College football picks: No. 1 Georgia steps into SEC play, No. 11 Tennessee heads to The Swamp

Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2) is brought down by Tennessee-Martin defensive tackle Jarid Johnson (44) and safety Robert Daniel Jr. (22) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (John Bazemore, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Expect some weirdness this weekend in college football.

With no games matching ranked teams, and what is shaping up to be a monster Saturday on the horizon, you might look at the schedule and think it's a good time to get a little yard work in. Maybe run some errands.

Be careful.

The season is still young enough that we really don't know which teams are good and which are headed for disappointing seasons.

This week, for example, as Southeastern Conference play opens, we get our first look at No. 1 Georgia against an opponent that might have a sliver of hope of actually beating the two-time defending national champions.

It's not so much that you should expect the unexpected as much as we really don't know what to expect.

No. 11 Tennessee at Florida

The Vols broke a five-game losing streak to the Gators last year, and haven't won two in a row in the series since 2004. The rivalry seems to be on the verge of flipping back to Tennessee, with Florida still trying to find its groove in Year 2 under coach Billy Napier.

For the Vols, QB Joe Milton is still in the prove-it phase as starting quarterback. The Gators need a bounce back after the Week 1 clunker at Utah.

LINE: Tennessee by 6 1/2. PICK: Tennessee 34-24.

No. 8 Washington at Michigan State

Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies' offense announced their arrival last season in an emphatic victory against the Spartans. Washington's offense has been on point through two games this season, with Penix throwing for 859 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Spartans will play without suspended coach Mel Tucker, looking for the type of victory that it hasn't had since 2021.

LINE: Washington by 16 1/2. PICK: Washington 28-17.

No. 15 Kansas State at Missouri

The defending Big 12 champion Wildcats have rolled through the first two weeks at home and now face what should be a good SEC road test. The Tigers rank 10th in the nation in yards per play allowed at 3.83. K-State has been solid on defense, too, allowing 3.98 yards per play.

LINE Kansas State 4 1/2. PICK: Kansas State 23-17.

Western Kentucky at No. 6 Ohio State

The Buckeyes have committed to Kyle McCord as their starting QB after he was better in Week 2 than in Week 1. Still, the explosive offense Ohio State has become accustomed to has yet to fully arrive.

The Buckeyes might need it this week. QB Austin Reed and the Hilltoppers like to sling it around. WKU WR Malachi Corley, who left the opener after taking a hard hit to the chest and sat out last week, is an NFL talent.

Don't necessarily put the Buckeyes on upset alert, but they best not mess around.

LINE: Ohio State by 27 1/2. PICK: Ohio State 49-17.

South Carolina at No. 1 Georgia

The Gamecocks are the last team to beat the Bulldogs at home, back in 2019. That seems like a long time ago.

Georgia has the longest overall winning streak in the country at 19 games.

Getting a read on the Bulldogs through the first two games has been near impossible given the competition. News alert: They're good again.

Facing the Gamecocks should provide a better assessment, though if the South Carolina offensive line that gave up nine sacks to North Carolina shows up in Athens, the 'Dawgs will feast.

LINE: Georgia by 27 1/2. PICK: Georgia 34-10.

The rest of Saturday's games matching Top 25 teams against FBS opponents, with lines by FanDuel Sportsbook:

Bowling Green (plus 40 1/2) at No. 2 Michigan

Wolverines have methodically buried their first two overmatched opponents, which hasn't been a great approach for covering enormous point spreads ... MICHIGAN 42-7.

No. 3 Florida State (minus 26 1/2) at Boston College

Seminoles have won four straight and 11 of 12 against BC ... FLORIDA STATE 49-17.

Wyoming (plus 28 1/2) at No. 4 Texas

Could the Longhorns be a little sluggish after a big night in Tuscaloosa? ... TEXAS 38-14.

No. 7 Penn State (minus 14 1/2) at Illinois

Last time these teams met, they slogged through a record nine OTs that the Illini won 20-18 ... PENN STATE 35-17.

Central Michigan (plus 34 1/2) at No. 9 Notre Dame

One last tune-up for the Irish before Ohio State comes to town ... NOTRE DAME 42-13.

No. 10 Alabama (minus 31 1/2) at South Florida

The last time Alabama played a road game against a team not from a Power Five conference was 1997 against Tulane ... ALABAMA 52-17.

Hawaii at No. 13 Oregon (minus 37 1/2)

After Alabama's loss, Ducks have the nation's longest home, nonconference winning streak at 31 ... OREGON 63-20.

No. 14 LSU at Mississippi State (plus 9 1/2)

Bulldogs have remade their offense, moving away from the late Mike Leach's Air Raid and throwing just 46 passes in two games ... MISSISSIPPI STATE 28-23, UPSET SPECIAL.

San Diego State (plus 24 1/2) at No. 16 Oregon State

Aztecs could be a future conference-mate for the Beavers ... OREGON STATE 35-16.

Georgia Tech (plus 19 1/2) at No. 17 Mississippi

Rebels beat the Yellow Jackets 42-0 last season ... OLE MISS 35-17.

Colorado State at No. 18 Colorado (minus 22 1/2)

Boulder is the place to be: Both ESPN and Fox's pregame shows will be at CU ... COLORADO 35-10.

No. 19 Oklahoma (minus 27 1/2) at Tulsa

Golden Hurricane last beat the Sooners in 1996 and last won at home against OU in 1942 ... OKLAHOMA 48-17.

Minnesota (plus 7 1/2) at No. 20 North Carolina

First meeting ever matches Gophers' ground-and-pound vs. Tar Heels' star QB Drake Maye ... NORTH CAROLINA 26-20.

Northwestern (plus 18 1/2) at No. 21 Duke

Blue Devils have won four straight in the ACC-Big Ten Brainiac Bowl ... DUKE 28-13.

Western Michigan (plus 28 1/2) at No. 25 Iowa

Broncos were losing 45-7 at the half to Syracuse last week; Time for an offensive breakout from the Hawkeyes? ... IOWA 31-6.


James Madison (plus 2 1/2) at Troy — @MDWDFW: Two of the Sun Belt's best teams .. JMU 27-23.

Pittsburgh (minus 1 1/2) at West Virginia — @romo2020extra: Backyard Brawl returned last year and Pitt won a wild one; Mountaineers coach Neal Brown could really use this ... PITT 26-23.

BYU at Arkansas (minus 8 1/2) — @yehonala04: Razorbacks expected to be without star RB Raheim Sanders (knee) ... ARKANSAS 28-17.

Northern Illinois at Nebraska (minus 10 1/2) — @willminich: Cornhuskers' minus-6 turnover margin is worst in the nation ... NEBRASKA 27-13.

South Alabama (plus 7 1/2) at Oklahoma State — @mroberson3: Cowboys looking for seventh straight 3-0 start ... OKLAHOMA 23-17.

Fresno State at Arizona State (plus 3) — @ArtWMoore: Bulldogs already have a victory against a Big Ten team, now try to add a Pac-12 ... ARIZONA STATE 31-28.



Last week: Straight-up — 18-6; Against spread — 7-17.

Season: Straight-up — 36-12; Against spread — 16-32.


This story has been corrected to note that Georgia's last home loss was in 2019, not 2020.


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