September 15, 2011

Week 3 primer: Huguenin picks them all

Week 2 certainly was entertaining, and Week 3 looks filled with even better games.

The headliner is the Florida State-Oklahoma showdown in Tallahassee. Both are in the top five, and FSU is looking to announce that it is truly back on the national scene.

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New Florida coach Will Muschamp faces his first SEC opponent when Tennessee comes to town. There's an early-season version of the "Holy War" when Utah travels to BYU. Notre Dame goes for its first win - and for some ball security - when Michigan State comes calling. Auburn plays at Clemson in a game the Tigers are sure to win (think about it for a second or two). Miami plays host to Ohio State in a game that should garner extra notice at the NCAA's office. There's even a renewal of one of the nation's oldest rivalries when North Carolina and Virginia tangle.

All in all, this looks to be a great week, and it starts with an intriguing SEC game on Thursday night when LSU travels to Starkville to take on Mississippi State and what will sound like about a million cowbells.

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Boise State (1-0) at Toledo (1-1), 8 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Toledo took Ohio State to the wire last week, and now Boise State comes calling. With one more win, Boise State's senior class will become the 10th consecutive Broncos senior class to win at least 40 games during their careers. Boise beat the Rockets 57-14 last season and has won seven in a row against MAC schools.
THE LINE: Boise State by 20 THE PICK: Boise State 45-23

Iowa State (2-0) at Connecticut (1-1), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Iowa State, which is playing its first road game of the season, is coming off an overtime victory over Iowa, while UConn lost at Vandy last week. This is the only Big East/Big 12 regular-season matchup in 2011.
THE LINE: UConn by 4.5 THE PICK: Iowa State 27-21

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Auburn (2-0) at Clemson (2-0), noon, ABC
THE BUZZ: Neither team has looked all that good this season, but, hey, 2-0 is 2-0. Will either defense be able to keep the other from running the ball effectively? You might be able to win a bet with this factoid: John Heisman coached at both schools. He was at Auburn from 1895-99 and at Clemson from 1900-03. And an omen? The last time Clemson beat an SEC team that was the defending national champion was in 1981, when the Tigers beat Georgia. Clemson went on to win the '81 national title.
THE LINE: Clemson by 3 THE PICK: Auburn 34-28

West Virginia (2-0) at Maryland (1-0), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: The teams are meeting for the 31st time in the past 32 seasons. WVU has won five in a row over the Terps. The Mountaineers haven't committed a turnover this season; alas, they haven't forced one, either.
THE LINE: Maryland by 1 THE PICK: WVU 38-28

Penn State (1-1) at Temple (2-0), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the 41st meeting between the in-state schools, and Penn State leads the series 36-3-1. Temple hasn't beaten the Nittany Lions since 1943 (no, Joe Paterno was not Penn State's coach then), and the Nittany Lions are 35-0-1 against the Owls since that loss. Temple leads the nation with 11 sacks. Can the Owls get to Penn State's quarterbacks?
THE LINE: Penn State by 7.5 THE PICK: Penn State 20-14

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Iowa (1-1), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This is the fifth meeting in the series but just the second since 1952. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz went to high school in Pittsburgh (Upper St. Clair High) and was a graduate assistant at Pitt under Jackie Sherrill in 1980, when the Panthers finished 11-1 and ranked second nationally. Pitt TB Ray Graham has rushed for 322 yards and has scored six of the Panthers' nine touchdowns. He leads the nation in rushing (161.0 ypg).
THE LINE: Iowa by 3 THE PICK: Iowa 27-20

Eastern Michigan (2-0) at Michigan (2-0), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Just call this the "Battle of Washtenaw County," as the campuses are about seven miles apart. This is the 10th meeting in the series, and Michigan is 9-0. Every meeting has been in Ann Arbor. EMU coach Ron English was a defensive assistant at Michigan from 2003-07, and three EMU assistants -- Steve Morrison, Mike Hart and Kurt Anderson -- are former Michigan players. EMU hasn't started 3-0 since 1989. This is the third of five consecutive home games to open the season for the Wolverines.
THE LINE: Michigan by 30 THE PICK: Michigan 52-17

Central Michigan (1-1) at Western Michigan (1-1), noon, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The home team has won 17 of the past 21 in the series between schools whose campuses are a bit more than 100 miles apart. But Central has won five in a row overall, which is tied for the longest winning streak in series history (this is the 82nd game).
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 8.5 THE PICK: Western Michigan 34-27

