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Year 2's Week 3 Picks

Selecting winners with regularity since two weeks ago.

Mike Zarrilli

Last week: 10-2 straight up, 3-4 against the spread

Season: 22-3 straight up, 10-6 agains the spread

My confidence from having gone 7-2 ATS in Week 1 has fallen a bit with last week's regression to the mean. I really don't like many of these lines this week, so I wouldn't put money on many of these if I was actually the betting type. If you are, save yourself the trouble and just put everything on under 42 points in the USC-Boston College game.

Louisville (-14) over Kentucky 35-17

This line began at 12.5 and made its way up to a full two touchdowns by today. No matter. Ignore the fact that UK smacked around Miami (OH) last week; Marshall did the same the week before. I know picking a road favorite to cover is not generally recommended, especially in a rivalry game, but this is too big a mismatch for me to go with Big Blue.

Arkansas (-23) over Southern Miss 38-10

The Hogs haven't truly lit up either of their opponents so far, but I have to believe Bret Bielema will run up the score on someone before conference play begins. No, the Hogs didn't do it against Samford last week, but I'm not 100% sure that Southern Miss is better than Samford, honestly. Plus, it's actually pretty easy for I-A teams to overlook I-AA teams. Don't make a fool out of me, Bert.

Oregon (-27.5) over Tennessee 42-13

I expect this one to be close for a half with the Ducks hitting the gas and pulling away after intermission. The Vols will somehow look better than people expect and also fail to cover this spread. Weird things can happen when Oregon football is involved.

Auburn (-6) over Mississippi State 17-13

This game has 17-13 written all over it. I'm not sure who will have which score, so I'm guessing the home team here, but I'm pretty sure it's going to end somewhere around 17-13.

LSU (-37.0) over Kent State 55-13

Kent State has one good player, Dri Archer. He's legit. He's also hurt, and may not play a whole lot. Give me LSU and its newly potent offense.

South Carolina (-13.5) over Vanderbilt 35-31

I'll have some more to say about this one (hopefully, time permitting), but in Columbia, I'm picking South Carolina. I'm not picking the Gamecocks to win by much, though.

Ole Miss (+2.5) over Texas 38-36

The Yahoo! game doesn't have a line on this game for some reason, but the consensus seems to be 2.5 or 3 points in Texas's favor. I picked 2.5 to avoid a push.

If I knew for sure that David Ash was going to be playing, I'd pick Texas here despite the defensive overhaul. I don't have confidence in Case McCoy's ability to outgun Ole Miss. If Texas's home stadium didn't have the nickname "The Library", I might still pick Texas to win without Ash. Instead, I give a reluctant Hotty Toddy to this one.

Texas A&M (-7.5) over Alabama 30-23

If I was picking this game based on what I saw over the first two weeks, I'd probably go with the Tide here. Alabama's offense won't look as bad against A&M's defense as it did against Virginia Tech, especially considering that A&M's defense has been lacking against far less dangerous teams. Instead, I'm sticking with the pick I made after months of deliberation in the offseason rather than overreacting based on a small sample size of games.

I feel like what causes Nick Saban's defenses the most trouble is not necessarily a particular scheme or personnel group. Rather, I think it's disorder that does it. When everything has a place and everything is in its place, Saban can come up with something to nullify it. Johnny Manziel is a personification of disorder at times, able to freelance and create something from nothing. I mentioned earlier this week on Twitter that Bama defenders talking about looking at the hips because the hips don't lie sounded like NBA players who had to defend Allen Iverson. Manziel has a similar level of creativity and evasiveness on the football field.

Now, Bama certainly could make me look foolish and run away with this 38-10 or something. I just think that Kevin Sumlin is too good of a coach to let that happen; he matched wits with Saban and won last year, don't forget. I would probably still pick the Tide if the Aggies had one of Sumlin's past quarterbacks like Case Keenum or something, but Manziel makes the difference.