NCAA Games of the Week: quarterback showcase in Florida State, Louisville matchup

Matt McClain

Sports Blogger

@mattdmcclain

I said it would be hard to top Week 1. Week 2 gave us a slate that was entirely inferior but managed to be exciting nonetheless. Central Michigan upset Oklahoma State on a play that shouldn’t have happened. Nicholls State almost beat Georgia and Troy almost dethroned Clemson. Arkansas won a double-overtime thriller against TCU. Let’s see what Week 3 has in store.

Louisville's Lamar Jackson highlights the quarterback showcase in the Cardinals' game against Florida State. (Nick Coffey, Flickr)
Louisville’s Lamar Jackson highlights the quarterback showcase in the Cardinals’ game against Florida State.
(Nick Coffey, Flickr)

Florida State at Louisville, 11 a.m. on ABC

This early matchup is the most intriguing of the week. Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson has been on a tear in 2016. He’s scored 13 total touchdowns and no one has seemed to find a way to stop him. FSU has its own weapon at quarterback. Deondre Francois has thrown for 681 yards and five touchdowns. Whichever quarterback finds the most success will lead his team to victory. I think Francois will crumble under the pressure, and Jackson will shine in front of his home crowd.

Louisville 45, Florida State 35

Alabama at Ole Miss, 2:30 p.m. on CBS

This game is also headlined by a quarterback battle. Chad Kelly calls the signals for Ole Miss, and true freshman Jalen Hurts slings the ball for Alabama. The Rebels got the best of the Crimson Tide last season, but Alabama got the last laugh with an SEC title and national championship. I think Kelly has an edge at quarterback, but I don’t think quarterback play will decide this one. Alabama’s daunting defense will lead the Crimson Tide in avenging last year’s loss.

Alabama 31, Ole Miss 17

Michigan State at Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. on NBC

MSU has had a week off since its first game and Notre Dame strolled to an easy win over Nevada. The Spartans are still an unknown commodity because they have had one game. Notre Dame has had a good offense but its defense is terrible. The Fighting Irish’s quarterback DeShone Kizer has been terrific, though. Kizer has thrown for 371 yards and seven touchdowns. MSU is too unproven for me to pick them to win against a veteran Notre Dame team.

Notre Dame 31, Michigan State 14

Ohio State at Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m. on FOX

This showdown features two of the most storied programs in college football. The Buckeyes come in unbeaten, and the Sooners have a 1-1 record to boast. This year’s versions of the two powerhouses look elite. J.T. Barrett leads OSU, and is at the top of the Heisman race. Baker Mayfield is the head of the Sooners’ attack but is joined by running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. This will be the closest game of the week, but I give OU the edge at home.

Oklahoma 34, Ohio State 31

Southern California at Stanford, 7 p.m. on ABC

Stanford, like Michigan State, is coming off a bye week. USC recovered from the blowout loss against Alabama in Week 1 with a win against Utah State. Stanford has the best player in the game with Christian McCaffrey at running back. McCaffrey is toward the top of the Heisman race. Stanford is at home, and is clearly the better team. I expect them to win handily.

Stanford 42, USC 21

ozone@ocolly.com

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