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Saturday Six-Pack: Week 3 college football picks

NO. 16 UCLA AT NO. 23 NEBRASKA

The facts: 11 a.m., ABC.

The records: UCLA 1-0, Nebraska 2-0.

The line: Nebraska by 4½.

The story line: Remember the Huskers’ humiliating 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in last year’s Big Ten title game? Their defense allowed a whopping 640 yards that evening — or 13 fewer than it had surrendered 12 weeks earlier in a 36-30 loss at UCLA. The Bruins, led by dynamic sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley, have the talent to put some big numbers on Bo Pelini’s defense again. UCLA will wear “36” patches on their jerseys in memory of former teammate Nick Pasquale, who was struck by a car and killed last week.

Greenberg’s pick: UCLA, 34-31.

NO. 1 ALABAMA at NO. 6 TEXAS A&M

The facts: 2:30 p.m., CBS.

The records: Alabama 1-0, Texas A&M 2-0.

The line: Alabama by 7½.

The story line: The are several compelling ones, that’s for sure. No matter how Nick Saban and his players characterize their feelings toward revenge, of course they want it — they were appalled at themselves for letting the Aggies win in Tuscaloosa last season. This game also represents Alabama vs. the rest of the SEC in the context of the league’s seven-year BCS title reign. If the Tide can’t win it for a fourth time in five years, maybe the Aggies can be the team that gets the streak to eight in the final season before a playoff kicks in.

But the biggest story line is — like you didn’t know already — Johnny Manziel. CBS will but a “Johnny Cam” on him from start to finish, so we’ll see all his taunts, pouts and big plays. The spotlight is on Manziel like never before. Can he handle it?

Greenberg’s pick: Alabama, 37-31.

TENNESSEE at NO. 2 OREGON

The facts: 2:30 p.m., ABC.

The records: Tennessee 2-0, Oregon 2-0.

The line: Oregon by 28.

The story line: First-year coach Butch Jones has made an instant impact in Knoxville. The defense is playing well, the Vols are creating turnovers, and a physical running attack has offered hope that there won’t be another winless SEC season for a very long time. But the Vols can really make a statement simply by avoiding being blown out in Eugene, where non-conference foes go to die. Was that too dramatic?

Greenberg’s pick: Oregon, 45-28.

NO. 4 OHIO STATE AT CALIFORNIA

The facts: 6 p.m., FOX.

The records: Ohio State 2-0, California 1-1.

The line: OSU by 15½.

The story line: Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller, who has an injured left knee, will be a game-time decision, according to coach Urban Meyer. Given Meyer’s mostly positive comments throughout the week, it seems likely Miller will play. If he doesn’t, well, it’s a big step down to No. 2 quarterback Kenny Guiton. The Bears look improved from a year ago, when they almost pulled off a huge upset win against the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Greenberg’s pick: OSU, 30-20.

NO. 25 OLE MISS AT TEXAS

The facts: 7 p.m., Longhorn Network.

The records: Ole Miss 2-0, Texas 1-1.

The line: Texas by 3.

The story line: There is no way anyone at Texas was prepared for this to be a must-win game, but that’s exactly what it is — for Mack Brown, for the program, for the school, for the gosh-darn state of (sniff) Texas. And guess what? The Rebels have more explosive talent on both sides of the ball, led by a pair of straight-up freshman freaks, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. They have a coach, Hugh Freeze, who has all the positive mojo in the world. Longhorns quarterback David Ash had better play his rear end off, because the only way he’s getting a W in this one is by way of a shootout.

Greenberg’s pick: Ole Miss, 34-24.

NO. 20 WISCONSIN AT ARIZONA STATE

The facts: 9:30 p.m., ESPN.

The records: Wisconsin 2-0, Arizona State 1-0.

The line: ASU by 5.

The story line: You heard it here first: The Badgers’ defense no longer will be pitching a season shutout after this one. UW was impenetrable on defense and unstoppable in the running game against a couple of cupcakes, but the Sun Devils are the real deal — easily an upper-half team in the Pac-12 and, in coach Todd Graham’s second season, trending upward. Gary Andersen’s first big challenge as Wisconsin’s coach may not end well.

Greenberg’s pick: ASU, 38-30.