College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2018

College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

0 of 8

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Top 25 teams largely held serve last weekend, but the level of competition is poised to increase during Week 3 of the 2018 college football season.

    Conference games are becoming a more regular sight, and several ranked programs are hitting the road. While no victory is ever guaranteed, upsets often happen away from home.

    Among the top 15 in the AP poll, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Washington, LSU and West Virginia all head elsewhere. There are three contests between ranked teams with Ohio State battling TCU at a neutral site, Auburn hosting LSU and Boise State traveling to Oklahoma State.

    It'll be a busy weekend around the country, and we've predicted every game involving a Football Bowl Subdivision team that kicks off Thursday or later.

         

    Note: AP Top 25 teams are highlighted first within a specific time slot. Due to Hurricane Florence, several games have been cancelled, rescheduled or moved to a different location.

    Games that won't be played: No. 18 UCF at North Carolina; East Carolina at No. 13 Virginia Tech; No. 14 West Virginia at North Carolina State; Norfolk State at Liberty.

Thursday and Friday Games

1 of 8

    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Old Dominion (0-2) at Charlotte (1-1), 6 p.m. ET

    Hurricane Florence moved this Conference USA affair up to Thursday from Saturday. The forecast appears clear as of this writing, but Charlotte's No. 10 run defense should be the difference in a cleaner contest than initially anticipated.

    Prediction: Charlotte 23, Old Dominion 17

           

    Boston College (2-0) at Wake Forest (2-0), Thursday, 5:30 p.m. ET

    After several years of a nonexistent Boston College aerial attack, it seems the program has finally found one. Wake Forest has surrendered 628 passing yards in two games, so the Eagles should cruise if quarterback Anthony Brown doesn't return to 2017 form.

    Prediction: Boston College 34, Wake Forest 23

         

    Georgia State (1-1) at Memphis (1-1), Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET

    Memphis coughed up its Week 2 clash against Navy. Both teams played in the same weather. Still, steady rain stunted the effectiveness a dynamic passing game. On a clear night, the Tigers should have no issue tearing apart Georgia State's secondary.

    Prediction: Memphis 48, Georgia State 13

                        

    Tennessee Tech (0-2) at Utah State (1-1), Thursday, 8 p.m. ET

    Through two games this season, Tennessee Tech's opponents have outscored the FCS school 83-10. Utah State, meanwhile, nearly upset Michigan State on the road and obliterated New Mexico State 63-10. Don't hold your breath for an upset.

    Prediction: Utah State 58, Tennessee Tech 10

Top Saturday Early Games

2 of 8

    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0) at Iowa State (0-1), Noon ET

    Last year, the Cyclones pulled off a stunning upset of Oklahoma. There will be no repeat in 2018, as Zeb Noland is likely to replace an injured Kyle Kempt, though the "new quarterback making first career start" storyline was the exact narrative entering the 2017 matchup. Nevertheless, the Sooners have the firepower to dispatch ISU, and they won't overlook the Cyclones this time around.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 48, Iowa State 20

              

    Kent State (1-1) at No. 11 Penn State (2-0), Noon ET

    After surviving a scare from Appalachian State, Penn State returned to expected form in Week 2 with a 51-6 thrashing of Pitt. Kent State quarterback Woody Barrett, who transferred from Auburn, is the caliber of quarterback needed for an upset, but the Golden Flashes will struggle to shut down the Nittany Lions.

    Prediction: Penn State 45, Kent State 17

          

    No. 21 Miami (1-1) at Toledo (1-0), Noon ET

    Remember two years ago when Appalachian State hosted Miami, and it was a super popular upset pick and the 'Canes won a laugher? That's the feeling this contest gives off. Toledo has a terrific receiving corps and won't be an easy opponent for Miami, but the Rockets must be absolutely perfect through the air to have a chance.

