After a pretty lackluster Week 2, save for the Battle of Bristol, a big upset, and a couple of close calls for Top 25 teams, we get back into the nitty-gritty of college football with some scintillating match-ups for Week 3. Most of these match-ups will have some major playoff implications for the Power 5 conferences.
Without further ado, here are the top Week 3 games to watch.
Alabama v. Mississippi – “The Kryptonite Game.” I know it sounds cliche, but look at what has happened the last two seasons when these teams have met. Ole Miss has stood up to the mighty Crimson Tide, and have knocked them off their perch. However, there is something different this season about Alabama’s defense. Now, we have seen some great defenses there before, but this one might just be Nick Saban’s best yet.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide are allowing just eight points per game while limiting the opposition to measly 216.5 yards of total offense per contest. Pretty scary indeed. One thing to take into account, though, this game is being played in “The Grove,” so Ole Miss will have the luxury of home-field advantage. And Hugh Freeze is not one to shy away from taking a master game plan right to someone. This game should be a dandy and a nail biter.
Ohio State v. Oklahoma – A prime time party in Norman, Oklahoma. If there is one game that can get a team, let alone a conference, back into the title picture this early in the season, this is it. This is easily one of the most anticipated games of the 2016 season. Ohio State is undefeated, the No. Three teams in the land. The offense is playing like Tecmo Bowl right now in averaging 62.5 points per game.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett is the focus on offense; we are seeing how explosive this group is. However, do not write off the Sooners. Despite losing to Houston, this team is stacked with talent. With Baker Mayfield leading the charge, the No. 14-ranked Sooners are readying themselves to knock off the Buckeyes and get back into the playoff picture. This game could be a real classic.
Florida State v. Louisville – When College GameDay comes to Louisville, you know this game is a big deal. With quarterback Deondre Francois and all-world tailback Dalvin Cook leading the way, and another stingy D at the ready, the Florida State Seminoles head into Week 3 of the 2016 season as the No. 2 team in the nation, and have the look of a legitimate national championship contender.
However, the Noles are about to be tested big time by the Louisville Cardinals. With the emergence of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has vaulted into the limelight and currently seen as a Heisman front-runner, the Cardinals have climbed to No. 10 in the nation. This match-up will be a high-scoring affair, and it may be decided by whoever comes up with a big stop down the stretch. This is one you don’t want to miss.
USC- v. Stanford – The Stanford Cardinal are the only team in the Pac-12 with a real chance at earning a spot in the College Football Playoff. But we all know how fickle the College Football Playoff committee can be, so Stanford has no choice but to run the table on the Pac-12. That’s why this Week 3 matchup is so crucial.
USC enters this showdown with nothing to lose and everything to gain. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The perfect way to get back on track this season would be to knock off the No. 7-ranked Cardinal, and their Heisman candidate, all-everything running back Christian McCaffrey. The question is whether or not USC is talented enough to do so.
Michigan State v. Notre Dame – After suffering an upset and defensive meltdown of epic proportions to the Texas Longhorns, the Fighting Irish bounced back in Week 2 with a convincing 39-10 victory over Nevada. Plus, there is no more quarterback carousel, with coach Brian Kelly naming DeShone Kizer the starter.
With the controversy out of the way, The Fighting Irish can now concentrate on getting back into the playoff picture, and what better way to do so against the No. 12 ranked Spartans. Even though they lost some considerable talent to the National Football League, Mike Dantonio’s squad is hardly one to be overlooked, and he always has his team play with the toughness and physicality we’ve come to expect from this powerhouse program. A battle is about to take place in South Bend — this is anyone’s game.