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Wayne Staats | | September 14, 2019

College football Week 3 preview: Top games, what to watch, rankings

Check out these 5 college football games to watch in Week 3

It's Week 3 of the college football season. It's not time to get comfortable if you're a ranked team. Even though there are no ranked vs. ranked games, that's a perfect opportunity for true shockers. Check out our Week 3 preview below.

Along with UCF getting a visit from Stanford and Kentucky trying for a rare win streak vs. Florida, two rivalries have another edition: Penn State vs. Pitt and Iowa vs. Iowa State.

College football Week 3 preview: Top games

Here's where this week's potential drama could come from:

No. 13 Penn State vs. Pitt | 12 p.m. Saturday | ABC

The two longtime rivals meet for the 100th time — though this is the last currently scheduled meeting. Penn State has won the past two seasons and again comes in with a ranking. The Nittany Lions outscored Pitt 37-0 in the second half last year to win by 45. But don't ever count out rivalry surprises.

No. 6 Ohio State at Indiana | 12 p.m. Saturday | FOX

Make it 23 in a row officially for Ohio State (the Buckeyes have vacated the 2010 win) against IU. The last time the two played in Bloomington, Indiana, the Hoosiers led at halftime — so another hot start is more than possible. Both teams are 2-0, but Ohio State QB Justin Fields should have another big game and a win.

No. 2 Alabama at South Carolina | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | CBS

The two haven't played since 2010, when South Carolina shocked defending national champion and No. 1 'Bama, 35-21, behind three touchdown passes from Stephen Garcia. A win this year would be even more shocking. Through two games, Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa has 563 passing yards and seven touchdowns without an interception.

SCOREBOARD: Follow every Week 3 game here with live stats

No. 17 UCF vs. Stanford | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | ESPN

Stanford's blowout loss to USC might have taken some excitement out of this one, but UCF is still amped for a visit from a Power 5 school. The two haven't played since 2015, when UCF lost 31-7 and slumped to an 0-12 season. After going 6-7 in 2016, the Knights are on a 27-1 run.

No. 24 Southern California at BYU | 4 p.m. Saturday | ABC

Funny how much can change in a week. The Trojans got by Fresno State in Week 1 but lost QB JT Daniels for the season. BYU lost its ninth consecutive game to rival Utah in Week 1. But last week, freshman Kedon Slovis passed for 337 yards and beat No. 23 Stanford in his first start while the Cougars shocked Tennessee in 2OT. The BYU fans will be ready.

No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State | 4 p.m. Saturday | FS1

ESPN's "College GameDay" will be in Ames, Iowa, for the first time for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. This almost became the week's lone ranked vs. ranked game, with Iowa No. 19 in the AP (20th in the Coaches) and Iowa State dropping out of the AP Poll from No. 25 to what is essentially 26th (most receiving votes). Iowa leads the rivalry 44-22 all-time.

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No. 9 Florida at Kentucky | 7 p.m. Saturday | ESPN

The Gators had won 31 in a row vs. the Wildcats. Until last year. UK's 26-17 win was ignitor of a big 10-3 season for the Wildcats that saw them end No. 12 in the country with a bowl win against Penn State. Kentucky hasn't won two in a row against Florida since 1976-77. The Wildcats could end that drought on Saturday.

No. 1 Clemson at Syracuse | 7:30 p.m. Saturday | ABC

This one looked primed to be a huge test for Clemson just one week ago. But then-No. 21 Syracuse allowed 650 yards and lost to Maryland by 43. Still, the No. 1 Tigers also don't need to be reminded how dangerous the Orange can be. In 2017, Syracuse beat No. 2 Clemson, 27-24. Last season, the Orange lost by only 4 in what ended up being, by far, Clemson's closest game of the season.

TV SCHEDULE: All the channels and times for Week 3

No. 25 Virginia vs. Florida State | 7:30 p.m. Saturday | ACC Network

Virginia will forever be known as the first ACC team to beat Florida State after the Seminoles joined the league. FSU was 29-for-29 until UVA stopped Warrick Dunn on the final play of the game for the 33-28 upset. This year, the Cavaliers are looking like more of a conference contender, as they're ranked No. 25. Florida State barely avoided a stunning 0-2 start after UL Monroe missed an extra point in overtime.

College football Week 3 preview: What to watch out for, big questions

Where could this week's shocker come from?

Oct. 14, 2017. That's the last time there were no Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups for a week — until now. But before thinking that means there won't be drama, where's what happened that week almost two years ago:

  • Syracuse upset No. 2 Clemson (Oct. 13)
  • California upset No. 8 Washington State (Oct. 13)
  • Arizona State upset No. 5 Washington
  • LSU upset No. 10 Auburn
  • Boise State upset No. 19 San Diego State
  • West Virginia upset No. 24 Texas Tech
  • Memphis upset No. 25 Navy

College football likes to surprise fans with upsets when we least expect them. So what are this week's top candidates?

There are possibilities toward the end of the Top 25: Temple vs. No. 21 Maryland, BYU vs. No. 24 Southern California and Florida State vs. No. 25 Virginia.

If we go inside the top 20, Stanford might be a tough out for UCF. But look to Ames for the most likely "upset." Iowa State is nearly ranked itself and wants to end the four-game slide to the No. 19 Hawkeyes. This one will be close.

If you're eyeing a top-10 upset, start by looking at Kentucky at home against No. 9 Florida.

How will early season surprises handle the accolades?

Both Southern California and Maryland started the season unranked. They both went a combined 5-7 last season.

Yet as we hit Week 3, USC overcame the loss of JT Daniels, might have found a spark in QB Kedon Slovis, crushed No. 23 Stanford and is now No. 24 in the AP Poll.

