Week 3 is here — and the College Football season is starting to get into full swing. After a less than stellar 23-19 win over Middle Tennessee, the Missouri Tigers (2-0) have an opportunity for a statement win against the 15th ranked Kansas State Wildcats. Meanwhile, conference play gets started elsewhere in the SEC with No. 14 LSU Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks at No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs, and No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers at the Florida Gators. The “Big Noon Kickoff” and ESPN’s “College Gameday” features the Colorado State Rams at Deion Sanders’ No. 18 Colorado Buffaloes.
Those are the games we’re picking on this week’s slate as Rock M Pick Em is back for another season.
No. 15 Kansas State (-3.5) vs. Missouri
Parker Gillam, Beat Writer: After watching both Mizzou and Kansas State through two weeks, it’s tough to do anything but pick the Wildcats comfortably. Will Howard has excelled thus far as the full-time starter, the skill position talent is still impressive and the Chris Klieman defense is up to its usual standard.
For Mizzou to win, it’ll have to manufacture at least 3-4 plays of 30+ yards, because it’s tough to imagine that offensive line holding up on methodical drives. The Tiger defense will fight valiantly, but K-State will score just enough to win 27-17.
Sammy Stava, Staff Writer: Kansas State surely looks like the better team right now, but the better team doesn’t always win. Obviously, Missouri is going to have to play much better on Saturday than they have in their first two weeks. They will — and the Tigers will pull off the upset in front of a sell-out crowd. Mizzou finds a way, 28-24.
Kortay Vincent, Baseball (formerly football) Writer: If you just look at these last two games, this game would be a no-brainer. The Tigers have looked rather mediocre (this might even generous), and the Cats look like they’re picking up right where they left off last season. HOWEVER, Vegas (and my heart) is giving us some indication that the Tigers can in fact get this done. SP+ has the Cats, winning by two scores, but Vegas only has the spread at 3.5. It got as high as 5.5, and yet, Vegas moved it to 3.5 despite 91% of bets coming in on K-State according to Action Network. That smells like reverse line movement if I’ve ever seen it. So, let’s fade the public! Give me the Tigers 24-20.
Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: I’m a believer in the evidence, and there are two bits of evidence on which I’m basing my pick. First, the Tigers look to be not much improved from last year — an elite defense carrying a stuttering offense. Second, Eli Drinkwitz tends to keep games close (last year’s Kansas State debacle aside). I have a feeling this one will be tight going into the fourth quarter, with Kansas State pulling it out late. Let’s go Wildcats 20-17.
No. 14 LSU (-10) vs. Mississippi State
Parker Gillam: It should be a good one in Starkville between two experienced and talented squads. The Bulldogs impressed in their overtime win over Arizona, but I doubt that they will have similar success on the ground against LSU. Jayden Daniels is red hot, and he will carry that momentum over into a gutsy performance that will carry the Tigers to victory, 35-28.
Sammy Stava: Road games in Starkville are never easy and the 11 a.m. kick-off time can be tricky, but it will be too much LSU as they simply have more talent. 31-20, LSU.
Kortay Vincent, Baseball (formerly football) Writer: I’ve been on the LSU-is-overrated train for most of the offseason, and I’m going to stay on that train. Road games in the SEC are hard, and they’re even harder when you’re facing an experienced QB. Give me the Bulldogs plus the points. I think LSU wins 31-27.
Josh Matejka: As much as I hate to say it, Brian Kelly knows how to coach. LSU will be pissed off after losing out on their highest hopes this early, and Kelly will make sure they don’t fall apart. LSU rides to victory in Starkville, 31-24.
South Carolina vs. No. 1 Georgia (-27.5)
Parker Gillam: Carolina will cover in this game, but it won’t be by much. The Gamecocks still have a ways to go on both sides of the ball—specifically with balancing the offensive attack—and are a couple steps behind Georgia in virtually every facet. After hearing about their sluggish starts through two weeks, the Bulldogs will be more than ready to silence the critics in this one. Kirby Smart will inspire his team with another heated speech before the game, and they’ll come out and win 41-20.
Sammy Stava: There’s not too much to say about this one. Despite not looking as dominant as they hoped in their first two weeks — Georgia is still perhaps the best team in the country. UGA rolls at home and Carson Beck has a breakout performance. 45-13.
Kortay Vincent, Baseball (formerly football) Writer: Carolina is not good, but Vegas is giving us a lot of points here. Has UGA’s offense looked explosive enough to beat a middle-of-the-road SEC team by 28? My gut leans no. So for that reason, I’m taking the Gamecocks to cover this spread, and I’ll pick UGA to win 34-10.
Josh Matejka: South Carolina will make it interesting because they’re better than they’ve looked so far. But c’mon... this is Georgia. Bulldogs win 38-13.
No. 11 Tennessee (-6.5) vs. Florida
Parker Gillam: UT has not won in Gainesville since 2003, and while the Vols beat Florida last season, the Gators are still the alpha in this matchup. The mental edge that Florida has over Tennessee will always be there, and I expected Josh Heupel’s bunch to come out a bit shell-shocked in The Swamp. After a good but not great performance against Virginia, the Vols followed that up by sleepwalking through a 30-13 win over Austin Peay. Joe Milton and co. will survive, but it won’t be pretty. Give me UT 24-17.
Sammy Stava: After the Gators lackluster performance in the season opener against Utah, Florida could be in for a long year under Billy Napier. A night game at The Swamp should give the home team a chance here but Tennessee finds a way to get it done. UF covers, 24-20.
Kortay Vincent, Baseball (formerly football) Writer: On Wednesday, Parker was telling me that Florida was going to win this game outright. Now, I show up to make my picks, and he’s picking Tennessee to cover. So for the sake of being a troll, I think I’m going to fade Mr. Gillam with his own thoughts. I’ll take Florida to cover... and win outright. I’m aware Florida’s not good, but Tennessee hasn’t looked all that impressive either. Give me the Gators in a close one 23-17.
Josh Matejka: Both teams lose when an asteroid strikes Gainesville mid-game. But in case that doesn’t happen, Tennessee wins 27-21.
Colorado State vs. No. 18 Colorado (-22.5)
Parker Gillam: At the end of the day, this Colorado team was far too talented to ever finish below .500. And, while rivalry games do tend to surprise people, the Buffs already handled a rival in Nebraska in a game that featured more pressure. The Rams are a solid team, but they will be overwhelmed on Saturday night. CU wins 45-21.
Sammy Stava: As mentioned, Big Noon Kickoff and College Gameday will be in Boulder to follow the surprise story of the college football season. Like it or not, Deion Sanders’ Buffaloes have a lot of momentum going right now and it won’t stop this week. CU wins big 48-24.
Kortay Vincent, Baseball (formerly football) Writer: Last week’s performance by Colorado was far more impressive to me than Week 1 against TCU. They proved that they can beat the doors off a bad team even when they don’t play all that well. Now here we are again, they’re playing an inferior opponent at home and should take care of business, but will they? I think so. Give me the Buffs in a blowout 45-10, and I’m going to call my shot by predicting Travis Hunter scores a TD on both sides of the ball because why the hell not?
Josh Matejka: Deion approaches midfield with three pairs of sunglasses — one around his neck, one on his cap and one on his eyes — after Colorado pummels their in-state rivals 51-21.