One of the best college football picks for week three of the season is UCLA over Nebraska. UCLA has a really good chance to win this game because Nebraska’s defense is utterly unreliable. Nebraska used to have an imposing defense throughout the Tom Osborne era, when the Cornhuskers prided themselves on a strong running game and a powerful defensive front. Nebraska played rugged and physical football. Its defensive line was hard to run against, its linebackers excellent at getting off blocks and filling gaps to make tackles. It’s true that Nebraska’s best years coexisted with a point in time when teams didn’t use spread passing offenses to the extent that they do today, but it’s still worth noting that Nebraska won the Big 12 in the 1999 season under then-coach Frank Solich, an Osborne protégé. The Huskers then made the 2002 Rose Bowl – the national championship game in the Bowl Championship Series – under Solich as well, sustaining the identity of the Osborne era. Through the 2001 season, Nebraska remained “Nebraska.”
The Huskers’ defense allowed more than 600 yards to Wyoming at home in week one of the season. Yes, this game is an early kickoff, which might make UCLA – a team from the West Coast – sluggish and sloppy at the beginning of the game. However, UCLA has enough athleticism and enough power on its offensive line to control Nebraska’s defense for 60 minutes. This feels like the Bruins’ game to lose.
Another really good selection for week three is Air Force over Boise State. One has to realize that Boise State has reworked its offense in 2013, with sharply negative results. Quarterback Joe Southwick is having to make adjustments within a system that he’s not fully comfortable with. Southwick spent 2012 trying to live up to the expectations created by Kellen Moore, one of the great quarterbacks in the history of college football. The fact that Boise State’s coaching staff felt the need to rework the team’s offense two seasons after Moore’s departure tells you something about the crisis of confidence the Broncos are confronting right now. Air Force’s triple option offense is hard for any opponent to prepare for. The Falcons should be able to control the clock and limit Boise State’s number of possessions. Air Force should win against the spread.
Sports betting sites are going to identify a third betting choice as well in college football in week three, and it’s the game between Tennessee and Oregon. Tennessee might be an SEC team, and new head coach Butch Jones might have recruited well in the past offseason, but Oregon – playing at home in what could be very warm September weather – is likely to throttle a Tennessee team that will be making a long cross-country commute in the back end of a home-and-home series that began in 2010, when the Ducks crushed the Volunteers in Knoxville, Tenn. When SEC or Big Ten teams head West in September, they generally don’t fare well.
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