College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystSeptember 14, 2021

College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

0 of 8

    Florida QB Anthony Richardson
    Florida QB Anthony RichardsonChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    We try to hype up every week of the college football season, even the ones that don't look like anything special on paper.

    But this Week 3 slate is legitimately going to be a wild ride.

    There are seven games involving ranked teams in the noon ET window alone. Three of which are probable upsets and one might be your last chance to watch Scott Frost coach at Nebraska. In the mid-afternoon window, you'll find the major clash between No. 1 Alabama and No. 11 Florida. There's also No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 22 Auburn in the evening and No. 19 Arizona State at No. 23 BYU for the night owls. As if that isn't enough, there are half a dozen super intriguing games between unranked teams.

    What should we be expecting from those games, though?

    I won't lie to you fine folks, my Week 2 picks could've been much better. I had Ohio State and Iowa State winning the two big games of the week and whiffed on both of them. I also thought Texas and USC would win somewhat comfortably, and they instead both got blown out. For the 27 games in which analysis was included, I went 15-12 against the spreadjust barely above the break-even point once you factor in the vig.

    But tomorrow is a new day, and we'll aim to be better in Week 3.

    Our predictions for each Week 3 game are broken into four sections: Top 25 teams, best games between unranked teams, FCS against unranked FBS games and the rest of the slate. In the FCS/FBS section, instead of forecasting the scores of those 20 games, we've ranked which ones are most likely to result in a loss for the FBS team.

    The Top 25 games are listed in ascending order of ranking. Each other section is presented in chronological order of kickoff time. Unless otherwise noted, games are assumed to take place on Saturday.

AP Nos. 25-21

1 of 8

    Michigan RB Hassan Haskins
    Michigan RB Hassan HaskinsAl Goldis/Associated Press

    No. 25 Michigan (2-0) vs. Northern Illinois (1-1), Noon ET

    Northern Illinois' first two games against Georgia Tech and Wyoming both came right down to the wire, but this one is going to get out of hand in a hurry.

    Michigan has rushed for at least 335 yards and three touchdowns in each of its first two games while playing solid defense. Northern Illinois has one of the most porous run defenses, allowing 232 yards per game.

    Jim Harbaugh will ride Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins early and often to improve to 3-0.

    Prediction: Michigan 41, Northern Illinois 13

           

    No. 24 Miami (1-1) vs. Michigan State (2-0), Noon ET

    D'Eriq King has just one passing touchdown and no rushing touchdowns thus far in 2021, so his dream of winning the Heisman is effectively kaput. But if Northwestern's Hunter Johnson could throw for 283 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan State, this ought to be a game in which King puts up gargantuan numbers.

    Michigan State's run game has been outstanding through two games, so the Spartans might be able to keep pace for a while. But I like King for at least four total touchdowns in a Hurricanes victory.

    Prediction: Miami 35, Michigan State 27

            

    No. 23 BYU (2-0) vs. No. 19 Arizona State (2-0), 10:15 p.m. ET

    See No. 19 Arizona State for prediction.

           

    No. 22 Auburn (2-0) at No. 10 Penn State (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    See No. 10 Penn State for prediction.

           

    No. 21 North Carolina (1-1) vs. Virginia (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    A Week 2 game that didn't get enough national attention was Virginia's 42-14 throttling of Illinois with Brennan Armstrong exploding for 405 passing yards and five touchdowns. UVA's fourth-year quarterback also had two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns the previous week against William & Mary, leading what might be the most potent Cavaliers offense since 1990.

    However, playing on the road against North Carolina will be a significant increase in difficulty, as the Tar Heels have held each of their first two opponents below 300 yards of total offense. And after a painfully slow start in the opener against Virginia Tech, they found a lot of things that worked on offense in a 59-17 rout of Georgia State.

    As long as the Tar Heels are able to keep Thompson reasonably under wraps, they should be able to snap their four-year losing streak against the Cavaliers.

    Prediction: North Carolina 38, Virginia 28

AP Nos. 20-16

2 of 8

    Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels
    Arizona State QB Jayden DanielsMatt York/Associated Press

    No. 20 Arkansas (2-0) vs. Georgia Southern (1-1), 4 p.m. ET

    Arkansas has dominated with its ground game thus far in 2021, averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 4.0 touchdowns per game. But this figures to be a game where the Razorbacks look to instill a little confidence in quarterback K.J. Jefferson, because Georgia Southern's secondary was shredded for more than 330 yards and four touchdowns by each of Gardner-Webb and Florida Atlantic.

