The #19 Florida Gators travel to Neyland Stadium Saturday boasting a series record 11 straight wins, and needless to say, Volunteer fans are restless and eager for a win. #7 Tennessee has done nothing to impress me in their first 3 games, struggling over Appalachian State, Virginia Tech and Ohio (although App. State and VTech are certainly worthy opponents). Playing at home is certainly an advantage for the Vols, but this team is going to have to play better football, on both sides of the ball, to beat this Florida team. I see no reason, really, that Florida should not continue their dominance of Tennessee…..but darn, the streak has to end at some point right? If Tennessee is ever gonna get it done, this is the year. I’ll take the Vols. Tennessee 24 Florida 23.
#5 Stanford at #25 UCLA – I was impressed however, with the way the Cardinal handled the Trojans last weekend on the Farm, winning 27-10. At the same time UCLA was putting the brakes on BYU 17-14. The Bruins are tough to beat at home, and this is a tough road game for Stanford, but I believe the Cardinal are the best team in the Pac 12, and Christian McCaffery is, in my opinion, the best overall player in college football so far in this young season. (Yes, even better than Lamar Jackson, although Louisville’s QB is pretty spectacular). This may come down to overtime, but I’ll take Stanford 31 UCLA 24.
#14 Texas A&M vs #11 Arkansas – Arlington, Texas – This game has almost become an Arlington tradition. 5 of the last 7 games have been held here with most of them coming down to the 4th quarter. The Razorbacks have a stunning win over TCU in Fort Worth already under their belt. A win here would thrust them into national title talk and certainly make them a contender in the SEC west. But Texas A&M has an even more impressive resume so far, beating UCLA at home and Auburn on the road. The Aggies have won the last 4 in a row and I believe they’ll make it 5. Texas A&M 28 Arkansas 24.
#18 LSU at #31 Auburn – Speaking of Auburn….the Tigers host, well, the Tigers this weekend, those from Baton Rouge this time, not those from Clemson that War Eagle has already succumbed to. I’m not sure what to think of Auburn right now, but they are either really average on offense, or Texas A&M is awfully good on defense. The Tigers just couldn’t sustain hardly anything last weekend. Of course, LSU is not exactly an offense juggernaut itself. First team to 21 wins! LSU 21 Auburn 20.
# 41 California at #45 Arizona State – The Bears posted a stunning upset over Texas last Saturday and now hit the road to Tempe. The Sun Devils are 3-0 but struggled mightily in San Antonio last Saturday night, darn near getting beat before posting 32-28 win over UTSA. I think it was a wake up call for the Devils….and the Bears are probably still hibernating over their win over the Longhorns. Arizona State 35 California 31.
#33 Southern Cal at #17 Utah – The Trojans are reeling and need this win bad. I’m not sure what to think of the USC program, but I know this…..a loss here that puts USC at 1-3, given their upcoming schedule, this team could be looking at a losing season. The Utes are 3-0 with a big win on the season over arch rival BYU and a convincing win on the road over San Jose St. A win here and Utah positions themselves nicely for a run at the Pac 12 South title. If this game were in LA, I’d be going with the Trojans, but in Rice-Eccles Stadium…I’ll go with the Utes. Utah 31 USC 28.
#53 West Virginia vs #44 BYU – Landover, Maryland– Brigham Young has already faced Arizona, Utah and UCLA… and they are 0-3. Now they head to the East Coast to face undefeated West Virginia. The Cougars could be 0-4 and still be one of the better teams in college football. I hate to say it, but I think they will be…0-4 that is. West Virginia 32 BYU 23.
For all this week’s projections: