Some of Week 3's most intriguing games have been affected or even canceled by Hurricane Florence, but we've still got a fun slate.
5. No. 22 USC at Texas (8 p.m. ET, FOX)
Two iconic college football brands, two so-so teams. USC's staff got things horribly wrong against Stanford last week on both sides of the ball. The Cardinal laid out the blueprint for stopping USC's true freshman quarterback JT Daniels: David Shaw's men came after Daniels on third downs, running a battery of stunts, twists, blitzes, and gap exchanges.
Daniels failed to adjust, and it'll be interesting to see how he bounces back. Prior to Saturday, he hadn't lost a football game since the California Southern Section Division 1 championship in December 2016. Back-to-back road games also make things extra tough for the Trojans.
Things aren't going much better for Texas. The Longhorns eked out a win over Tulsa last week after an opening-day loss to Maryland. Tom Herman's offense looks stuck in the mud, and quarterback Sam Ehlinger has bags of potential but continues to make dumbfounding decisions.
4. No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 15 TCU (8 p.m. ET, ABC)
Ugh. Why is this being played at a neutral site?
Urban Meyer will serve the last week of his suspension against TCU on Saturday, but it shouldn't have much of an impact on the result. Ryan Day has been a fine game-day coach so far, and it's not like Meyer has no input - he's been back at practice for the past two weeks.
Ohio State has the better athletes, and they're dynamic on offense. The ball is being spread around. Day's crafted a unit that is schematically sound and fashions favorable matchups for quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who's been excellent so far after excelling in backup duty against Michigan last year.
Haskins isn't a classic dual-threat runner - he's looking to throw, not take off. He's smooth in the pocket and does a nice job with some of the subtleties of the position, like understanding what throws to make against certain kinds of leverage and diagnosing spinning safeties.
Gary Patterson is the key to this thing. Can his Horned Frogs manufacture some turnovers? Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown threw the kitchen sink of Xs and Os at Haskins last year, but the quarterback withstood it all. I'd bet on Haskins to do it again Saturday.
3. No. 10 Washington at Utah (10 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Let’s start with the aesthetics: Washington's uniforms. Rice-Eccles Stadium. Beautiful.
Washington should win, but I expect it to be close. The Utes hammered Weber State in Week 1 before beating Northern Illinois on the road last week. Kyle Whittingham's team has played an excellent brand of ground-and-pound so far, relying on the run game and defense. It will look to elongate possessions and shorten the game Saturday.
Every game is a must-win for Washington with Chris Petersen expecting his team to make the College Football Playoff. The Huskies might be the Pac-12's only hope.
2. No. 17 Boise State at No. 24 Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Boise State is most likely the Group of 5's only shot to get into the playoff conversation this season (who are we kidding, the committee won't even consider it). A win in Stillwater would be the most impressive victory on the Broncos' schedule.
This is Mike Gundy's first test of the season. OSU beat up on Missouri State and South Alabama in the first two weeks of the season. Will the Cowboys come into the Boise State game a little undercooked?
The explosive Justice Hill is the star of the Cowboys' show, seeming to conjure space where there isn't any. David Montgomery is the only Big 12 running back who can match him in terms of vision and acceleration.
It'll be interesting to see how Oklahoma State's QB situation shakes out. Taylor Cornelius, a former walk-on senior, has started the season, and he’s a better athlete than former starter Mason Rudolph. But he's shown jitters in his first couple of games and isn't a great decision-maker.
Former two-year Hawaii starter Dru Brown is waiting in the wings, having transferred to Stillwater over the offseason. I wouldn't be surprised to see him at some point Saturday.
1. No. 12 LSU at No. 7 Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
This is Week 3's premier matchup, but after some consideration, I'm not sure it's going to be all that close.
Auburn has a truly elite defensive front, and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow stumbled and bumbled against Miami when placed under any kind of pressure. Miami's offense couldn't take advantage of Burrow's issues, but Auburn's can, boasting a balanced attack with the typical Gus Malzahn pop.
LSU's defense bamboozled Miami's protection with a series of zone pressures. Auburn will face similar issues. Malzahn's offense, however, is much different than Miami's; he utilizes deeper dropbacks, giving the quarterback more time to scan the field and get rid of the ball. He also likes to roll the pocket, limiting the effectiveness of zone blitzes.
Still, LSU's defense has overwhelming team speed, which should give it a puncher's chance. And if LSU does come out on top, that would be two top-10 wins in three weeks. Shouldn't that make the Tigers the No. 1 team in the country?
Renell Wren, DL, Arizona State
The Sun Devils are gunning for a 3-0 start to the season. Who saw that coming?
Renell Wren's been a big reason why ASU has looked so impressive on defense, and he'll be essential this week against San Diego State and its downhill rushing attack.
SDSU's running back gets slammed into the line a couple of times, a pass is thrown on third down, and then the Aztecs come back and do it all again. Forcing running backs to move laterally is the key to halting their offense.
Enter Wren, an interior lineman who scoffs at vertical run concepts. He lines up with his head up, over the center, and torches everything in front of him. He was crucial to the Sun Devils' upset win over Michigan State last week, planting himself in the A-gap and daring fools to budge him.
Wren wins with speed and natural leverage. When ASU lets him play one-gap-and-go football, he beats linemen to their set points. He pairs that with excellent hand usage. It's a deadly cocktail. Look at No. 95 here:
Michigan State had no idea how to handle him. His mere presence forced Mark Dantonio to alter his offensive game plan. The Spartans doubled him, moved the launch point, and recalibrated the run game, attacking the outside gaps.
Guys that size shouldn't move that way. Wren has the ability to cave in inside runs all by himself. He just needs some of his buddies to step up and do their jobs:
Saturday's matchup is tailor-made for Wren. He should feast.
No. 21 Miami at Toledo (12 p.m., ESPN2)
Miami is only a 10-point favorite on the road to Toledo. I mean, you don't just walk out of the Glass Bowl with a two-touchdown win.
Toledo's offense is all sorts of fun. Miami, meanwhile, is dealing with some injury issues. There's also a quarterback question looming over Mark Richt, who's been less than complimentary about current starter Malik Rosier.
Rosier's had a rough start to the year. He's physically limited and can't seem to get on the same page with many of his receivers - the timing is off.
The Hurricanes have a trio of backups waiting in the wings: N'Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams, and Cade Weldon. They each took some garbage-time snaps against Savannah State last week. An ugly first half from Rosier could force Richt into a switch - definitely something to monitor.
Taggart's start to life with Florida State has been, um, underwhelming. Virginia Tech blew out the Seminoles at home. Then Samford - yes, SAMford - gave them all they could handle in Week 2. Yikes!
Taggart doesn't need to win to save his job; he's going to be at FSU for a long, long time. But he needs to establish some credibility for the program, both inside the building and on the recruiting trail.
Syracuse as a home dog would give me pause. Dino Babers' side plays the wildest brand of fun-and-gun football and can score points on anyone - the problem is usually stopping people.
FSU, however, has done a pretty good job of ending its own drives on offense. It's not hard to see an upset brewing at the Carrier Dome.