    Jeffersonthe only Hog to attempt a passis averaging 133.0 yards, 0.5 touchdowns and 1.0 interceptions through two games. That simply isn't going to cut it through the upcoming four-game gauntlet of Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn. But as long as he doesn't throw five picks in this one, Arkansas will at least improve to 3-0.

    Prediction: Arkansas 42, Georgia Southern 13

            

    No. 19 Arizona State (2-0) at No. 23 BYU (2-0), 10:15 p.m. ET

    BYU is systemically breaking the Pac-12. The Cougars already won games against Arizona and Utah, they have a big game against Arizona State this weekend and they'll draw Washington State and USC later on. If they end up going 5-0 in those games, can they please play Oregon for the Pac-12 championship?

    Before they can go 5-0, though, they need to get to 3-0, and that means stifling a lethal Sun Devils rushing attack. And considering Utah just averaged 7.7 yards per carry against the Cougars, that's going to be a stiff challenge.

    Arizona State averaged 264.3 rushing yards per game, 6.4 yards per carry and 4.0 touchdowns per game in 2020, and, if anything, that four-pronged run game might be even better this year. Rachaad White, Jayden Daniels, Daniyel Ngata and DeaMonte Trayanum are each averaging better than 50 yards per game, though Trayanum did miss the Week 2 game with an undisclosed injury.

    And while the ground game is thriving, Daniels is finding his targets in the passing game for a change. He had a career completion percentage of just 60.2 heading into this season, but he's at 73.2 thus far in 2021.

    Arizona State's competition (Southern Utah and UNLV) hasn't been anything worth writing home about, but this is where the Sun Devils assert themselves as the second-best team in the Pac-12.

    Prediction: Arizona State 31, BYU 23

            

    No. 18 Wisconsin (1-1) idle

            

    No. 17 Ole Miss (2-0) vs. Tulane (1-1), 8 p.m. ET

    I can already tell you it is going to be equal parts hilarious and obnoxious to play the "transitive property" game after this one. Tulane was the team that darn near came back from a 23-point second-half deficit at Oklahoma in Week 1, so both the pro-Ole Miss and anti-Oklahoma takes are going to be flying fast and furious if the Rebels waltz to an easy win here.

    They'll have their work cut out for them, though, because this Tulane team can really move the ball. The Green Wave has consistently run it well since hiring Willie Fritz prior to the 2016 season. They have averaged at least 217 rushing yards per game in each of the past five years. But this year's squad can also pass for a change, racking up at least 290 yards and three passing touchdowns in each of its first two games. And it's not like Ole Miss is a brick wall on defense.

    Ole Miss will win, but this should be the highest scoring game of the week, and it should serve as a notice that Tulane is going to cause some problems in the AAC this season.

    Prediction: Ole Miss 56, Tulane 45

            

    No. 16 Coastal Carolina (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1), Noon ET

    Had this game been played in any of the previous three seasons, I'd be all about Buffalo pulling off the upset at home. Prior to taking the Kansas job, Lance Leipold built something solid with the Bulls, even leading them into the AP Top 25 last season for the first time in program history.

    After losing star running back Jaret Patterson and three of last year's top four receivers, though, this year's team doesn't seem anywhere near as upset-proneas demonstrated in the 28-3 loss to Nebraska last week. If Adrian Martinez was able to pick apart this defense, Grayson McCall should be able to do the same.

    Prediction: Coastal Carolina 38, Buffalo 21

AP Nos. 15-11

3 of 8

    Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams
    Notre Dame RB Kyren WilliamsIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    No. 15 Virginia Tech (2-0) at West Virginia (1-1), Noon ET

    In the final few years before Virginia Tech left the Big East for the ACC, this was an annual rivalry that routinely produced upsets. In each of 2002, 2003 and 2004, the team in this game that was ranked in the AP Top 15 lost to the team that was unranked.

    Might we see a rekindling of that chaos?

    Virginia Tech has not had much of a passing game thus far this season, and West Virginia has been quite difficult to score against in Morgantown as of late, holding its opponent below 300 total yards in each of its last seven home games. As long as they possess the ball better than they did in their season-opening loss to Maryland (minus-4 turnover margin), WVU should get the W.

