College Football Picks Week 3: Predictions, Schedule, Rankings for Top 25

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Wide Receiver Travis Rudolph #15 the Florida State Seminoles during pre-game before playing against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on September 10, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. The 3rd ranked Florida State defeated Charleston Southern 52 to 8. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

With Week 2 of the college football season in the books, it's time to look forward to Week 3. Thankfully for college football fans, the week is loaded with premier matchups in a slate of games that should dramatically alter the landscape early in the season.

Below, we'll take a look at the Associated Press and Bleacher Report polls, the schedule for the Top 25 teams, make predictions for each of those games and analyze some of the top matchups on tap.


Week 3: AP Top 25 Schedule and Predictions
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatchPrediction
Thursday, Sept. 157:30 p.m.No. 6 Houston vs. CincinnatiESPNHouston
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatchPrediction
Friday, Sept. 168 p.m.No. 21 Baylor vs. RiceESPNBaylor
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatchPrediction
Saturday, Sept. 1712 p.m.South Carolina State vs. No. 5 ClemsonACC NetworkClemson
Saturday, Sept. 1712 p.m.No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 10 LouisvilleABCLouisville
Saturday, Sept. 1712 p.m.Ohio vs. No. 15 TennesseeSEC NetworkTennessee
Saturday, Sept. 1712 p.m.North Dakota State vs. No. 13 IowaESPN2Iowa
Saturday, Sept. 1712 p.m.Georgia State vs. No. 9 WisconsinBig Ten NetworkWisconsin
Saturday, Sept. 1712 p.m.No. 25 Miami vs. Appalachian StateESPNMiami
Saturday, Sept. 173:30 p.m.No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 19 Ole MissCBSAlabama
Saturday, Sept. 173:30 p.m.Colorado vs. No. 5 MichiganBig Ten NetworkMichigan
Saturday, Sept. 173:30 p.m.No. 22 Oregon vs. NebraskaABCOregon
Saturday, Sept. 177 p.m.No. 17 Texas A&M vs. AuburnESPNTexas A&M
Saturday, Sept. 177 p.m.Mississippi State vs. LSUESPN2LSU
Saturday, Sept. 177:30 p.m.North Texas vs. No. 23 FloridaESPNUFlorida
Saturday, Sept. 177:30 p.m.No. 12 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Notre DameNBCNotre Dame
Saturday, Sept. 177:30 p.m.Texas State vs. No. 24 ArkansasSEC NetworkArkansas
Saturday, Sept. 177:30 p.m.No. 16 Georgia vs. MissouriSEC NetworkGeorgia
Saturday, Sept. 177:30 p.m.No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 14 OklahomaFOXOhio State
Saturday, Sept. 178 p.m.Portland State vs. No. 8 WashingtonPac-12 NetworkWashington
Saturday, Sept. 178 p.m.USC vs. No. 7 StanfordABCStanford
Saturday, Sept. 1710:30 p.m.No. 11 Texas vs. CaliforniaESPNTexas
Source: ESPN



TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Eddie Jackson #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts with Reuben Foster #10 after returning an interception for a touchdown against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Tuscaloosa
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It's tough to bet against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Head coach Nick Saban simply won't let them get too full of themselves, as he lambasted his team after its 38-10 victory on Saturday over Western Kentucky.

"I don't know that I've ever been this disappointed after winning a game, maybe ever," he told Dieter Kurtenbach of Fox Sports.

Again, this came after a win.

And maybe it's just the kick in the butt the Crimson Tide need considering they lost to Ole Miss at home a year ago, 43-37. Of course, they recovered last season and won a national championship, but it certainly makes for convincing bulletin-board material. 

Especially considering Ole Miss also beat them in 2014. So maybe coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels have Alabama's number. But it's hard to imagine Alabama allowing Ole Miss to beat them three years in a row given how loaded they are across the board and how thoroughly they spanked USC to open the season.

The game might come down to whether Ole Miss can slow down the receiving duo of ArDarius Stewart and Calvin Ridley. Don't bank on it.  

Meanwhile, No. 2 Florida State will have its hands full with No. 10 Louisville and explosive quarterback Lamar Jackson. In just two games, Jackson has 1,015 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns.

That has Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports spinning:

And it has to be a major concern for a Seminoles defense that gave up 313 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly in the team's opening win. 

Can the Seminoles slow down the dual-threat Jackson and Louisville's explosive offense? 

Jackson probably doesn't think so.

"I feel like I can score, get my team in the end zone, on any play," he said, per Bud Poliquin of "That's what my job is. When we don't score, all of us get mad at ourselves."

He wasn't kidding. When asked how he would grade his 610-yard, five-touchdown performance and the offense in general against Syracuse in Week 2, he was a harsh critic.

"I'd give it a 'C'," he replied, per Poliquin. "I didn't like it because we had too many mistakes. We're not supposed to have that. Dropped passes. Fumbles. The interception. It was a 'C.' Average. Average."

It's scary to think of what Louisville might look like when the offense plays well (at least by Jackson's standards). And for that reason, this game has "upset" written all over it.

Louisville is red-hot and at home, and Jackson is the type of talent who gives any defense issues. Last year, Clemson's Deshaun Watson threw for 297 yards and a score and rushed for another 107 yards against the Seminoles defense. While it might be a tad premature to compare Jackson to Watson, he's the sort of versatile quarterback who will give the Florida State defense issues.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame will be looking to avoid its second loss of the season at home against Michigan State.

That may not be as tall a task as once thought—the Spartans were not convincing in their opening-week win over Furman, though they've had a week to prepare for Notre Dame. It's tough to bet against a desperate Notre Dame team at home, however, especially with DeShone Kizer playing excellent football early in the season for the Fighting Irish.

And then there's Ohio State traveling to face Oklahoma, which, like Notre Dame, is desperately trying to avoid its second loss. Unlike Notre Dame, however, the Sooners have to face an Ohio State team that is brimming with young talent, led by quarterback J.T. Barrett. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel are dynamic playmakers, while Dontre Wilson and Noah Brown give the team weapons outside. 

Oklahoma couldn't slow down Houston. It's hard to imagine it stifling the Buckeyes.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.


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