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Week 3 CFB Picks: Trust Vegas, not your head

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USA Today

Week 3 CFB Picks: Trust Vegas, not your head

Every week, the boys in the desert come out with lines on football games.

Every week, we think we can beat Vegas. 

This is your weekly reminder... Las Vegas is smarter than you.

Hawai'i (3-0) at Army (1-1) 

Is that Colt Brennan? No. It's Cole McDonald. Through three games, the Rainbow Warrior QB leads the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns (13). If you stayed up late on Labor Day weekend, you watched McDonald (and his awesome hair) torch Navy's secondary for 429 yards and six touchdowns. With three wins, Hawai'i has already matched its win total from 2017.

After opening up the season with a 20-point loss at Duke, Army responded by rushing for 449 yards against Liberty en route to a 38-14 victory.

The triple option is always challenging to prepare for but the Rainbow Warriors faced it just two weeks ago.

This seems like a pretty evenly matched game. I think most people would lean towards Hawai'i getting the win.

Wait. What? Army is -7?? How is that possible?

Kickoff is at noon ET on Saturday in West Point, NY. That's 6 a.m. Hawai'i time! The last time Hawai'i played a noon ET kick was in 2016. The result? A 63-3 loss at Michigan.

The play: Army -7

Vanderbilt (2-0) at #8 Notre Dame (2-0)

On Labor Day weekend, Notre Dame impressed the college football world with a 24-17 win over the Mighty Michigan Harbaugh’s. Last Saturday, not as impressive. The Irish needed to recover an onsides kick to ensure a 24-16 victory over Ball State. Yes, you read that right. To ensure a 24-16 victory over Ball State. Notre Dame was a five-touchdown favorite! QB Brandon Wimbush looked quite shaky against the Cardinals throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns. (If you were wondering, Ball State was picked to finish last MAC West Division.)

Vanderbilt hasn’t been really tested yet but the Commodores have been impressive in wins over Middle Tennessee State (35-7) and Nevada (41-10).

Notre Dame is a two-touchdown favorite this Saturday. Why will the Irish win by double digits against Vanderbilt when they haven’t done that in either of the first two games this season?

Two reasons.

  1. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum put Notre Dame on upset watch
  2. US News ranked Vanderbilt (#14) higher than Notre Dame (#18) on their most recent “Top Universities” list

If that isn't enough motivation... I don't know what is?

The Play: Notre Dame -13.5

#12 LSU (2-0) at #7 Auburn (2-0)

Nothing like an early season SEC West showdown.

Both LSU and Auburn followed up impressive Week 1 victories (LSU over Miami, Auburn beat Washington) with blowout wins over FCS opponents.

So doesn’t Auburn -10.5 seem rather high? The public seems to think so. They love the Bayou Bengals to cover.

Let’s try to think this one out.

The home team has won this matchup each of the last five years. Advantage: Auburn

The last two years this game has been decided by less than a touchdown. Advantage: LSU

LSU’s QB Joe Burrow is making his first career road start. Advantage: Auburn

Gus Malzahn wears sweater vests. Advantage: LSU

Ed Orgeron says he has 8-10 energy drinks per day. Advantage: ???

The math seems pretty even. I think it comes down to this…

Vegas knows something we don’t.

The Play: Auburn -10.5

Other games to make money on 

#21 Miami at Toledo (+11.5)

Rutgers (+2.5) at Kansas

Florida State (-3) at Syracuse

Georgia Southern (+31.5) at #2 Clemson

#17 Boise State (+1.5) at #24 Oklahoma State

Missouri at Purdue (+5.5)

New Mexico at New Mexico State (+3)

#10 Washington at Utah (+5)

#23 Arizona State at San Diego State (+5.5)

 

AP Top 25 College Football Poll: Virginia Tech drops a spot in latest rankings

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USA TODAY Sports

AP Top 25 College Football Poll: Virginia Tech drops a spot in latest rankings

Fooled you.

There is a lot of that at the beginning of the college football season as teams shuffle in and out of the AP Top 25 . Good win? Bad loss? Hard to tell.