    Prediction: West Virginia 28, Virginia Tech 23

            

    No. 14 Iowa State (1-1) at UNLV (0-2), 10:30 p.m. ET

    UNLV has lost eight consecutive games, seven of which were decided by at least 13 points. And in last week's loss to Arizona State, the Rebels allowed three times as many total yards (465) as their offense gained (155). It has been a rough start to the year for Iowa State, but the Cyclones will at least enter Big 12 play with a little bit of positive momentum following this beatdown.

    Prediction: Iowa State 42, UNLV 10

            

    No. 13 UCLA (2-0) vs. Fresno State (2-1), 10:45 p.m. ET

    A lot of people have fallen head-over-heels in love with UCLAperhaps just in time for a #Pac12AfterDark special.

    Fresno State is looking like a team that could make a run at the Group of Five's spot in the New Year's Six bowls. The Bulldogs held a fourth quarter lead at Oregon before letting that major upset slip away, and they won their other games against Connecticut and Cal Poly by a combined score of 108-10. Quarterback Jake Haener has gotten out to an excellent start, already boasting more than 1,000 passing yards and 11 total touchdowns. And even in the loss to Oregon, they displayed solid defense.

    The Bruins should get the job done at home, though. The backfield tandem of Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown has thrived early, and you just know Dorian Thompson-Robinson is going to make a couple of huge plays on any given night.

    That said, this one is going to come right down to the wire, delivering some incredible 2:15-in-the-morning theater on the East Coast.

    Prediction: UCLA 38, Fresno State 35

            

    No. 12 Notre Dame (2-0) vs. Purdue (2-0), 2:30 p.m. ET

    It is neither easy nor common to drop four spots in the AP rankings after a win, but that's how unimpressive Notre Dame looked while needing to erase not one but two fourth-quarter deficits at home against Toledo. And it certainly doesn't help the Irish's case that the team they beat in overtime in Week 1 (Florida State) lost to Jacksonville State this week.

    Big plays have been a big problem for the Notre Dame defense. The Irish have already allowed four plays (two rushes, two passes) that went for at least 60 yards, putting them in a tie with Arkansas State for worst in the nation. Now they face a Purdue team that has one of the best wide receivers in the nation in David Bell, as well as a defense that held its first two opponents (Oregon State and Connecticut) without a passing touchdown.

    After back-to-back weeks of foolishly not picking any substantial upsets, I'll take the Boilermakers in a road stunner.

    Prediction: Purdue 31, Notre Dame 27

            

    No. 11 Florida (2-0) vs. No. 1 Alabama (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    See No. 1 Alabama for prediction

AP Nos. 10-6

4 of 8

    Cincinnati RB Jerome Ford
    Cincinnati RB Jerome FordJeff Dean/Associated Press

    No. 10 Penn State (2-0) vs. No. 22 Auburn (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    According to ESPN's football power index, this one is a top-10 showdown between No. 8 Penn State and No. 10 Auburn.

    We have no idea yet if Auburn is actually good or if it has just capitalized on a laughably weak early schedule. Either way, the Tigers ran rampant in victories over Akron and Alabama State by an average score of 61-5. Bo Nix has a passer efficiency rating of nearly 200, both Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter are averaging better than 10 yards per carry and the defense has completely shut down the run, holding those first two opponents to 67 yards on 64 carries.

    But now it's time to crank the "degree of difficulty" scale way up for a road game against a Penn State team that has also been excellent on defense and has yet to commit a turnover on offense.

    In my eyes, this one all boils down to which third-year starting quarterback cracks first. And given that premise, the venue will play a huge factor. In nine career true road games, Nix has averaged 180 passing yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Sean Clifford, on the other hand, has 26 touchdowns against just six interceptions when playing at home. Look for the Beaver Stadium whiteout to produce a key win for the Big Ten.

    Prediction: Penn State 27, Auburn 20

           

    No. 9 Ohio State (1-1) vs. Tulsa (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Tulsa has yet to record a passing touchdown, and in its Week 1 loss to FCS school UC Davis, the Golden Hurricane allowed 311 passing yards.

    Enter: Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, who despite a slow start for the second successive game, just lit up Oregon's defense for 484 yards and three touchdowns. And because that performance came during a losing effort, the Buckeyes figure to be even angrier than usual in this one.

