CFB Week Three
College Football TV-Watching Guide – Week 3
You might be looking up and down the college football slate this weekend and are a little down on the quality of what we’re in for. While I can’t argue that the matchups are ideal with no ranked-on-ranked games and 14 teams in the poll playing non-Power 5 opposition, the weeks that look to be duds can be the ones that deliver the biggest surprises. Let’s get into it.
In this column we haven’t yet had to define what a MUST WATCH game is. For the purpose of this exercise, games in this section are mandatory viewing. Matchups that will have consequences far beyond the context of what happens in the stadium that day. Games that you build your Saturday around. Since I respect your time as a loyal reader, I won’t lie to you and tell you to spend three hours watching a game that doesn’t matter to you if you aren’t a fan of one of the two teams playing. So with that being said, our two must watch games of the week.
12:00 PM: NONE
3:30 PM: NONE
7:00 PM: #11 Tennessee Volunteers @ Florida Gators (+6.) – ESPN
The first conference game of the season for both squads goes down at the swamp on Saturday night in what historically is the defining game in the SEC East. With the rise of Kirby and the ‘Dawgs, the Vols/Gators rivalry doesn’t quite carry the weight it used to.
While Florida can give its season a jumpstart with a win at home, I’m much more concerned about how Tennessee can measure itself as a possible contender to Georgia in the division. If the Vols are going to have a shot against the Bulldogs later this season, this needs to be a comfortable win. Joe Milton needs to be more accurate and show off the arm, something that took too much time to do against Austin Peay last week. If they can do it, I’ll be able to buy a little into a possible Tennessee over Georgia mega-upset similar to the Vols over Alabama last season.
10:00 PM: Colorado State Rams @ #18 Colorado Buffaloes (-23) – ESPN
The way that Colorado has played so far has earned it an indefinite stay in this section. The first half against Nebraska last week was much more sloppy than it should’ve been for the Buffs, and a better opponent would’ve punished them more for it.
However you have to give credit to Deion Sanders and his staff for making the necessary adjustments at halftime because this offense got whatever it wanted in the second half. The wide receivers were so good that Colorado’s two-way stud Travis Hunter was only its third best option behind Xavier Weaver and Jimmy Horn Jr. Dylan Edwards ran all over Nebraska after the break out of the backfield, and I expect Colorado to move to 3-0 and set up monster games with Oregon and Southern Cal to finish the month.
12:00 PM: #14 LSU Tigers @ Mississippi State Bulldogs (+9.5) – ESPN
- The Bayou Bengals got back to its winning ways last week, and now head into SEC play against a Mississippi State team that is always tough to play in Starkville. According to ESPN’s SP+ metric, an analytic measure of sustainable play, Mississippi State is ranked 23rd and not far behind LSU’s 16th. LSU’s talent advantage should win the day.
3:30 PM: Minnesota Golden Gophers @ #20 North Carolina Tar Heels (-7) – ESPN
- Fresh off a scare from App State, the Tar Heels go again at home against a hungry and 2-0 Minnesota squad. The Golden Gophers will be squarely in the mix for the Big Ten West title, and will go into this game thinking they have North Carolina reeling following the double-overtime escape. North Carolina will have trouble breaking down the Minnesota defense at first, but in the end give me Drake Maye at QB and give me the Tar Heels.
7:00 PM: Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers (+1) – ABC
- A non-conference, fierce regional rivalry? In these expansion era times??? Pitt and WVU delivered a banger of a game last year in the opening week, and with the Panthers coming off a loss this will not be an easy environment to get back on the right path. Neal Brown needs this game to cool his seat temporarily, and I pick them to win outright in another close one.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SICKO GAME OF THE WEEK
Virginia Tech Hokies @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-7) – BTN
- The Hokies needed a third quarter rally to get past Old Dominion in Week 1 and lost outright to Purdue as three-point favorites last Saturday. The cellar-dwellers of the Big Ten get them at home and I like Rutgers to win and cover.
THE ‘PUT EVERYONE IN BUBBLE WRAP’ GAME OF THE WEEK
South Carolina Gamecocks @ #1 Georgia Bulldogs (-27.5) – 3:30 on CBS
- The Gamecocks had trouble getting push on the offensive line against North Carolina and Furman. If Spencer Rattler can get out of this one with all 206 bones and ligaments intact, that’s a moral victory for Carolina.