Southeast Missouri State (0-1) at Purdue (1-1), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Southeast Missouri, which is coached by former New Mexico State head man Tony Samuel, is 1-15 all-time against FBS schools and is playing a Big Ten opponent for the first time. Samuel spent one year as the defensive ends coach at Purdue (2005) before accepting the Southeast Missouri State coaching job. Purdue's first two games have been decided by blocked field goals as time expired; the Boilermakers beat Middle Tennessee but lost to Rice.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Purdue 34-14

Wyoming (2-0) at Bowling Green (2-0), noon
THE BUZZ: Wyoming is 2-0 for the first time and 10th in the nation in total offense (540.5 ypg). One caveat: The Cowboys have beaten two FCS opponents. Bowling Green is 2-0 for the first time since 2003, and the Falcons are 11th nationally in total offense (525.0 ypg).
THE LINE: Bowling Green by 8.5 THE PICK: Bowling Green 40-27

Ole Miss (1-1) at Vanderbilt (2-0), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/MSG network/Comcast Sports Net California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This looks to be a battle to decide the worst team in the SEC (though before all is said and done, Kentucky could be in the hunt, too). Vandy has won four of the past six meetings, including a 28-14 decision last season in Oxford.
THE LINE: Ole Miss by 1.5 THE PICK: Ole Miss 16-10

Kansas (2-0) at Georgia Tech (2-0), 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Florida/Fox Sports Midwest/Fox Sports South/NESN/Prime Ticket/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Jayhawks beat Tech 28-25 last season in Lawrence, Kan., and the Yellow Jackets want revenge. Tech's offense has looked sharp thus far, though the competition hasn't been that good. Thing is, Tech's offense really didn't look all that sharp against lesser competition last season. Kansas is coming off a solid win over Northern Illinois, and its questionable run defense will get a huge test from Tech's triple-option attack.
THE LINE: Georgia Tech by 14 THE PICK: Georgia Tech 41-21

Duke (0-2) at Boston College (0-2), 12:30 p.m., ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Things are going bad for BC. It would go from bad to worse with a home loss to Duke, though. BC offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers had to take a leave of absence for medical reasons Monday.
THE LINE: BC by 7 THE PICK: BC 24-14

Coastal Carolina (2-0) at Georgia (0-2), 1 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the 11th time in Georgia's football history, which began in 1892, that the Bulldogs have opened 0-2. They have finished with a winning just once in the previous 10 occurrences (6-5 in 1979). This is just the fifth FBS opponent ever for Coastal, which has lost the previous four by an average of 38 points. And as far as we know, Coastal is Georgia's first opponent ever that has come in off a win over Catawba.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Georgia 51-7

Colorado (0-2) vs. Colorado State (2-0) in Denver, 1:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: This is the 83rd meeting and Colorado leads the rivalry 60-20-2. The Buffs have won six of the past eight meetings. While Colorado has thrown the ball well this season, its rushing attack has been pitiful (62.5 ypg).
THE LINE: Colorado by 7.5 THE PICK: Colorado 31-21

[Related: Week 3 expert picks]

Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) at TCU (1-1), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: TCU coach Gary Patterson, who is in his 11th season, is going for his 100th victory. This is TCU's first home game of the season, and the Horned Frogs have won nine consecutive home openers under Patterson.
THE LINE: TCU by 28.5 THE PICK: TCU 41-10

Michigan State (2-0) at Notre Dame (0-2), 3:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: The Irish have rolled up more than 500 yards of total offense in each game, but they also have committed nine turnovers. In addition, they played mind-bogglingly bad defense in the final minute against Michigan last week. Michigan State has won 10 of the past 14 meetings in this series, and the Spartans also have won in six of their past seven visits to South Bend.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 4.5 THE PICK: Notre Dame 31-24

Tennessee (2-0) at Florida (2-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: CBS' first game of the season is a shakeout contest of sorts in the SEC East, as the winner takes a big step toward being the top contender to South Carolina in the division. It's also new Florida coach Will Muschamp's first SEC game. Florida has allowed just three points, the fewest points it has allowed in the first two games since 1933. Tyler Bray threw for 405 yards in last week's victory over Cincinnati, becoming just the second quarterback in Vols history (with Peyton Manning) to reach that plateau.
THE LINE: Florida by 9 THE PICK: Florida 27-24