    I'm not sure just how many points Ohio State is going to score, but I'm pretty darn sure Tulsa won't be able to keep pace.

    Prediction: Ohio State 59, Tulsa 20

            

    No. 8 Cincinnati (2-0) at Indiana (1-1), Noon ET

    This game lost a little bit of its luster when preseason No. 17 Indiana nose-dived out of the AP Top 25 following a 34-6 Week 1 loss at Iowa, but it's still one of two massive opportunities for Cincinnati to strut its stuff for the College Football Playoff selection committee.

    The Bearcats offense got out to an unusually slow start this past Saturday against Murray State. The defense forced three first-half interceptions, but it was a 7-7 ballgame at halftime.

    The second half went much more according to plan with Jerome Ford rushing for three touchdowns while the defense pitched a 35-0 shutout, but Cincinnati will need to hit the ground running if it wants to win this road game against Indiana.

    And I suspect they will, because that slow start against Murray State may have been a case of the Bearcats getting caught looking ahead to this game. They'll put their best foot forward on offense, and the great defense will stifle an Indiana offense that has been considerably less than crisp thus far.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 28, Indiana 23

              

    No. 7 Texas A&M (2-0) vs. New Mexico (2-0), Noon ET

    Games against ranked opponents have gone about as well for New Mexico in recent years as you might expect. The Lobos have played 15 such foes dating back to 2010, losing 14 of those 15 games by at least a 28-point margin. (The lone exception was a three-point loss at home against No. 24 Boise State in 2012.)

    Simply put, this is an ideal opponent for a "get right" game for Texas A&M after it barely eked out a 10-7 victory over Colorado in Week 2.

    Starting quarterback Haynes King suffered a fractured leg against the Buffaloes, so it will be the Zach Calzada show for the foreseeable future. It won't much matter in this game, though. Texas A&M should be able to run the ball early and often, and it will provide much stiffer resistance to Kentucky transfer Terry Wilson than the quarterback has faced thus far against Houston Baptist and New Mexico State.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 38, New Mexico 9

            

    No. 6 Clemson (1-1) vs. Georgia Tech (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei started two games last season and was sensational, averaging 390.5 passing yards and 3.0 total touchdowns per game.

    Thus far, year No. 2 has not been anywhere near as impressive.

    Not only did he have a rough game against Georgia's oppressive defense, but he didn't throw it much better against South Carolina State, going 14-of-24 for 171 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He did have a pair of short rushing touchdowns in that 49-3 rout of the FCS foe, but Clemson isn't going to come anywhere near its usual level of excellence until he starts moving the ball through the air as well as Trevor Lawrence, Deshaun Watson and Tajh Boyd used to do.

    The Georgia Tech defense has held each of its first two opponents under 140 passing yards, but those opponents were Northern Illinois and Kennesaw State. Clemson torched the Yellow Jackets for 500 passing yards last season, so this is a major litmus test for determining whether this Tigers team has the offense to legitimately contend for a title. Even if Uiagalelei struggles again, though, look for Clemson to win the game on defense.

    Prediction: Clemson 42, Georgia Tech 10

AP Nos. 5-1

5 of 8

    Alabama QB Bryce Young
    Alabama QB Bryce YoungVasha Hunt/Associated Press

    No. 5 Iowa (2-0) vs. Kent State (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    We already know that Iowa's defense is exceptional. The Hawkeyes held Indiana without a touchdown and forced four huge turnovers in a convincing road win over Iowa State. Thus far this season, Iowa's defense has scored more touchdowns (three) than it has allowed (two).

    But this should be the game where we find out how much the Hawkeyes can do on offense, where they have averaged just 238.0 total yards per game.

    Kent State allowed 38.0 points per game last fall and relented nearly 600 yards of total offense in a Week 1 loss to Texas A&M. If Spencer Petras is going to throw the ball well against anyone this season, he should certainly be able to do so in this game.

    Prediction: Iowa 45, Kent State 7

           

    No. 4 Oregon (2-0) vs. Stony Brook (FCS), 7:30 p.m. ET

    After the type of emotional, season-defining win that Oregon scored at Ohio State in Week 2, you usually have to worry at least a little bit about a subsequent let-down game.

