Scully's Week 3 NCAAF Picks: Alabama will trounce Florida
The highlight of Week 3 in college football is a rematch of the 2020 SEC Championship Game, which Alabama won, 52-46, over Florida.
That's just one of the games among my three picks this week. Let's dive in.
Cincinnati vs. Indiana
Sat, September 18 2021, 4:00 PM
Michael Penix Jr. tore up his knee in November, and rust showed in Indiana’s sloppy Week 1 loss at Iowa, but the Hoosiers found their footing in a thrashing of overmatched Idaho last week.
Indiana has an experienced squad but plays with an edge at home under head coach Tom Allen.
Behind quarterback Desmond Ridder, No. 8 Cincinnati has won 11 straight in the regular season, but the Bearcats had to replace both starting offensive tackles from last year.
Murray State, a 36.5-point underdog, gave Cincy’s offense fits for a half last week, and Indiana’s defense will get after the passer.
Cincinnati poorly handled the distraction of joining the Big 12 last week, and head coach Luke Fickell (37-14 record) has become a leading candidate for USC’s job, following the firing of Clay Helton. Former Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn, who hired Fickell, now has the same role at USC.
Indiana’s offensive line will set the tone in a slugfest and allow Penix to keep Cincy off balance with his arm and legs. The Hoosiers will grind out a close win.
Michigan State vs. Miami
Sat, September 18 2021, 4:00 PM
In the second year under head coach Mel Tucker, Michigan State enters on the upswing.
The Spartans traveled well in Week 1, dominated at Northwestern, and they can make a statement by with a win in Miami as an underdog.
Miami quarterback D’Eriq King has more interceptions (two) than touchdowns (one) this year, and the Hurricanes are banged up, after a couple of physical matchups. They lost a pair of starting linebackers in their comeback win over Appalachian State last week.
Michigan State loves the trenches. Running back Kenneth Walker III, who has generated 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns in two games, looks set for another big afternoon, and Payton Thorne recorded the highest passer rating (246.3) by a MSU quarterback since 2000 in a Week 2 romp over Youngstown State.
Jayden Reed continues to emerge at receiver, and Thorne can run effectively, as well.
Over the last four games, Miami is winless against the spread. The Hurricanes are 6-7 ATS at home under head coach Manny Diaz, including ATS losses in their last three games, and the offense’s lack of progress in coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s second year has the fan base restless.
These programs are trending in different directions, so the points are attractive with Michigan State, which can win outright.
Alabama vs. Florida
Sat, September 18 2021, 7:30 PM
Florida lost its top four skill players to the NFL Draft, and the secondary has been thinned by departures over the last two seasons. The Gators have recruited well, but they have a young team with questions at quarterback, as backup Anthony Richardson outplayed starter Emory Jones in Week 2.
Alabama is built to take advantage of Florida’s inexperience.
The offense hasn’t missed a beat with Bryce Young at the helm, has averaged 46 points in two games, and the Crimson Tide enters on a 9-3 ATS run.
This has all the makings of another blowout win.
Florida remains eligible to take a big step forward in the coming months, but it won’t keep up with Alabama in a loss by more than three scores.