College Football Games To Watch: Week Three
Notre Dame hosts South Florida this weekend, but it’s not the only game I’ll be paying attention to. Here are five games that most interest me heading into the weekend.
BOSTON COLLEGE (0-0) at DUKE (0-1)
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Line: Duke -6.0
So many storylines. Notre Dame must travel to Boston College in November, so there’s the angle of looking at a future opponent. This is game one for head coach Jeff Hafley, who came over from Ohio State. Will he able to maximize the talent in a way that Steve Addazio could not? We’ll see, and this is our first chance to get a look at him.
Oh, and then there’s the Phil Jurkovec angle. The former big-time quarterback recruit never got his shot at Notre Dame, so he transferred to BC. By all accounts he’s flourished and is set to take over the starting QB job in Chestnut Hill. He hasn’t started a game since 2018, when he was a senior in high school, so it will take him some time to get up to speed, but it will still be good to see him getting action.
SYRACUSE (0-1) at #25 PITTSBURGH (1-0)
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Network: ACC Network
Line: Pitt -21.5
This is a matchup of two future opponents, so there is always the Notre Dame angle to the matchup. Syracuse competed early with North Carolina last weekend, at least on defense, but its offense was abysmal. A program once known for offense struggled on that side of the ball last season, and the opener wasn’t a good sign.
Pittsburgh dominated in its opener, but it was against a FCS opponent (Austin Peay). The opponent wasn’t much of a challenge, but Pittsburgh did what you’re supposed to do against that kind of opponent. The Panthers had their best yards per play output since November 2018, and the pass game was explosive.
Can the Panthers be just as good against an ACC opponent, and one that will present a stiffer defensive test? If Pitt handles business then I’ll start believing they can do damage in the ACC this season.
#14 UCF (0-0) at GEORGIA TECH (1-0)
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Line: UCF -7.5
Georgia Tech kicked off the 2020 season with a great win at Florida State, and they get another shot to beat a Florida program, although this one should be better than the underachieving Seminoles. Getting a win over UCF would be a monumental upset for head coach Geoff Collins, who is now in just his second season running the Yellow Jacket program.
The 277 passing yards against Florida State was the offense’s best since the season-opener against Wofford back in 2014. True freshman quarterback Jeff Sims completed 68.6% of his throws, but he did throw two picks. He’ll need to clean that up against UCF, who should still be explosive on offense this season.
Pulling off this upset will be quite a challenge, but I am looking forward to see the Collins defense against a better offense. If Georgia Tech is able to keep UCF in check it will tell me the defense is ready to make a big jump.
#17 MIAMI (1-0) at #18 LOUISVILLE (1-0)
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Line: Louisville -2.5
I liked what I saw from both teams in their openers, and this should be a game where we learn a lot about both programs. For Miami, this is a chance to regain some on-field momentum. The Hurricanes battled hard against UAB, and when they responded to a UAB third quarter touchdown that made it 17-14 with a physical touchdown drive it told me this Hurricane team might have a different edge to it than past squads.
Louisville handled Western Kentucky in convincing fashion, and this is the kind of game they absolutely must win if they are going to be a contender for the ACC title game. Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham passed for a career-best 343 yards in the win over the Hilltoppers, but Louisville rushed for just 3.79 yards per rush. Standout back Javian Hawkins had just 71 yards (3.7) in the opener.
This should be a fun game to watch. Cunningham vs. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King should be a really good battle, and we’ll learn a lot about both signal callers in this matchup.
WAKE FOREST (0-1) at NC STATE (0-0)
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Network: ACC Network
Line: NC State -1.0
Notre Dame plays Wake Forest next weekend, and this game should tell us more about the kind of team they are. The Deacons just don’t match up against Clemson, who thrashed them last weekend. This is especially true without star wide receiver Sage Surratt, who opted out of the season.
NC State head coach Dave Doeren enters a huge season, and he needs to get the program back on track. Losing at home to Wake Forest could be a defeat he can’t recover from.
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