College Football Rankings 2012 Week 3: Games Guaranteed to Shake Up the Top 25

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 9, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01: Christon Jones #22 of the University of Alabama returns the punt during the game against the University of Michigan at Cowboys Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Alabama defeated Michigan 41-14.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

With the 2012 college football season underway, we have already been reminded why we follow collegiate football almost as closely as the NFL—because of the unpredictability. 

There haven't been any shocking upsets up this point, but the best games are still ahead of us. Things will surely change once the top teams move past their junk opponents and enter the meaty portion of their schedules. 

And although we haven't had any real surprises, we have seen some unexpected events early on in the season. 

In Week 1, we saw No. 13 Michigan State defeat No. 24 Boise State by only four points. We saw No. 23 Florida defeat Bowling Green by only 13 points and we saw No. 2 Alabama absolutely destroy No. 8 Michigan with a score of 41-14.

In Week 2, we saw No. 14 Ohio State beat unranked Central Florida by only 15 points, while Penn State lost to Virginia on the road thanks to four missed field goals.

There's always games to look forward to, and the BCS rankings are altered in an unexpected way every single week.  

Here are the Week 3 games most likely to shake up the rankings: 

No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks played the first game of the season against Jacksonville State and obviously won the game in a dominating fashion, but they were the victims of an epic 34-31 overtime upset against Louisiana-Monroe. 

The loss to an irrelevant school has spoiled their season, but a shocking performance against Alabama could salvage a portion of it. 

Arkansas will not achieve the goals they set for themselves, but this game gives them a chance to stay in the spotlight. 

But Alabama already destroyed a Top 10 team when they defeated Michigan 41-14. 

Alabama is coming off a national championship season, and Arkansas will have to break through them if they want their season to have any positive outcome whatsoever.  

No. 2 USC at No. 25 Stanford

The last time Stanford and USC played each other was in 2011 when Andrew Luck upset Matt Barkley and the Trojans by leading Stanford to a 56-48 overtime victory. 

Luck has left for the NFL, so now the Cardinal will have to get it done without their blue-chip quarterback. 

USC has moved passed the NCAA sanctions that kept them out of bowl games in recent years, and now they have national championship hopes. 

Stanford has a chance to spoil the Trojans season, no matter how unlikely a victory is. 

Even if Stanford loses but appears more competitive than expected, it will still hurt USC in the rankings. 

The game will produce one of two outcomes—USC will be ruined, or Stanford will be unranked. 

No. 22 Notre Dame at No. 11 Michigan State

Michigan State is coming off a narrow victory over No. 24 Boise State, which ended with a score of 17-13. 

Had Michigan State lost to Boise, their season would have suffered a blow. Instead, they pulled off a victory and moved up two spots in the rankings. 

A win over another ranked opponent, such as No. 22 Notre Dame, could do great things for Michigan State's season.

As far as Notre Dame, they handed Navy a 50-10 thumping, which put the Irish back on the map. 

A win over a highly-ranked team such as Michigan State will let everybody know that Notre Dame is ready to compete in 2012. 

No. 24 Florida at Tennessee 

The Florida Gators struggled against small-school Bowling Green in the opening week, defeating them by only 13 points in what should have been a landslide. 

Florida will be looking to forget the Bowling Green game and establish themselves as a competitor, but it doesn't help that their Week 3 opponent is a capable SEC rival. 

Florida is the favored team and should come out on top, but Tennessee is coming off two convincing victories, including a 35-21 win over the underrated North Carolina State. 

A win by Tennessee could result in them being ranked in the Top 25, while it would certainly result in Florida losing its ranking.

This is an important game for both the SEC and the national rankings.