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Week 3 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

Notre Dame v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

NC State gets a get-right game this week against VMI after a late-game meltdown in last Saturday’s loss against Notre Dame. There’s a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, and Wolfpack fans will be expecting to see a much cleaner effort this week in a large victory. If this game is tight, alarm bells will be sounding.

There are, of course, other games this week, so here’s a quick look at ones that should have your attention.

Thursday’s games are going to be awful. Miami is going to absolutely destroy Bethune-Cookman while Memphis is a heavy favorite over a rebuilding Navy team. Maybe tune into the Vikings-Eagles game instead to see some of the newfangled Amazon features on the Prime Video Thursday night game.

We get an ACC retro matchup on Friday with Virginia heading to Maryland. The Cavaliers are big underdogs, and rightfully so coming off a home loss to James Madison, but freshman Anthony Colandrea looked good in that game. If he’s really the answer to Virginia’s offensive woes, it could be a better game than expected.

Boston College had a SP+ post-game win expectancy of just 33.9% in last week’s win over FCS opponent Holy Cross. This week, they get to take on the ACC’s hottest team, Florida State. The spread is 28.5 points and Florida State will likely hit that by halftime.

LSU vs Mississippi State is the game you’re going to want on for that noon Saturday tilt. Should be a really good one, and don’t let the 9-point LSU spread fool you; SP+ has a projected margin of 1.2 points in the Tigers favor.

Old friend Eli Drinkwitz has a chance to make a big statement against Kansas State, but Missouri barely squeaked by Middle Tennesse State last week at home, so temper expectations. Chris Klieman is a helluva good coach.

I was a little surprised at how well the advanced metrics systems regard Louisville, but hopefully they can live up to that with a win at Indiana. Despite being only two hours apart, the two schools have only played in football twice, with the last meeting being in 1986. The Cardinals lost both of those games.

South Carolina gets a chance for a statement win and Georgia gets their first real game of the year. If the Gamecocks team that showed up against UNC shows up in this one, the Bulldogs will be able to rest their starters for the 2nd half.

Speaking of UNC, we’re all Golden Gophers fans on Saturday, right? I don’t necessarily like P.J. Fleck, but I sure hope he wins this one. Minnesota’s strength on offense is the running game, which just so happens to be the Tar Heels strength on defense. The opposite also holds true with UNC’s offensive strength being through the air, matching up Minnesota’s strength. That Gophers pass defense has only allowed 92.5 pass yards per game so far, but also hasn’t really been tested.

Nerd alert in Durham! Also, Duke should win that game easily.

Not sure who decided that this week is a mini ACC-B1G Challenge weekend, but Virginia Tech is an underdog on the road to Rutgers while Syracuse and Purdue are a pick-em game in West Lafayette (although SP+ likes the Orange and their 56.5 points-per-game offense by over 8 points). While it doesn’t involve any of the top teams from those respective conferences, this could be a statement weekend for the ACC.

In the vein of potential statement wins for the conference, Georgia Tech hits the road to take on Ole Miss. The Yellow Jackets are big-time underdogs to the Rebels, but they’ve been better than expected thus far this year (small sample size caveat applies).

Before that game kicks off is the big game of the weekend between Tennessee and Florida. The Vols are the favorite, but it’s hard to get a read on the Gators considering their only game of note so far is the season opener against Utah and their suffocating defense. Should be a fun one to watch.

Pitt vs West Virginia should be another great game in the evening. All that to say, I hope you have multiple screens for Saturday evening.

Go Pack!

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


FCS/250 Bethune-Cookman @ 21/23 Miami - 7:30pm - ACCN

108/115 Navy @ 38/64 Memphis - 7:30pm - ESPN


93/94 Virginia @ 34/47 Maryland - 7:00pm - FS1

86/93 Army @ 63/67 UTSA - 7:00pm - ESPN

94/81 Utah State @ 62/72 Air Force - 8:00pm - CBSSN


8/13 Florida State @ 90/97 Boston College - 12:00pm - ABC

4/7 Penn State @ 52/53 Illinois - 12:00pm - FOX

16/16 LSU @ 23/38 Mississippi State - 12:00pm - ESPN

15/11 Kansas State @ 46/73 Missouri - 12:00pm - SECN

27/37 Louisville @ 79/79 Indiana - 12:00pm - BTN

44/55 Wake Forest @ 112/116 Old Dominion - 12:00pm - ESPN2

FCS/212 VMI @ 57/54 NC State - 2:00pm - CW

109/110 Central Michigan @ 11/9 Notre Dame - 2:30pm - Peacock

39/33 South Carolina @ 1/1 Georgia - 3:30pm - CBS

42/34 Minnesota @ 25/26 North Carolina - 3:30pm - ESPN

81/71 Northwestern @ 33/51 Duke - 3:30pm - ACCN

73/74 Virginia Tech @ 59/58 Rutgers - 3:30pm - BTN

124/158 FlU @ 129/133 UConn - 3:30pm - CBSSN

99/90 East Carolina @ 77/57 Appalachian State - 3:30pm - ESPN+

12/12 Tennessee @ 36/39 Florida - 7:00pm - ESPN

68/88 Georgia Tech @ 13/10 Ole Miss - 7:30pm - SECN

51/59 BYU @ 26/29 Arkansas - 7:30pm - ESPN2

28/40 Syracuse @ 61/60 Purdue - 7:30pm - NBC

41/42 Pittsburgh @ 58/61 West Virginia - 7:30pm - ABC

82/89 Florida Atlantic @ 19/20 Clemson - 8:00pm - ACCN

35/31 TCU @ 67/68 Houston - 8:00pm - FOX

128/122 Colorado State @ 76/62 Colorado - 10:00pm - ESPN

65/77 Fresno State @ 84/80 Arizona State - 10:30pm - FS1