September 29, 2023

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Through Saturday, Week 3, college football predictions: Georgia, Tennessee and Washington face tests against Power 5 opponents

Through Saturday, Week 3, college football predictions: Georgia, Tennessee and Washington face tests against Power 5 opponents

Ari Wasserman, David Oppen and Seth Emerson preview the biggest games of Week 3 of the college football season on the podcast through Saturday. The trio discussed games and made picks against the spread Georgia-South Carolina, Florida-Tennessee, Michigan State-Washington and more.

Below is an edited and condensed version of their discussion of 10+ games in Week 3. The full episode includes discussion of Penn State (-14.5) at Illinois, Pitt at West Virginia (-2.5), LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State, Kansas State (-3.5) at Missouri, Colorado State at Colorado (-23.5) and more.

You can listen to the full episode here.

South Carolina and Georgia (-27.5)

Wasserman: We’ll start with Georgia-South Carolina, because I’m excited to watch it. Seth, is there any possibility of grabbing ass here?

Emerson: The game that South Carolina fans are hanging their hat on here is the 2019 game when they came out (to Athens) and pulled off the upset (20-17). They’ve been here ever since. 2021 wasn’t even close (Georgia won 40-13), but South Carolina’s team is probably better than the 2019 team, and that will seem sacrilegious. We’re not sure yet that this Georgia team is better than the 2019 team, which was undefeated in the regular season and which was His only other loss was to Joe Burrow and company in the SEC Championship. So there is always a chance.

I think there will be a great road atmosphere. Twenty-eight points, I think 27.5 or wherever you find a line, might seem like a high number until you say Georgia won this game 45-14 or 38-7, something like that, which is in line with what the first two teams won. He was. They were playing a bit in those games, especially in the first quarter before they kind of said, “Oh, okay, okay, here we go.” So, yes, I would make points.

open: I don’t think South Carolina will be able to score more than 10 or 14 goals. I have concerns about their ability to prevent anything, but I also think I’m pretty skeptical that Georgia is going to kind of wake up and score 40. I like the points here. I can see it being more like a 31-10 situation where Georgia was never threatened. But man, South Carolina is good and we don’t know Georgia is a monster yet. So 27.5, that’s a lot of points. So give me South Carolina and the points on this one.

Wasserman: Are we sure South Carolina will score points in this game?

open: They’re going to score some points, Ari, and they’re not going to get shut out. I have a lot of questions about their ability to block, but they have too much offensive talent to score a point. But I will say they’ve been allergic to Georgia’s athleticism the last couple of years. It was tough.

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Wasserman: I think last year South Carolina had one of the most impressive games of the year with what they did at Tennessee. And I think there’s an idea or thought process that they’re going to be able to keep this close on the road. I fell in love with that thought process when I presented the selections we made on the website this week. The more I think about this game and hear people talk about it, I think Georgia will beat them and I think that will be good for the SEC. I think it will be good to see whether or not we are dealing with a team in Georgia that is actually equipped to win three in a row.

Tennessee (-6.5) at Florida

Wasserman: With what we’ve seen from Florida this year, it makes me feel like this should be an easy win for Tennessee. I was kind of surprised to see that the spread wasn’t as high as I expected. But I think this is Joe Milton Powell here to see if this guy can play. what do you think about this?

open: I didn’t really believe in the Florida/TN voodoo before I moved here (TN). But after taking care of it, Tennessee appears to hold up its worst performance of the season for Florida, like every year. They almost did that last year, with apologies to South Carolina. They never looked sharp. They haven’t won in The Swamp since 2003. I think that’s something that’s not lost on the current roster.

This makes me nervous because we haven’t seen how good or good Tennessee is yet. They looked kind of sloppy in the first half against Virginia and Austin Peay. It didn’t look great. But I also don’t rule out much of anything when you’re playing an FCS opponent.

It’s about can Joe Milton make enough plays to get over the hump here?

I feel like people haven’t caught on to the fact that Florida can be bad, bad, or very bad. We talked about that on the show, but I think you saw the UF and Gator logo, and I think people were hypnotized a little bit.

