Kent State at (#1) Alabama
Why Kent State will win: The Golden Flashes enter Tuscaloosa with a record of 1-2. Their only win came against FCS opponent Monmouth, with their losses coming to North Carolina A&T and Penn State. Mylik Mitchell brings a dual threat option to the table for Kent State. He has passed for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns while also rushing for 113 yards. Kent State will be tasked with slowing down the Alabama rushing attack that has been dominate so far this season.
Why Alabama will win: The Crimson Tide overcame a three touchdown deficit to defeat Ole Miss on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has been a pleasant surprise for Nick Saban’s team. He has passed for 563 yards and 4 touchdowns while rushing for 197 and 2 more touchdowns. Damien Harris has also added 327 yards rushing to the powerful Crimson Tide offense. Be ready for this offense to put up a lot of points against a Kent State defense that has given up an average of 33.0 points/game.
Gorm’s Guess: Alabama 59 Kent State 6: I cannot see this one being close at all. Kent State is not a great football team and Alabama is, in my opinion, the best team in the nation. Jalen Hurts and Damien Harris should both have big games against the Golden Flashes.
(#12) Georgia at (#23) Ole Miss
Why Georgia will win: Georgia needed a last second touchdown pass from Jacob Eason to defeat Missouri by one last week. Eason has thrown for 643 yards and 5 touchdowns so far this season. The big story, for me, is the inconsistency of Nick Chubb, who has rushed for 365 yards this year, with 222 of those coming against North Carolina. For the Bulldogs to win, they will need to find a way to get the ball in the hands of Chubb and get the ball to top wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie.
Why Ole Miss will win: This is a must win game for Ole Miss. Both losses have seen the Rebels blow big leads. The Rebels must find a way to continue to play for both halves and not just the first. They showed this during the end of the game against Alabama, but it was too late. Chad Kelly has been impressive so far, passing for 953 yards and 10 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. Missouri quarterback, Drew Lock, had a good game last week against the Bulldog secondary so Kelly is poised for a big game this week.
Gorm’s Guess: Ole Miss 38 Georgia 27: This is a must win game for Ole Miss. The Rebels haven’t started 1-3 since 2011. Georgia’s offense has struggled to find a pulse at times this season and they could have issues keeping up with the powerful Ole Miss offense.
(#19) Florida at (#14) Tennessee
Why Florida will win: Austin Appleby will make his first start as a Gator in place of the injured Luke Del Rio. At Purdue, Appleby passed for 2,777 yards and 19 touchdowns in 17 games for the Boilermakers. He is charged with facing a Volunteer defense decimated with injuries. The Vols will be without three starters on defense, including DB Cam Sutton. Florida will turn to their powerful rushing attack that has seen 3 players gain at least 100 yards on the ground so far this year. This will take a lot of pressure off of Appleby in his first start as a Gator.
Why Tennessee will win: College GameDay visits Knoxville which always brings an added energy to the hometown crowd. Josh Dobbs has still yet to live up to the hype that he had entering the season. Dobbs has passed for 486 yards and rushed for 161. The Vols have struggled at times with consistency as they have almost lost at home to both Appalachian State and Ohio. Tennessee also has to keep incorporating Jalen Hurd into their offense.
Gorm’s Guess: Tennessee 28 Florida 23: If the Gators had Del Rio in this game, I would lean for them to beat Tennessee. With that being said, Appleby threw for as many interceptions as he did touchdowns in his career at Purdue. Even though the Tennessee defense is struggling with injuries, I still expect them to fluster the inexperienced Appleby.
Mississippi State at UMass
Why Mississippi State will win: The Bulldogs enter the game with a record of 1-2, but very well could be 3-0. They almost came back and upset LSU last week in Baton Rouge. Nick Fitzgerald has been a pleasant surprise for Mississippi State as he has passed for nearly 300 yards and rushed for over 200. The talk of the team has been their defense who has played very well. They will be tasked with facing a UMass offense that has not impressed anyone through the first three weeks of the season.
Why UMass will win: UMass is a better football team than many, myself included, gave them credit for. With that being said, they are still not a great football team. Their offense is centered around WR Andy Isabella who has 233 receiving yards and a touchdown so far this year. The Minutemen are lucky to play this game at home and that should play a part in a possible upset.
Gorm’s Guess: Mississippi State 38 UMass 13: This game very well could be close, but Mississippi State cannot afford to lose. Nick Fitzgerald should have a successful day both on the ground and through the air.
Delaware State at Missouri
Why Delaware State will win: The Hornets offense is not great. Quarterback Daniel Epperson has thrown 5 interceptions to only 3 touchdowns while passing for less than 200 yards. If there could be a bright spot for the Hornets it would be running back Brycen Alleyne who has rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown. Again, when your bright spot is a running back that has rushed for just over 100 yards in 3 games and you are going up against a ferocious front seven; you better find a way to get lucky somehow.
Why Missouri will win: Drew Lock continues to lead the SEC in passing yards with 1106 and 9 touchdowns. His favorite target, J’Mon Moore, has 320 of those yards and 2 touchdowns. Lock should have a field day against a Hornet team that is not very good. Defensively, the Tigers main issue will be actually finding an offense. It doesn’t really exist for Delaware State.
Gorm’s Guess: Missouri 59 Delaware State 3: Missouri has surprised a lot of people this season. Even in their 15 point loss at West Virginia, the Tigers have looked like a better team than the one from a year ago.
Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky
Why Vanderbilt will win: The Commodores were embarrassed last week against Georgia Tech. Their offense has week in and week out looked pitiful. Luckily for Vanderbilt, they get to play a WKU team at the perfect time. The injury bug has hit the Tops hard and it could play a factor into a Vanderbilt win. Derek Mason must find a way to get the ball in Ralph Webb’s hands. The key to Vanderbilt winning the game will be giving Webb the ball at least 30 times. They will need to tire out a beat up Hilltopper defense.
Why Western Kentucky will win: Quarterback Mike White has passed for 920 yards and 5 touchdowns through the first three weeks of the year. He has two of the more underrated Wide Receivers in the league in Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris. The two have combined for 698 yards and 4 touchdowns. As I mentioned, the injury bug has bitten the Tops hard. WKU could be without star offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, who has started 42 straight games and starting defensive back Marcus Ward. Overall, the Bowling Green community has been buzzing about this game. It is the first time that a SEC opponent has played in Bowling Green and fans are extremely excited. The atmosphere should be incredible.
Gorm’s Guess: Western Kentucky 24 Vanderbilt 21: As I have mentioned before, I am a WKU student and there is a certain buzz going around Bowling Green this week. This is a must win game for Vanderbilt, but I still see the Tops pulling this one out.
(#18) LSU at Auburn
Why LSU will win: Les Miles may have finally found his man at quarterback in Danny Etling. In a little over a game and a half, Etling has thrown for 315 yards and 2 touchdowns. Of course the Tigers still have one of the best running backs in the nation in Leonard Fournette. In 2 games, Fournette has rushed for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns. They will be going up against a very talented Auburn defense. The Auburn Tigers were able to slow down DeShaun Watson and found ways to slow down Trevor Knight. Fournette is a different animal though. He is the best player in the country when healthy and it looks like he is back to full health.
Why Auburn will win: The key for Auburn all year has been defense, but they have shown some signs of brilliance on offense. Sean White has passed for 510 yards and 3 touchdowns and the Auburn rushing attack has been fantastic. Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettaway have combined for 553 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Auburn will even throw John Franklin III at you and that adds both the pass and the run to the mix.
Gorm’s Guess: LSU 20 Auburn 16: Both head coaches need this win. Gus Malzahn sits on the hot seat already, while Les Miles is just waiting for somebody to light the flame. In a game where it is fairly even on paper, you have to go with the team that has the best player. That is easily LSU. Fournette will find a way to help LSU win the game.
(#17) Arkansas at (#10) Texas A&M
Why Arkansas will win: The Razorback offense has found its’ footing behind Austin Allen and Rawleigh Williams. Allen has thrown for 655 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Williams has added 354 yards on the ground. Both will have a challenge against the A&M defense. Myles Garrett is a freak athlete and is the best defensive player in the conference and maybe even the country. Brett Bielema’s team has one big road win already this year and will need a big game from both Allen and Williams if he wants to get a second.
Why Texas A&M will win: Oklahoma transfer, Trevor Knight, has been extremely impressive for the Aggies so far this year. He has passed for 830 yards and rushed for 151 for 8 combined touchdowns. He has a reliable running back in Trayveon Williams who has added 236 yards on the ground. Some may call home field advantage an overrated quality, but Kyle Field is one of the top atmosphere’s in the nation. The fans will be ready for a HUGE game for the Aggies.
Gorm’s Guess: Arkansas 31 Texas A&M 27: In my “upset” of the week, I am taking Arkansas to go into College Station and upset the Aggies. Both teams enter 3-0, but I think that Arkansas is riding on more momentum and less pressure in the game.
Other Games of Note
(#11) Wisconsin at (#8) Michigan State
Why Wisconsin will win: Wisconsin surprised many with their upset of LSU in week one. Bart Houston has passed for 527 yards and 2 touchdowns while Corey Clement has added nearly 200 yards on the ground. This will be Houston’s first start on the road and that is easier said than done in East Lansing. Defensively, they will be tasked with slowing down a good Spartan offense that allowed 36 points against Notre Dame.
Why Michigan State will win: Tyler O’ Connor was impressive last week against Notre Dame. This season he has passed for 431 yards and 5 touchdowns. LJ Scott has added a nice relief from the passing attack by averaging 101.5 yards/game. Michigan State is the better football team here. The Wisconsin offense has yet to break through and Bart Houston will be making his first true road start.
Gorm’s Guess: Michigan State 34 Wisconsin 20: Tyler O’Connor will have a big game for Michigan State. He has all the tools of being a potential NFL quarterback.
(#3) Louisville at Marshall
Why Louisville will win: Lamar Jackson.
Why Marshall will win: Very similar to WKU, Marshall is hosting quite possibly their biggest home game in their history. Last week they were embarrassed by Akron. Quarterback Chase Litton has passed for 722 yards and 10 touchdowns. Marshall will need a literal Herd to slow down Lamar Jackson. Hopefully the fans will give them the energy needed to pull off a MASSIVE upset.
Gorm’s Guess: Louisville 59 Marshall 17: My reasoning for Louisville winning this game was meant to be that specific. Lamar Jackson has proved week in and week out that he is a freak athlete and a darn good football player. If the same Marshall defense that gave up 65 points to Akron shows up, this could get ugly and get ugly quick.
Please follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR and check back on Sunday for a recap of these games!