    Prediction: Miami 41, Toledo 27

         

    UC Davis (2-0) at No. 9 Stanford (2-0), 2 p.m. ET

    Calling this a "trap game" is a little much, but it's a tricky matchup for Stanford squeezed between showdowns with USC and Oregon. The Cardinal might have a few early breakdowns defensively before taking control of the nonconference game.

    Prediction: Stanford 37, UC Davis 21

              

    Vanderbilt (2-0) at No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0), 2:30 p.m. ET

    Brandon Wimbush tossed three interceptions against Ball State, but the Irish held on for a 24-16 victory. If those mistakes happen again, Vanderbilt probably won't be as forgiving. As long as Wimbush protects the ball, his mobility will provide the winning difference opposite a stout Vandy defense.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Vanderbilt 20

Other Saturday Early Games

3 of 8

    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    Florida State (1-1) at Syracuse (2-0), Noon ET

    Two games into Willie Taggart's tenure, Florida State hasn't experienced a revitalized offense as expected. Syracuse, conversely, has racked up 117 points so far. The Seminoles, who are favored, are still receiving the benefit of the doubt, but it's worth wondering if that's based more on projection than evidence, given the offense's performance to date.

    Prediction: Syracuse 37, Florida State 31

         

    Troy (1-1) at Nebraska (0-1), Noon ET

    Colorado spoiled Scott Frost's debut at Nebraska, and the Cornhuskers aren't a lock to recover in Week 3. That largely depends on the status of quarterback Adrian Martinez, who exited their Week 2 opener because of a knee injury. If he's healthy, the Huskers roll. If not, Troy can snatch one in Lincoln.

    Prediction: Nebraska 30, Troy 20

           

    Hawaii (3-0) at Army (1-1), Noon ET

    Seemingly out of nowhere, Hawaii has unveiled a potential juggernaut of a passing game. Cole McDonald has 1,165 yards and 13 touchdowns with zero interceptions. Since the defense is still a mess, Army should stay within striking distance. But if the Black Knights are playing from behind, Hawaii will be in good shape.

    Prediction: Hawaii 44, Army 34

          

    Rhode Island (2-0) at UConn (0-2), Noon ET

    Things are not going well for Connecticut, which has surrendered jaw-dropping totals of 1,470 yards and 118 points in two games. Rhode Island offers the hope of a rebound, but quarterback JaJuan Lawson is coming off a 317-yard, four-touchdown day. This is trouble for the hosts.

    Prediction: Rhode Island 31, UConn 24

              

    Rutgers (1-1) at Kansas (1-1), Noon ET

    It's over! It's over! Thanks to a 31-7 victory over Central Michigan, Kansas snapped its nine-year losing streak on the road and 12-game skid overall. In this Week 3 tilt, neither side has a particularly clear advantage. Let's ride the Jayhawks' confidence after a rare victory. They'll be at at home against a banged-up freshman quarterback in Artur Sitkowski.

    Prediction: Kansas 24, Rutgers 21

             

    Ball State (1-1) at Indiana (2-0), Noon ET

    Turnovers doomed Ball State during its trip to Notre Dame, which turned a pair of interceptions into 14 points while the Cardinals had three points on three takeaways. Indiana has a pesky defense, so Ball State must capitalize on any turnovers to have a chance. However, the Hoosiers probably won't put themselves in that spot.

    Prediction: Indiana 30, Ball State 21

          

    Temple (0-2) at Maryland (2-0), Noon ET

    Temple has surrendered an average of 266.5 passing yards in two games. Maryland would prefer to rely on Ty Johnson and the rushing attack, but it'll be a frustrating afternoon for the Owls if they fail to contain Kasim Hill through the air.

    Prediction: Maryland 41, Temple 28

          

    Murray State (0-2) at Kentucky (2-0), Noon ET

    Fresh off its first victory over Florida since 1986, Kentucky returns home for a date with Murray State. The visiting Racers have opened the season with losses to Southern Illinois and Central Arkansas, and a third is headed their way if Kentucky's star runner Benny Snell Jr. continues his hot start.

