#1 Alabama at #11 Florida: Owen Pustell
Final Score Prediction: Alabama 38, Florida 24
Oh boy is this gonna be a fun game. The undisputed No. 1 team in the nation going on the road to one of the loudest, most energetic stadiums in the nation? Yeah, I’ll take my Saturday to watch that. The Tide rolls in boasting yet another high powered offense, outscoring their first two opponents 92-27. In his first year under center, quarterback Bryce Young has looked sharp and composed, throwing for 571 yards and seven touchdowns in a pair of blowout wins. However, Young has yet to face a defense with the swagger and energy of the Gators. Backed by 88,000 fans in what will be a sellout at the swamp, expect the Florida defense to hit fast, hard, and early. On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Emory Jones is under a lot of pressure to perform. Not only is he facing a star-studded defense with a tendency to force turnovers, but he himself is fighting to keep the starting job after tossing two interceptions in each of the Gators first two games. The fans are clamoring for backup Anthony Richardson to see more time after he out-passed Jones in both yards and touchdowns on just three attempts against USF. Jones likely knows that head coach Dan Mullen is close to making the move. If the pressure pushes him to perform then Alabama could be on upset watch, but if Jones cracks under the spotlight, it will be a long day in Gainesville.
Tulane at #17 Ole Miss: Ruby Draayer
Final Score Prediction: Ole Miss 49, Tulane 28
Of all the non-conference matchups that Ole Miss has on the schedule this year, this is the one that I’m the most worried about. Tulane is sitting at 1-1 after a very close season opener loss vs Oklahoma and a blow-out win over Morgan State. The former SEC member is not a team that should be taken lightly. I think a lot of people are expecting another blowout win from Ole Miss, but I would advise against that approach. The Wave’s quarterback Michael Pratt has thrown for 420 yards and five touchdowns this season, and while it doesn’t touch Matt Corral’s numbers, it is worth noting. While Tulane is fairly intimidating, I do think the Rebels come away with this one. They’re the better team and we have home-field advantage this weekend. Head coach Lane Kiffin has stressed the importance of our fans showing up, and it will be crucial for the win on Saturday. Let’s lock the Vaught together and also lock the students in the student section so they can’t leave at halftime.
#19 Arizona State at #23 BYU: Aiden Gallardo
Final Score Prediction: BYU 28, Arizona State 17
Both teams are coming into this contest 2-0. Arizona State had blown out their first two opponents by a total of 54 points. Granted, they were against low level opponents in Southern Utah and UNLV. BYU had just come off of an impressive victory over Utah last week and they’ll be looking to keep their momentum going against Arizona State.
It’ll be tough for Arizona State to get the ground game rolling against an excellent defensive BYU team. Arizona State revolves around the run game. They ran for 287 yards last week against UNLV, led by running back Jayden Daniels who carried the ball for 122 yards. As for BYU, in their victory against Utah last week, they ran for 219 yards and sophomore quarterback Jaren Hall threw for 3 touchdowns.
This will be the first real test of the season for the Sun Devils, as they travel to LaVell Edwards Stadium in BYU. In order for Arizona State to win this game, they’ll have to be dominant in the run game. But, it’ll be difficult to see that happening considering BYU has a stellar run-stopping defense.
#22 Auburn at #10 Penn State: Catherine Jeffers
Final Score Prediction: Auburn 28, Penn State 24
The all too well known annual White Out in Happy Valley will bring in the Auburn Tigers this year, with Penn State favored to win. Two words: War Eagle. Say what you want about who Auburn has played thus far, but any team that can outscore their opponents 122-10 through two games is a team to watch. An atmosphere like Happy Valley is none to overlook, but the Tigers have had success as both the underdog and the visiting team in the past. Auburn has proved to be one of the top defenses not only in the SEC, but in all of NCAA. While they have only played the likes of Akron and Alabama State, they’ve held their opponents to 182 yards per game, averaging 3.01 yards per play. On the other side of the field, Penn State’s passing game has shined with quarterback Sean Clifford throwing for 247 yards in their 16-10 win over Wisconsin. It was a game of defense against Wisconsin, with Penn State held to only 50 rushing yards. Against the wall that is Auburn’s defense, Penn State will struggle to establish a run game, and Auburn’s 1,151 total offensive yards will grow, earning them the underdog victory in Happy Valley.