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College football ’19: Week 3 Top 25 previews

Week 3 Top 25

Each week, The Game Haus will preview every college football game featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25. We’ll also give an expanded look at three Top 25 matchups especially worth watching.

Here we go with those Week 3 Top 25 games (all times Eastern):

Key Games

No. 24 USC (2-0) at BYU (1-1) 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Week 3 Top 25
Kedon Slovis / Photo Courtesy of si.com

Scouting the Trojans: Freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis (34 of 41, 434 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) is making USC fans forget about the injured JT Daniels. The Trojans’ first road game should be interesting as a Week 3 Top 25 team, but one they should handle while starting to see that talent come to light.

Scouting the Cougars: They have plenty of momentum after winning at Tennessee. But, is that really an upset anymore? BYU last faced USC in 2004, that also came at home, and lost 42-10. Don’t think the Cougars have enough offense to pull off a second straight upset.

Winner: USC

Stanford (1-1) at No. 17 UCF (2-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Cardinal: Quarterback K.J. Costello has been cleared to play, but the loss of tackle Walker Little for the season is massive. Stanford has looked inconsistent against Northwestern and USC, but this should be tougher than either of those.

Scouting the Knights: Darriel Mack Jr. is available, but freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel has looked good and the status of Brandon Wimbush is uncertain. Regardless who is under center, Central Florida should be amped for perhaps the biggest home game in program history. And, one that looks like an easy winner.

Winner: UCF

No. 1 Clemson (2-0) at Syracuse (1-1), 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Scouting the Tigers: Their last regular-season loss came at Syracuse in 2017. Think the Tigers forgot? Trevor Lawrence has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions, but the difference in this contest should be Clemson’s stellar defense.

Scouting the Orange: Syracuse’s collective ego should be bruised after being pounded 63-20 by Maryland last week to fall out of the Week 3 Top 25. The truth is, the Orange are not a 10-win team like last season, and will likely need to play a near perfect game to stun Clemson again.

Winner: Clemson

The Rest

No. 20 Washington State (2-0) vs. Houston (1-1), (at NRG Stadium, Houston) 9:15 p.m., Friday

The Skinny: Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon (60 of 74, 884 yards, nine touchdowns, one interception) is off to a great start. That does not bode well for a Houston defense that gave up 49 points to Oklahoma.

Winner: Washington State

No. 21 Maryland (2-0) at Temple (1-0), Noon, Saturday
Week 3 Top 25
Mike Locksley / Photo courtesy of al.com

The Skinny: After scoring 142 points under new coach Mike Locksley in their first two games, the Terps hit the road for the first time. They should be able to handle the Owls, who beat them last season at College Park, but it won’t be as easy as many would think.

Winner: Maryland

Arkansas State (1-1) at No. 3 Georgia (2-0), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: This should be a third straight relatively easy hurdle for the Bulldogs to clear. They’ve allowed 23 points to Vanderbilt and Murray State and just 509 total yards. Expect more of the same this weekend.

Winner: Georgia

No. 6 Ohio State (2-0) at Indiana (2-0), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: Backed by Heisman Trophy contender Justin Fields (nine passing and rushing touchdowns), Ohio State opens Big Ten play looking to continue its dominance over the Hoosiers. Indiana, trying to go 3-0 for a second straight year, last beat the Buckeyes in 1988.

Winner: Ohio State

Pittsburgh (1-1) at No. 13 Penn State (2-0), Noon, Saturday

The Skinny: Who knows when these historic rivals will meet again after this season, so this matchup should be filled with plenty of emotion. The Nittany Lions have outscored their first two opponents 124-20 and should have little trouble winning a third straight over the Panthers.

Winner: Penn State

New Mexico (1-0) at No. 7 Notre Dame (1-0), 2:30 p.m., Saturday
Week 3 Top 25
Tony Jone Jr. / Photo courtesy of slapthesign.com

The Skinny: Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie will not be facing his his former program due to health reasons. It likely won’t matter, as Notre Dame returns to action after putting away Louisville to open the season. Is Tony Jones Jr. (110 yards vs. Louisville) the next big-time running back for the Irish?

Winner: Notre Dame

No. 2 Alabama (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The last time these teams met, it was in Columbia and a No. 1 Crimson Tide squad lost 35-21 in 2010. Fast forward, and Alabama is still a national power while the Gamecocks are trying to find an identity, while also looking to beat a Top 25 team for the first time since 2016. That slide should continue after this one.

