Week 3 of the season provides still more non-conference
matchups, three of which are particularly tasty. We preview the following intersectional
tilts: Penn St. vs. Navy, California vs. Ohio State and Texas vs. Ole' Miss before making our college football picks.
Navy Midshipmen vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
The Navy Midshipmen had a very tough day at the office in
their season opener. They got blasted by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by 40
points, 50-10. Navy showed glimpses of brilliance in its passing game thanks to
quarterback Trey Miller, but the Midshipmen collapsed under the weight of
untimely turnovers and defensive lapses that enabled Notre Dame to blow the
game open. There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Navy. A program that had made
eight straight bowl games missed a bowl game last season. It's reasonable to
ask if Navy has lost its edge, if the program has floundered due to a current
recruiting class that has not picked up the slack from its predecessors. Coach
Ken Niumatalolo does not know what kind of team he has on his hands this week,
so for that reason – among others – it's hard to say how Navy will perform. The
Midshipmen will be undersized at the line of scrimmage against the Penn State
Nittany Lions. They need to make their speed and precision in the triple-option
offense work for them in State College, Pa.
Navy's prospects in this tilt are enhanced more by the
matchup between its defense and Penn State's offense than on the other side of
the ball. Penn State's offense generated only 14 points in an ugly
season-opening loss to the University of Ohio. The Nittany Lions do not have
any deep threats in the passing game. They lost running back Silas Redd to USC
amidst the exodus of transfers that was unleashed by NCAA sanctions against the
school. NCAA penalties were handed down against Penn State following the
scandal attached to former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Penn State is
thin on the depth chart because of the wave of transfers to other schools. This
is why the team lost to Ohio, and it's why PSU's offense will have a tough time
scoring a large quantity of points against Navy. This is a Penn State home game
and they are favored by 5.5 points on the college football odds, but it's Navy's
to lose in the final analysis.
Pick: Navy +5.5
Bears vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
The California Golden Bears did not begin their 2012 season
in a very encouraging manner. The boys from Berkeley returned to their
freshly-renovated on-campus stadium this season after spending the 2011
campaign toiling away inside the home of the San Francisco Giants baseball
Even so, a campus reunion didn't do them any good in their
season opener on Sept. 1 against the Nevada Wolf Pack. California was outplayed
and outschemed for most of the day, showing some resilience but only flickers
of genuinely high quality.
The Bears are a deficient team, beginning with quarterback
Zach Maynard, whose arm strength and release are just not up to par in a power
conference. Maynard, a transfer from the University of Buffalo, is not the kind
of quarterback who should exist on a team that has solid skill-position talent
on the edges. California lacks the trigger man to go into an enemy lair,
especially against a team as talented as Ohio State, and walk away with a win.
The Bears don't have the ingredients of a team that can
merely keep this game close over the course of 60 minutes. Ohio State is
faster, deeper and stronger; the picture of a team that can and should dust off
the Bears with few problems. Ohio State is favored by 17 on the college
football odds but take them to cover.
Pick: Ohio State
Texas Longhorns vs. Ole
College Football Betting Odds: Texas -10
Logic suggests that Texas will pull away in the second
half and overwhelm Ole Miss up front. The Longhorns are too strong in the
trenches on defense.
The Rebels, under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, will find it
immensely difficult to score two touchdowns in this contest and while laying 10
points with Texas on the college football odds on the road may seem like a tall
order, it should be made easier because Ole Miss won’t score much.
Perhaps Ole Miss will get lucky on one drive or one sequence
of plays, but putting together two scores will require at least some degree of
sustained offense and it's unlikely that the Rebels are capable of such output
and proficiency. Take Texas.