The second weekend of the college football season saw two games pitting the top 12 teams in the country. One of those became a classic SEC vs Big 12 shootout with LSU defeating Texas 45-38. Now, this week we don’t have any ranked teams playing each other. However, historically these types of weekends have the makings of many upsets. Do we have an upset weekend in store? Let’s see, as we get you ready for the action with our week three college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
Week Three College Football Watch Guide
Mack Brown’s Tar Heels are the feel-good story of the season. Could North Carolina be in a position to go from worst to first in 2019? A big step in that direction would be their first true road victory of the season. Wake Forest is quietly 2-0 on the young season after victories over Utah State and Rice. Jamie Newman is off to a hot start for the Demon Deacons and this one could be a shootout.
The best quarterback matchup of the weekend happens here as both sets of Cougars meet up. Mike Leach has perfected the plug and play as Anthony Gordon has thrown for 884 yards and nine touchdowns in two games. Meanwhile, D’Eriq King is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the game. The defense that can get five stops will win this one.
There’s a logjam behind Oklahoma and Texas for that third spot in the Big 12 and Kansas State has been as impressive as anyone. Believe it or not, Skylar Thompson leads the country in passing efficiency through two games. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are dealing with some injuries as Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens went down in their game with Southern Mississippi. His health leading up to this one will be pivotal.
While North Carolina might be the feel-good story, the most surprising team is the Maryland Terrapins. Not Oklahoma or Alabama, but the Terrapins have been the best offensive team in the country this year in scoring 79 and 62 points. They will face a historically tough defensive team in Temple for their first road test. As we picked Maryland in an upset last week, this has the making of an upset going the opposite direction.
Austin Kendall and the Mountaineers had a performance they would like to put behind them in the blowout loss at Missouri. Now, West Virginia must come home to face a game North Carolina State squad before conference play begins. This feels like a must-win for West Virginia, while the Wolfpack hopes an improved defense can propel them to a 3-0 start to the season.
The Buckeyes face the Hoosiers in the first Big 10 road tilt of the season. Newcomer Justin Fields is in the thick of the Heisman race after an impressive victory over Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Indiana is 2-0 as well but the competition has been light. Ohio State has been known to throw out some conference road duds in trips to Purdue and Iowa over the last couple of years. Could this be another one?
Replacing an all-timer like Trace McSorley is a tough proposition, but Sean Clifford has performed admirably in his first two starts. After a slow first half, the Nittany Lions dominated Buffalo in the second half last week. Pittsburgh seems to be a bit down after a 16-point loss to Virginia and just a 10-point victory over Ohio. Could Penn State get caught looking ahead to a road date against Maryland in two weeks?
The Crimson Tide jump into conference play this week as they travel to face South Carolina. Alabama has shown a bit of weakness in the offensive line early and Tua Tagovailoa has been under fire. However, the defense has been solid. Comparatively, the Gamecocks got a much needed dominant performance last week over Charleston Southern. Can the Ryan Hillinski career go 2-0 with a huge upset over the Tide?
UCF finally gets the game that they’ve been clamoring for. They have a tilt with a traditional Power Five school as Stanford comes calling. USC demolished the Cardinal last week. But, if K.J. Costello is back he could be the difference-maker. Dillon Gabriel was efficient in his first start as five of his 16 completions went for scores. The Knights have not lost a regular-season game in three years.
This could be one of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend. Both teams had impressive wins that they really needed to have as USC beat Stanford and BYU upset Tennessee. The Trojans received an outstanding performance from freshman Kedon Slovis with 377 yards passing the three scores. Meanwhile, South Carolina transfer Ty’Son Williams nearly had 100 yards and a couple of scores against the Vols.
Here we have a return game from one of the biggest early-season upsets of a year ago. The Sun Devils have been unimpressive early in the 2019 campaign, but have one of the most electric running backs in Eno Benjamin. Conversely, Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the country and if they can score points could challenge for a Big Ten crown.
Do you want proof of the turn around that Matt Campbell has made at Iowa State? College Gameday is headed to Ames, Iowa for the first time in program history. Iowa has captured the last four in the Cy-Hawk series, but the Cyclones could bring forward the best team in program history. This one might come down to the right arm of two tremendous quarterbacks in Iowa’s Nathan Stanley and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy.
After a shaky performance in the opener, Florida bounced back with an FCS victory last week. However, there were some key injuries in that game for the Gators. However, the Wildcats won’t have any pity here as they lost Terry Wilson for the season. Can Sawyer Smith bring that magic of a year ago back to Lexington for second straight victory over Florida?
This one had the makings of a potential top 15 matchup until last weekend happened. The Tigers just continued to take care of business as they defeated Texas A&M last weekend in one of the marquee games on Saturday. This is even with Trevor Lawrence struggling a bit to start the season. Now, on the other side, the Syracuse defense was shredded by Maryland last weekend. Is that the wake-up call they needed in order to slay the giant?
This could very well be the best wide receiver matchup we have all season. TCU’s Jalen Reagor and Purdue’s Rondale Moore will have us on the edge of our seats each time they get the ball. The problem might be who will be getting them the ball. Alex Delton and Max Duggan split time against Arkansas Pine-Bluff with Duggan being more efficient. Meanwhile, Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar was diagnosed with a mild concussion after the victory against Vanderbilt.
It’s hard to imagine a tougher start to the season than what has transpired for UCLA in their 0-2 beginning to 2019. It won’t get any easier as the Sooners come calling. Oklahoma will need to guard against complacency in this one and avoid the trap of just showing up to win. Meanwhile, will a players-only meeting spark a change in momentum for the heavy underdog Bruins?
If nothing else, our nightcap gives us some excitement. We’ll set the over-under on total punts at five in this game and might be inclined to go under. For Arizona to get back in the bowl conversation, this is a critical game after the week zero loss to Hawaii. Meanwhile, Matt Wells is trying to build a different culture at Texas Tech. A road win and a 3-0 start to the season could do the trick off the right arm of Alan Bowman.