Maryland, under first-year coach Mike Locksley leads the country with 71 points per game through two weeks and is averaging 637 yards.

Now the expectations are setting in. USC must visit BYU and Maryland travels to play a Temple team it lost to by 21 points last year — and the Terrapins were 2-0 for that, too. Life can be a little different when you're the one with the spotlight.

WEEK 3 POLLS: AP Poll Top 25 | Coaches Poll

Which teams will earn in-state bragging rights in popular rivalry series?

Penn State and Pitt meet for the 100th time. Iowa State gets "College GameDay" for the first time as Iowa comes to town.

The PSU-Pitt comes before the Nittany Lions start Big Ten play. And the first league game now seems much more difficult: Maryland on Friday, Sept. 27 in College Park. However, the Lions' offense has looked potent with Sean Clifford taking over for Trace McSorley, who's now in the NFL. Pitt is hoping for some consistency — and to end what Penn State hopes is a special season before it really gets started.

Over in Iowa, the Cyclones-Hawkeyes winner will feel much more confident in their conference races with a win. The Nate Stanley vs. Brock Purdy QB watch will be a treat.

For fun, here are other in-state nonconference games this week:

College football rankings: Week 3

The top 3 is the same for both the AP and Coaches Poll. But there are differences as No. 4, with LSU rising there in the AP and Oklahoma holding the spot for the Coaches.

Of teams ranked in both Top 25 polls, Maryland has the biggest discrepancy. The Terrapins are No. 21 in the AP and No. 25 in the Coaches.

Clemson (56)

Clemson (60)
Alabama (6)

Alabama (3)



Ohio State

Ohio State
Notre Dame

Notre Dame




Penn State

Penn State



Texas A&M
Texas A&M


Michigan State


Michigan State
Washington State

Washington State

Boise State

Boise State

Mississippi State
Southern California

Southern California


Week 3 college football schedule

All times Eastern. All schedules and networks subject to change.

Click or tap here for a live scoreboard.

Saturday, Sept. 14

Miami (OH) at Cincinnati | 12 p.m. | ESPNU
Pitt at No. 13 Penn State | 12 p.m. | ABC
Chattanooga at Tennessee | 12 p.m. | SEC Network
Arkansas State at No. 3 Georgia | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
Kansas State at Mississippi State | 12 p.m. | ESPN
Furman at Virginia Tech | 12 p.m. | ACC Network
N.C. State at West Virginia | 12 p.m. | FS1
Eastern Michigan at Illinois | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
No. 6 Ohio State at Indiana | 12 p.m. | FOX
No. 21 Maryland at Temple | 12 p.m. | CBSSN
The Citadel at Georgia Tech | 12 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
Air Force at Colorado | 1 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Florida Atlantic at Ball State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+
Norfolk State at Coastal Carolina | 2 p.m. | ESPN3
New Mexico at No. 7 Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. | NBC
Akron at Central Michigan | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
East Carolina at Navy | 3:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Memphis at South Alabama | 3:30 p.m. | ESPNU
Army at UTSA | 3:30 p.m. | NFL Network
Stanford at No. 17 UCF | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN
No. 24 Southern California at BYU | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
Georgia Southern at Minnesota | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
UNLV at Northwestern | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
No. 2 Alabama at South Carolina | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
Oklahoma State at Tulsa | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
Southeastern Louisiana at Ole Miss | 4 p.m. | SEC Network
Colorado State at Arkansas | 4 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State | 4 p.m. | FS1
Arizona State at No. 18 Michigan State | 4 p.m. | FOX
Louisville at Western Kentucky | 4 p.m. | Stadium
Bethune-Cookman at Miami | 4 p.m. | ACC Network
North Texas at California | 4:15 p.m. | Pac-12 Networks
Idaho State at No. 11 Utah | 4:15 p.m. | Pac-12 Networks
Cal Poly at Oregon State | 4:15 p.m. | Pac-12 Networks
Louisiana Tech at Bowling Green | 5 p.m. | ESPN+
Idaho at Wyoming | 5 p.m. | ESPN3
UMass at Charlotte | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Southern Miss at Troy | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Buffalo at Liberty | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
South Carolina State at South Florida | 6 p.m. | ESPN3
Ohio at Marshall | 6:30 p.m. | Facebook
New Hampshire at Florida International | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Texas State at SMU | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Georgia State at Western Michigan | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Murray State at Toledo | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Duke at Middle Tennessee | 7 p.m. | Facebook
Kent State at No. 8 Auburn | 7 p.m. | ESPN2
No. 9 Florida at Kentucky | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Lamar at No. 16 Texas A&M | 7 p.m. | ESPNU
Weber State at Nevada | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
TCU at Purdue | 7:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Northwestern State at No. 4 LSU | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Southeast Missouri State at Missouri | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Florida State at No. 25 Virginia | 7:30 p.m. | ACC Network
No. 1 Clemson at Syracuse | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
Texas Southern at Louisiana | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Hawai'i at No. 23 Washington | 7:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Missouri State at Tulane | 8 p.m. | ESPN3
Northern Illinois at Nebraska | 8 p.m. | FS1
San Diego State at New Mexico State | 8 p.m.
No. 12 Texas at Rice (NRG Stadium) | 8 p.m. | CBSSN
No. 5 Oklahoma at UCLA | 8 p.m. | FOX
Portland State at No. 22 Boise State | 10:15 p.m. | ESPN2
Texas Tech at Arizona | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN
Montana at No. 15 Oregon | 10:45 p.m. | Pac-12 Network

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