By Stewart Mandel
September 14, 2007
Week 3 Pickoff
No. 1 USC (1-0) at No. 14 Nebraska (2-0)
Chronicling last year's game in his new book Saturday Rules, my colleague Austin Murphy writes, "Bill Callahan devised an offensive game plan so recondite that its brilliance was evident only to him." Expect Callahan to air it out more this year after losing to the Trojans 28-10 in 2006, but USC's defense will frazzle QB Sam Keller.
USC 30, Nebraska 21
We'll know a whole lot more about the state of the defending champions after this one, and this is what I think we'll find out: That Tim Tebow and the Florida offense can score in bunches, but that the rebuilt defense -- particularly the secondary -- is going to cause its share of headaches.
Florida 40, Tennessee 27
There's nothing like Bobby Dodd Stadium at night, with the Atlanta skyline lighting up the horizon just beyond the bleachers. Will Matt Ryan's passes sail through the night into the hands of his receivers -- or will he be looking up at that sky from his back thanks to Tech's swarming rushers?
Georgia Tech 24, BC 17
No. 9 Louisville (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0)
Check out the TV listing on this one. Apparently the folks at ESPN, anticipating one of those 55-51-type "Instant Classics," figured -- why wait? Nothing about Louisville's defensive outing last week would be described as "classic," but one of these two QBs, Brian Brohm or Andre Woodson, could deliver a classic performance.
Louisville 48, Kentucky 41
It's no surprise to see James Laurinaitis and the Buckeyes sitting at No. 5 in the country in scoring defense (5.0 points per game), but what about Washington at No. 15 (11.0)? And instead of Youngstown State and Akron, the Huskies have done it against Boise State and at Syracuse.
Washington 17, Ohio State 14
No. 16 Arkansas (1-0) at Alabama (2-0)
Darren McFadden, say hello to Terry Grant. The redshirt freshman runner has been the revelation of Alabama's season so far, ranking eighth nationally at 153 yards per game. Obviously, I'd still rather have McFadden on my side -- but I'd also rather have Nick Saban.
Alabama 31, Arkansas 28
Notre Dame (0-2) at Michigan (0-2)
It pains me to include a game between two winless squads in the Pickoff, but hey, everyone loves a trainwreck. Michigan's beleaguered D gets a much-needed break this week. I don't know whether QB Ryan Mallet is ready, but Mike Hart should provide all the offense Michigan needs.
Michigan 21, Notre Dame 13
Florida State (1-1) at Colorado (1-1)
Through two games, the 'Noles still look very much like a 6-6 team to me. And while Colorado was even worse last year, going 2-10, they improved throughout the year. The Buffs are at home, Dan Hawkins is champing at the bit for his first big win and we know FSU is far from invincible.
Upset Special:
Colorado 19, Florida State 14
Last week's record: 6-2. Season record: 13-3.

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