    Against Stony Brook, that won't be a problem. The Seawolves lost their season opener against New Hampshire and got destroyed 62-7 the last time they faced an FBS opponent (Utah State in 2019). CJ Verdell's 195-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Buckeyes was the type of day that can put a running back on the Heisman radar. Let's see if he can keep that momentum going with a few mad dashes against Stony Brook. 

    Prediction: Oregon 56, Stony Brook 6

            

    No. 3 Oklahoma (2-0) vs. Nebraska (2-1), Noon ET

    Nebraska has bounced back nicely from its Week 0 meltdown at Illinois, throttling Fordham and Buffalo by a combined score of 80-10. Dual-threat quarterback Adrian Martinez has looked much, much better than he did in the opener.

    But, come on. No one seriously thinks those wins over the Rams and the Bulls did anything to prepare the Cornhuskers to shock Oklahoma, which just cruised to a 76-0 victory over Western Carolina. The Sooners already got their wake-up call in their 40-35 Week 1 game against Tulane, and they are going to blow out Nebraska.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Nebraska 17

            

    No. 2 Georgia (2-0) vs. South Carolina (2-0), 7 p.m. ET

    Don't let South Carolina's 2-0 record fool you. The Gamecocks needed a pick-six late in the first half and a last-second field goal in order to erase a 14-0 deficit for a come-from-behind victory over East Carolina. The other win came against Eastern Illinois. Shane Beamer might eventually bring this program back to national relevance, but South Carolina is nowhere near ready to pull off a road upset over the best defense in the country.

    Then again, I thought the same thing before the Gamecocks went to Athens and stunned AP No. 3 Georgia two years ago, so who knows with this wild and crazy sport?

    But the Bulldogs have held each of their first two opponents to 180 total yards or fewer and have yet to allow an offensive touchdown. Given the way South Carolina struggled to move the ball for most of the afternoon against East Carolina, it would need a repeat of that plus-four turnover margin in 2019 to have any realistic hope here.

    Prediction: Georgia 30, South Carolina 6

           

    No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at No. 11 Florida (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    It's the biggest game of the week by a country mile, and yet we have no idea who Florida's primary quarterback will be.

    Anthony Richardson has been, by no small margin, better than Emory Jones through the first two games. It's a small sample, but Richardson has averaged 25.0 yards on his 11 carries and 17.5 yards on his 11 pass attempts. Meanwhile, Jones is at 6.7 and 5.4, respectively, and has already thrown four interceptions.

    Richardson suffered an apparent hamstring injury on his final play (an 80-yard touchdown run) against South Florida, leaving it unclear if he's even healthy enough to start against Alabama. Head coach Dan Mullen said after the Week 2 victory that Jones will continue to start, but we'll see who he actually trusts with the ball in a game where you simply cannot afford to make a big mistake.

    Because not only is Alabama's defense elite (four interceptions, 241.0 total yards allowed per game), but it does not appear as though Bryce Young is going to be making any mistakes. The redshirt freshman completed at least 70 percent of his passes against both Miami and Mercer, racking up a combined seven touchdowns.

    Alabama has won its past seven games against Florida, six by a margin of at least two touchdowns and six while Florida was ranked 18th or better. I see little reason to assume that trend will change, though Richardson could be quite the X-factor.

    Prediction: Alabama 35, Florida 20

Best Unranked Clashes

6 of 8

    Nevada QB Carson Strong
    Nevada QB Carson StrongLachlan Cunningham/Associated Press

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

    UCF had two semi-significant challenges on its nonconference schedule this season: the home game against Boise State which the Knights already won in come-from-behind fashion, and this road game against Louisville. Given how dreadful the Cardinals looked in their Week 1 loss to Ole Miss, a win here wouldn't substantially change how we feel about UCF. However, the Knights are currently 26th in the AP vote tally, so it would likely push them into the Top 25. And UCF may well match the 43 points and 569 total yards that Ole Miss put up against this defense.

    Prediction: UCF 41, Louisville 34

            

    Minnesota (1-1) at Colorado (1-1), 1 p.m. ET

    Not much is expected from either of those Power Five programs in 2021, but that didn't stop them both from giving a College Football Playoff contender a run for its money. Minnesota led Ohio State deep into the third quarter, and Colorado led Texas A&M until late in the fourth quarter. Neither one was able to pull off the upset, but the winner of this game will be deemed a team to watch out for moving forward. And I like Minnesota to pull off a slight upset on the road, with running back Treyson Potts looking like an adequate replacement for the injured Mohamed Ibrahim.

