Dirty Dozen: Crystal Ball Run staff picks for Week 3

Heading in to week three we see Allen is still sitting on top of the standings, but it is a tight race with four staff members directly behind him tied for second place. Kevin M was the only staff member daring to pick BYU while Josh, making his debut, was the lone predictor to call Illinois defeating Cincinnati. Odds are neither predicted those games would have unfolded the way they did though. Kevin C from College Football Zealots had a rough introduction but still manages to keep his job with a .500 record. Here are the updated standings.

1. Allen (19)
2. (t) David (18)
2. (t) Kevin M. (18)
2. (t) Jonathan (18)
2. (t) Tom (18)
3. (t) Aaron (17)
3. (t) Andy (17)
4. Josh (8)
5. Kevin C. (6)

Will Allen hold on to his top spot after this weekend's schedule, or will somebody take over? Here are this week's predictions, starting with tonight's Mountain West Conference game between Boise State and Air Force…

Boise State (1-1) vs. Air Force (1-1): Friday, 8:00 p.m. ESPN

Kevin M's Take: Did Boise State find their offense last week? A week after getting pounded on the road by Washington, the Broncos put up 63 points on the blue turf against FCS patsie Tennessee-Martin. I don't think either game will prove to be a fair representation of what the Broncos are this season, but last week at least give me a little confidence to say maybe Boise State can survive on offense moving forward. In a cruel bit of irony, Air Force lacks an air game so this one will be all about Boise State's ability to stop the run, which is typical when facing service academies. Boise State allowed 268 rushing yards to Washington in week one, and they may do so again in this one. Fortunately for Boise State, a high rushing total may not doom them in this one because that is all Air Force will try to do. The ground game is enough to wear down Boise State's defense, but ultimately will not be enough to leave Boise with an upset win in conference play.

Allen: Boise State 30, Air Force 23
Aaron: Boise State 28, Air Force 21
Andy: Boise State 37, Air Force 17
David: Air Force 20, Boise State 16
Jonathan: Boise State 52, Air Force 25
Josh: Boise State 41, Air Force 14
Kevin C.: Boise State 18, Air Force 9
Kevin M.: Boise State 33, Air Force 20
Tom: Boise State 28, Air Force 20

Kentucky (1-1) vs. No. 7 Louisville (2-0): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN

Early Analysis

Kevin C's Take: The Governor's cup is on the line in this one as Teddy Bridgewater and the gang travel to Lexington. Believe it or not, Kentucky won four straight in this series from 2007 to 2010. Charlie Strong turned the tide in 2011 with a seven point win and is now 2-1 in the series against the Wildcats.

As I play this game over in my mind, I just don't see any way that the Wildcats can come out of this one as the victors. If you saw my picks from last week, that might mean you should put some money on the Cats. Me, I'll stick with Strong.

Allen: Louisville 42, Kentucky 34
Aaron: Louisville 42, Kentucky 10
Andy: Louisville 45, Kentucky 17
David: Louisville 28, Kentucky 24
Jonathan: Louisville 30, Kentucky 14
Josh: Louisville 52, Kentucky 14
Kevin C.: Louisville 35, Kentucky 19
Kevin M.: Louisville 27, Kentucky 20
Tom: Louisville 38, Kentucky 15

No. 23 Nebraska (2-0) vs. No. 16 UCLA (1-0): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ABC

Early Analysis

Kevin M's Take: If there is one game on the schedule that could play out any number of ways, it just might be this one. Nebrska brings an offense that is capable of scoring in bunches as well as shooting themselves in the foot at any given moment. UCLA made a bit of a statement last season with a home victory against the Huskers and they can do so again this weekend in Lincoln. Nebraska's Taylor Martinez has thrown six touchdowns and just one interception in his first two games and has continued to show an ability to run with the football as well. UCLA has played just one game and has had a week off to prepare for this match-up. This could be a breakout game for Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in a season opening blowout of Nevada. Both teams appear to have solid running backs as well, with Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and UCLA's Jordan Jones each leading their team in rushing. These teams can put up points, but which defense will be able to make a key stop in the second half?

Allen: Nebraska 35, UCLA 28
Aaron: Nebraska 33, UCLA 21
Andy: Nebraska 37, UCLA 30
David: UCLA 42, Nebraska 41
Jonathan: UCLA 40, Nebraska 35
Josh: UCLA 34, Nebraska 31
Kevin C.: UCLA 38, Nebraska 35
Kevin M.: Nebraska 36, UCLA 34
Tom: UCLA 35, Nebraska 31

No. 6 Texas A&M (2-0) vs. No. 1 Alabama (1-0): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Early Analysis

Aaron's Take: It’s “The Game of the Century.” Or is it “The Game of the Millennium?” Whatever it is, this one is big. Now, if only the game itself could live up to the hype. And sadly, I don’t think it can.