    Prediction: Kentucky 48, Murray State 10

          

    UTEP (0-2) at Tennessee (1-1), Noon ET

    Although 2018 likely won't be a pleasant year for Tennessee, Jeremy Pruitt and Co. still shouldn't have trouble with UTEP. The Miners have no threat of a competent passing game, so any early deficit will be problematic on the road.

    Prediction: Tennessee 41, UTEP 6

         

    Georgia Tech (1-1) at Pitt (1-1), 12:30 p.m. ET

    The ACC teams enjoyed blowout wins in Week 1 but returned to reality last weekend, losing to South Florida and Penn State, respectively. There are still plenty of answers waiting to be uncovered for both programs. Georgia Tech's offense is a safer bet to produce, so we'll err on the favorite's side.

    Prediction: Georgia Tech 31, Pitt 23

          

    Tulane (1-1) at UAB (1-1), 1 p.m. ET

    UAB excelled at home last season, winning all six games in Birmingham. Will that magic carry over to 2018 opposite a sound Tulane offense but potentially shaky defense? We're taking the Green Wave, but consider us intrigued by UAB's streak at home.

    Prediction: Tulane 34, UAB 27

Top Saturday Afternoon Games

4 of 8

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Georgia Southern (2-0) at No. 2 Clemson (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Several cracks appeared in Clemson's secondary during the nerve-wracking win at Texas A&M, but the run defense remained sound. The Tigers ceded just 2.2 yards per carry and 71 overall. They'll shut down Georgia Southern's run-first attack.

    Prediction: Clemson 42, Georgia Southern 14

          

    BYU (1-1) at No. 6 Wisconsin (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    After holding a dynamic dual-threat in Khalil Tate to 14 rushing yards, BYU gave up 184 at home to Cal. The Cougars hope the run defense from the 2018 opener travels to Madison, but Jonathan Taylorthe nation's leading rusherwill be too much to handle.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 41, BYU 16

         

    No. 12 LSU (2-0) at No. 7 Auburn (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    All that post-Miami hype will be tested Saturday afternoon. LSU has a terrific defense, but let's slow down on calling Joe Burrow the offense's savior. He can be both a budding upgrade and an unproven quarterback. Auburn, on the other hand, has Jarrett Stidham complementing a tenacious unit at home.

    Prediction: Auburn 27, LSU 20

         

    No. 17 Boise State (2-0) at No. 24 Oklahoma State (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Boise State has an opportunity to record a massive forward-looking win. If the Broncos back up their billing, they'll be in contention for a New Year's Six bowl slot. Oklahoma State has a slim advantage thanks to home field, but the offenses' performances after turnovers will likely dictate a high-scoring outcome.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 48, Boise State 42

              

    SMU (0-2) at No. 19 Michigan (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Michigan responded well following its frustrating loss at Notre Dame, holding Western Michigan to a meager 2.8 yards per snap. SMU has mustered just 256 and 242 total yards in two games, and it's hard to see that improvingat least before garbage timeopposite an elite defense.

    Prediction: Michigan 42, SMU 10

              

    San Jose State (0-2) at No. 20 Oregon (2-0), 5 p.m. ET

    You know that "Stop, stop, he's already dead!" scene from The Simpsons? That's basically how this nonconference affair feels. Oregon put 58 on Bowling Green and 62 on Portland State, and it now hosts a San Jose State squad that lost to FCS school UC Davis and failed to score at Washington State.

    Prediction: Oregon 59, San Jose State 7

          

    Colorado State (1-2) at Florida (1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    After allowing 43 and 45 points to Hawaii and Colorado, respectively, Colorado State pulled off an 18-point comeback to stun Arkansas. Fortunately for Floridawhich had a 31-game winning streak over Kentucky end due to nonexistent run defensethe visiting Rams have a porous rushing game. An upset bid rides on the right arm of Washington transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels.

