Week three in college football is upon us and with most of the big school vs. cupcake games out of the way, it’s time for substantial, powerful matchups with real contenders. There are plenty to choose from this week, so I’ve narrowed it down to two key games that you should not only watch, but also bet on to make some extra scratch for next week.
#20 Notre Dame at #10 Michigan State
2012 has been so far, so good for Notre Dame. The Irish are 2-0 and are looking to get off to their first 3-0 start in ten seasons, but they have tough task ahead of them today; a road game against #10 Michigan State, who is also 2-0. Last season the Irish were able to contain the Spartans offense and ended up beating MSU 31-13; a team that ended the season 11-3.
Last season’s victory was led by QB Tommy Rees, who will not get the start today. Instead, head coach Brian Kelly will stick with sophomore Everett Golson, who has started each of the first two games this season in wins over Navy and Purdue. Golson is completing 67.3% of his passes so far this year with a rating of 151.
The bad news for the Irish is that the Spartans have not allowed an offensive touchdown in its first two contests and those include a win over Boise State. Notre Dame will have to beat that trend in order to beat Michigan State. I think that the Irish will score, but I don’t think they’ll have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Spartans. Michigan State will win this one at home and cover the -6 point spread with its potent combination of excellent defense and explosive offense (478 total yards per game).
#14 Texas at Ole Miss
After a disappointing last couple of seasons, the Longhorns appear to be in top form again in 2012. Texas has jumped out to a 2-0 start and is looking to continue its path to a BCS bowl game as it takes on Ole Miss. The Rebels are only 6-18 over the last two seasons, but are also off to a 2-0 start and will be looking to make it 3-0 for the first time since 1989.
Neither team has played a BCS conference opponent yet, so this game marks the first test for each. David Ash will get the start at quarterback for Texas today while sophomore Bo Wallace will led the Rebel attack. Both quarterbacks have fared well in early season contests with a 158.3 and a 187.6 QB rating, respectively, but the defenses in today’s matchup should make life a little more difficult for the pass throwers.
Historically, Texas has had the stouter defense of these two schools and the Longhorns D should give them the slight edge in this one. However, at 10 point underdogs, I’m going to go with the Rebels to cover the spread. They will likely lose, but with home field advantage and with what looks like to be the strongest team they’ve fielded in quite some time, the Rebels will play a close, competitive game that may come down to the wire.