Hit on two early ATS picks last week in USC over Utah State and Notre Dame vs. Nevada, but missed 3-0 as Pitt blew a big lead vs. Penn State. Here are three early picks on college football odds for Week 3.
No. 2 Florida State vd No. 10 Louisville (+1 On College Football Odds)
A noon ET kickoff. The game of the day has been previewed in depth here at SBR, but I wanted to put my two cents' worth in. As loaded as that Florida State roster is, I'm thrilled to have to give just one point to Louisville. Yes, this is arguably the biggest game ever at Papa John's Stadium. And, yes, Cardinals sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has been the most electric player in the nation in having already tied the ACC single-game record with eight touchdowns (he has been responsible for 13 of them total already) and set the conference record for total offense with 610 yards in a game. But Louisville has played two absolutely terrible defensive teams in Charlotte (perhaps the worst team in the entire FBS) and Syracuse.
The Seminoles, meanwhile, have already beaten a very good Ole Miss team. There is one negative for FSU as one of its best defensive players, sophomore safety Derwin James, will miss 5-7 weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Why was he even in the game in the third quarter of last week's blowout of FCS school Charleston Southern? Coach Jimbo Fisher said he wanted to play his starters for two series in the second half because FSU didn't play great in the second quarter and the Noles didn't have a full week of practice. Costly mistake. Last year, James was second on the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, forced fumbles and recoveries.
NCAAF Free Pick: Florida State still has the far superior roster overall. Go Noles. They are 6-1 ATS in their past seven games. Louisville is 2-5 ATS in its past seven in the ACC.
Temple vs Penn State (-8.5 For NCAAF Betting)
Noon kickoff at State College and Penn State is planning to do something rather distasteful to a lot of people around the country: honor the late Joe Paterno. The school hasn't said whether it would be before, during or after the game, but it seems a rather curious decision in the wake of the most recent revelations that Paterno allegedly knew about Jerry Sandusky's issues with children as far back in the 1970s and didn't act. But Paterno is still revered at Penn State and this is the 50th anniversary of his first game as head coach. As for on the field, I recommended against PSU getting 4.5 last week at Pittsburgh in this space and that looked like a sure win with Penn State trailing 28-7 at one point.
But behind Saquon Barkley, perhaps the Big Ten's best running back and who had four TDs in the game, PSU rallied but came up short 42-39. Could Penn State be looking past Temple on Saturday and toward next week's Big Ten opener at No. 4 Michigan? In other years, I might say yes. But Penn State was stunned 27-10 at Temple last year, the Owls' first win in the series in 74 years. Penn State was 38-0-1 since 1941 with a 7-7 tie in 1950. Temple is coached by Matt Rhule, who played linebacker at Penn State from 1994-1997. If the Owls win this game, PSU coach James Franklin is in major trouble. Perhaps Rhule could succeed him this offseason?
NCAAF Free Pick: Penn State. This Temple team, as evidenced by a Week 1 loss to Army, isn't nearly as good as last year's. The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings.
No. 25 Miami (Fla.) vs Appalachian State (+3.5 On College Football Picks)
Another noon ET kick. It's the biggest home college football game in Appalachian State history as the school, a former FCS powerhouse now in its third season as an FBS program in the Sun Belt Conference, hosts a Power 5 Conference team for the first time ever. This game sold out in minutes when tickets were first released. The ACC hasn't been great the past five years visiting non-Power 5 schools, going just 16-7. ACC schools are 43-15 against non-Power 5 schools over the same span in games played at home or on a neutral field.
It's hard to know what Miami is yet as the Hurricanes routed Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic in their first two games under Mark Richt. Brad Kaaya, who was considered to be potentially the first quarterback taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, is off to a quiet start. He's completing 59.2 percent of his passes for 326 yards, four touchdowns and two picks. His rating of 133.8 would be a career low. Miami is winning with its ground game, outrushing the first two opponents 652-69, and defense, leading the country in rushing defense (34.5 ypg). Appalachian State (1-1) deserved to win Week 1 at then-No. 9 Tennessee but the Vols rallied and won in OT. The Mountaineers breezed by Old Dominion last week. App State is a run-first team behind star tailback Marcus Cox. Last week, Cox had his sixth career game with three rushing TDs and 24th 100-yard game, both school records.
NCAAF Free Pick: Miami, but it won't be by double digits. UM is 4-1 ATS in its past five. App State is 0-5 ATS in its past five after a win.