It’s week 3 of the college football season, and it’s already been a wild adventure through the first two weeks. Preseason #2 Ohio State looked underwhelming last week in a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, who took over the #2 spot in the AP poll. Baker Mayfield caused waves throughout the Ohio State fan base by planting the Oklahoma flag in the middle of the Shoe. This week lacks a lot of major ranked games but it still has some games that I would recommend keeping an eye on. Here are my top 5 college football games to watch this week.
5. Illinois at #22 South Florida(-17.0)
Before the season started, I picked 3 teams that were no surprise to make the playoffs and 1 team that I thought had the chance to surprise everyone. South Florida is that team for me. They are led by a great coach and leader in Charlie Strong, and a great playmaker and quarterback in Quinton Flowers. Flowers tossed for 2813 yards with 24 passing touchdowns and ran for 1530 yards and 18 more touchdowns. Quinton Flowers has looked sharp this year as well in their two wins. He has thrown for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns in two games. Flowers is a dark horse for the Heisman and will have his first Power 5 matchup of the year as the Bulls face Illinois at home.
Prediction: South Florida shows their dominance in a 37-3 rout of Illinois.
4. Army @ #8 OSU (-30.5)
After a disappointing game against the Oklahoma Sooners, the Buckeyes desperately need an offensive explosion. JT Barrett and the offense look like they haven’t ever practiced together, and they better turn it around this week. If they can get going against a subpar team like Army, maybe they can carry that momentum into future games. They have no room for error anymore and need to breeze through the rest of their schedule to make the playoffs. I only picked this as a game of the week because of the importance it holds for the Buckeyes. They need to blow out Army to restore people’s faith in their ability to win the championship this year.
Prediction: OSU blows out Army 58-0 as the offense finally gets going
3. Texas @ #4 USC (-15.5)
After a Week 1 embarrassing loss to Maryland, Texas finally got in the win column last week in a 56-0 demolition of San Jose State. Quarterbacks Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger are both available this week. Ehlinger is a freshman who led the Longhorns last week and should get the start this week against USC and one of the Heisman front-runners Sam Darnold. Darnold has not looked that impressive through his first two games. He has thrown 4 interceptions to go along with his 4 touchdowns. RB Ronald Jones II has led the Trojans with 275 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns in the first 2 weeks. Deontay Burnett also has 263 receiving yards while leading the Trojans.
Prediction: Trojans struggle in the first half but eventually pull ahead of the Longhorns in a 41-21 win.
2. #23 Tennessee @ #24 Florida (-4.5)
Tennessee survived a Week 1 overtime game against Georgia Tech 42-41 and then went on to blow out Indiana State 42-7 last week. Florida comes into this game 0-1 after losing to Michigan 33-17 in their first game and getting their second game canceled due to Hurricane Irma. Tennessee’s QB Quinten Dormady has looked sharp through 2 games with 415 yards and 4 touchdowns. RB John Kelly has 208 yards with 4 touchdowns. Marquez Callaway has provided Dormady a downfield target and is averaging 30 yards per catch. Florida’s offensive numbers are pathetic after facing a strong Michigan defense. They had 11 rushing yards and 181 passing yards, but they did have 2 interceptions for touchdowns against Wilton Speight. Look for this to be a defensive battle all the way through.
Prediction: Tennessee takes down Florida 17-9 in a low-scoring affair
1. Clemson (-3.0) @ Louisville
This game has major playoff and Heisman implications. Clemson has looked sharp through their first two games. Their defense stifled Auburn in a 14-6 Clemson win. Clemson held Auburn to 79 passing yards. However, their matchup this week is much tougher. They face defending Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who has looked just as impressive this season. Jackson has thrown for 771 yards and 5 touchdowns to go along with 239 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Last year, he could not quite lead Louisville to victory over Clemson. Clemson also has a quarterback who leads the team in passing and rushing. Kelly Bryant has thrown for 417 yards and scrambled for 136 more yards. Bryant has only thrown for 1 touchdown this season but has scrambled for 3 more.
Prediction: Clemson struggles to match Lamar Jackson’s offensive pace but eventually gets ahead and holds a lead in a tight game with a final score of 35-31
Who will you be watching this week?