I think Tennessee takes care of business and gets enough results. I don’t think it will look pretty. I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk. I don’t think Tennessee might play well. And I’m still not sure it will matter. Give me Tennessee here and I’ll put up the points.

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Emerson: This is a fascinating game to me because of its effects on the loser. If Florida loses, Billy Napier’s heat, which seems very early, but this is Florida, will turn up. If Tennessee loses, the consequences will be significant for the department, and perhaps even for the national image. I had a theory, not a prediction, but a theory for a while that Tennessee beat Georgia in Knoxville, but Georgia still won the division because the Vols would lose two games and Georgia didn’t have another losing game on its schedule. But after seeing the rest of the SEC in the first two weeks, I’m not sure there are two more losses on Tennessee’s schedule. So, if Tennessee loses here, there’s a loss and we’re on the cusp of getting to Georgia or missing out in the playoffs to the SEC. But if Tennessee wins, they’ll kind of hold serve and everyone in Gainesville will go crazy right now.

I’ll take Tennessee to win here and cover. I’d say Tennessee, after a disappointing week against Austin Peay, got some things on film. They see what they need to adjust and they will do it.

Wasserman: I think the only way to keep this game close is if Tennessee messes up on offense. I don’t know that Florida will ever be in a state where they can throw the ball up the field. I’m with you too, Dave. I’m on high alert for Florida being so bad.

So I’ll bring up the points here with Tennessee. I don’t see a close game where they don’t cover, but if they don’t, I’m on high alert for Tennessee, maybe we’re not exactly where we think they should be a year after the game they put together last year.

Washington (-16.5) at Michigan State

Wasserman: Washington kind of looks like one of those teams that if they’re humming along and they manage to not lose and keep that exciting offense going, people like offense, people like offense in debate, the committee likes offense. Being able to score the way they do with Michael Penix Jr. and probably one of the best receiving corps in the country, I think this is an interesting game. Michigan State clearly had a rough week. Last year I thought Michigan State would be able to keep it close, and if I remember correctly, Washington beat them out of the park. Now they are on their way to East Lansing. I don’t know that anything would be different about this.

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open: Overall, I think I’m with you on this. I think Washington is very, very good. The Boise State game left an impression on me.

In the state of Michigan, I need someone to explain to me why this crime is slowing down. I don’t see that. They haven’t given up a pass longer than 10 yards so far this year, but that’s changing. They haven’t played anyone with Pulse yet. This is not central Michigan. Washington is spinning. I love them for the coverage here.

Good, good Washington teams take care of bad teams. Michigan State is not a good team and they are in a weird place. I’ll be curious to hear the locker room dynamics. I don’t think the roster was like, ‘Oh, our coach made a mistake here.’ I think the list is like, “What’s going on?” I don’t think you’ll ever have that kind of gig mentality cycle. So I think it’s going to be a strange week and I think that shows on the pitch as well. So give me Washington.

Emerson: You say that as if there is a lot of precedent for this exact situation. nothing. But when something like this happens off the field, it’s either a team-building effect or a distraction effect. I’m with David. I’ll go with the H given the circumstances. Michael Penix and Washington are also really good.

Locks of the week

open: Buffalo lost to the Wisconsin restart and then lost to Fordham. People sleep on freedom. Give Me Freedom -3.5 at home. Kaydon Salter is a good player. He was kicked out of Tennessee and seemed very brave. It’s not Grayson McCall, but Jamey Chadwell got a quarterback, so this could be a three-touchdown win for Liberty.

Emerson: My lock is Ole Miss covering 18.5 against Georgia Tech, which will get me in trouble with some people around Atlanta, but I think that’s a low number. I don’t know that Ole Miss is this great team that’s about to win the West. It seems to me that this is a 21-24 point game.

Wasserman: I think Florida State will absolutely roll this weekend. I don’t know why they are only 26 points favourites. They’re playing Boston College and I think Boston College’s season is going to last a long time. They lost to Northern Illinois in the first game of the season and then had to escape Holy Cross last week. It’s a strange line to me.

(Graham Mertz Image: James Gilbert/Getty Images)