all tied up at 31. But with just over 5 minutes left, Mariota would once again find Keanon Lowe and the Ducks would escape with a closer-than-expected win.
The #2 ranked Ducks have 7/1 odds to win the National Championship this year and they currently sit at 4-0. However, they’ll have a tough one next week against an unranked Arizona team that now finds themselves at 4-0 on the season. Be sure to check back with sportspicks.com before that game to find out more insider information from handicappers you rely on.

Florida 21 – #3 Alabama 42
The Florida Gators have started off their season in quite the unique way. Their first game of the season was cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions, and their last game was a nail bitter in overtime against a Kentucky team that the Gators had a two-touchdown pre-game spread over.
On Saturday the Gators came out strong and, at one point, had a 14-7 lead over the undefeated Crimson Tide. However, Alabama would take a 21-14 lead into half, and then really poor things on in final two quarters.
Blake Sims threw for 445 yards and 4 touchdowns on 23/33 passing. Amari Cooper had 201 of those yards and 3 of the touchdowns. Derrick Henry also picked up 111 yards on the ground for the third-ranked team in the nation.
For the Gators, Jeff Driskel threw for just 98 yards on 9/28 passing. This is certainly a disappointing stat line for a player who is now in his senior year in the Gator offense.
Alabama also dominated the time of possession in this one. They had the ball for over 39 minutes of the game, which made it difficult for the Gators to get into any rhythm on offense.
Despite being ranked behind Oregon, the Crimson Tide have better odds at 13/2 to win the National Championship. Their next game will be against another SEC team in Ole Miss, who currently sit ranked #10 in the nation with a 3-0 record.

#4 Oklahoma 45 – West Virginia 33
One of the more exciting games on the day had to be the Big 12 showdown that happened in Morganton, as the Sooners escaped with a 45-33 win. The Mountaineers had a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, but both teams would explode in the second. After Josh Lambert hit a 54-yard field goal to put the Mountaineers up 10-3, Trevor Knight would haul in a 4-yard pass from Durron Neal to tie things up. Less than a minute later Mario Alford caught a 30-yard pass from Clint Tricket and WVU once again took the lead. With just over 3 minutes left, Samaje Perine would score on a 2-yard run to tie things up again at 17. Then with 1:20 left, Rushel Shell scored on a 5-yard pass for WVU to again put them up 24-17. On the ensuing kickoff, Alex Ross would return in 100 yards to tie things up at 24 right before halftime.
In the third, it was all Oklahoma. They scored two more touchdowns, both on runs from Perine, and they were up 38-27 heading into the final quarter. Despite Dreamius Smith scoring on an 11-yard run with 2:12 left on the clock, things were too far out of reach and the Sooners would leave with a 45-33 win.
Perine, a freshman, finished the game with 4 touchdowns and 242 yards on 34 carries. He was a workhorse for the Sooners and was the main factor with the win.
The Sooners currently sit at 15/2 odds to win the National Championship this year, and they’ll play TCU in two weeks.

#5 Auburn 20 – #20 Kansas State 14
This Top 25 matchup started things off for the weekend, as it was played on Thursday night. These are the games you love to see, as it was a close one the entire way throughout. Nick Marshall was clutch for Auburn, throwing for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17/34 passing. D’haquill Williams also had 110 yards and a touchdown on the evening.
For Kansas State, Jake Waters was 24/40 with 245 yards, but he threw two interceptions and was unable to find the end zone through the air. Instead, both of the Wildcats’ touchdowns came on short runs; the first being a 3-yard by DeMarcus Robinson in the second quarter, and the second being a 1-yard run by Charles Jones with just under 4 minutes left in the game.
Auburn continues to impress and they have 8/1 odds to win the National Championship. Despite the loss, Kansas State still looked impressive and they have 75/1 odds. With a bunch of other lackluster performances this weekend, we’ll keep an eye out to see if this loss was enough to drop the Wildcats from the polls.

#6 Texas A&M 58 – SMU 6
Things keep rolling for the Texas A&M Aggies, as they once again obliterated their opponents this weekend. After their blowout 58-6 win, the Aggies have the fourth-most passing yards per game in the nation, 405, and the second-most points, 55.3. Not bad for a team that wondered whether or not they’d be able to recover after Johnny Manziel left.
Both Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen saw action on Saturday for A&M. Hill threw for 265 yards on 16/22 attempts, including 2 touchdowns and an interception. Allen was 8/15 for 130 yards and 1 touchdown. Trey Williams had 2 touchdowns rushing for A&M, and James white also added a touchdown of his own.
Texas A&M has shot past a host of other squads and they now have 15/1 odds to win the National Championship this year. It’s still about a month away, but the showdown between them and Alabama on October 18th is a matchup that everyone will want to tune into if both teams are still undefeated.

Mississippi St. 34 – #8 LSU 29
Mississippi State hasn’t been victorious at LSU since 1991, but they didn’t let that stop them from pulling off one of the more surprising outcomes of the weekend on Saturday. The Bulldogs, who are now 4-0, were led by Dak Prescott as they upset #8 LSU.
A lot of pressure was set on Prescott before the season started, as many questioned how the Bulldogs would finish in a staked SEC West. Now sitting at 4-0, they are tied with Texas A&M and Alabama, with Auburn hot on the trail.
Prescott threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns on 15/28 passing. He also ran for 105 yards and found the end zone on 22 carries. His rushing touchdown may have been one of the most important ones on the day, as it put the Bulldogs ahead 24-10 just three minutes into the second half. They’d score once more in the quarter, and they would take a 31-10 lead into halftime with a shocked crowed in Death Valley.
We certainly expect Mississippi State to find their way into the polls this week. The question is; how high will they be? They’ve done enough to improve their National Championship odds to 120/1, but this is certainly their biggest win on the season.
As for LSU, they’ll likely take a hit and could even fall out of the Top 10. They currently sit at 18/1 odds, and they’ll hope to turn things around next weekend against New Mexico State.

# 7 Baylor (18/1), #9 Notre Dame (25/1), and #10 Ole Miss (35/1) all had bye weeks.

Here are the scores from the rest of the Top 25:
Eastern Michigan 14 – #11 Michigan State 73
Troy 0 – #13 Georgia 66
#14 South Carolina 48 – Vanderbilt 34
Indiana 31 – #18 Missouri 27
Bowling Green 17 – #19 Wisconsin 68
Virginia 33 – #21 BYU 41
Miami 31 – #24 Nebraska 41

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