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Week 3 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Charleston Southern at NC State Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ugh... what an amazingly dreadful lineup of games this weekend. If your significant other has been harassing you about getting stuff done around the house or wanting to go do something with their friends on a Saturday morning, this is the week to do it. Go earn those brownie points now so you can cash them in later in the year when the games get better.

There are a ton of P5 teams with games against FCS or weak G5 competition this week, which just makes for bad watching. However, North Dakota State has to be a favorite to go into Tucson and beat Arizona. That’ll be a fun game, which just happens to be the Saturday nightcap, but let’s look at the games before them first.

Oh yeah, again (again?!) there are no Thursday night college football games, which is just sad.

Friday night we get Florida State at Louisville. FSU is off to a great start out of the gates, but you never really know with them. Louisville, and more particularly Scott Satterfield, could really use this home win.

Everyone will be watching that Georgia at South Carolina game at noon on Saturday, but the best game in that opening slate will be Purdue in the Carrier Dome JMA Wireless Dome against Syracuse. The Orange are off to a great start in an effort that, if sustained, could save Dino Babers’ job, while Purdue has a fun-to-watch offense under Jeff Brohm.

At 2:00pm over on the ACC Network, Old Dominion looks to secure the Commonwealth Title. A win over the Wahoos would give the Monarchs wins over both P5 schools in the state. Considering how woefully inept Virginia has been on offense this year, I would say the chances are pretty decent. Somehow, ODU is an 8.5-point underdog in this one and the over/under is set at 53, which is laughably high if you’ve seen either of these offenses play.

Notre Dame hosts Cal in what should be the first win of Marcus Freeman’s Irish tenure... but then again, the same thing was said heading into last week’s game against Marshall and we all know how that went in South Bend.

BYU vs Oregon is one of the better matchups of the day, so put that one on at your tailgate. Penn State at Auburn will get the glory, but Auburn is a mess and the Nittany Lions should easily capture that win and send the Tiger boosters back at Bryan Harsin’s throat.

College Gameday will be in Boone (as if you hadn’t heard that already), but most won’t see that game as it’s stuck on ESPN+ and the opponent is a Troy program that hasn’t topped five wins in a season since 2018 (Neal Brown’s last season there before taking off for the West Virginia job).

Speaking of WVU, is the team that beat them last week (Kansas) for real? The Jayhawks are 2-0 and have scored 111 points in those two games. They take on Houston, which could be a sneaky good game.

At 6:00pm, Mississippi State heads to Baton Rouge to take on LSU in one of the premier matchups of the week. The Bulldogs offense, as you’d expect, has looked really good this year with Will Rogers running the Mike Leach system. I still don’t think Brian Kelly will work out long term at LSU due to the clash between his style and the historical culture of that program, but Jayden Daniels might be the most talented QB he’s ever had to work with, so maybe this year does go really well once Daniels learns the system.

Texas Tech comes to Raleigh for the 7:00pm kick, being the first P5 non-conference opponent in Carter-Finley since 2016 (Notre Dame). Prior to that, it was the 2009 season opener against South Carolina.

Maybe Pitt should consider losing to Western Michigan on Saturday night. I mean, the Broncos topped them last year and everything seemed to kinda work out well for the Panthers.

SMU at Maryland is an intriguing game, although nobody is going to watch it.

Miami heads to Texas A&M in a game that was shaping up to be THE game of the week... until A&M got embarrassed by App State last week. Gameday pulling out of their previously announced plan to be in College Station after the loss (and deciding to go to Boone instead) is just hilarious and is what the Aggies deserve for being incredibly obnoxious to begin with.

Still, that should be a fun game.

The late games feature what should be a pair of blowouts and a possible FCS upset over an FBS P5 team.

It might not be a great slate of games, but I’m watching anyways.

Go State!

Rankings for SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.


35/39 Florida State @ 55/46 Louisville - 7:30pm - ESPN

42/31 Air Force @ 109/114 Wyoming - 8:00pm - CBSSN


1/2 Georgia @ 46/48 South Carolina - 12:00pm - ESPN

126/149 UConn @ 4/8 Michigan - 12:00pm - ABC

29/33 Purdue @ 54/41 Syracuse - 12:00pm - ESPN2

66/84 Western Kentucky @ 81/74 Indiana - 12:00pm - BTN

97/110 Old Dominion @ 75/90 Virginia - 2:00pm - ACCN

74/59 California @ 18/17 Notre Dame - 2:30pm - NBC

19/28 BYU @ 27/14 Oregon - 3:30pm - FOX

6/24 Ole Miss @ 92/93 Georgia Tech - 3:30pm - ABC

14/10 Penn State @ 30/61 Auburn - 3:30pm - CBS

83/115 Troy @ 57/42 Appalachian State - 3:30pm - ESPN+

85/68 Kansas @ 48/64 Houston - 4:00pm - ESPNU

76/82 Liberty @ 37/29 Wake Forest - 5:00pm - ACCN

FCS/180 Campbell @ 67/71 East Carolina - 6:00pm - ESPN+

15/11 Mississippi State @ 25/23 LSU - 6:00pm - ESPN

FCS/190 NC A&T @ 103/56 Duke - 6:00pm - ESPN+/ACCNX

40/66 Texas Tech @ 23/32 NC State - 7:00pm - ESPN2

13/25 Michigan State @ 47/21 Washington - 7:30pm - ABC

33/38 Pittsburgh @ 101/81 Western Michigan - 7:30pm - ESPNU

34/55 SMU @ 45/47 Maryland - 7:30pm - FS1

FCS/215 Maine @ 78/94 Boston College - 7:30pm - ESPN3

105/127 Louisiana Tech @ 7/5 Clemson - 8:00pm - ACCN

24/30 Miami @ 9/22 Texas A&M - 9:00pm - ESPN

77/88 San Diego State @ 11/9 Utah - 10:00pm - ESPN2

49/60 Fresno State @ 32/15 USC - 10:30pm - FOX

FCS/58 North Dakota State @ 94/65 Arizona - 11:00pm - FS1