    Prediction: Minnesota 28, Colorado 24

            

    Nevada (2-0) at Kansas State (2-0), 2:05 p.m. ET

    It really sucks that Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson suffered yet another injury this past weekend. The Wildcats were never the same after losing him to a shoulder injury three games into last season, and though they're hopeful his knee injury won't be season-ending, he seems unlikely to play in this game. In that case, Nevada and Carson Strong will have a huge advantage in the passing game. Strong threw for more than 300 yards against a respectable Cal defense and went for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns in the rout of Idaho State. Running back Deuce Vaughn should keep Kansas State close, but I like the Wolf Pack in what should be a great game.

    Prediction: Nevada 35, Kansas State 30

            

    Mississippi State (2-0) at Memphis (2-0), 4 p.m. ET

    All of the points? All of the points. Fresh off allowing 50 points and 582 passing yards against Arkansas State, Memphis' defense must now try to deal with Mississippi State's Will Rogers throwing the ball 50 or more times. But the Tigers are so good on offense that they still managed to beat Arkansas State 55-50, so they will bring quite a bit of firepower up against the Bulldogs defense. I do suspect the SEC defense will outperform the AAC defense, though.

    Prediction: Mississippi State 49, Memphis 38

            

    Utah (1-1) at San Diego State (2-0), 7 p.m. ET

    Utah lost the battle in the trenches in its 26-17 loss to BYU on Saturday night. Charlie Brewer was never able to get comfortable in the pocket for the Utes, and they were unable to record a single sack on Jaren Hall, who also hurt them with his legs. This one could be a similar story. San Diego State was eighth in the nation in tackles for loss per game in 2020 and is tied for third in that category this year. The Aztecs will bring a lot of pressure, while quarterback Jordon Brookshire has enough mobility to evade Utah's pass rush. Utah should do a better job than it did against BYU and it should win this game, but I like the Aztecs to knock off a Pac-12 foe for a second successive week.

    Prediction: San Diego State 27, Utah 21

            

    Oklahoma State (2-0) at Boise State (1-1), 9 p.m. ET

    I truly don't know what to expect from this game. Oklahoma State did not convincingly win either of its first two games against Missouri State or Tulsa, and it perhaps would have lost the latter if not for a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown during a fourth-quarter comeback. But then there's Boise State, whose defense was completely shredded by UCF while the Knights came back from an early 21-0 deficit. The Broncos also could not run worth a darn in that game, and they weren't much better on the ground in a blowout win over UTEP. I suppose I'll back Boise State at home, but this feels like one that will be decided by some strip-sack-scoop-and-score type of fluke play in the second half.

    Prediction: Boise State 31, Oklahoma State 28

FCS vs. Unranked FBS Matchups

7 of 8

    New Mexico State's Weston Eget
    New Mexico State's Weston EgetAndres Leighton/Associated Press

    There were two FCS over unranked FBS upsets in Week 2Duquesne over Ohio and Jacksonville State over Florida Stateneither of which I had pegged among the five most likely such upsets. But I did call three of them in Week 1, so with 20 more games of that ilk on the docket for Week 3, let's play this guessing game one more time. Instead of once again predicting the five most likely upsets from 30-plus games, though, we're just going with four this time.

            

    Fourth-Most Likely Upset: Delaware at Rutgers (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    This pick has almost nothing to do with Rutgers and everything to do with Delaware. The Blue Hens are a top-10 team in the FCS rankings, and they are the only top-25 team facing an FBS opponent this weekend. The Scarlet Knights should be good enough on defense to get this win, but it does bear mentioning that they had 43 carries for only 50 yards in their Week 2 win over Syracuse.

          

    Third-Most Likely Upset: South Carolina State at New Mexico State (0-3), 8 p.m. ET

    The opposite of the Delaware-over-Rutgers possibility, this one has everything to do with the FBS team and almost nothing to do with the FCS team. South Carolina State just got drilled by Clemson and lost its opener to Alabama A&M, but New Mexico State might be even worse than usual. Since the start of 2018, NMSU has won only three games against FBS opponents, two of which came against UTEP. But the Aggies opened this season with a 30-3 home loss to UTEP.