Look, if we learned one thing in Alabama’s opening week victory it’s that this version of the Tide is hardly invincible. This team has real holes (especially along the offensive line), and is not anywhere near as complete as previous editions of the Crimson Tide. At least not yet. At the same time, Texas A&M is not the team to expose those weaknesses.

The truth is, that for all the buzz about Johnny Football, it’s Texas A&M’s defense which is key here. Simply put, Manziel is going to get his yards, touchdowns and points, but the problem is, it’s hard to imagine the Aggies’ defense won’t give up significantly more. Remember, this is a team that was actually out-gained by Rice in Week 1 (509 yards to 486) and gave up 28 points (including 14 in the first half to Sam Houston State). This defense has flaws. Big ones.

Look for this game to be the fun, exciting showdown everyone has been expecting. But in the end, expect the same, old, boring result: Alabama cruises to victory.

Allen: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 21
Aaron: Alabama 34, Texas A&M 21
Andy: Texas A&M 37, Alabama 27
David: Alabama 34, Texas A&M 33
Jonathan: Alabama 30, Texas A&M 28
Josh: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 24
Kevin C.: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 24
Kevin M.: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 23
Tom: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 21

No. 2 Oregon (2-0) vs. Tennessee (2-0): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Early Analysis

David's Take:  If the Vols could head into Autzen Stadium on Saturday and pull off the upset against a Top-5 team, it could be a springboard to a magical season for Tennessee. Sadly, it doesn't look like it will be a magical day in Eugene. The Ducks offensive machinery is clicking at its usual high rate of speed, and it appears that Tennessee will be just another victim.

Allen: Oregon 62, Tennessee 20
Aaron: Oregon 35, Tennessee 21
Andy: Oregon 44, Tennessee 20
David: Oregon 50, Tennessee 24
Jonathan: Oregon 50, Tennessee 24
Josh: Oregon 55, Tennessee 14
Kevin C.: Oregon 48, Tennessee 17
Kevin M.: Oregon 42, Tennessee 28
Tom: Oregon 44, Tennessee 17

No. 10 Florida State (1-0) vs. Nevada (1-1): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN

Jonathan's Take: Johnny Manziel? Marcus Mariota? Teddy Bridgewater? Never heard of them.

I am fully onboard with Florida State true freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and the promise of his greatness. With Winston at the helm, Jimbo Fisher’s team will be very hard for Nevada to slow down. Winston is 25-27 passing for 356 yards and 4 touchdowns for his one game college career. That’s awesome Is that too small a sample size to say that he’s the greatest quarterback to ever play the game? Probably. But it’s fun to wonder.
Florida State wins big.

Allen: Florida State 45, Nevada 14
Aaron: Florida State 38, Nevada 7
Andy: Florida State 55, Nevada 17
David: Florida State 41, Nevada 10
Jonathan: Florida State 42, Nevada 20
Josh: Florida State 45, Nevada 7
Kevin C.: Florida State 42, Nevada 10
Kevin M.: Florida State 37, Nevada 17
Tom: Florida State 34, Nevada 14

Illinois (2-0) vs. No. 19 Washington (1-0) at Chicago's Soldier Field: Saturday, 6:00 p.m. Big Ten Network

Josh's Take: I took a flyer on the Illini last week against Cincinnati when everyone and their brother was jumping all over the Bearcats, but it goes against all common sense to bet on Nate Scheelhaase in consecutive weeks. The Washington bandwagon is pretty full after the Huskies opened up a can of whoop-ass on Boise State on opening night, which makes me feel like this is a trap game for Steve Sarkisian and his boys. The Huskies are good, just probably not as good as they looked against the Broncos. Sark says this is the most talented team he’s ever had there, though. I’ll stick with the Huskies, but not by much.