Washington (2-0) at Nebraska (2-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the third meeting within the past year. The Huskers won easily in Seattle during the 2010 regular season, but the Huskies' defense dominated in a Holiday Bowl upset. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez is third nationally in rushing; he ran for 137 against the Huskies in the regular season but just 23 in the bowl loss. Washington's third-down defense has been abysmal (70 percent conversion rate by foes).
THE LINE: Nebraska by 16.5 THE PICK: Nebraska 35-24

Texas (2-0) at UCLA (1-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: The Bruins laid the lumber to Texas last season, winning by 22 in Austin behind a devastating rushing attack. Texas has benched starting QB Garrett Gilbert and will go with sophomore Case McCoy, Colt's brother, and true freshman David Ash at the position. Texas is coming off a come-from-behind win over BYU, while UCLA struggled to get past San Jose State last week.
THE LINE: Texas by 3.5 THE PICK: Texas 27-21

Texas Tech (1-0) at New Mexico (0-2), 3:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: Texas Tech has won 12 of the past 13 meetings with the Lobos and leads the series 35-6-2. New Mexico is allowing 275.5 passing yards per game, and you can bet that Texas Tech QB Seth Doege has noticed that number.
THE LINE: Texas Tech by 21 THE PICK: Texas Tech 52-21

Virginia (2-0) at North Carolina (2-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is the 116th meeting in the series; it's the fifth-most-played rivalry in college football history. UNC leads 58-53-4. UVa, which snapped a seven-game road losing streak by rallying at Indiana last week, is 2-0 for the first time since 2005; coincidentally, that's the last time the Cavs started 3-0.
THE LINE: UNC by 10 THE PICK: UNC 24-20

Northwestern (2-0) at Army (0-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
THE BUZZ: There are five quarterbacks ranked among the nation's top 50 rushers, and this game has two of them. Army's Trent Steelman is 37th at 97.0 yards per game and Northwestern's Kain Colter is 43rd at 90.0 yards per game. Each has four rushing TDs. Northwestern is trying to start 3-0 for the third time in four seasons.
THE LINE: Northwestern by 9 THE PICK: Northwestern 35-23

South Carolina State (1-1) at Indiana (0-2), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Indiana is the second FBS opponent of the season for South Carolina State, which fell by 15 in its opener to Central Michigan. This is the seventh season in a row IU has played a FBS team, and the Hoosiers are 5-1 (they lost to Jerry Kill-coached Southern Illinois in 2006).
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Indiana 31-14

Miami of Ohio (0-1) at Minnesota (0-2), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: As bad as Minnesota has been of late, the Gophers hadn't started 0-2 since 1992. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure on the sideline near the end of last week's loss to New Mexico State, but his staff expects him to coach against the RedHawks. Miami has lost 14 consecutive non-conference road games.
THE LINE: Minnesota by 4.5 THE PICK: Miami 24-20

Missouri State (0-2) at Oregon (1-1), 3:30 p.m., Comcast Sports Net Northwest
THE BUZZ: This has the potential to be mighty ugly. Mighty ugly. Oregon scored 69 on Nevada last week, and Missouri State gave up 51 to Arkansas in Week 1. This is the second game in a stretch in which Oregon plays four of five games at home.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Oregon 73-14

Northern Illinois (1-1) vs. Wisconsin (2-0) in Chicago, 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This contest is at Soldier Field and is a NIU "home" game. First-year NIU coach Dave Doeren had been defensive coordinator at Wisconsin. The Badgers have won 30 consecutive regular-season non-conference games. NIU QB Chandler Harnish is tied for the national lead with seven TD passes.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 16.5 THE PICK: Wisconsin 45-27

Akron (0-2) at Cincinnati (1-1), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is just the sixth meeting between these in-state foes, and Cincy won the most recent game, by two in 2008; the Bearcats went to the Orange Bowl that season. Akron has managed just 359 total yards and three points in its first two games.
THE LINE: Cincinnati by 34.5 THE PICK: Cincinnati 40-10

Arkansas State (1-1) at Virginia Tech (2-0), 4 p.m., Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Florida/Prime Ticket/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Tech's defense looks to be back in form, but the Hokies' offense struggled last week against a pitiful East Carolina defense, which has to worry coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies are 2-0 for the first time since they started 4-0 in 2006.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 24 THE PICK: Virginia Tech 38-10

