Tailgate Pick ‘Em Week 3 Including Iowa vs Iowa State

Iowa vs Iowa State
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Week 3 features some of the early success stories of college football going on the road for tough tests. Florida travels to Kentucky, Iowa vs rival Iowa State, and Arizona State travels hoping to knock off Michigan State. Steen Kirby, John Bava, Yesh Ginsburg, and Lukas Weese offer their predictions for this week’s college football action.

Kansas State at Mississippi State (Saturday in Starkville, MS)
Mississippi State by 7

Steen: Kansas State has a habit of surprising the country somewhat regularly, Mississippi State aren’t a bad team but I’m far from sold on them. Kansas State has an effective running game and is set to grind their way to an upset win in Starkvegas. Kansas State 24, Mississippi State 21

John: This Big XII-SEC showdown between two undefeated teams early in the season sees the home team as a somewhat sizeable favorite. That’s certainly understandable given the visiting Wildcats have a first-year head coach in Chris Kliemann. Mississippi State head man Joe Moorhead is in his second year with the Bulldogs. But he’s coming off an 8-5 campaign in his debut season which culminated in them making a New Year’s Day’s bowl. With a lot of returning starters, particularly on offense, they should be able to prevail on home turf. Mississippi State 35, Kansas State 24

Yesh: It’s hard to judge either of these teams. Both look potentially strong and potentially flawed. Kansas State might be able to fight with the Bulldogs in the trenches, but the Wildcats don’t have real top-end speed at the skill positions. That will be the difference here, as long as Mississippi State can capitalize. Mississippi State 31, Kansas State 28

Lukas: Kansas State has only given up seven points in two games played. They have one of the best rushing offenses in the country. This will be close and I think Kansas State squeaks it out against an SEC opponent. Kansas State 30, Mississippi State 24

Stanford at #17 UCF (Saturday in Orlando, FL)
Line: UCF by 8.5

Steen: UCF has another opportunity to extend their winning streak here, and in this case get a win against a quality P5 opponent. Stanford has arguably struggled out of the gate while the Knights picked up where they left off the last couple of seasons. With Stanford the road team, this line is fair, and UCF will continue to punch above their weight as Florida’s best football program right now. UCF 31, Stanford 17

John: This is arguably the most interesting matchup of the weekend between a Power Five and Group of Five opponent. It sees Stanford make the trip cross-country to face a UCF team that looks poised to carry the momentum from recent years into 2019. So far, they’re averaging 55 points per game while giving up just seven. They boast an impressive trio of running backs in Bentavious Thompson, Greg McCrae, and Adrian Killins, Jr. Add in the travel plus the fact Stanford may be reeling from last week’s decisive loss to USC and the conditions are ripe for the Knights to cover. UCF 41, Stanford 27

Yesh: UCF doesn’t have an elite defense, but it has an offense that can beat anyone in the country. After seeing Stanford struggle heavily against USC last week, it’s hard to see the Knights not doing the same. UCF 41, Stanford 31

Lukas: UCF has one of the most electric offenses in the country. Stanford is dealing with injuries. UCF dominates to remain undefeated. UCF 35, Stanford 17

Arizona State at #18 Michigan State (Saturday in East Lansing, MI) Line: Michigan State by 15

Steen: The Michigan State defense will trouble Herm Edwards Sun Devils in this one, and home field advantage adds to Sparty’s significant advantages in this one. ASU has talent but Michigan State is the better team right now and the main question is whether they can cover this spread. Michigan State 28, Arizona State 14

John: This is a revenge game of sorts for Mark Dantonio’s bunch. The Spartans suffered an early-season defeat in Tempe last year in Herm Edwards’ second game as ASU head coach. Now the Sun Devils head to East Lansing for their first real test of the year. MSU has proven near impossible to run the ball against through two games as they’re the only team in FBS conceding negative yardage per game. That’s a scary prospect for an ASU team that’s managed just a single rushing touchdown so far. It’s a pretty large spread but I’m inclined to lay the points and take Sparty here. Michigan State 45, Arizona State 17

Yesh: I don’t trust Brian Lewerke enough with a line this high. Michigan State is really good, and the Spartans will avenge last year’s loss, but this offense isn’t consistent enough to beat a decent Power 5 team by over two touchdowns. Michigan State 34, Arizona State 20

Lukas: Michigan State has the number one run defense in the country. Their offense is getting better by the week. Spartans continue their winning streak and remain undefeated. Michigan State 38, Arizona State 24

Iowa at Iowa State (Saturday in Ames, IA)
Line: Iowa by 2

Steen: One of the biggest sporting events in the state of Iowa’s history, both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones look out (outside) contenders in their respective conferences as ISU looks to shake off the “little brother” tag at home in Ames. Iowa always plays tough though, and in a rivalry their intensity will only become stronger. Given the sample size we have for both teams I’ll back Iowa in a close one. Iowa 24, Iowa State 17

John: This in-state rivalry has been dominated by the Hawkeyes as of late. They’ve won four in a row as well as four of the last five in Ames which is where this year’s showdown takes place. Through two games, their defense looks mighty impressive as they’re one of two Big Ten schools whose total defense is below 200 yards per game. The Cyclones are no slouch on that side of the ball as well, particularly against the run where they’re giving up just 34 yards per game which rank seventh nationally. They are coming off a bye but they did look shaky in the season-opener against Northern Iowa. The Big Ten team is the better bet here. Iowa 31, Iowa State 20

Yesh: The Hawkeyes have a ton of talent, but haven’t looked particularly dominant in their first two games. Iowa State started this year ranked, with good hype around Matt Campbell and Brock Purdy, but almost lost to Northern Iowa in Week 1. The Hawkeyes are basically just a stronger and faster version of UNI. Iowa 35, Iowa State 21

Lukas: The premier Iowa rivalry will be a fantastic game. The Iowa defense is ranked fourth in the country and they will be taking on an Iowa State team that averages 29 points per game. It will be close but I think the experience of Iowa will pull through to get the victory. Iowa 34, Iowa State 31

#9 Florida at Kentucky (Saturday in Lexington, KY)
Line: Florida by 8.5

Steen: Despite often being mocked in the SEC for their football program, Kentucky at the moment is one of the better and more stable programs in the conference. Florida has more talent of course. But Kentucky has shown they can win games like this, and at home they are even tougher. Florida will need to play a clean game to win this, but if they can keep the mistakes down their superior talent will show itself. Florida 28, Kentucky 21

John: Much like Arizona State-Michigan State above, this contest has a certain revenge element from the standpoint of one team. Last year, Florida’s defeat at the hands of the Wildcats broke a 31-game winning streak in the series. It also marked Kentucky’s first win in Gainesville since 1979. Don’t bet on a repeat. Big Blue lost quarterback Terry Wilson for the season due to a knee injury. So expect the Gators to get back into the win column in this series fairly convincingly. Florida 37, Kentucky 19

Yesh: I would say that I like Florida to avenge last year’s loss, but after seeing the Gators struggle in Week 1, I don’t think they’ve found the answer. Florida doesn’t have a strong enough offense to score enough points against this tough Kentucky defense. Kentucky 20, Florida 17

Lukas: This will be a defensive slugfest. The Gators are starting to make strides on offense. It will be close but Florida pulls ahead late to secure the victory and remain undefeated. Florida 20, Kentucky 14


Iowa vs Iowa State Main Photo:

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 08: Runningback David Montgomery #32 of the Iowa State Cyclones is brought down during the first half by linebackers Djimon Colbert #32 and Nick Niemann #49 of the Iowa Hawkeyes on September 8, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)