Some weeks lack big games, but that will change once the conference-season begins. For now, Alabama shouldn’t have any problems at home against Colorado State and neither should Ohio State against a visiting Florida A&M, while the only game between ranked teams pits Arizona State in a visit to Stanford.
The two most interesting meetings however are between SEC rivals in rivalry games that have lost some of their luster: Tennessee playing against relatively week Florida team, while Auburn are trying to see just how “back” they are in their visit to LSU.
Colorado State (1-2) at #1 Alabama (2-0)
Games can’t be much easier for Alabama than the visiting Rams, who do have the Tide’s former offensive coordinator as their head coach, but nothing much else to help them against the top team in the nation. Colorado State have finally won a game against an FCS team last week, but have lost their last 14 against opponents in the top 25. Even if Alabama don’t use Yeldon in the first half, anything but a four-five touchdown margin will be surprising.
Florida A&M (1-2) at #4 Ohio State (3-0)
The biggest question about this game? Whether Braxton Miller will get to start once more or will there be some sort of rotation between him and Kenny Guiton for the foreseeable future. Other than that, there isn’t much the Rattlers can do about stopping the Buckeyes, who are averaging 44.7 points per game so far this season.
#23 Arizona State (2-0) at #5 Stanford (2-0)
The big game of the weekend, and the only one between two ranked teams. The Sun Devils struggled against the Wisconsin power offense, but caught a break from the officials, enabling to come up with the 32-30 win. Against Stanford, it’ll be up to their hybrid defense, led by Will Sutton, to slow down a team averaging 197 yards on the ground this season. While State brings an impressive aerial game, Stanford hardly lose these kind of games at home in recent years, and shouldn’t drop this one as well.
Auburn (3-0) at #6 LSU (3-0)
People aren’t quite sure what to make of Auburn just yet, but in the battle of the Tigers, LSU should have the upper hand, as Nick Marhsall plays his first road game, while LSU are enjoying a much better quarterbacking presence from Zach Metternberger this season and a defense that should do better than most against Auburn’s running game (238.7 per game).
Florida International (0-3) at #7 Louisville (3-0)
Another rather easy mark on the route to an undefeated season for Louisville, who probably still remember losing to the Golden Panthers a couple of years ago in Louisville. The Cardinals are trying to rely more and more on the running game, giving Teddy Bridgewater some rest, going for 242 yards on the ground in their win against Kentucky.
Bethune-Cookman (3-0) at #8 Florida State (2-0)
The Wildcats already have a win over an FBS teams this season (FIU), but things will obviously be very different against the Seminoles, who have a three-headed running back monster next to Freshman sensation Jameis Winston. In the first meeting ever between the schools, BC’s running game won’t be enough to help them keep up with a far superior team.
North Texas (2-1) at #9 Georgia (1-1)
For the first time this season, Georgia finally play a team not in South Carolina, and probably enjoying a less than formidable offense to endure. The Mean Green can put the ball in the air with Derek Thompson, but Todd Gurley (286 yards, three touchdowns) is going to be one huge headache for them, while Aaron Murray should have another strong performance en route to a second win.
SMU (1-1) at #10 Texas A&M (2-1)
Considering the fact that the Aggies took Alabama to a 49-42 game last week, they shouldn’t have too many problems with the Mustangs who do have quite an impressive passing game, but the Jonny Manziel show is simply too much for almost any defense in the nation to handle.
New Mexico State (0-3) at #13 UCLA (2-0)
The Bruins came away with a big win in Nebraska last week, with the Brett Hundley and Jordon James combination looking very difficult to handle for regular defensive units. The Aggies are less than regular, giving up 47 points per game so far this season.
#15 Michigan (3-0) at Connecticut (2-0)
The Wolverines failed to impress in their 28-24 win over Akron, and need to earn some style points in East Hartford, against a UConn team that struggles putting points on the board (19.5). Devin Gardner needs to start being more responsible with the ball (six interceptions so far), because close calls don’t always fall on the same side of the coin each week.
Savannah State (1-2) at #16 Miami (2-0)
It’s been quite a while since Miami had a chance to start 3-0 (2004), and helped by an excellent defense, the best in the nation inside the red zone, and they shouldn’t be having too much trouble against the Tigers who gave up 143 points on their first two games this season.
Idaho State (2-0) at #17 Washington (2-0)
There’s nothing about the Bengals two wins this season to indicate they have a shot at scratching Washington’s armor, coming off impressive wins against Boise State and Illinois. Bishop Sankey, with 369 yards this season so far, shouldn’t have a problem putting up another monster performance.
Maine (3-0) at #18 Northwestern (3-0)
The Wildcats just might be the second best team in the Big Ten following the Buckeyes, so a visit from the Black Bears, who have beaten no one of real importance, even if they do have one FBS win (over UMass). Northwestern are very hard to throw against (8 interceptions this season), while Treyvon Green should be impossible to stop.
Tennessee (2-1) at #19 Florida (1-1)
The least anticipated Vols – Tigers game in quite some time, as Tennessee were decimated by Oregon in Eugene, while Florida haven’t been able to change impressions after a loss to Miami two weeks ago. The question will be Tennessee’s defense being able to stop a so-so Florida offense, which doesn’t work at the pace that the Ducks showed last week. It will be closer, but still not enough to cause an upset.
LA-Monroe (2-1) at #20 Baylor (2-0)
Quarterback Kolton Browning should give Baylor its first real test this season after easy wins over Buffalo and Wofford. Baylor have averaged 69.5 points per game so far, but they should be slightly slowing down against the Warhawks, although it won’t be enough to cause the upset.
Michigan State (3-0) at #22 Notre Dame (2-1)
There’s something just really unimpressive about the Irish this season, even beyond their loss against Michigan. The Spartans are giving up only 12 points per game and doing a very good job on the ground, which might mean some cause for concern for Notre Dame, who have been too up & down this season behind quarterback Tommy Rees.
Purdue (1-2) at #23 Wisconsin (2-1)
The Badgers should really be perfect at this point, but you can’t retroactively bring back official decisions. They should be impressive on the ground as usual against the Boilermakers (337 rushing yards per game), while Purdue will hope that their offense, scoring only 17 points per game behind the unreliable Rob Henry, catches a break or two.
Texas State (2-0) at #25 Texas Tech (3-0)
You won’t see many ugly wins like the one the Red Raiders enjoyed, but it should look better against the Bobcats in Lubbock. Barry Mayfeild or Davis Webb should be doing very well, no matter who plays, and the improved defense shouldn’t be too tested against an offense averaging 311 yards per game.