Nevada (0-1) at San Jose State (0-2), 4 p.m., WAC syndication/Altitude/Comcast Sports Net California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Nevada, which has won six WAC games in a row, is playing the second of four consecutive road games to open the season. San Jose State, which is playing its first three WAC games at home for the first time, has lost 12 in a row overall (the longest losing streak in the nation) and nine in a row in league play. The Spartans rushed for 202 yards last week against UCLA, the first time in 23 games that they rushed for more than 200 yards.
THE LINE: Nevada by 6.5 THE PICK: Nevada 33-21

Tulane (1-1) at UAB (0-1), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the first of three consecutive road games for Tulane, which is looking for its first 2-1 start since 2005. The flipside is that a loss would make Tulane 1-2 for the fifth consecutive season.
THE LINE: UAB by 13 THE PICK: UAB 31-21

Presbyterian (1-1) at California (2-0), 5:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Does Cal really need to import a FCS team from Clinton, S.C. -- 2,300 miles away -- to get a victory? The Blue Hose, who have won six games in the past three seasons as they transition from Division II to the FCS ranks, played two FBS teams last season and lost by a combined 111-34. This will be just the third time in school history they have played west of the Mississippi River (the other two were NAIA playoff games).
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Cal 56-14

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Cal coach Jeff Tedford]

Navy (2-0) at South Carolina (2-0), 6 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: South Carolina's defense has had some issues, but they have come against the pass, not the run, and Navy is a triple-option team. Navy, which is 2-0 for the first time since 2006, is playing an SEC opponent for the first time since beating Jay Cutler and Vanderbilt in 2004.
THE LINE: South Carolina by 17.5 THE PICK: South Carolina 35-21

UCF (2-0) at Florida International (2-0), 6 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the first meeting between these in-state foes, and both teams are coming in off big victories. UCF hammered Boston College for its first home win over a Big Six opponent in school history. FIU, meanwhile, won at Louisville last week, its first win over a Big Six foe in school history. UCF has not allowed a TD in three consecutive games, including a win over Georgia in last season's Liberty Bowl.
THE LINE: UCF by 4.5 THE PICK: UCF 24-14

South Alabama (2-0) at N.C. State (1-1), 6 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is South Alabama's first game against a FBS opponent; the Jaguars will be a transitional member of the Sun Belt Conference next season. It's also the second FCS foe this season for N.C. State, which is the only Big Six team with two FCS games on its schedule. This is South Alabama's third season playing football, and the Jags haven't lost (19-0). N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried -- whose dad, Joe, was South Alabama's athletic director when the school decided to add football -- will parachute into Carter-Finley Stadium as part of the pre-game ceremonies.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: N.C. State 38-16

Washington State (2-0) at San Diego State (2-0), 6:30 p.m., The Mtn.
THE BUZZ: San Diego State has a 14-game losing streak against teams from the Pac-10/12, including a 45-17 loss to Washington State in 2007. Washington State has won back-to-back games for the first time under fourth-year coach Paul Wulff.
THE LINE: San Diego State by 5.5 THE PICK: San Diego State 31-24

Gardner-Webb (1-1) at Wake Forest (1-1), 6:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the first meeting between the schools, whose campuses are about 100 miles apart in North Carolina. Wake has trailed for just nine seconds of play and four overtime snaps in two games.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Wake Forest 38-10

Arizona State (2-0) at Illinois (2-0), 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: The Sun Devils had a big offensive performance in last week's OT victory over Missouri, but its defense had problems with mobile Mizzou QB James Franklin. Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase is a better runner than Franklin, but his passing remains a question. Illinois is 3-9 under coach Ron Zook against non-conference Big Six opponents.
THE LINE: Illinois by 1.5 THE PICK: Arizona State 28-20

Louisville (1-1) at Kentucky (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is the 24th meeting in the rivalry. UK has won four in a row in the series, and the team that has rushed for the most yardage has won 15 in a row in the series. Three of the past four meetings have been decided by seven or fewer points.
THE LINE: Kentucky by 6.5 THE PICK: Kentucky 23-20

Kent State (0-2) at Kansas State (1-0), 7 p.m., Fox College Sports
THE BUZZ: Kent State hasn't started 0-3 since 2000. K-State coach Bill Snyder got the 150th victory of his career in the opener, and is one of six active coaches with that many wins (the others are Frank Beamer, Mack Brown, Joe Paterno, Gary Pinkel and Steve Spurrier).
THE LINE: K-State by 17.5 THE PICK: K-State 28-13

Florida A&M (1-1) at USF (2-0), 7 p.m., Big East syndication/Sportsnet New York/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: These teams have played once, with USF rolling 37-3 in 2005. FAMU is 1-17 all-time against FBS competition; the only win came over Miami, when Vince Coleman -- the future major-league baseball player -- kicked a last-minute field goal for a 16-13 victory.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: USF 34-7

