What college football’s Week 3 top-25 scores mean, updated all weekend
Keeping track of all the ranked games, Playoff committee-style.
After a light Week 2, this weekend should give us some actual movement in the New Year’s race. We have about twice as many games with good chances of factoring significantly into Selection Sunday, and that’s before we add upsets.
Below, we’ll keep track of each top-25 game’s impact, both before and after final scores.
Remember the things the committee has mostly demonstrated it rewards: wins over final top-25 teams, wins over bowl teams, road wins, dominant wins, weirdly excusable losses, being Alabama, and not being a mid-major. It does not care what your opponent’s AP ranking was at kickoff.
All rankings AP, until the committee’s start releasing. Final scores in italics.
Games in which the winning team will likely have a pretty high-quality Week 3 victory by season’s end.
- No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (2-0), 7, ESPN: A chance for a road win over a team likely to finish with a winning record. Outgunning and/or shutting down an offense like Ole Miss’ feels like the kind of anecdote the committee’s chair would cite on ESPN while praising Bama.
- No. 4 Ohio State (2-0) vs. No. 15 TCU (2-0), 8, ABC: Nobody should get true road-game credit here, since Jerry World is close to TCU’s campus but likely to be a Buckeye-heavy crowd. Either OSU adds one of the year’s best non-con wins or TCU wrecks everything.
- No. 7 Auburn (2-0) vs. No. 12 LSU (2-0), 3:30, CBS: As always, either of these teams could go anywhere between 11-1 and 7-5, but a solid resume item is pretty assured for the victor.
- No. 10 Washington (1-1) at Utah (2-0), 10, ESPN: Utah might have a really good defense, or might just be untested. The former could mean an excellent win by Utah. It could also mean giving the committee more or less reason to worry about UW’s offense.
- No. 17 Boise State (2-0) at No. 24 Oklahoma State (2-0), 3:30, ESPN: A Boise win in Stillwater would just about make the non-power New Year’s Six race a formality.
Games in which the winner will probably have beaten a decent bowl team (or better), and I’m being slightly generous in Week 3.
- No. 2 Clemson (2-0) vs. Georgia Southern (2-0), noon, ESPNU: The Eagles appear likely to bowl.
- No. 3 Georgia (2-0) vs. Middle Tennessee (1-1), noon, ESPNews: MTSU has a shot at .500.
- No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0) at Iowa State (0-1), noon, ABC: Do the Clones have a defense, or were they just playing Iowa? Answers inbound.
- No. 6 Wisconsin (2-0) vs. BYU (1-1), 3:30, ABC: ROCK FIGHT. We might soon discover BYU’s terrible 2017 was a fluke, meaning this would be a decent W for UW.
- No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0) vs. Vanderbilt (2-0), 2:30, NBC: I think Vandy’s actually pretty good!
- No. 16 Mississippi State (2-0) vs. UL Lafayette (1-0), 7:30, SEC Network: Sure, let’s say the Ragin’ Cajuns are a bowl team for now. S&P+ likes them.
- No. 21 Miami (1-1) at Toledo (1-0), noon, ESPN2: This would be a pretty impressive road win for the Canes, quite far from home (about as far as Delaware to New Mexico) and against a good team.
- No. 22 USC (1-1) at Texas (1-1), 8, Fox: Well, it’s a ranked game.
- No. 23 Arizona State (2-0) at San Diego State (1-1), 10:30, CBSSN: Visualize telling yourself “11-1 Herm Edwards, whose non-conference conquests included the Big Ten East champ and MWC West champ ...” and embrace madness. No, stop objecting. You’re not embracing madness yet. There you go.
The committee doesn’t really care about wins vs. FCS teams, teams with final losing records, and so forth.
- No. 9 Stanford (2-0) vs. FCS UC Davis, 2, Pac-12 Network
- No. 11 Penn State (2-0) vs. Kent State (1-1), noon, FS1
- No. 13 Virginia Tech’s game against East Carolina was canceled due to weather, which isn’t a big loss for the Hokies’ schedule.
- No. 14 West Virginia’s game against NC State was also canceled. Would’ve been a really nice win for the victor, not that football matters much here.
- No. 18 UCF’s game against UNC was also nixed. A win wouldn’t have moved the needle for the Knights anyway, as wild as that is to say about a prominent ACC program.
- No. 19 Michigan (1-1) vs. SMU (0-2), 3:30, BTN
- No. 20 Oregon (2-0) vs. San Jose State (0-2), 5, Pac-12 Network
- No. 25 Michigan State (1-1): Idly recovering from Herm Edwards.