Winner: Alabama

No. 19 Iowa (2-0) at Iowa State (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Iowa has won four straight in this series and looked strong out the gate. Iowa State needed triple-overtime to beat FCS Northern Iowa two weeks ago. The Cyclones, not a Week 3 Top 25 team, have had time to prepare, but the Hawkeyes are playing with too much confidence.

Winner: Iowa

Arizona State (2-0) at No. 18 Michigan State (2-0) 4 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin (1,955 career rushing yards) is among the best running backs in the nation. However, he’ll be in for another major test against a Spartans’ defense that’s allowed minus-6 yards rushing in two games. They held Benjamin to 27 on 13 carries last season.

Winner: Michigan

Idaho State (1-0) at No. 11 Utah (2-0) 4:15 p.m., Saturday
Week 3 Top 25
Zack Moss / Photo courtesy of utahutes.com

The Skinny: When healthy, Utah running back Zack Moss (267 yards, three touchdowns) might be one of the best in the nation. He should get plenty of early touches this weekend as the Utes look to start 3-0 for the fifth time in six years.

Winner: Utah

Kent State (1-1) at No. 8 Auburn (2-0), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: What we’ve seen is probably what we are going to get with Auburn in 2019. The Tigers looked good against Oregon, but slightly better than mediocre versus Tulane. One would think they’ll be closer to the former against a Kent State program that’s 1-21 against Top 25 opponents since 1998.

Winner: Auburn

No. 9 Florida (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0), 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Kentucky ended Florida’s lengthy winning streak in this series last season, so expect the Gators to be ready for some payback. While Florida’s offense still seems inconsistent, a defense that’s already recorded 15 sacks should determine the outcome of this contest.

Winner: Florida

Lamar (2-0) at No. 16 Texas A&M (1-1) 7 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: The Aggies were dealt a major blow with leading rusher Jashaun Corbin’s season-ending hamstring injury. While that could be an issue long-term, it should not keep Texas A&M from putting together a dominant performance this week.

Winner: Texas A&M

Northwestern State (0-2) at No. 4 LSU (2-0) 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Talk about a come-down from last weekend’s victory in a wild affair at Texas. We don’t expect a letdown of any sorts from the Tigers, who have made an early statement that they are a serious contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Winner: LSU

Florida State (1-1) at No. 25 Virginia (2-0) 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Week 3 Top 25
Bryce Perkins / Photo courtesy of theathletic.com

The Skinny: A Week 3 Top 25 member, Virginia has some high expectations this season. Quarterback Bryce Perkins is a solid dual-threat performer and likely to give fits to a Seminoles defense that’s allowed 80 points and 1,040 total yards through two games.

Winner: Virginia

Hawaii (2-0) at No. 23 Washington (1-1) 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Washington took a step back with another loss to California. While the Huskies defense should be able to handle Hawaii’s potent offense, concerns remain about their own offensive potential. Quarterback Jacob Eason could use a strong rebound effort.

Winner: Washington

No. 12 Texas (1-1) vs. Rice (0-2), (at NRG Stadium, Houston), 8 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: While some disappointment might still be lingering for the Longhorns following last weekend’s loss to LSU, Rice offers a perfect opportunity to get back on track. Especially for a Texas defense that allowed 471 passing yards to the Tigers.

Winner: Texas

No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0) at UCLA (0-2), 8 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: This one has the potential to be ugly. The Sooners are rolling behind new quarterback Jalen Hurts (252.3 passer rating) and UCLA still seems lost under coach Chip Kelly. Word is there might be more Oklahoma fans at the Rose Bowl than Bruin backers.

Winner: Oklahoma

Portland State (1-1) at No. 22 Boise State (2-0) 10:15 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Boise State’s defense has yet to allow a point in the second half. That trend could very well continue against the FCS Vikings, who actually played Arkansas tough on the road last month. Linebacker Curtis Weaver (two sacks, three tackles for loss) is a name to remember.

Winner: Boise State

Montana (2-0) at No. 15 Oregon (1-1) 10:45 p.m., Saturday

The Skinny: Back on track after that season-opening loss to Auburn, the Ducks should not have an issue this weekend, even against a solid FCS opponent. Oregon has won 23 straight game against unranked, non-conference opponents at home.

Winner: Oregon

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