    Prediction: Florida 31, Colorado State 23

          

    North Texas (2-0) at Arkansas (1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Speaking of Arkansas, the Razorbacks don't get much of a reprieve in Week 3. North Texas boasts an explosive passing game led by Mason Fine, who's thrown for 862 yards and seven touchdowns so far. The Mean Green really haven't been tested, so the defense should provide clearer answers about its ability this week. The proven potent offense has the edge.

    Prediction: North Texas 38, Arkansas 30

            

    Houston (2-0) at Texas Tech (1-1), 4:15 p.m. ET

    Ole Miss handled Texas Tech pretty easily in Week 1, then the Red Raiders crushed an outmatched Lamar team last Saturday. What's the truth of Kliff Kingsbury's squad? Houston presents a tough offensive matchup and has a pesky yet beatable defense. Cautiously, we'll favor Texas Tech at home.

    Prediction: Texas Tech 38, Houston 33

Other Saturday Afternoon Games

5 of 8

    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Southern Miss (1-1) at Appalachian State (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Appalachian State followed up an overtime loss at Penn State with a 45-9 dismantling of Charlotte. Zac Thomas went 14-of-14 for 295 yards and three scores, and his efficiency makes the Mountaineers a safer choice against a volatile Southern Miss offense.

    Prediction: Appalachian State 34, Southern Miss 24

         

    Miami, Ohio (0-2) at Minnesota (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Minnesota held off a pesky Fresno State squad in Week 2 thanks to Antoine Winfield Jr.'s clutch end-zone interception. Similar heroics should not be necessary opposite Miami. The RedHawks failed to score and trudged to 198 total yards against Cincinnati.

    Prediction: Minnesota 38, Miami 10

         

    Central Michigan (0-2) at Northern Illinois (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Both MAC programs are seeking their first win, and the prevailing storyline is struggling offenses. Only Southern Miss has committed more turnovers than Central's six, and NIU scored a combined 13 points during losses to Iowa and Utah. But, as a general rule, don't trust a team that lost to Kansas in football.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 27, Central Michigan 21

          

    Lehigh (1-1) at Navy (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Navy grabbed a rain-soaked win over Memphis. Perhaps another one will be needed as Hurricane Florence whips toward the East Coast. Don't bank on much resistance from a Lehigh defense that surrendered 190 rushing yards in a 31-9 loss to Villanova.

    Prediction: Navy 35, Lehigh 7

         

    South Florida (2-0) vs. Illinois (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Though it's effectively an Illinois home game, this contest will be played at Soldier Field in Chicago. Two kick-return scores boosted USF against Georgia Tech, yet the offense has thrived under the guidance of quarterback Blake Barnett. Consider us skeptical about the Illini, who've overcome slow starts to beat Kent State and Western Illinois.

    Prediction: South Florida 37, Illinois 27

         

    Duke (2-0) at Baylor (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Injuries to quarterback Daniel Jones (collarbone) and All-ACC cornerback Mark Gilbert (hip) are major problems for Duke. If they were healthy, the Blue Devils would be a relatively painless choice. Until proven otherwise, though, the unknownsparticularly behind centerare too risky for comfort.

    Prediction: Baylor 30, Duke 20

         

    UTSA (0-2) at Kansas State (1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    The Roadrunners will be happy to finish a challenging season-opening stretch. After falling to Arizona State, 49-7, and Baylor, 37-20, they travel to face a bitter Kansas State squad. Bill Snyder's team suffered a 31-10 loss to Mississippi State but should be able to shut down a limited UTSA offense.

    Prediction: Kansas State 27, UTSA 10

         

    Eastern Kentucky (1-1) at Bowling Green (0-2), 4 p.m. ET

    Understandably, Bowling Green struggled mightily when falling to Oregon and Maryland. The Falcons weren't expected to compete with either side, let alone win. But as long as Jarret Doege avoids a couple of turnovershe has three interceptions and a lost fumble in two gameshe should propel Bowling Green to a win through the air.

