We are so, so close to meaningful conference play. So close. In the meantime, there’s Boise at Connecticut and Nebraska at Fresno, which is its own kind of special. We’re going to get through this. We believe in y’all. In us. In tailgates that combine the cauldron talents of Monroe and Baton Rouge.
All times Eastern.
On Your Marquee
The best of the Week 3 action.
The game: no. 6 Georgia at no. 24 South Carolina
How to watch: Brave the scorchiness of Columbia in September or turn to CBS at 3:30 p.m. for the 2014 SEC debut of Uncle Verne Lundquist’s dulcet chortles.
Story line: Running back fight! In the garnet corner, Mike Davis, who was slowed by a rib injury versus Texas A&M in the opener, but who came back in rowdy fashion to record 101 yards against East Carolina. In the red corner, an established two-pronged rushing attack that’s threatening to become a full-blown Cerberus, with Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, and emerging menace Nick Chubb. (DO YOU GET IT? IT’S A DAWG WITH THREE HEADS!) Emphasis on the backfield battle aside: What’s it going to look like when Hutson Mason is forced to pass? And even with all these weapons, will the established Columbia malaise still hold sway? This contest has a marked and repeated tendency to get ugggggggly for Georgia, which hasn’t scored more than 24 points in Williams-Brice since 1994.
The game: no. 12 UCLA at (sort of!) Texas
How to watch: Camp out in the cavernous confines of the Jerry Dome at 8 p.m. on Saturday, or watch on Fox.
Story line: Quarterback curiosities on both sides! For Texas, it’s the continued feet-wetting of Tyrone Swoopes, who’s in for David Ash for who knows how long. For UCLA, it’s how long the Bruins can possibly hope to keep Brett Hundley healthy behind a line that’s allowed eight sacks through two games, putting them 121st nationally in quarterback protection; Texas has already notched 10 QB knockdowns, tied for fourth in the country.
The game: East Carolina at no. 17 Virginia Tech
How to watch: Make the trek into the shadowy heart of Blacksburg by noon on Saturday, or turn on ESPN (coverage also available on WatchESPN).
Story line: The Pirates and Hokies played in two of last week’s most watchable games, with ECU dropping a close one to South Carolina in Columbia and Virginia Tech thumping Ohio State in Columbus.1 Now, we watch QB Shane Carden and his purple orchestral offense take on Dadi Nicolas, Kendall Fuller, and the rest of a thoroughly nasty VT defense. Also, Virginia Tech has a pretty promising new quarterback in Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer. Have fun with that, rest of the ACC.
But First …
Neat to witness even though it might imperil our dreams of an all 4-4 ACC Coastal.
Weeknight college football of varying degrees of nutritional value, to be consumed at user’s own risk.
Louisiana Tech at North Texas (8 p.m., Thursday, CBSSN). Each squad has lost to one Big 12 team (Oklahoma and Texas, respectively) and resoundingly beaten one in-state foe (Louisiana and SMU, respectively). Now what?
Houston at no. 25 BYU (9 p.m., Thursday, ESPN). Oh, thank God; an excuse to post this video:
Toledo at Cincinnati (7 p.m., Friday, ESPNU/WatchESPN). Nice of you to join us, Bearcats.
No. 8 Baylor at Buffalo (8 p.m., Friday, ESPN/WatchESPN). Bryce Petty’s returning already from that injury to his dumb bones, but expect to see some significant snaps for backup (and Week 2 Big 12 offensive player of the week!) Seth Russell as the Bears seek to preserve Petty for conference play.
Best of the Rest
Highlights from a mostly Western Week 3 undercard.
UTSA at Oklahoma State (7 p.m., Saturday). As of this writing, the Cowboys haven’t said whether quarterback J.W. Walsh will be sufficiently recovered from last week’s injury to play, but as above with Baylor, we’d count on seeing the backup. If Daxx Garman starts, it’ll be against a Roadrunners defensive front that performed well versus Arizona last week.
Update: Walsh underwent foot surgery on Thursday, and is expected to miss the entire season. Garman will start Saturday in his place.
Arkansas at Texas Tech (3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC). It’s a full-swing SWCtion party, complete with costumes.
Tennessee at no. 4 Oklahoma (8 p.m., Saturday, ABC). We have been informed that the Vols are not bringing the Pride of the Southland Marching Band to Norman, eliminating the possibility of the most toxic fight-song battle the world has ever known. You will live a longer but less colorful life for this, gentle viewer.
Central Florida at no. 20 Missouri (noon, Saturday, SECN/WatchESPN). Here’s your chance to see a full game’s worth of Knights QB Justin Holman.
Tailgate of the week — Louisiana-Monroe at no. 10 LSU (7 p.m., Saturday, ESPNU/WatchESPN). Sing to me, O Muse, of an afternoon in Baton Rouge where every hand stirring every pot is Louisianan.
What have you villains done with the rest of the top five? In descending order: No. 1 Florida State is on a bye, no. 2 Oregon is hosting Wyoming (2 p.m., Saturday, P12N), and no. 3 Alabama is hosting Southern Miss (6 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2/WatchESPN). No. 5 Auburn is also idle this week, but you’ll get to see the Tigers again soon, next Thursday against Kansas State in Manhattan.
What is with the travel schedules this week? An abridged list of teams making wide-ranging trips in Week 3: Boise State at UConn, Kansas at Duke, Pitt at FIU, Minnesota at TCU, NIU at UNLV, Wake Forest at Utah State, no. 9 USC at Boston College, Nebraska at Fresno, and Illinois at Washington.
How fares Marshall’s quest for the easiest undefeated season in the country? After beating Miami (Ohio) and Rhode Island by a combined score of 90-34, the Herd are at home, at noon on Saturday (CBSSN) against the Ohio Bobcats, themselves veterans of a recent will-they-or-won’t-they Cinderella run. (They wouldn’t.)
Where might things get real weird? In Maryland, where the West Virginia–hosting Terps are wearing unis with the national anthem scribbled all over them, and in Atlanta, where Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern will square off in an option fight.
Where’s my late game? MIDNIGHT HAWAII KICKOFF ALERT. The Northern Iowa Panthers join the Warriors in Honolulu to sway your sleepy heads into Sunday morning.
It’s time already for one of our favorite early-season rivalry games, and no, we’re not talking about Iowa–Iowa State, but rather a series that’s had a strange-ass trophy for far longer. New Mexico State and UTEP meet at 8 p.m. on Saturday in El Paso for the Battle of I-10, a series wherein the winner carts home a replica of a shovel dug out of an abandoned silver mine, and a brass spittoon. It’s 2014 and we still get to hand out spittoons for things. Just ruminate on that little marvel.