Nicholls State (1-1) at Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is just the third meeting between the in-state foes; their campuses are about 75 miles apart. ULL already has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Louisiana-Lafayette 27-9

Idaho (1-1) at Texas A&M (1-0), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: A&M was off last week and gets Oklahoma State in a Big 12 showdown next week. A&M is 67-10 at home against non-conference opponents since 1980. Aggies TB Cyrus Gray has eight consecutive 100-yard games, two shy of the school record held by Darren Lewis (1988).
THE LINE: Texas A&M by 35.5 THE PICK: Texas A&M 54-17

Western Illinois (1-1) at Missouri (1-0), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: These teams have met once, with Mizzou winning by 30 in 2000. Missouri is 10-0 all-time against FCS foes and has scored at least 50 points in each of its past three games against FCS competition.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Missouri 52-16

Indiana State (1-1) at Western Kentucky (0-2), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: These teams met every season from 1990-2007, including six years (2001-06) as members of the Gateway Football Conference. Western holds a 14-5-1 advantage, including wins in each of the past 12 meetings. Indiana State's quarterback is Ronnie Fouch, who began his career at Washington and is in his second season as the Sycamores' starter.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Western Kentucky 38-14

Marshall (1-1) at Ohio (2-0), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the 55th meeting in the series between schools about 65 miles apart. Marshall has won six in a row and 12 of the past 14, but the past two have been decided by a total of five points, including a one-point win last season when Ohio failed on a two-point conversion pass after scoring on the game's final play.
THE LINE: Ohio by 3 THE PICK: Ohio 23-20

Austin Peay (0-1) at Memphis (0-2), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: We don't like to choose games involving FCS teams as our dog of the week, but, my God, this has the potential to cause blindness. Austin Peay lost 72-10 to Cincinnati in Week 1 and has had just five winning records since 1980. As for Memphis, it has been outscored 106-17 this season and lost by 44 to Arkansas State last week. Arkansas State, not Arkansas. If the Tigers lose this, they almost certainly will finish winless this season; as it is, this looks to be the only game they truly have a shot at winning.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Memphis 37-16

Stephen F. Austin (1-1) at Baylor (1-0), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The schools are about 150 miles apart; this is the fourth meeting in the series, but the first since 1947. Baylor has won all three games, outscoring SFA 153-0. This is first home game as a ranked team since Nov. 16, 1991, and its first non-conference game as a ranked team since Sept. 21, 1991.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Baylor 56-20

Buffalo (1-1) at Ball State (1-1), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Ball State has won seven of the eight meetings in the series, with Buffalo's only victory coming in the 2008 MAC championship game. This is the home opener for the Cardinals.
THE LINE: Ball State by 4.5 THE PICK: Ball State 24-21

Houston (2-0) at Louisiana Tech (1-1), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the second Conference USA opponent of the season for Tech, which lost to Southern Miss in the opener. Houston leads the nation in passing, and Louisiana Tech is 107th in the nation in pass defense; the Bulldogs were torched by Central Arkansas QB Nathan Dick last week and now must face Case Keenum. The flipside: Tech TB Lennon Creer should have success against a mediocre Houston defense.
THE LINE: Houston by 7 THE PICK: Houston 41-30

Southeastern Louisiana (1-1) at Southern Miss (1-1), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This will be the 43rd meeting, and Southern Miss leads 21-18-3. Southern Miss is coming off a loss at Marshall. Southeastern Louisiana is playing its second FBS foe of the season, as the Lions lost their opener to Tulane. Southern Miss K Danny Hrapmann, who is one of the best in the nation at his position, began his career at Southeastern.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Southern Miss 44-14

Ohio State (2-0) at Miami (0-1), 7:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Dubbed the "Ineligi-Bowl," this one should gain special notice at NCAA headquarters. Miami gets some key players back from suspension, including star LB Sean Spence and QB Jacory Harris, who threw four picks in UM's loss at Ohio State last season. Ohio State struggled against Toledo last week, and the Buckeyes have to have a productive rushing attack if they're to win.
THE LINE: Miami by 3 THE PICK: Ohio State 20-17