    Prediction: Bowling Green 34, Eastern Kentucky 20

          

    Wofford (2-0) at Wyoming (1-2), 4 p.m. ET

    Which version of the run defense shows up for Wyoming? Since Wofford uses a triple-option attack, it better be the New Mexico State edition that dominated up front and not the unit that allowed 203 yards on the ground (plus 398 passing) against Missouri. We'll trust the Pokes' talent, but it's not a fearless prediction.

    Prediction: Wyoming 28, Wofford 17

         

    Ohio (1-0) at Virginia (1-1), 4:30 p.m. ET

    During the opener, Ohio pulled dual-threat quarterback Nathan Rourke because he was ineffective through the air. It's a potential long-term issue. However, if Virginiawhich allowed 204 rushing yards to Indiana's Stevie Scott and 237 overallcan't stop the running game, the Bobcats can lean on Rourke's mobility plus A.J. Ouellette and Maleek Irons to steal a win in Charlottesville.

    Prediction: Ohio 31, Virginia 27

          

    New Hampshire (0-2) at Colorado (2-0), 5 p.m. ET

    The visitors have gathered a total of 10 points in two losses. Have fun collecting that check, New Hampshire. Buffaloes signal-caller Steven Montez should be headed for his third straight game of 300-plus passing yards.

    Prediction: Colorado 48, New Hampshire 7

Top Saturday Evening Games

6 of 8

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (2-0), 7 p.m. ET

    With respect to Toledo and West Virginia, Ole Miss has one of, if not the best receiving corps in the country. This will be an enormous test for Alabama's revamped secondary. Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa has showed no reason to doubt him, but Ole Miss shouldn't get blown off the field this season.

    Prediction: Alabama 42, Ole Miss 28

         

    Middle Tennessee (1-1) at No. 3 Georgia (2-0), 7:15 p.m. ET

    Following a quiet loss at Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee found its offense during a 61-37 victory over UT-Martin. That defense is still missing in action, though. Georgia will dispatch the Blue Raiders relatively easily and enter SEC play 3-0.

    Prediction: Georgia 45, Middle Tennessee 14

         

    Louisiana (1-0) at No. 16 Mississippi State (2-0), 7:15 p.m. ET

    The Ragin' Cajuns have been preparing for Mississippi State for two weeks. However, it probably won't matter. The Bulldogs have ceded just 467 yards in two contests, holding Kansas State to 3.8 yards per snap in Manhattan, Kansas, last week. Get ready for cowbells.

    Prediction: Mississippi State 41, Louisiana 13

                  

    Northern Iowa (0-1) at Iowa (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    When the Panthers took on Montana, they mustered only 2.6 yards per carry. Running lanes will be equally as difficult to find at Iowa, the fifth-ranked defense. The Hawkeyes are liable to start slowly on offense, but they'll eventually pull away.

    Prediction: Iowa 31, Northern Iowa 10

                    

    Western Kentucky (0-2) at Louisville (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Mike Sanford was widely considered a home run hire at Western Kentucky in December 2016. The way the program is trending, he's a groundout to the pitcher with the bases loaded. The Hilltoppers fell to FCS school Maine in Week 2 and now travel to Louisville, which shouldn't have issues with stopping a banged-up Drew Eckels or his backups, Steven Duncan and Davis Shanley.

    Prediction: Louisville 37, Western Kentucky 10

         

    Akron (1-0) at Northwestern (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Akron is an unknown commodity, since its scheduled opener against Nebraska was cancelled. Northwestern's 21-7 flop against Duke is worrisome, as the Wildcats had four turnovers on downs inside the 45-yard line. In preparation for Big Ten play, they need to start finishing drives with points.

    Prediction: Northwestern 26, Akron 16

          

    UL Monroe (2-0) at Texas A&M (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Will there be a post-Clemson hangover? Texas A&M nearly defied expectations and almost took the country's No. 2 team to overtime, but Louisiana-Monroe is a dramatic drop in competition. That doesn't mean the Warhawks are an easy opponent, though. Texas A&M must not allow ULM quarterback Caleb Evans to be a threat on the ground. Otherwise, this matchup will be too close for comfort.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 34, UL Monroe 17

                   

    Missouri (2-0) at Purdue (0-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Purdue's offense has struggled to finish drives in scoring areas. So far, the Boilermakers have only managed two touchdowns in seven red-zone possessions. That won't cut it opposite Missouri's outstanding passing attack.

