College Football Week 3 Games To Watch

college football week 3

College football Week 3 is here, and we get a few more intriguing games including the first top-25 matchup of the season. Here are some of the best games week 3 has to offer.

Houston vs. Baylor

Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Time: Noon ET
Spread: Baylor -7.5

An in-state matchup between Houston and Baylor gives fans the opportunity to watch a game between the offensive mind of Dana Holgorsen and the defensive chops of Dave Aranda. Holgorsen’s Houston team returns a ton of experience after a rebuilding year in 2019. The rushing attack should be a strength with a two-headed monster of Kyle Porter and Mulbah Car. Like the offense the defense has a ton of returning experience and should be a fast unit. The Cougs will look to get back to their winning ways here in 2020.

Unlike Houston, Baylor enters the season having to replace a ton of talent on both the roster and coaching staff. New head coach Dave Aranda brought in Larry Fedora as his offensive coordinator, who should allow quarterback Charlie Brewer to throw it around a bit more in 2020. Brewer will have to find a new go-to receiver with Denzel Mims off to the NFL but with four returning starters on the offensive line and a deep stable of running backs, the offense should be in good shape. However, the defense might be a different story with nearly all its production gone from last season. The front seven will be a work in progress, but at least the secondary has some depth to lean on in the early going. If Aranda can work his magic, Baylor could be in for another winning season in a competitive Big 12.

This game is extremely important for both teams recruiting base and should have a rivalry like feel to it. Both offenses should move the ball on the ground and a back and forth game will likely take hold. Ultimately, the veteran presence of Charlie Brewer will be the difference in this game with Baylor getting a few more plays in the pass game than Houston.

Prediction: Baylor wins 34-30

Appalachian State vs. Marshall

Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Appalachian State -3.5

Appalachian State will look to continue the early season Sun Belt success when it meets Marshall on Saturday. The Mountaineers are coming off a win against an underrated Charlotte team that saw its offense struggle to get going in the first half. Quarterback Zac Thomas is one of the best players at the position in college football and has the luxury leaning on a dynamic running game with Marcus Williams Jr. and Camerun Peoples, both capable of carrying the load. The defense while young, looked solid once more and might have a budding star in sophomore linebacker Brendan Harrington. If Appalachian State cuts down on the turnovers, it will have a great shot at moving to 2-0.

Marshall has a win to its credit as well, albeit to a much weaker opponent in Eastern Kentucky. Still, the Thundering Herd must be excited with what they saw from redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells. With four touchdowns to his credit already, Wells will look to propel the Marshall offense to a second straight victory and will likely have to lean a bit more on veteran running back Brenden Knox with the step up in competition this week. The Herd defense will also have to step it up after pitching a shutout last week. Second level playmakers Tavante Beckett and Nazeeh Johnson will have to bee tackling machines if Marshall hopes to slow down the Appalachian State offense.

Both teams have dynamic offenses that should make this game interesting. While not a true freshman, the youth of Grant Wells versus the experience of Zac Thomas could be the difference in this game. Look for the undersized Marshall defensive front to get pushed around a bit and Zac Tomas to make a few plays in the passing game as the Mountaineers get their second win of the year.

Prediction: Appalachian State wins 37–27

USF vs. Notre Dame

Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Time: 1:30 (CT)
Spread: Notre Dame -25.5

USF and Notre Dame both enter Week 3 with wins under their belts, but the picture could not be more different for these two programs. South Florida took down The Citadel for head coach Jeff Scott’s first win with the program. Scott elected to play two quarterbacks with both Jordan McCloud throwing for a touchdown and Noah Johnson running for one last week. McCloud has experience on his side to be the starter against Notre Dame, but Johnson clearly has the coach’s eye and will likely rotate in once again. The defense gave a strong effort, but Notre Dame’s offense is a different animal than The Citadel and will likely be one of the toughest the Bulls face all year.

Speaking of the Irish offense, its new coordinator Tommy Rees had a solid debut against Duke led by their veteran offensive line and running back Kyren Williams breaking out in a big way with a 100-yard game. Senior quarterback Ian Book will look for a playmaker to emerge on the outside yet, but the offense appears to be in good shape. The defense while also filled with quality players was more of a bend don’t break squad for most of the game against the Blue Devils. The front seven is strong, but the secondary needs some time to gel and play together a bit more. Top player Kyle Hamilton suffered an ankle sprain but should be available Saturday although the sprain could affect his mobility and range on the back end of the defense.

South Florida has a bright future in front of it, but Saturday will show just how far they have yet to go. Expect the offense to stall early and often with the Irish defense making it difficult to move the ball. Ian Book and the veteran Notre Dame offense should have their early execution errors ironed out and will be a bit more consistent on their way to an easy win.

Prediction: Notre Dame wins 38-3

Wake Forest vs. NC State

Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Time: 8 p.m. (ET)
Spread: NC State -1.5

No one wants to open the season against Clemson, but Wake Forest had that task last week and took it on the chin. Sam Hartman struggled to find a rhythm passing the ball and faced constant pressure getting sacked four times. While the offense should rebound, it is the defense that will need to show the most improvement after missing a ton of tackles last Saturday. Still, the defense has a premier pass rusher in Carlos Basham and athleticism at linebacker to make it difficult on opposing offenses. If Hartman and the offense can string together some drives, Wake will be a tough out for anyone.

Coming off a season that saw them go 4-8, the Wolfpack will look to get back on track in 2020. The offense returns nearly all its skilled positional talent as well as most of the line. Quarterback is the lingering question with three different players likely to get a shot. Sophomore Devin Leary is the assumed starter, but junior Bailey Hockman saw time last year and freshmen Ben Finely could push for snaps if Leary starts slow. On the defense, the line remains a strength and the linebacking corps is probably the best and deepest unit overall but the secondary still looks like a potential weakness.

With a game in hand, Wake should come into this game with an edge over an unproved NC State squad. Look for a quick start from the Wake Forest offense to give them an early lead, which they should be able to hold for the rest of the game. NC State has some players, but the depth has developed in recent years for Dave Doeren and he could be looking at another down year with the Wolfpack.

Prediction: Wake Forest wins 30-23

Miami vs. Louisville

Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Louisville -1.5

The first matchup of top 25 teams this season pits Miami against Louisville in a matchup of two ascending ACC programs. The Hurricanes debuted quite a few new players in their win over UAB last week but none more important than quarterback D’Eriq King who showed off his dual threat capabilities with a passing and rushing touchdown for the Canes. Not to be outdone by King was fellow transfer star Quincy Roche, who recorded his first sack and should cause issues for any offensive line he faces this season. The Hurricanes’ defense has talent all over with players like Bubba Bolden and Jaelen Phillips likely to show up in the box score in the upcoming weeks.

Like Miami, Louisville had a nice start to its season with a win against in-state foe Western Kentucky. The offense was predictable explosive with quarterback Micale Cunningham throwing for a career-high 343 passing yards. Cunningham is surrounded by one of the best receiving corps in college football led by Dez Fitzpatrick and Tutu Atwell and the breakout underclassman Braden Smith. The defense while loaded with veterans, remains a question mark but had a strong showing last week.

The game on Saturday will likely be a shootout with some the ACC’s most exciting offensive players on full display. The Canes have the stronger defense, which should help them keep the Louisville offense in check for parts of the game. However, the Cardinals simply have too many offensive weapons to be held down completely and will likely get some big plays from their stellar receiving core to get them the win.

Prediction: Louisville wins 41–34

Photo by Lynette Files/The Appalachian