College Football Week 3 Schedule: Top 25 Teams on Upset Alert

Matt WestCorrespondent IISeptember 15, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans talks to quarterback Matt Barkley #7 during a game against the Syracuse Orange at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It's always fun each week to glance at the college football schedule, analyze the matchups and pick teams that could potentially be upset. Week 3 presents a few possible games that could result in a surprising score, and that makes the upcoming slate of games all the more interesting to gear up for.

These teams should prepare for a dogfight come Saturday, and could very well head into next week with their first loss of the season. Regardless, each game should be entertaining for the fans and should give us more fodder for the BCS discussion as we approach the heart of the 2012 season.


University of Southern California

It's hard to pick against a team that has a Heisman candidate in Matt Barkley and a stable of offensive threats including Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. But that's the thing with this USC offense: They rely heavily on their quarterback's ability to find these two dynamic threats.

The Cardinal, presumably, will work hard to jam those threats at the line and prevent them from running free. Because, when they are given space to run they will do so unabated—and to the tune of a lot of yards and points. But the Cardinal have a solid foundation with their strong running back Stepfan Taylor, and if they can get anything going on the ground that will open up the play-action playbook.

Stanford needs a lot of things to go right if they wish to upset the No. 2 team in the country on Saturday, but the pieces are there for them to do so.


University of Tennessee

The Tennesee-Florida matchup this week is an interesting case of two SEC teams trying to make that upward swing toward the top of the toughest conference in football. Both teams had prominent coaches leave them somewhat in disarray, but 2-0 starts to the season have both thinking of the good ole days.

Tennessee is currently sitting at No. 23 in the country, but facing a Florida team ranked at No. 18 means they could kiss goodbye to the AP Top 25 with a loss. Florida QB Jeff Driskel is a dual threat with his arm and legs, and he proved last week against Texas A&M he can be efficient as well, completing 13-of-16 passes for 162 and no interceptions.

Florida's defense will be key, as they shut down the Aggies in the second half last week, shutting them out while surrendering only 65 yards. Tennesee QB Tyler Bray will look to open things up with wideouts Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson, but Florida has shown early that it can make adjustments and hang with very talented teams.


Michigan State University

Much like USC, it's hard to envision the Spartans losing a game this early with the talent they have on offense. Right now they are averaging 478 offensive yards per game, which is 32nd in the country. Good news for Irish fans is that they counter with the 37th-ranked defense in the country, yielding only 314.5 yards per contest.

While the Irish can certainly move the ball on offense, it's their defensive stalwarts that make this a red flag for Spartans fans. Linebacker Manti Te'o is averaging nine tackles a game and should be everywhere come Saturday. Le'Veon Bell is one of the best rushers in the country, but a guy like Te'o could significantly minimize his impact. In addition, safety Zeke Motta will have to be a jack-of-all-trades player if the Irish hope to win: His impact will need to be felt in the passing game and when they stack the box attempting to stop Bell.

This should be a fun contest, and seeing as the Spartans are only favored by six, should come down to the fourth quarter.