    Prediction: Missouri 48, Purdue 28

              

    Marshall (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Following the loss to Georgia, South Carolina has fallen into a problematic hole concerning the SEC East race. But the Gamecocks are still a 10-win-caliber team if the defense bounces back quickly. Marshall can be controlled by locking down wide receiver Tyre Brady, and South Carolina has the cornerback talent to quiet him.

    Prediction: South Carolina 27, Marshall 17

Other Saturday Evening Games

7 of 8

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Eastern Michigan (2-0) at Buffalo (2-0), 6 p.m. ET

    The visitors had no trouble with Monmouth then clipped Purdue on the road. Iowa transfer QB Tyler Wiegers has steadied the Eastern Michigan offense in a major way. However, Buffalo should do a better job of finishing red-zone drives than Purdue did last week thanks to a balanced attack.

    Prediction: Buffalo 38, Eastern Michigan 28

                     

    Bethune-Cookman (1-1) at Florida Atlantic (1-1), 6 p.m. ET

    Chris Robison recovered from his disappointing showing at Oklahoma and torched Air Force for 471 yards and three scores. The Owls are in no danger of falling to the FCS squad.

    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 52, Bethune-Cookman 10

              

    Idaho State (1-0) at Cal (2-0), 6 p.m. ET

    Defense was a major issue for Idaho State in 2017, and Cal is the FCS program's first significant test this season. The Golden Bears haven't exactly lit up the field, averaging 4.4 yards per snap in two victories. They should still win, but if that lack of explosiveness continues, 3-0 might be a mirage.

    Prediction: Cal 27, Idaho State 14

                 

    Delaware State (0-2) at Western Michigan (0-2), 7 p.m. ET

    A date with Delaware State is just what the Win Doctor ordered for Western Michigan, which dropped games to Syracuse and Michigan to begin 2018. The FCS program has a pair of 30-plus-point losses, including a 48-10 defeat at Buffalo.

    Prediction: Western Michigan 42, Delaware State 7

                  

    Oregon State (1-1) at Nevada (1-1), 7 p.m. ET

    Defense? Never heard of it. Running backs Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson have combined for eight runs of 20-plus yards and seven touchdowns in two games. The newfound explosive pair will carry Oregon State, but Nevada should clear 400 yards, too.

    Prediction: Oregon State 41, Nevada 34

             

    Arkansas State (1-1) at Tulsa (1-1), 7 p.m. ET

    Can the Golden Hurricane keep up with Justice Hansen's arm? Opponents have completed 73.1 percent of their attempts in this young season, and the Arkansas State senior is a highly efficient thrower. Tulsa needs the running game to thrive, but the Red Wolves might have too much firepower.

    Prediction: Arkansas State 48, Tulsa 36

                 

    Texas State (1-1) at South Alabama (0-2), 7 p.m. ET

    South Alabama seems to hold an advantage, having played Louisiana Tech tightly in the opener. Plus, Texas State is dependent on dual-threat quarterback Willie Jones for its offensive production. Slow him down, and the Jaguars should get in the win column.

    Prediction: South Alabama 31, Texas State 20

                   

    Alabama A&M (1-1) at Cincinnati (2-0), 7 p.m. ET

    In his second season at the school, head coach Luke Fickell has Cincinnati thinking about a bowl. Knocking off Alabama A&M, which fell 25-20 to North Alabama last week, would put the Bearcats at 3-0 for the first time since 2012.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 41, Alabama A&M 13

              

    UMass (1-2) at Florida International (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Florida International has surrendered six touchdowns to only one interception. UMass must be excited at that prospect, given its reliance on the passing attack. The Minutemen can break a two-game skid if Andrew Ford is provided time to throw.

