Week three in college football is historically a down week. Teams tend to schedule easier games as they begin to gear up for their conference schedules to start. This week is no exception, but that doesn’t mean it’s across the entire board. The number of games to choose from is small, but there are definitely still some doozies on the schedule. Here are the four best games of the week.
Iowa State at Iowa
This one is absolutely a rivalry game but one that hasn’t gotten a ton of play over the years because the two teams cannot seem to be good at the same time. This year, neither team is great, but this game has a rather large on the perception of both the Big 10 and Big 12. The Big 10 got clobbered last week as Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern, and Purdue all lost while Nebraska and Iowa had close calls in seemingly easier games. League strength has always been important but many believe it will be even bigger this year because the committee will have to judge teams rather than a computer. Iowa should win this game rather easily at home, but crazier things have happened in rivalry games, and it could be devastating to the Big 10 if the Hawkeyes falter.
Tennessee at Oklahoma
The Sooners are clearly the class of the Big 12 at this moment, but there’s also a perception issue with their conference. Many believe the Big 12 is a major step down from the SEC and Pac 12 and therefore just a single loss could knock a Big 12 team out of the playoff. This game is beg for the conference because it’s a chance for the Big 12 and Oklahoma to really put one on an SEC program that is down at the moment. Odds are the outcome of the game won’t be in jeopardy late, but if the Sooners aren’t able to easily handle Tennessee, it’s going to look really bad for the Big 12 when an Alabama, Georgia, or other SEC team routs the Vols.
UCLA vs. Texas (in Arlington, TX)
UCLA has looked pretty pedestrian in their first two games of the year, yet are still 2-0 and should still be considered a team live to make the playoff. They catch a Longhorn team that is reeling after being completely blown out by BYU on their home turf. This game is so exciting because it could really go any way. It’s easy to see how UCLA could put the pieces back together and blow Texas out, and it’s almost just as likely that Texas could right their ship and take advantage of the Bruins while they are still playing poorly. It’s a great opportunity for UCLA to get back on track and launch a highly successful Pac 12 season, but it also looks like a gigantic trap game waiting to happen. Should be fun to watch.
Georgia at South Carolina
Easily the game of the week in college football as two SEC teams matchup in what amounts to a must-win for South Carolina. If the Gamecocks falter again they will be left with two conference losses meaning the only way they can win the East division would be if Georgia loses at least three conference games. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs and Todd Gurley have a chance to bury South Carolina and move higher up the rankings in a week in which they are the undisputed marquee game. Expect Steve Spurrier to try and force Hutson Mason to beat him through the air. If Mason and Georgia can indeed prove their passing attack, they’ll instantly become a favorite to be in the final four.