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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Week 3 top 10 college football matchups

Fans+celebrate+during+a+game+vs.+New+Mexico+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+2%2C+2023.
Photo by Photo by Kyle Heise

Fans celebrate during a game vs. New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023.

Starting this weekly series in Week 3 may not have been the best idea.
However, there are still a handful of games that have potential to draw many eyes around the college football world. Between new conference rivalries forming, old rivalries renewing and some big conference games in the SEC, Week 3 still has a lot to offer.
Let’s break down the top-10 games of the week and who will be coming out on top in their respective matchups.
10. TCU @ Houston (7 p.m. on Fox)
Bringing up the rear for the top games of the week is Houston’s first conference game since joining the Big 12. Facing them will be the reigning conference regular season champions and national championship runner-up, TCU.
Despite last season, the Horned Frogs seem to be a much weaker team than the one from a year ago after losing key players such as quarterback Max Duggan and wide receiver Quentin Johnston. TCU is 1-1 so far on the young season, after dropping its opener to Colorado 45-42.
The Cougars come in at 1-1 as well after playing a pair of close games. They dropped their first game of the season last week to Rice, 43-41, in double overtime.
Despite the early season losses, both teams will be looking to start their conference season on the right foot, spring boarding them into the rest of Big 12 play. However, unfortunately for Cougar fans, the Horned Frogs will come out on top in this game.
Winner: TCU
9. Colorado State @ No. 18 Colorado (9 p.m. on ESPN)
ESPN’s College Gameday is headed to Boulder, Colorado for The Rocky Mountain Rivalry matchup between Colorado State and Colorado. Despite the media precedent behind this game, it’s not cracking this list’s top five.
No disrespect to the rivalry. In fact, the reason this game is in this top ten is because of it.. However, these teams have gone in different trajectories this season. .
The Rams are 0-1 after a blowout loss at home to Washington State.
On the other side, there is a ton of hype surrounding this Colorado football program in 2023 with new head coach, Deion Sanders, and fairly so.
As 21-point underdogs, the Buffaloes traveled to Fort Worth for their season opener and shocked the Horned Frogs behind a strong performance from junior quarterback Shedeur Sanders. There are also many eyes on sophomore Travis Hunter, who plays both cornerback and wide receiver.
On top of that, Shedeur is already making an early-season case for the Heisman Trophy, so I don’t blame ESPN for wanting to capitalize on the hype and take its game of the week to Boulder.
Still, Colorado will roll in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
Winner: Colorado
8. BYU @ Arkansas (6:30 p.m. on ESPN2)
When this game was scheduled in 2018, it was not a Power-Five matchup. Now, with BYU in its first season in the Big 12, this matchup has changed drastically.
The Cougars and Razorbacks have opened their respective seasons against weaker competition. Thus, question marks still surround both teams about how good they can be this season.
Arkansas won unimpressively at home against Kent State last week, 28-7, to the same Golden Flashes that lost to UCF 56-6 in Week 1.
BYU still has a lot to prove before serious talks of it competing for a conference championship are had. An unimpressive 14-0 victory at home against Sam Houston State before dominating a much weaker opponent in Southern Utah has the verdict of the Cougars’ season still up for debate.
Unfortunately for BYU fans, the Razorbacks will defend their home turf, handing the Cougars their first loss of the season.
Winner: Arkansas
7. No. 7 Penn State @ Illinois (11 a.m. on Fox)
The Nittany Lion faithful have come into the 2023 season with much confidence and expectations to compete for the national championship. So far, they have taken care of business.
Penn State convincingly beat West Virginia in Week 1 before mopping the floor with Delaware the following week. Now as they open conference play, they are tasked with an early road test against an struggling Illinois squad.
Underperforming may be an understatement for Illinois, as Bret Bielema and the Fighting Illini have not started out on the best note. They avoided an upset in the opener after kicking a game-winning field goal against Toledo but then fell at Kansas by double digits.
This would be a great game for Illinois to turn its season around, but that’s not going to happen as the Nittany Lions will continue to roll in Week 3.
Winner: Penn State
6. No. 11 Tennessee @ Florida (6 p.m. on ESPN)
The matchup between Tennessee and Florida is the first of three conference games in the SEC to pop up on this list and for good reason, as it is no doubt the weakest of the bunch.
Florida opened its season with a dud against Utah, causing some concern for the fans in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators were limited to just 13 yards on the ground in that game but flipped the script in Week 2, rushing for 327 yards.
Although how much can someone take away from a game against McNeese State?
