Game to Watch – Week 3

Peter Sblendorio

No. 1 Alabama vs. ArkansasGame at 2:30CT on CBS

The glamor of this matchup took a serious hit last Saturday when the Razorbacks were upset by LouisianaMonroe. However, Arkansas still boasts a talented roster that has the potential to play the Crimson Tide tough. Alabama has looked stellar so far in blowout wins against Michigan and Western Kentucky, with quarterback A.J. McCarron coming into his own this year with 418 passing yards and six touchdowns. The Tide’s defense is arguably the best in the country and it has been dominant so far holding its first two opponents to just 14 total points. Quarterback Tyler Wilson — if he’s clear to play after a blow to the head against Monroe — will have to be at his best for Arkansas, who fell out of the Top 25 after entering last week No. 8, to have a chance against the Crimson Tide.

No. 2 USC vs. No. 21 StanfordGame at 6:30CT on FOX

The Trojans will face their first real test of the season on Saturday against the Cardinal, which looked strong in its second win of the season against Duke. Matt Barkley has jumped out ahead as the early favorite for the Heisman Trophy, with 559 yards and an eye-popping 10 touchdowns in two games. New addition Silas Redd’s impact has also been felt early, as he leads the team with 163 yards rushing with a touchdown. Quarterback Josh Nunes has done enough thus far to lead the Stanford offense, but the lineup is not nearly as intimidating as it was last year with Andrew Luck behind center, two NFL draft-picks along the offensive line and Coby Fleener at tight end. That said, the Trojans are just an eight-point favorite, so this has strong potential to be a competitive matchup.

No. 20 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Michigan StateGame at 7:00CT on ABC

This should be the most evenly matched game of the week, as these two team each own efficient offenses and effective defenses that make them players in any game. The Irish appear to be boasting one of their most talented teams of the decade, as Everett Golson has emerged at the quarterback position, throwing for 433 yards and a pair of scores so far. This has been enough to complement a defense that has allowed an average of 13.5 points per game so far. The Spartans are constructed similarly, as their defense has held opponents to a combined 20 points in two games. Le’Veon Bell has starred at running back, rushing for 280 yards and four touchdowns, and he has held pace on an offense that has averaged 478 yards through two weeks. Both teams contain balanced offenses, but this one could come down to who makes the most stops on defense.

No. 18 Florida vs. No. 23 TennesseeGame at 5:00CT on ESPN

This marks the second consecutive season that these two teams enter their matchup with 2-0 records. Florida avoided a scare last week against new SEC opponent Texas A&M after trailing at halftime, and its offense has struggled thus far, averaging just 23.5 points per game through two games. Running back Mike Gillislee has been the main source of offense for the Gators, as he leads the team with 231 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. The Volunteers have been paced so far by quarterback Tyler Bray, who has thrown for 643 yards and six scores, and as a team they are ranked 15th in the NCAA with 541 offensive yards per game. This matchup will come down to who stands taller between the Tennessee offense and the Florida defense.