The Gould Standard picks: Week 3

I have so many hunches this week. The trouble is, so many of these spreads are head-scratchers.

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Coaches are right; I made my biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. Now I think I need more reps. So I’m going to give you five games: Colorado-Michigan. Appalachian State-Miami. USC-Stanford. Western Michigan-Illinois. And Oregon-Nebraska.

Meanwhile, here are some games I’m curious about, but not curious enough to go on the record.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

--Alabama giving 11.5 at Ole Miss? Seems like too many, if you saw the first half of Ole Miss-FSU. And too confusing if you saw the second half.

--FSU giving 1.5 at LOUISVILLE. I love watching this game. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cardinals QB Lamar Jackson went crazy, or got brought back to reality. For outsiders like me, though, this is a game to enjoy unfettered by a rooting interest.

--I feel the same way about Michigan State at Notre Dame, and Ohio State at Oklahoma. Better to sit back and enjoy. These matchups are compelling, but ND giving 8 is so uncertain—and the Buckeyes are Sooners are so mysterious at this point—that they are tricky propositions.

One more thing. Sad to say, I think Northern Illinois has had such a wrenching start that it faces a tough game despite getting 11 vs. San Diego State. On the other hand, some teams defy all of that. Which is why I’m staying away.

So here’s the deal. . .

The Game: MICHIGAN giving 20 to Colorado

The Pick: Michigan, 45-21

The Comment: It’s not just that Jim Harbaugh is a relentless competitor. With their soft nonconference schedule, the Wolverines need to put up gaudy numbers. Kudoes to Colorado for starting 2-0. But the Big House is not a fun house for visitors. And mocking Harbaugh's no-depth-chart ways with a phony depth chart that included Vito Corleone and Luca Brasi? The Buffaloes are going to be sleeping with the fishes.

The Game: Miami giving 3.5 at APPALACHIAN STATE

The Pick: Miami, 38-28

The Comment: All credit to App State for having their moment in the sun, under the lights at Tennessee. But whenever everybody’s selling an upset, I’m not buying. Mark Richt is too new to let the Hurricanes be complacent.

The Game: STANFORD giving 9 to USC

The Pick: Stanford, 42-31

The Comment: I’d like this game a lot better if it were Stanford giving 6. But what’s a field goal among rivals? Plus, it's Christian-McCaffrey-for-the-Heisman time.

The Game: Western Michigan giving 3 to ILLINOIS

The Pick: Illinois, 27-24

The Comment: QB Wes Lunt needs to keep his head on straight. But he’s a sharp kid, and a senior. I’m a believer that Lovie Smith and his staff will have the Illini dialed in—and the mistakes cut down.

The Game: NEBRASKA giving 1 to Oregon

The Pick: Oregon, 31-23

The Comment: I know. It's a statement game for Nebraska. I just have too many questions about the Cornhuskers. Plus, I have a lot of respect for the Ducks—and their uniforms.

Last week: 2-1

Season to date: 2-4[/membership]

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