The weeks are ticking by as the college football season gears up for the third weekend of action. So far there has been little movement in the play-off places, aside from surprise package LSU starting strong and pushing itself into contention. This weekend doesn’t have the all-star matchup’s of last weekend, but there is an important rivalry game and some great low key interesting games.
1) Iowa – Iowa State Preview
This rivalry going underplayed on the national scale, but it’s real and deserves the recognition it’s getting this weekend. The College Gameday crew are visiting Ames for the first time.
This matchup is tough to predict, much like most rivalry games. Iowa is nationally ranked and matches up well talent wise, led by potential top five pick edge rusher A.J Espinosa. On the other hand, Iowa State is at home and is coming off an impressive 8-5 season last year. Iowa State started slow this season, but I think they edge this close game.
2) Washington State – Houston Preview
This is a game most would overlook as both teams are not powerhouse programs, but this will be a very interesting game. Washington State comes into this game ranked 20th, but they have yet to be tested this season.
This Houston side will be a stern test for the Cougars. The game is being played in Houston, and this team is led by quarterback D’Eriq King, one of the most exciting players in college football. Houston almost scared Oklahoma opening weekend and both sides will put up points in this game.
3) Virginia – Florida State Preview
This is also a game many would pass up, but for ACC fans this game will have long running implications throughout the season. Virginia are riding the crest of a wave, having been nationally ranked the past two seasons, for the first time since 2004-05.
Things couldn’t be more different at Florida State, a storied program that has started badly this season. Losing the home opener to Boise State brought back memories of last season, and scraping past ULM 45-44 asked more questions then answers. Virginia needs to beat Florida State to take control of the ACC Coastal Conference.
4) Under the Radar Games
Week three specialises in these under the radar games like the ones mentioned above, with yet more hidden away. Stanford travel to Orlando to take on the UCF Knights, a key game for both sides. Stanford wants to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to USC, and UCF wants to prove itself against major competition after being overlooked in recent seasons.
Elsewhere, Arizona State travels cross-country to East Lansing, to take on 18th ranked Michigan State. Michigan goes in as favourite and they should get the home win. Ninth ranked Florida takes on a Kentucky side reeling from the loss of QB Terry Wilson.
5) Stanford OL Walker Little Out for Year
Stanford offensive lineman Walker Little is having season ending knee surgery, which is a big loss for the Cardinal. He was their best lineman and the junior was expected to be a first round draft pick if he declared next year.
His loss is massive for a team trying to bounce back after losing to USC last weekend. It’s unclear at the moment whether he will stay in school or simply leave the program to focus on his rehab for the 2020 NFL Draft.
6) Injuries to More Future NFL Draft Picks
Whilst these players are not household names nationally, their injuries have implications for the 2020 NFL Draft. Senior Purdue linebacker Markus Bailey is undergoing season ending knee surgery, and will most likely declare for the draft. He is a promising player that could have been a day two pick, but this is unclear now with this injury.
South Carolina QB Jake Bentley is a more recognisable name, but has struggled to improve his draft stock after early college hype. He is out for the year with a foot injury, and he may apply for a medical redshirt to come back for one more year and try to improve his diminishing draft stock.
7) Latest Heisman Rankings
As of week three there are a number of contenders for the 2019 Heisman Trophy, with a new front runner seemingly every week. After his remarkable debut at Oklahoma it was Jalen Hurts out front, now it seems after week two Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa leads the standings.
He played more snaps last weekend compared to Hurts, with both having the chance to boost their numbers as they face poor South Carolina and UCLA sides respectively. An outside emerging bet is LSU’s Joe Burrow, who just like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray before him is shooting up Heisman boards with his impressive start to the season.
8) Clay Helton on Hot Seat at USC
This will seem a weird headline to write after USC upset 23rd ranked Stanford last weekend, but he has this week lost a key ally within USC. Athletic Director Lynn Swann resigned earlier this week, removing a big supporter of head coach Clay Helton.
Many called for Helton to be fired after a disastrous 5-7 season last year, yet Swann was a keen supporter of Helton. Now that he has resigned, the athletic department will likely go in a different direction if they struggle again this year. They have a very difficult schedule, and starting QB J.T Daniels is out for the year also.
9) California Passes Law Allowing College Athletes to Get Paid
This is a story more for the future than the here and now, but this is a big step in the right direction for college players to get some compensation. This law would allow student-athletes at California college campuses to earn money from their likeness.
This has been a major talking point in college sports which divides opinion, with the NCAA likely to do everything in their power to stop this. They have already mentioned that if this becomes law in 2023 as currently scheduled all California universities would be removed from NCAA competitions. This is certainly not the last we will hear on this matter.
10) Top Players Entering Transfer Portal
The transfer portal has increasingly become a key component of college football in recent seasons, and this week two more talented young players have entered their names into it.
2019 five star defensive end Antonio Alfano has entered his name, after running into issues at Alabama surrounding missing school to be with a relative as they deal with a medical condition. He may stay at Alabama, but will have a lot of schools contacting him for sure. Four star USC wide receiver Devon Williams also entered his name this week, seemingly unhappy with a lack of playing time at the school. He would be another big addition to any program in the country.
That wraps up my preview for the upcoming weekend of college football, let me know if you have any thoughts on this piece let me know either in the comments section below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a big thank you for anyone who read this article I really appreciate it!