    Prediction: UMass 38, FIU 27

Saturday Night Games

8 of 8

    Harry How/Getty Images

    No. 4 Ohio State (2-0) vs. No. 15 TCU (2-0), 8 p.m. ET

    TCU hung 42 points on SMU last Friday, but special teams and defense provided three touchdowns. That can be both en- and discouraging, since it's highly unlikely the Horned Frogs can repeat the feat against a sound Ohio State team. Quarterback Shawn Robinson must be a factor on the ground for TCU to hang around.

    Prediction: Ohio State 38, TCU 20

                 

    No. 22 USC (1-1) at Texas (1-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Neither side looked especially impressive in their respective wins this season. The crowd will be invested, but it's tough to get overly excited about this blueblood clash given the state of the offenses. Whichever one best sustains drives should pull out the win, and Texas' 29.6 third-down conversion rate is glaringly bad.

    Prediction: USC 24, Texas 17

             

    Eastern Washington (2-0) at Washington State (2-0), 8 p.m. ET

    Do you like points? I like points. These offenses do, too, as each has scored at least 30 in every game this year. Washington State has showed a bit of resilience on defense, but Eastern Washington will challenge that assessment. While we're still taking the Cougs, EWU quarterback Gage Gubrud won't be fazed by the environment.

    Prediction: Washington State 45, Eastern Washington 35

                   

    New Mexico (1-1) at New Mexico State (0-3), 8 p.m. ET

    When you combine a dreadful offense with a lifeless defense, the product is a 0-3 start with 30 points scored and 137 allowed. Perhaps a bit of home cooking will spark New Mexico State, but that'd be a remarkable turnaround for the Aggies.

    Prediction: New Mexico 30, New Mexico State 14

                 

    No. 10 Washington (1-1) at Utah (2-0), 10 p.m. ET

    Defense is the name of this Pac-12 game, and the visiting Huskies have the edge in that department. In the likely event Washington shuts down running back Zack Moss, can QB Tyler Huntley repeat his 341-yard, three-touchdown total performance from 2017? It'll be a much tougher feat opposite a healthy UW secondary.

    Prediction: Washington 28, Utah 20

                    

    Prairie View A&M (1-2) at UNLV (1-1), 10 p.m. ET

    Howard took down UNLV in 2017, and Prairie View at least has the offensive firepower to give the Rebels a similar fight. However, the 533-yard effort in Week 2 reaffirmed some budding optimism around UNLV after a competitive loss to USC during the opener.

    Prediction: UNLV 45, Prairie View 20

                   

    No. 23 Arizona State (2-0) at San Diego State (1-1), 10:30 p.m. ET

    Fresh off an upset win over Michigan State, the Sun Devils head to San Diego Statewhich won the 2017 matchup 30-20. Unfortunately for the hosts, quarterback Christian Chapman is sidelined with a knee injury. That'll put immense pressure on star back Juwan Washington to carry the offense, but ASU has ceded a total of 65 yards on 61 attempts this season.

    Prediction: Arizona State 24, San Diego State 19

                    

    Fresno State (1-1) at UCLA (0-2), 10:30 p.m. ET

    To be blunt, UCLA's scoring attack isn't a threat. That's never a good thing, and it's especially problematic opposite a Fresno State unit allowing 17 points per game. Turnovers crushed the Bulldogs in their loss at Minnesota, but they'll avoid the loss if UCLA is unable to gift its offense some points.

    Prediction: Fresno State 27, UCLA 21

                    

    Southern Utah (0-2) at Arizona (0-2), 11 p.m. ET

    If Khalil Tate doesn't return to 2017 form in this contest, it's time for panic mode. The dual-threat star has a total of 22 rushing yards through two gamesa borderline unconscionable thought given last season's 1,411 yards. Southern Utah's offense is decent behind quarterback Chris Helbig, but Arizona should be able to cruise past the Thunderbirds.

    Prediction: Arizona 42, Southern Utah 21