North Texas (0-2) at Alabama (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Florida/Fox Sports Southwest/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: North Texas is 3-32 all-time against SEC teams. The last win came in 1975, when a Hayden Fry-coached team beat Tennessee. That record will be 3-33 after this one. Alabama's schedule toughens considerably the next two weeks: vs. Arkansas and at Florida.
THE LINE: Alabama by 45.5 THE PICK: Alabama 42-0

Troy (0-1) at Arkansas (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the fourth meeting -- all since 2002 -- and Arkansas is 3-0 in the series. Troy is 1-12 all-time against SEC schools. Arkansas has outscored its opponents 103-10 in the first two games; that is the second-highest point total in the first two games of a season in school history and the most since 1911.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 23 THE PICK: Arkansas 49-21

Oklahoma (1-0) at Florida State (2-0), 8 p.m., ABC
THE BUZZ: This is the game of the week, and one of the most important non-conference games of the season. OU blasted FSU 47-17 last season and it wasn't really even that close. A FSU victory would signify that the Seminoles are back among the nation's elite, while an OU victory would solidify the Sooners' hold on the No. 1 ranking. This is the fourth time these teams have met with both ranked in the top five; OU has won the previous three.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 3 THE PICK: Oklahoma 28-23

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Former FSU coach Bobby Bowden]

Syracuse (2-0) at USC (2-0), 8 p.m., FX
THE BUZZ: This is the second-longest road trip this season for a game not involving Hawaii. Syracuse's campus is about 2,340 miles from USC's (San Diego State last week traveled about 2,425 miles to play at Army). Syracuse's secondary was shredded by Wake Forest's Tanner Price in Game 1. You think USC QB Matt Barkley has noticed?
THE LINE: USC by 16.5 THE PICK: USC 35-17

UTEP (1-1) at New Mexico State (1-1), 8 p.m.
THE BUZZ: New Mexico State won at Minnesota last week and now returns home to play arguably its biggest rival; the schools are separated by just 35 miles along Interstate 10. This is the 89th meeting in the series, and the home team has won 11 of the past 14.
THE LINE: New Mexico State by 3 THE PICK: New Mexico State 33-27

Northwestern State (La.) (1-1) at SMU (1-1), 8 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Northwestern State is playing its second FBS opponent in a row; the Delta Demons lost at LSU last week. Northwestern coach Bradley Dale Peveto is a SMU alum, class of 1986.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: SMU 41-17

Utah (1-1) at BYU (1-1), 9:15 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: "The Holy War" comes early this season. This is one of the nation's nastiest rivalries, and it should have a little extra spice this season because of Utah's Pac-12 affiliation. This is the first non-November game between the schools since 1968 and the first in 113 years that the teams will meet in a non-conference game. Utah has won six of the past nine in the series.
THE LINE: BYU by 5 THE PICK: Utah 20-17

Oklahoma State (2-0) at Tulsa (1-1), 10 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: This is the 71st meeting between these in-state rivals. Oklahoma State won by 37 last season, which was the first game between the teams since 2004, for its fourth consecutive win in the series. Tulsa opened at Oklahoma, beat Tulane last week, has Oklahoma State this week for its home opener, then plays at Boise State next week.
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 13 THE PICK: Oklahoma State 45-28

Hawaii (1-1) at UNLV (0-2), 10 p.m., The mtn./CBS Sports Network
THE BUZZ: This will mark the final non-conference meeting between UNLV and Hawaii, as the Warriors become football-only members of the Mountain West in 2012. Hawaii beat UNLV by 28 in Honolulu last season. UNLV is surrendering 364.5 passing yards per game, and you can bet Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz has noticed.
THE LINE: Hawaii by 20 THE PICK: Hawaii 54-20

North Dakota (1-1) at Fresno State (0-2), 10 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the second WAC opponent in a row for FCS member North Dakota, which lost by 30 to Idaho last week. Fresno State is 8-0 against FCS foes under coach Pat Hill, winning those games by an average of 28 points.
THE LINE: None THE PICK: Fresno State 42-13

Stanford (2-0) at Arizona (1-1), 10:45 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Arizona's secondary got torched by Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden last week; now comes a game against Andrew Luck. Stanford has scored at least 40 points in eight of its past 15 games. The Cardinal has won seven of the past 10 in the series.
THE LINE: Stanford by 9.5 THE PICK: Stanford 38-23

THURSDAY'S GAME

LSU 19, Mississippi State 6
THE LINE: LSU by 4 THE PICK: LSU 20-14

LAST WEEK

54-11 straight up, 20-25 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

125-18 straight up, 41-44 against the spread (no spread on games involving FCS schools).

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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