The Volunteers will no doubt be a step up in competition from what they have seen so far as they look to push for an SEC East title. Tennessee looked strong in Week 1, but might have been looking ahead in the second week after playing close to Austin Peay for a half of football.
Winning in The Swamp is never easy, but redshirt senior quarterback Joe Milton will be the key in the Volunteers taking care of business Saturday.
Winner: Tennessee
5. Pittsburgh @ West Virginia (6:30 p.m. on ABC)
No matter how good teams are, rivalry matchups are never not fun to watch, especially a rivalry as big as Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
After taking a break for 11 years, the Backyard Brawl returned last season, with the Panthers winning 38-31 in a thriller. There is so much history between these two teams, like in 2007 when a 4-7 Pitt team knocked the Mountaineers out of contention for the BCS National Championship game with a 13-9 victory.
This year, a chance for either of these teams to compete for a national championship seems bleak with West Virginia falling early to Penn State and Pitt losing last week to Cincinnati.
That being said, both of these teams will be playing like it has a championship to win this week as they go to war in Morgantown, West Virginia. The home field will be the deciding factor and West Virginia will get its revenge back from last season.
Winner: West Virginia
4. No. 15 Kansas State @ Missouri (11 a.m. on SEC Network)
This game doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves by the TV schedule. Despite no longer being conference rivals, the regional rivalry still exists between Kansas State and Missouri.
Kansas State is coming off an appearance in the Big 12 title game and has started off strong in 2023 with blowout wins against Southeast Missouri State and Troy. Yes, it may be against lesser competition, but that Wildcat offense is rolling with senior quarterback Will Howard at the helm.
However, it will face its first true test this season, having to travel to Colombia, Missouri for an early morning matchup.
The Tigers’ offense has looked a little lackluster to start the season, but good enough to be 2-0. However, much like the Wildcats, it faces its first test of the year this week.
Good news for Missouri fans, they will pass that test as sophomore wide receiver Luther Burden will haul in a pair of touchdown grabs to lead them to victory.
Winner: Missouri
3. No. 8 Washington @ Michigan State (4 p.m. on Peacock)
Peacock! Really? It should be a crime for a game of this magnitude to be put behind a paywall. However, loyal fans of the English Premier League will get a Saturday afternoon treat with Washington traveling to face Michigan State.
This week, much drama has surrounded the Spartans’ program as coach Mel Tucker has been suspended due to an ongoing investigation of sexual harassment. If it weren’t for this situation, then this game might have been at the top of the list.
Despite Michigan State starting off strong and the Washington offense with senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. looking outstanding, the turmoil is just too much to put this one at the top.
The Huskies have a serious chance to contend for the College Football Playoff, but a loss to the Spartans would diminish that.
If it weren’t for the distractions, this might have been a closer game than the way it turns out. Washington will go on the road in Week 3 and pull off a statement victory and stay in the hunt for a playoff bid.
Winner: Washington
2. South Carolina @ No. 1 Georgia (2:30 p.m. on CBS)
There is no doubt Georgia should take care of business when South Carolina comes to town, but in recent history the Gamecocks have seemed to give the Bulldogs some trouble.
What better time to catch them slipping than an early season conference game? Especially since Georgia is still trying to figure itself out with first-year starter and junior quarterback Carson Beck.
They have handled business early against UT-Martin and Ball State, but South Carolina will not be as easy of a victory.
The Gamecocks suffered an early season loss to North Carolina and winning against Georgia would go a really long way in getting their season back on track. However, that Georgia defense will be too much for the Gamecocks to handle and the Bulldogs will avoid the upset on Saturday.
Winner: Georgia
1. No. 14 LSU @ Mississippi State (11 am on ESPN)
A team that won’t avoid an upset on Saturday, however, is LSU, and that is why its game this week sits at the top spot in this list. Mississippi State has looked better than expected after head coach Zach Arnett took over for the late Mike Leach in December of 2022.
Winning in overtime last week at Arizona has no doubt sparked some momentum in the Bulldogs season. What better way to capitalize on that than beating the defending SEC West champions at home?
LSU looks like it has regressed early on this season after being handled in Week 1 by Florida State. The Tigers are going to have to look better than they did against the Seminoles as they have to face the cowbells in Starkville, Mississippi this week.
It’s likely not many will pick the Bulldogs in this matchup, but they’re going to be wishing they did after LSU starts 0-1 in conference play.
Winner: Mississippi State

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