For as long as I can remember there’s been a ton of group of five vs power five games early in the college football season (even with the Big East was a thing.) You would get your occasional “upset” here and there but things would usually go chalk and then everyone moves on to their conference play.
This season feels a little different though doesn’t it? Even though we’ve already had some upsets in that vain this season, this is the weekend I’ve had circled for about 4 months now. As we all do in the dog days of summer we tend to look ahead at the weekly schedules to see if they’re amazing or if they are sleepy and as a writer for this site I kept coming back to Week three.
Some of the teams in these games looked better on paper four months ago than they do now but the fact still remains that week three of this college football season is a huge stage for the group of five as a collective whole. This whole thing has kind of been building from last season because we all rallied behind UCF as they struggled to capture ANY momentum in the playoff committee’s eyes but seemed to capture the nation with their story and their plight for recognition. The whole “if only they played somebody” debate is still fresh in 2018.
So here we are with a slate of important and winnable group of five vs power five games that COULD shift the nation even more to the idea that the underdog is every bit as worthy as their power five opponent. (This gets muddied by the cancelation of UCF-UNC, stay safe out there folks)
Boise State-Oklahoma State- 3:30 ET, ESPN: This is one right here is the big dog in this story. It could shift perception by itself. The Broncos are one of if not the hottest teams in the country. They go on the road to Stillwater to play what some have as a Big 12 contender. Either way these are two top 25 teams playing each other and wouldn’t qualify as your typical upset. Brett Rypien and Broncos offense has been virtually unstoppable through two games and that angry Boise defense of old has seemed to return. Boise State has every reason to believe they’ll win this game and I think they will too.
Houston-Texas Tech- 4:15 ET, Fox: A rematch from last year where the Red Raiders got the better of the Cougars but this one seems to be headed a different direction. The Houston offense has become dynamic under new OC Kendal Briles with QB D’Eriq King leading it. Ed Oliver is just so much fun to watch and I have hard time believing that Texas Tech can block it up well enough to prevent him from getting his. This is another where your typical underdog could and maybe even should win this game.
Toledo-Miami(FL)- 12:00 ET, ESPN2: The U is heading to the Glass bowl. Did you ever think you would see that? Yeah me either but it’s a thing in 2018 and we’re all better for it. The Rockets went down to south beach last year and fought a respectable and competitive fight but didn’t pull out a victory. Logan Woodside may be gone but the offense hasn’t seemed to miss a beat even in only playing one time this year. So essentially Toledo has been resting up and waiting for this one. If they can get to QB Malik Rosier who no one feels great about at this point with some kind of pass rush this upset is at least plausible. I won’t call for it outright but stranger things have happened.
North Texas-Arkansas- 4:00 ET, SEC Network: The luster is off of this one a little bit seeing how the Razorbacks lost to a what had been up to that point bad Colorado State team last week but this could still be a huge coming out party for the Mean Green. This is one where North Texas should feel like they’re the better team and it’s probably because they are. It is a great opportunity for the casual fan to know the names of North Texas quarterback Mason Fine and head coach Seth Litrell. There’s blood in the water after last weekend and I fully expect North Texas to be like sharks in this one.
Arkansas opens as a 7 point favorite against North Texas this weekend.— Josh Bertaccini (@RedZone921) September 10, 2018
So Vegas says it would be a pick'em game if played in Denton.
Games to keep an eye on
BYU-Wisconsin- 3:30 ET, ABC: Are the Badgers sleepwalking through their non-conference? They can’t afford to against what looks to be a feisty Cougars team (you’re G5 BYU, embrace it.)
Troy-Nebraska- Big Ten Network, 12:00 ET: Could the Scott Frost era get off to an 0-2 start? Neal Brown brings a talented Trojans team to Lincoln and they could catch the Huskers reeling from the Colorado loss.
Fresno State-UCLA- 10:30 ET, FS1: while the Bruins found their quarterback of the future last week the Bulldogs came really close to knocking off Minnesota. I’m going to call for an outright win here. UCLA has already lost to Cincinnati so this seems possible to likely.
Arizona State-San Diego State-10:30, CBSSN: Okay we were all wrong about Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils... maybe. The Aztecs looked bad against Stanford in their opener but are perfectly capable of finding a win here as they’re no stranger to beating Pac12 teams in the past.
Colorado State at Florida- 4:00 ET, SEC Network: Can the Rams repeat in knocking off an SEC foe? I wouldn’t bet on it but they do have a talented offense and they could catch the Gators sleeping after their loss to Kentucky. Can the Colorado State defense hold up?
Other games of note
Here is a perfect opportunity to make everyone and that includes the playoff committee stand up and take notice. The pitch is tee’d up here but the question is will it be a home run or will it be a strikeout? That’s right I left you with a baseball analogy.
Enjoy the games!