Alcorn State at (#20) Arkansas
Why Alcorn State will win: The Braves enter Fayetteville with a record of 1-2. Noah Johnson has led the charge on offense as he passed for 482 yards and rushed for 128 more. He is a versatile quarterback that has shown through Kenny Hill and Trevor Knight to be a weakness of the Razorbacks. When the ball is not in Johnson’s hands, he will hand it off to running backs Arron Baker and De’Lance Turner.
Why Arkansas will win: While Arkansas has struggled slowing down dual threat quarterbacks this season, Noah Johnson is nowhere near as good as Hill and Knight. That and the Arkansas offense is going up on defense that is giving up an average of over 35 points/game. The Braves’ secondary will have issues slowing down Austin Allen and his top target Drew Morgan.
Gorm’s Guess: Arkansas 49 Alcorn State 9: The Razorbacks should have no issues moving the ball against a bad Alcorn State defense. This may be close early, but Arkansas should pull away for an easy win.
(#23) Florida at Vanderbilt
Why Florida will win: The Gators will most likely be without Luke Del Rio this weekend again as they make the trip into Nashville. In his debut last week, Austin Appleby passed for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. He will have to rely on Antonio Callaway to make plays against the Commodore defense. Callaway has been very good so far this season as he is 4th in the SEC with 335 receiving yards. The Gators traditionally turn Vanderbilt Stadium blue and orange for this game, which will help Appleby feel more at home.
Why Vanderbilt will win: Vanderbilt very well should have lost last week in Bowling Green. Ralph Webb rushed for 94 yards and 3 scores and was the only positive of the Vanderbilt offense. Webb does lead the SEC in rushing yards with 472 (Boom Williams is 2nd) and could give the Gator defense fits.
Gorm’s Guess: Florida 24 Vanderbilt 17: I think this will be closer than most people think. Florida blew a massive lead to Tennessee last week and will be without Luke Del Rio again.
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn
Why Louisiana-Monroe will win: Quarterback Garrett Smith has passed for 742 yards and 6 touchdowns while adding another 177 on the ground. Smith loves getting the ball into the hands of RJ Turner who has 239 of those receiving yards. The Warhawks will need an all around great game from this offense as they will be going up against the best defense they have faced to date.
Why Auburn will win: Gus Malzahn definitely cooled down his hot seat with the Tigers upset over LSU. Malzahn will need this game to get back above .500 before games against Mississippi State and Arkansas. The defense has definitely been the strong suit for Auburn, but the offense should have success against ULM. The Tigers are going to run the ball right at the Warhawks behind Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway. You can expect both of them to rush for at least 75 yards in a big win for Auburn.
Gorm’s Guess: Auburn 56 ULM 13: Malzahn will get his team to 3-2 behind Johnson and Pettway.
(#11) Tennessee at (#25) Georgia
Why Tennessee will win: The tale of two halves. In the first half, Tennessee was getting embarrassed. Florida was dominating in every facet of the game. The Vols then went on to rip off 38 unanswered points to defeat the Gators. Joshua Dobbs finally had his breakthrough game by passing for 319 yards and rushing for 80 more to combine for 5 touchdowns. Dobbs will need to keep this up against a Georgia team that will try to get back to its winning ways. The Bulldogs struggled mightily against the Ole Miss passing attack last week, which should play to Dobbs’ favor.
Why Georgia will win: Like Tennessee, Georgia did not show up in the first half last week. The only difference is that Georgia didn’t show up for the second half either. The Bulldog offense looked stagnant without Nick Chubb and very well could be without him again this week. They will put the pressure back on Jacob Eason and top target Isaiah McKenzie. The Vols secondary does have holes that was shown at points last week and Eason will have to take advantage of these.
Gorm’s Guess: Tennessee 38 Georgia 27: Tennessee will continue their momentum from a week ago and will defeat the Bulldogs in Athens. There are just too many question marks for the Bulldogs on offense.
(#9) Texas A&M at South Carolina
Why Texas A&M will win: Trevor Knight continues to be a savior for Kevin Sumlin. He was extremely impressive in last week’s huge win over Arkansas. He has passed for 1055 yards and rushed for 308 for 12 combined touchdowns. The Aggie offense is looking as good as it was during parts of the Johnny Manziel days. Defensively, they have also been extremely impressive. The Aggies are emerging as possibly the second best team in the SEC West and could possibly give Alabama a run for their money on October 22nd.
Why South Carolina will win: After three SEC road games to start the year, the Gamecocks’ finally will be able to have one at home. This though is the best team they have faced all year. Brandon McIlwain has passed for 533 yards and 2 touchdowns so far this season. The Gamecock offense is still trying to find their stride and will turn to their defense to slow down Knight and company. South Carolina needs this win to avoid starting the season 2-3 for the second straight year.
Gorm’s Guess: Texas A&M 31 South Carolina 14: After winning their SEC opener, the Gamecocks will drop their third straight SEC game. Trevor Knight has been too impressive this season for me to not pick him.
Memphis at (#16) Ole Miss
Why Memphis will win: The Tigers replaced Paxton Lynch with new quarterback Riley Ferguson who has led them to a 3-0 start. Ferguson has plenty of playmakers on offense. Running back Patrick Taylor Jr. and wide receiver Anthony Miller will need to have big games. The Tigers do boast a solid front seven. Their main job will be keeping Chad Kelly inside the pocket and not let him beat them with his legs.
