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Lowell's Locks: Week Three

September 16, 2023
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It was yet another solid week for me, as a 4-2 record pushes these Locks to 9-3 on the year. If you were keeping track at home, the two losses suffered were two games I had decently high confidence in (Tulane +7.5 vs Ole Miss, Alabama -7 vs. Texas). A bad beat in the Tulane game kept this from being a 5-1 week. Alabama simply got manhandled by the Longhorns, which was something that was less than anticipated, so I’d be hardpressed to call that one a bad beat. That was poor scouting, and I’ll do better this week. On to the picks. 

Saturday, September 16th:

#15 Kansas State (-4) at Missouri:

I’m always a little wary of lines that look too good to be true. Kansas State has looked sharp through two games, most recently manhandling what’s typically a solid Troy team. Quarterback Will Howard could be the best dual-threat player getting the least amount of love, posting 547 yards and five touchdown passes to go with another three scores on the ground in two games. Missouri wants to run the ball at its core, but will find some issues doing that against a Wildcats defense that ranks first in the nation at stopping the ground attack. Tigers quarterback Brady Cook has been steady, but he and receiver Luther Burden will need to be the reason Missouri keeps this close. I don’t see it happening.

Lowell’s Lock: Kansas State covers -4

#8 Washington (-16) at Michigan State:

With the drama going on off the field involving Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker and his suspension, this feels like an opportunity for Washington to walk in and blow the Spartans away. Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is on a torrid pace statistically, racking up 859 yards, eight touchdowns, and just one interception through two games. The competition hasn’t been murderer’s row, but the Huskies rank first in passing offense and eighth in scoring at 49.5 points per game. Michigan State’s defense has the ability to slow Washington down some, but the dam will break as the Spartans can’t get their own offense moving against a stingy Washington defense. 

Lowell’s Lock: Washington covers -16

Minnesota at #20 North Carolina (-7):

This game is all about contrasting styles of play. North Carolina loves to run and gun with their Heisman-contending quarterback in Drake Maye, and Minnesota loves to control the clock as much as possible and run the ball. The North Carolina defense looked like world beaters against South Carolina, allowing negative rushing yards, then turned around and looked more how one would expect in giving up 494 yards to App State, including 219 on the ground. The Gophers will have success in slowing the tempo and grinding the game to a slog, though Maye will make the plays he needs to make to escape. A touchdown is just too great of a spread here.

Lowell’s Lock: Minnesota covers +7

#11 Tennessee (-6.5) at Florida

This is a game with sneaky upset potential. The Volunteers haven’t quite put together the fireworks show we saw last season yet, sleepwalking their way through victories against Virginia and Austin Peay.  The Gators had a nice bounceback, albeit against McNeese State, after suffering a loss at Utah to start the year. The Gators should find some room to roam on the ground with Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne, and Graham Mertz has quietly been efficient through the air. Joe Milton has been solid for Tennessee, but he’ll need to start connecting on some of those explosive plays we saw from Josh Heupel’s offense last season, and do it against a Florida defense that’s much better than it’s being given credit for. Anything can happen in The Swamp at night.

Lowell’s Lock: Florida covers +6.5

South Carolina at #1 Georgia (-27):

If you were looking for a game for the defending champs to finally look like themselves, you’ll probably find it in this one. The South Carolina offensive line has been horrid through two games, allowing the second most tackles for loss in the nation (23) and the fourth most sacks (10). Georgia hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire, but they haven’t needed to either. The Bulldogs have a tendency to start games slow, and that could keep South Carolina within shouting distance of this massive spread when it’s all said and done, as Spencer Rattler should be able to get South Carolina on the board at least a few times. It still won’t be pretty for the Gamecocks.

Lowell’s Lock: South Carolina covers +27 

FAU at Clemson (-24.5):

Things started weird for Clemson last week, but it finally looked like the offense everyone expected when Garrett Riley took the reigns in the offseason, putting up 66 points and 679 total yards on Charleston Southern last week. They get a step up in competition this week with the Owls, and will be looking to eliminate the self-inflicted wounds from the first two games. FAU doesn’t have much in the way of offense, and the Clemson defense has been as advertised. Look for another step forward in the progression of Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik, who should get plenty of opportunities to sling it around in this one, in their final tuneup before Florida State rolls into town next week.

Score Prediction: 45-10 Clemson

Lowell’s Lock: Clemson covers +24.5

Until next week, folks. 

Lowell’s Locks

  Weekly Results Season Results
Week 1 5-1  5-1 
Week 2 4-2  9-3 
Week 3    
Week 4    
Week 5    
Week 6    
Week 7    
Week 8    
Week 9    
Week 10    
Week 11    
Week 12    
Week 13    
Conference Championships    

 

 
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