College football Week 3 picks: Texas A&M's misery continues vs. Miami originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Week 2 of the 2022 college football season was headlined by a bunch of traditional powerhouses, including a couple in the top 10, being upset by unranked teams.
What kind of drama does Week 3 have in store for us?
There aren't many heavyweight matchups on the schedule -- just two games in which both teams are ranked in the top 25 of the new AP poll -- but that doesn't mean the action won't be exciting. Several of the top games on this week's slate are compelling non-conference matchups, including Penn State's first ever trip to Auburn.
Here are our picks for the must-watch games on the Week 3 schedule (Season record: 4-4)
No. 12 BYU at No. 25 Oregon
Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX
Spread: Oregon -3.5 (via DraftKings sportsbook)
Oregon is back in the top 25 after briefly falling out due to a horrendous 49-3 loss to Georgia in Week 1. The Ducks are really good at home -- 20-0 in their last 20 games in Eugene -- but the Cougars are really good.
BYU defeated defending Big 12 champion and No. 9 ranked Baylor 26-20 in double overtime last week. The Cougars have a physical defense -- especially along the defensive line -- that does a good job stopping the run. Baylor ran the ball 52 times and tallied just 2.9 yards per carry. The Cougars will slow down the Ducks rushing attack and force quarterback Bo Nix to beat them. Based on his career so far, it's unlikely Nix is going to carry his team to victory against a better ranked opponent.
BYU also is 7-1 in its last eight games, 5-1 in its last six road games and 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last five matchups as an underdog. The Ducks are 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
It's difficult to trust the Ducks based on what we've seen through two games. They've played one quality opponent and got destroyed. BYU has played better on both sides of the ball with an impressive victory against a top 10 team.
The Cougars cover the spread and win this game, maybe by double digits.
Pick: BYU +3.5
No. 22 Penn State at Auburn
Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Spread: Penn State -3
The Nittany Lions beat Auburn last season, but that was in Happy Valley. This year's game will be played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where Auburn has won 15 of its last 20 games.
However, the Tigers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games and 1-4 ATS in their last five matchups versus Big Ten opponents. Penn State is 13-6 ATS in its last 19 games and has a nine-game win streak in September matchups. The Nittany Lions are 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 non-conference games, too.
Penn State has the edge at quarterback with Sean Clifford, who completed 87.5 percent (28-of-32) of his passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one tip-ball interception against Auburn in 2021. He will lead a more well-rounded Nittany Lions squad to their first ever win at Auburn.
Pick: Penn State -3
No. 13 Miami FL at No. 24 Texas A&M
Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Spread: Texas A&M -5.5
This game would be a little more interesting if the Aggies hadn't been upset by unranked Appalachian State at home last week -- a defeat that essentially crushed their College Football Playoff hopes. That loss dropped Texas A&M from No. 6 to No. 24 in the latest AP poll.
The Hurricanes will come to Lubbock at 2-0 after easy wins against Bethune Cookman and Southern Miss.
The real question for this game is who starts at quarterback for Texas A&M. Haynes King started the first two games but threw two interceptions versus Sam Houston State in a lackluster Week 1 performance. He was even worse against Appalachian State, completing 13 of his 20 pass attempts for 97 yards and zero touchdowns. He also ran the ball eight times but picked up just 21 yards.
Power 5 QB with the lowest QBR this season
Spencer Petras, Iowa 3.4
JT Shrout, Colorado 13.8
Haynes King, Texas A&M 33.1
Adrian Martinez, K-State 34.0
Brennan Armstrong, Virginia 35.0
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) September 12, 2022
Does King get another start or will head coach Jimbo Fisher turn to Conner Weigman or Max Johnson? The struggling A&M offense needs a spark and changing quarterbacks could provide that.
Max Johnson had a 27-6 TD-INT ratio and looked competent with an LSU team that was a joke.
Haynes King is a turnover machine who makes a terrible mistake practically every other play.
Iâm not sure why Jimbo is making this so difficult.
— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) September 10, 2022
The Hurricanes have won seven of their last eight games. They've won five of their last six road matchups, too, while going 6-3 ATS in their last nine games overall. Texas A&M is 1-4 ATS in its last five games.
It's tough to take the Aggies here when they're under immense pressure not to lose back-to-back games, in addition to their issues at quarterback. This line is too high. Texas A&M shouldn't be favored by more than three or 3.5 points. The 'Canes go into Kyle Field and win the game outright.
Pick: Miami +5.5