Why Ole Miss will win: The Rebels were upset by the Tigers last year in Memphis 37-24. Revenge is definitely on their mind. The Rebels only had 40 yards rushing and turned the ball over twice. Running back Akeem Judd will need to find a way to take pressure off of Chad Kelly’s shoulders. Kelly has been fantastic this year passing for over 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ole Miss must take advantage of the inexperience that Memphis has at quarterback and try and get out ahead early.
Gorm’s Guess: Ole Miss 45 Memphis 31: Chad Kelly will not lose this game. The Rebels will find a way to incorporate the run game against the Tigers and will win handily.
Missouri at LSU
Why Missouri will win: The Missouri offense has surprised a lot of people this year. Drew Lock is second in the nation with 1508 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. He is given the luxury of spreading the ball out to multiple different targets on offense like J’Mon Moore and Ish Witter. Defensively, their front seven is really good and will be going up against a one dimensional offense in LSU. Leonard Fournette is the key for LSU and if Mizzou slows him down, we could be looking at an upset in Death Valley.
Why LSU will win: The Ed Orgeron era begins in Baton Rouge after Les Miles was fired on Sunday. The LSU offense relies heavily on Leonard Fournette, but in his opening press conference, Orgeron said he wanted to involve the pass more than former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron would. This will either play into the favor of LSU and confuse a talented Missouri defense or will confuse the inexperienced Danny Etling and play into Missouri’s hands.
Gorm’s Guess: Missouri 24 LSU 20: In my upset of the week, I am going to take Missouri to upset LSU. I think it will take Orgeron time for his players to buy into what he is trying to coach. I am not sure that Etling is the answer and Leonard Fournette can only do so much.
Other Games of Note
(#7) Stanford at (#10) Washington (Friday)
Why Stanford will win: Christian McCaffrey is the most electrifying player in college football not named Lamar Jackson. He very well could have won the Heisman last year and is a leading candidate this year. McCaffrey has rushed for 436 yards, caught passes for 119 yards and has 80 return yards. When McCaffrey doesn’t have the ball, the Cardinals will turn to quarterback Ryan Burns and a stout defense.
Why Washington will win: Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin have been really good for Chris Peterson’s Huskies. Browining has passed for 904 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Gaskin has added 302 rushing yards. It is hard to make a firm judgment on how good this Washington team really is. They have won their four games by a combined 183-58, but have only played one team that made a bowl game last season. Defensively, they return 8 starters. This defense should know McCaffrey and should be able to slow him down.
Gorm’s Guess: Stanford 28 Washington 24: Christian McCaffrey is a lot of fun to watch and is one of the best players in College Football. His matchup against the Washington defense is interesting and will be the deciding factor in the game.
(#8) Wisconsin at (#4) Michigan
Why Wisconsin will win: Wisconsin is one of the surprise teams in the nation this year. After starting the season unranked, the Badgers have had two big wins against LSU and at Michigan State. The key for their success has definitely been defense. They were able to shut down Leonard Fournette week one and held Michigan State to only 6 points. Offensively, Alex Hornibrook has taken over the reigns at quarterback and will look to get the ball to both Corey Clement and Jazz Peavy.
Why Michigan will win: Michigan is a legitimate CFP contender. Offensively, Wilton Speight has played extremely well passing for 875 yards and 9 touchdowns. One of his favorite targets, is tight end, Jake Butt. Butt has 234 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns thus far. Defensively, the Wolverine secondary has been one of the best in nation. They will be going up against their first true test in Wisconsin though.
Gorm’s Guess: Michigan 35 Wisconsin 21: I have picked against the Badgers twice already and they surprised me both times. I just cannot see them surprising me a third time. Harbaugh lives for games like this and the Big House will be rocking.
Oklahoma at (#21) TCU
Why Oklahoma will win: Oklahoma has been pitiful in both of their losses this year. Both Houston and Ohio State dominated on both sides of the ball. If a bright spot had to be chosen, it would be Baker Mayfield, who has passed for nearly 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. The defense continues to be a major concern for the Sooners moving forward. While they are “eliminated” from the CFP running, they will be trying to avoid starting a season 1-3 for the first time since starting 0-4 in 1996, when Baker Mayfield was 1 year old.
Why TCU will win: Kenny Hill has been a monster for TCU this season. He has passed for 1487 yards and rushed for 166. The Horned Frogs lean on him and will expect him to have a big game and I expect him to do that. In Oklahoma’s two losses this season, they have gone up against a dual threat quarterback in Greg Ward and J.T. Barrett. If Hill can take advantage of the weaknesses in the Oklahoma secondary, TCU could make this ugly.
Gorm’s Guess: TCU 45 Oklahoma 35: Oklahoma has struggled against the dual threat quarterback option and that should worry Sooner fans heading into this one.
(#3) Louisville at (#5) Clemson
Why Louisville will win: Lamar Jackson. I am as big of a UofL hater as there is, but dang can this guy play football. Jackson’s stats are unreal as he has passed for 1330 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 526 yards and 12 more touchdowns. When Jackson doesn’t have the ball, he is getting it to playmakers Brandon Radcliff and James Quick. Louisville is a legitimate football team. With all of this being said, this will be Louisville’s first road game in a hostile environment.
Why Clemson will win: Heading into this season, no player had more hype than Deshaun Watson. After an unbelievable sophomore season, Watson has not lived up to the hype so far this season. With that being said, he has still passed for 996 yards and rushed for 120, but does have 4 interceptions. Defensively, Clemson is tasked with slowing down Lamar Jackson, something that no team has even been remotely able to do this year.
Gorm’s Guess: Louisville 44 Clemson 38: I have gone back and forth on this game. Lamar Jackson is playing the best football of his life and the Cards have all of the momentum.