College Football Rankings 2012: Week 3 Matchups That Will Greatly Impact Polls

Alex KayCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Running back Curtis McNeal #22 of the USC Trojans is upended by safety Michael Thomas #3 of the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Stanford won 56-48 in three overtimes.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The college football Week 2 polls were just released, and it’s another unsurprising week from the voters.

Arkansas, after losing to Louisiana-Monroe, dropped from No. 8 to unranked this week. Nebraska, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State followed the Razorbacks out of the polls after their respective losses.

Alabama, USC and LSU have continued their reign of dominance atop the polls, and the power structure will likely remain the same for much of the year.

However, a few of the Week 3 matchups will make a serious impact on how the voters elect to rank the teams in Week 4. 


No. 2 USC at No. 21 Stanford - Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX

The Trojans will be traveling to Palo Alto to take on the Cardinal in a game that should cement USC’s status as one of the top two teams in the nation.

Southern Cal’s offense—which features Heisman candidate Matt Barkley under center—is just too high-powered for Stanford to stop.

Remember, the team with a tree mascot struggled in their opening contest against the San Jose State Spartans and barely escaped with a 20-17 victory.

While they looked better against Duke in Week 2, winning 50-13, the defense will not be able to contain the Trojans electric attack.

Stanford may still be ranked, but you can expect them to get blown out when these teams clash on Saturday. 


No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee - Saturday, Sept. 15 at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

The Gators had a tough test in Week 2 against Texas A&M, but passed it by winning 20-17 on the road.

Now they must head into Knoxville to take on the Volunteers, who have been absolutely rolling through the opening games.

The Vols weren’t expected to be a major factor in the SEC in 2012, but now look like one of the top teams in the East.

This is going to be an extremely close contest and the winner should get a significant boost from the voters in the polls following Week 3.


No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State - Saturday, Sept. 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC

The Fighting Irish are surprisingly clawing their way up the rankings and have their first real test against the No. 10 ranked Spartans.

It’s going to be one of the best games of the week and should determine which team has a legit chance of making a BCS bowl and which is a pretender in 2012.

Don’t sleep on the Irish pulling the upset, as they have a great rushing attack and inexperienced QB who has been playing lately.

Michigan State matches up well, so this game could go either way.