Ranked College Football Teams That Have the Most to Prove in Week 3

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIISeptember 11, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 08:  Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 8, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 21-17.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In addition to Arkansas' stunning upset loss to the UL-Monroe Warhawks, three other Top 25 teams dropped out of the rankings.

The Razorbacks' defeat and other shockers from last week's action are the first wake-up calls of the young season, showing other top teams just how quickly fortunes can change.

Other schools that perhaps don't belong in the Top 25 may also suffer abruptly dashed hopes as well this weekend, so which teams have the most to prove in Week 3?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (No. 20 in AP poll)

Everett Golson performed admirably in his first start at home, completing 21-of-31 passes for 289 yards and a score. He also ran for a touchdown. However, Golson was heavily pressured and sacked five times leading to backup Tommy Rees's orchestrating the game-winning drive in a 20-17 win against Purdue.

Squeezing out a home victory against a rival is a good omen for the Irish, but this week they will face a much sterner test on the road in East Lansing.

Michigan State is ranked No. 10 in the latest AP poll and boast a stout defense. Their physical running game is led by Le'Veon Bell at running back.

The Irish defense, anchored by All-American senior linebacker Manti Te'o, will also look to exploit an inexperienced quarterback in the Spartans' Andrew Maxwell.

This should be a hard-fought, low-scoring slugfest, but if Notre Dame somehow comes out on top, they will justify their seemingly eminent place in the preseason Top 25.

USC Trojans (No. 2 in AP poll)

Last week's win against Syracuse left much to be desired. The offense scored seemingly at will, but the defense struggled to contain Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib.

2011's triple-overtime loss to the Stanford Cardinal no doubt sticks in the Trojans' minds. They will get their chance at revenge in Stanford Stadium on Saturday night.

Stepfan Taylor and the Cardinal running game will have to play keep away from the balanced USC attack orchestrated by quarterback Matt Barkley. The Heisman candidate gives the Trojans a huge edge in the matchup at the game's most important position, especially with Andrew Luck no longer wearing Stanford colors.

Penn State transfer Silas Redd has been as good as advertised for the Trojans, despite arriving about a month before the first game.

It's likely that the Trojans will be at least one-score favorites, even on the road. If they can get it done in dominating fashion, they will cement their status as a top-tier team amongst the likes of Alabama and LSU.

Texas Longhorns (No. 14 in AP poll)

The two-headed monster of Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown pummeled the Wyoming Cowboys two weeks ago, with both eclipsing 100 yards rushing. Sophomore quarterback David Ash then played flawlessly in a 45-0 romp over New Mexico.

This Saturday will be a road trip to the University of Mississippi, and the Rebels look to play spoiler to a strong start to the Longhorns' season.

Dual-threat quarterback Bo Wallace leads the Ole Miss offensive attack against what has been an impressive Texas defensive unit, albeit against lowly competition.

This game precedes what is a slate of four extremely difficult contests for Texas, mostly within the Big 12 conference.

The Longhorns must prove that they can avoid a "trap game"-scenario here and take care of business on the road against an upstart SEC foe.