College Football Week 3 – Preview

College Football Week 3 – Preview
Reading Time: 5 minutes.

New guest writer Andy Normile previews some of week 3’s biggest college football games. With so many games to choose from here are some of the most exciting matchups this weekend. You can check out the full College Football TV UK Guide here

After all the excitement and upsets of last week, this week in college football looks to have fewer big matchups. Making it, in theory, a bit more straightforward to predict. 

Most of the big hitters have relatively simple games. Louisiana Monroe @ Alabama, Toledo @ Ohio State, Fresno State @ USC, for example. As they prepare for the start of conference schedules.

However, there are still some intriguing matchups and somewhere there is going to be a shock result that none of us saw coming.

The key and probably most exciting and interesting games are as follows: 

Penn State (22) @ Auburn

Image Credit: USA Today

This match features two of college football’s heavyweights and storied programs. Although surprisingly neither team has been to the 4 team playoffs. Which doesn’t compare well with respective divisional rivals Ohio State and Alabama who have 11 appearances between them. These are two institutions that would surely benefit from a 12-team playoff format. It is also a rematch from last season, which the Nittany Lions won 28-20.

Penn State is currently 2-0 on the season after a hard and narrow victory over Purdue, a team always likely to cause an upset and a more comfortable win over Ohio. The later game saw the breakout of RB Nicholas Singleton who rushed for 179 yards and 2 TDs and gave Penn State an explosive look to their backfield, not seen since a certain Saquon Barkley was starting. 

Penn State will be led by QB Sean Clifford, who is now in his 6th year and is one of the most experienced players in the whole of the sport. He is very much a game manager and winner, rather than a sling it out type QB. Although, his figures in last year’s win over the Tigers were a very impressive 28 of 32 for 280 yards. The current backup Drew Allar is one for the future, who will be interesting to watch, should he get any gametime. 

The Auburn Tigers are coming off a somewhat turbulent off-season, which somehow coach Bryan Harsin survived with his job intact. The Tigers are also 2-0 on the season. But, less impressive wins over Mercer and San Jose State means this will be their first big test of the season.

They are led by QB TJ Finley, a transfer from LSU, who has all the tools but has yet to put together any convincing performances. The Auburn offence will feature RB Tank Bigsby, who is a big solid, but not as explosive back.

 Both teams have strong defences, but Penn State have more options on offence 

 Penn State by 7

Miami (13) @ Texas A&M (24)

Image Credit: 305Sports

This is one of the few matchups between ranked teams this week and should be a fascinating ACC v SEC encounter.

The Miami offence is built around QB sensation Tyler Van Dyke, who is one of the most intriguing prospects in college football. He has the size and arm strength that the pro scouts love. But, as this is his first full season as a starter, he has yet to prove he can consistently win games. A good performance against a strong Aggies defence would add substance to his reputation and could eventually lead to him becoming the 3rd QB taken in the draft. That’s assuming Bryce Young and CJ Stroud go 1 and 2. 

Texas A&M is coming off last week’s disastrous loss to Appalachian State. So it will be interesting to see how Jimbo Fisher has his team motivated for the visit of the Hurricanes. Unlike Miami, the Aggies have less certainty at the QB position. Indeed last week’s loss was largely attributable to the poor performance from QB Haynes King, who only threw for 97 yards and couldn’t get the team moving. This combined with his 2 interceptions in the opening game win against Sam Houston means his job is on the line. It may be that Fisher decides to go with Max Johnson as his starter. Johnson (son of Super Bowl winning QB Brad Johnson) showed flashes of brilliance earlier in his career at LSU, which the Aggie faithful will hope he can reproduce here. Just to add to the intrigue there is also top recruit Conner Weigman on the roster.

This should be a fascinating game. Van Dyke will complete some impressive passes, but can he be consistent enough against the Aggies powerful defence who will want to atone for last week’s defeat. A QB change may bring just enough spark to their offence 

 Texas A&M by 3

Michigan State (11) @ Washington 

Image Credit: Spartans Wire

This looks like an exciting and defense dominating match up that will give a guide to the relative strengths of the Big 10 and Pac 10.

Michigan State is a team that generally flies under the radar. But, Mel Tucker always has his squad well coached and they are capable of beating any other college on any given day. 

 The Spartans are 2-0 on the season but wins over W Michigan and Akron have told us very little.  The Spartans usually have a solid ground game with Jalen Berger looking to be the main threat this year. Payton Thorne is a competent QB, but will want to avoid last week’s 2 interceptions against a strong Huskies defence. The Spartans themselves look exceptional on defense and have so far registered 12 sacks. Of which an FBS leading 5.5 belong to outstanding LB Jacoby Windmon.

 Washington is also 2-0, but again victories over Kent State and Portland State tell us very little. They are led by exciting and talented QB Michael Penix Jr. A transfer from Indiana, who is a threat to produce something spectacular from any part of the field. 

 This game will be very close, with both defenses likely to dominate, and may well come down to Special Teams. If the Spartans can overcome the change in time zone, Mel Tucker’s well-drilled squad should just prevail 

 Michigan State by 3 

Thanks to Andy for producing the College Football Week 3 preview. You can see more of his work here in the Future!

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