Allen: Washington 21, Illinois 14
Aaron: Washington 42, Illinois 14
Andy: Washington 37, Illinois 24
David: Washington 27, Illinois 13
Jonathan: Washington 45, Illinois 18
Josh: Washington 30, Illinois 20
Kevin C.: Washington 34, Illinois 28
Kevin M.: Illinois 24, Washington 23
Tom: Washington 27, Illinois 10

Cal (1-1) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (2-0): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX

Early Analysis

Tom's Take: TEXT

Allen: Ohio State 42, Cal 28
Aaron: Ohio State 38, Cal 31
Andy: Ohio State 41, Cal 23
David: Ohio State 31, California 17
Jonathan: Ohio State 35, Cal 34
Josh: Ohio State 38, Cal 28
Kevin C.: Ohio State 35, Cal 24
Kevin M.: Ohio State 38, Cal 23
Tom: Ohio State 28, Cal 24

No. 13 South Carolina (1-1) vs. Vanderbilt (1-1): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Early Analysis

Jonathan's Take: Being the team that plays Steve Spurrier and Jadeveon Clowney when they’re trying to avenge a loss is probably not a great place to be. Vanderbilt does play well at home, and has a good team this year, but won’t be able to slow down Connor Shaw and South Carolina’s offense, or stop Clowney from devouring their offensive linemen. If Joe Tessitore was doing the play-by-play, it might be a good game – like Ole Miss-Vandy – but it’s Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge.

Allen: South Carolina 28, Vanderbilt 10
Aaron: South Carolina 17, Vanderbilt 7
Andy: South Carolina 31, Vanderbilt 20
David: South Carolina 27, Vanderbilt 23
Jonathan: South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 21
Josh: Vanderbilt 20, South Carolina 14
Kevin C.: South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 13
Kevin M.: South Carolina 20, Vanderbilt 17
Tom: Vanderbilt 21, South Carolina 20

Purdue (1-1) vs. No. 21 Notre Dame (1-1): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC

Kevin M's Take: Notre Dame is licking their wounds after last week's loss at Ann arbor but this week the Irish are back in Big Ten territory. Purdue is off to a slow start under new head coach Darrell Hazell and appear to be a little farther away form giving some teams a scare as some may have expected. This looks as though it should be a good match-up for Notre Dame. Look for Purdue struggle to move the football against Notre Dame and Tommy Rees to have an effective outing.

Allen: Notre Dame 17, Purdue 3
Aaron: Notre Dame 24, Purdue 0
Andy: Notre Dame 36, Purdue 17
David: Notre Dame 30, Purdue 27
Jonathan: Notre Dame 21, Purdue 14
Josh: Notre Dame 35, Purdue 10
Kevin C.: Notre Dame 24, Purdue 10
Kevin M.: Notre Dame 27, Purdue 13
Tom: Notre Dame 24, Purdue 13

Texas (1-1) vs. No. 2 Ole Miss (2-0): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. Longhorn Network

Early Analysis

Allen's Take: With the Longhorns imploding last week against BYU and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz getting the hook after just two games, the story surrounding Texas has centered around Mack Brown's grasp on his job. Can Greg Robinson right the ship at all, let alone in a week? More importantly, have the players checked out on Mack's regime? (Oh, it also appears as though UT's starting quarterback is out.)

I just can't convince myself to get on the Ole Miss train, though. The Rebels have injury issues of their own on defense and on the offensive line. Look for Robinson to give Dr. Bo a check-up of his own by stacking the box and forcing Ole Miss to make plays in the passing game.

Allen: Texas 35, Ole Miss 31
Aaron: Texas 35, Ole Miss 31
Andy: Texas 27, Ole Miss 20
David: Ole Miss 41, Texas 21
Jonathan: Texas 32, Ole Miss 28
Josh: Ole Miss 35, Texas 28
Kevin C.: Ole Miss 28, Texas 27
Kevin M.: Texas 34, Ole Miss 33
Tom: Ole Miss 21, Texas 17

Arizona State (1-0) vs. No. 20 Wisconsin (2-0): Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ESPN

Andy's Take: ASU is 8-0 at home against the Big Ten and that streak started against Wisconsin, too bad it won't continue as the Badgers will end that streak on the road. Look for this game to be won up front for me as both teams look to pressure the other offensive line. If that's the case give me the Badgers O-Line any day of the week. They're all experienced and have faced a guy like Will Sutton nearly every week last year in the Big Ten. I just haven't been overly impressed with the secondary ASU throws out there and if the Badger run game gets going that will be dangerous for the secondary. Expect Jared Abbrederis to have a massive impact on this one for a UW victory.

Allen: Arizona State 27, Wisconsin 17
Aaron: Wisconsin 24, Arizona State 21
Andy: Wisconsin 37, Arizona State 20
David: Arizona State 30, Wisconsin 27
Jonathan: Arizona State 28, Wisconsin 24
Josh: Arizona State 27, Wisconsin 21
Kevin C.: Wisconsin 31, Arizona State 23
Kevin M.: Arizona State 30, Wisconsin 27
Tom: Wisconsin 20, Arizona State 14

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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