We’ve seen a total of 12 ranked teams taste defeat over the first two weeks of the season. This points to much more parity in the game than we’ve seen in quite some time. With two top-five teams losing in as many weeks, could we be in store for another? This weekend gives us three matchups featuring two top 25 teams going at each other. Alabama heads to the swamp to face Florida. Penn State hosts Auburn in the white-out game. And, PAC 12 after dark features Arizona State and BYU. Now, let’s get into it as we look at the best matchups in college football with our 2021 week three college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
2021 Week Three College Football Watch Guide
The first game in our 2021 week three college football watch guide has UCF traveling to Louisville. A win here for UCF could set up a winner take all matchup against Cincinnati on October 16th for the inside track at a New Years Six game or possibly more. Be that as it may, the Knights have an interesting matchup here against the Cardinal. Louisville struggled against Ole Miss in the opener that wasn’t as close as the 43-24 final score indicated.
Oklahoma and Nebraska battle it out for the first time in 11 years when they rekindle one of the best rivalries in college football in Norman. The Sooners come into this game as a 22 point favorite, but have started a little shaky but seemed to improve in week two. Comparatively, the Cornhuskers are a proud program that has been humbled over the last few years. Can they make a statement on a huge stage?
The Big 12 took a pretty significant hit in week two with losses by Iowa State and Texas, but West Virginia has a chance to reclaim some conference pride in Morgantown on Saturday. Fresh off their 66-0 drubbing of LIU, the Mountaineers will need to have more success offensively than they did against Maryland. For Virginia Tech, the Hokies could be scratching at the door of a top 10 ranking with a big road win here.
Before the season, the Bearcats had two forks in the road that could potentially pave the way for a spot in the College Football Playoff. They slept walked through a 7-7 tie with Murray State in the first half last week until they took over in the second half. But, a win here sets up a huge game in South Bend in a couple of weeks. Comparatively, Indiana has not looked like the same team of a year ago. Can they rekindle some of the magic from a year ago?
Miami came within two points of entering this game in desperation mode sitting at 0-2. However, they escaped but are still having some problems on the offensive side of the ball in only averaging 19 points per game thus far. Conversely, the Spartans look to be a little ahead of schedule after dominating both Northwestern and Youngstown State. Are they ready to make a big move to take down a top 25 opponent?
Notre Dame comes into this game 2-0 but has won both games by combined total points of six. It has been a struggle at times defensively for a team that has given up 67 points in those two games. That is music to the ears of the Boilermakers who have averaged 39.5 points per game this year. Limiting wide receiver David Bell who has 255 yards and three touchdowns will be a key to this game.
The Crimson Tide looked disinterested in a 48-14 win over FCS Mercer last week. One can assume they will be ready to go in the swamp. Bryce Young is the Heisman frontrunner and he’ll get his first taste of a tough road environment in his college career. The Gators are in the midst of a quarterback competition as Anthony Richardson went three for three for 152 yards and added another 115 yards on the ground. Florida’s defense will need to see improvement after giving up 20 points to USF last week.
It was a really bad week for USC. At this point last week, Southern Cal was a top 15 team that many thought had the talent to win the PAC 12. Fast forward one week and the program seems to be in shambles as Clay Helton was let go and the Trojans are out of the top 25. Washington State got a much-needed win last week against Portland State. But, can they carry it over against a very talented team that is on shaky ground?
The Bulldogs have to be looking in the mirror fortunate to be looking at 2-0 in the mirror. They were outplayed from a statistical perspective by Louisiana Tech and NC State but came out on top. Memphis looks like they have not missed a step offensively in scoring 97 points in their first two games of the year. However, the
One of the best atmospheres in the country will take place in the annual white-out game as Auburn comes calling. Penn State is battle-tested after winning a defensive struggle against Wisconsin in week one. Comparatively, Auburn hasn’t had the stiffest of competition with Akron and Alabama State. However, they won those games by a combined score of 122-10. This game likely rests on the right arms of Sean Clifford and Bo Nix.
The Cavaliers have had an outstanding start to the season going 2-0 behind Brennan Armstrong‘s 744 yards passing and seven touchdown passes. However, this is their biggest test as they invade Chapel Hill to face North Carolina. After a disappointing opening loss to Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels rebounding with a 59-17 thumping of Georgia State.
The Big 12 goes west as the Cowboys battle Boise on the smurf turf. Oklahoma State has been underwhelming early on in defeating Missouri State and Tulsa by a total combined 12 points. A running game that is averaging only 2.7 yards per carry needs to improve in a hurry. The Broncos started off hot against UCF but couldn’t hold the lead. However, they bounced back with a 41-point win over UTEP last week.
One of the most intriguing games of the day is in Provo matching two top 25 teams. BYU will look to knock off its third consecutive PAC 12 team in as many weeks. The quarterback question has been emphatically answered thus far as Jarren Hall has been really good for the Cougars. For Arizona State, this will be their first big test of the season after winning easily against UNLV and Southern Utah.
The nightcap of our 2021 week three college football watch guide and I do mean nightcap in every sense of the word with an 11:30 PM kickoff, has San Jose State traveling to Hawaii. The reigning Mountain West Champions will look to get a big conference road win after stumbling in Southern Cal two weeks ago. Similarly, Hawaii is still trying to find itself after a 1-2 start. However, could a return to the island be exactly what they need?