South Carolina and Florida popped up in the poll last week and, poof, now they are gone. Maybe they'll be back. Of course, we can't call out the voters without acknowledging its own mistakes. Last week's endorsement of Northwestern and BYU look a little silly now that both have lost and the teams they beat in Week 1 are a combined 0-4.

This is all trial and error.

Week 2 of the regular season was mostly status quo in the Top 25, with top teams romping. Two teams -- Arizona State and Oklahoma State -- jumped on board for the first time this season at the bottom. Let's see if they can hang around longer than the Gamecocks and Gators.

While there was no change to the top four teams since last week, Virginia Tech dropped a spot down to No. 13, but that's more about Penn State leap-frogging the Hokies and LSU than either of those team's easy wins Saturday. Virginia Tech crushed William & Mary, 62-17, while LSU cruised over Southeastern Louisiana, 31-0.

Michigan State fell the farthest, dropping 10 spots to No. 25 after the Spartans' late-night loss to Herm Edwards and Arizona State.

Week 3 College Football AP Top 25 Poll

1.  Alabama 2-0 (54 votes, no change from last week)

2. Clemson 2-0 (6, no change)

3. Georgia 2-0 (no change)

4. Ohio State 2-0 (no change)

5. Oklahoma 2-0 (No. 6 last week)

6. Wisconsin 2-0 (1 vote, No. 5 last week)

7. Auburn 2-0 (no change)

8. Notre Dame 2-0 (no change)

9. Stanford 2-0 (No. 10 last week)

10. Washington 1-1 (No. 9 last week)

11. Penn State 2-0 (No. 13 last week)

12. LSU 2-0 (No. 11 last week)

13. Virginia Tech 2-0 (No. 12 last week)

14. West Virginia 2-0 (no change)

15. TCU 2-0 (No. 16 last week)

16. Mississippi State 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

17. Boise State 2-0 (No. 20 last week)

18. UCF 2-0 (No. 19 last week)

19. Michigan 1-1 (No. 21 last week)

20. Oregon 2-0 (No. 23 last week)

21. Miami 1-1 (No. 22 last week)

22. USC 1-1 (No. 17 last week)

23. Arizona State 2-0 (NR)

24. Oklahoma State 2-0 (NR)

25. Michigan State 1-1 (No. 15 last week)

Dropped from the top 25 rankings: No. 24 South Carolina, No. 25 Florida

Other teams receiving votes: Utah 92, Texas A&M 90, Boston College 45, Houston 32, Maryland 30, Colorado 25, Iowa 23, Kentucky 19, Duke 10, NC State 9, Ole Miss 5, Hawaii 5, Washington State 4, USF 3, South Carolina 2, Florida State 1

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report. 

Willie Taggart claims Virginia Tech faked injuries to slow down FSU offense

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Willie Taggart claims Virginia Tech faked injuries to slow down FSU offense

His Seminoles crushed by Virginia Tech in his Florida State coaching debut Monday night, Willie Taggart is calling foul play.

During the ACC coaches call on Wednesday, Taggart was asked if he believed Hokie defenders were faking injuries in order to slow down the FSU offense.

"It happened too often so it's hard not to," Taggart replied, per ESPN

Hokie players repeatedly were slow to get up after plays during Tech's 24-3 victory over the Seminoles, head coach Justin Fuente citing the Florida humidity for his players' fitness struggles. 

"Going into the game we were severely concerned about our ability to handle the humidity and the weather, just coming from our climate," he said, per the same ESPN report. "We had some issues with it throughout the game. At halftime numerous guys getting IVs and getting treatment so they could finish out the game."

You'd like to give teams the benefit of the doubt they weren't cheating. And it's not as if the Seminoles offense was clicking for most of the night: Florida State committed five turnovers. 

"Well it is what it is, I guess it's part of football now," Taggart persisted. "That's all I can say."

Maybe Taggart should worry about his own team's inability to protect the football rather than whether or not the team that humiliated him were faking injuries or not. 

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