            

    Second-Most Likely Upset: Bryant over Akron (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Most Likely Upset: Murray State over Bowling Green (0-2), 5 p.m. ET

    Two Mid-American Conference birds with one stone here. Akron and Bowling Green have been two of the worst FBS teams over the past several years, and neither one has shown anything through the first two weeks to suggest that's about to change. I'm going with Murray State in the top spot over Bryant since the Racers held their own in the first half this past weekend against a very good Cincinnati squad.

            

    Full slate of FCS vs. FBS games:

    • Albany at Syracuse (1-1), Noon ET
    • Chattanooga at Kentucky (2-0), Noon ET
    • SE Missouri State at Missouri (1-1), Noon ET
    • Tennessee Tech at Tennessee (1-1), Noon ET
    • Bryant at Akron (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
    • Delaware at Rutgers (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
    • Elon at Appalachian State (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
    • Idaho at Oregon State (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
    • Long Island at Miami-Ohio (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
    • Sacramento State at California (0-2), 4 p.m. ET
    • Murray State at Bowling Green (0-2), 5 p.m. ET
    • Fordham at Florida Atlantic (1-1), 6 p.m. ET
    • Florida A&M at South Florida (0-2), 7 p.m. ET
    • Grambling at Houston (1-1), 7 p.m. ET
    • Incarnate Word at Texas State (1-1), 7 p.m. ET
    • Furman at NC State (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET
    • Alcorn State at South Alabama (2-0), 8 p.m. ET
    • Jackson State at UL Monroe (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
    • South Carolina State at New Mexico State (0-3), 8 p.m. ET
    • Northern Arizona at Arizona (0-2), 10 p.m. ET

The Rest of the Slate

8 of 8

    Duke RB Mataeo Durant
    Duke RB Mataeo DurantGerry Broome/Associated Press

    Ohio (0-2) at Louisiana (1-1), 8 p.m. ET (Thursday): Louisiana 34-17

    Maryland (2-0) at Illinois (1-2), 9 p.m. ET (Friday): Maryland 34-27

    Boston College (2-0) at Temple (1-1), Noon ET: Boston College 41-20

    Connecticut (0-3) at Army (2-0), Noon ET: Army 42-7

    Western Michigan (1-1) at Pittsburgh (2-0), Noon ET: Pittsburgh 37-17

    USC (1-1) at Washington State (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET: USC 35-28

    Baylor (2-0) at Kansas (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET: Baylor 38-14

    Eastern Michigan (1-1) at Massachusetts (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET: Eastern Michigan 40-17

    Florida State (0-2) at Wake Forest (2-0), 3:30 p.m. ET: Wake Forest 34-23

    SMU (2-0) at Louisiana Tech (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET: SMU 51-27

    Ball State (1-1) at Wyoming (2-0), 4 p.m. ET: Ball State 27-24

    Colorado State (0-2) at Toledo (1-1), 4 p.m. ET: Toledo 35-27

    Northwestern (1-1) at Duke (1-1), 4 p.m. ET: Duke 24-23

    Arkansas State (1-1) at Washington (0-2), 4:15 p.m. ET: Washington 27-24

    East Carolina (0-2) at Marshall (2-0), 6 p.m. ET: Marshall 34-28

    Middle Tennessee (1-1) at UTSA (2-0), 6 p.m. ET: UTSA 41-20

    Old Dominion (1-1) at Liberty (2-0), 6 p.m. ET: Liberty 41-10

    Charlotte (2-0) at Georgia State (0-2), 7 p.m. ET: Charlotte 31-28

    Florida International (1-1) at Texas Tech (2-0), 7 p.m. ET: Texas Tech 45-19

    Troy (1-1) at Southern Miss (1-1), 7 p.m. ET: Troy 27-24

    Central Michigan (1-1) at LSU (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET: LSU 48-21

    UAB (1-1) at North Texas (1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET: UAB 31-14

    Utah State (2-0) at Air Force (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET: Air Force 34-24

    Rice (0-2) at Texas (1-1), 8 p.m. ET: Texas 49-14

    Stanford (1-1) at Vanderbilt (1-1), 8 p.m. ET: Stanford 37-17

    San Jose State (1-1) at Hawai'i (1-2), 12:30 a.m. ET (Sunday): San Jose State 41-27

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!