There has been some wildness in the first two weeks of the 2023 college football season, and while Week 4 looks to be the best slate yet, Week 3 still has some pretty interesting games.
There are no ranked-on-ranked matchups this week, but there are some undefeated teams matching up, and some unranked undefeated teams taking on some ranked teams with one loss.
One game has already taken place as Miami took down Bethune-Cookman, 48-7, on Thursday night. But the entree of college football is slated to commence on Saturday with all of the big teams — Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Texas — in action.
Here are our predictions for the rest of the slate.
3 Florida State at Boston College
After the big Week 1 win over LSU, Florida State still won handily, but perhaps not as authoritatively, in Week 2. However, playing Boston College, which has been on a downward trajectory of late, should cure some of those ills.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Boston College 10
7 Penn State at Illinois
Two years ago, Penn State lost a 9 OT thriller at home to the Illini, but this Illinois team isn’t nearly on that level. After losing pretty badly to Kansas in Week 2, this looks as if it’s a really good team vs. a not good at all team.
Prediction: Penn State 42, Illinois 13
14 LSU at Mississippi State
Oddly, Mississippi State is the undefeated one here and is at home while LSU is healing from the wounds suffered in Week 1 vs. Florida State. However, the Tigers are the more talented squad and though Starkville is a tough environment, LSU should get its first SEC win of the season.
Prediction: LSU 31, Mississippi State 27
15 Kansas State at Missouri
Missouri sometimes plays teams tough — take a look at the game against Georgia last year — but people underestimate just how good Kansas State has been under Chris Kleiman. The Wildcats narrowly have the edge in the betting odds, but should surpass that pretty handily.
Prediction: Kansas State 38, Missouri 17
Weber State at 12 Utah
Though both teams are undefeated, Weber State is a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school and is incredibly overmatched. While Utah wasn’t quite as dominant in Week 2 as it was against Florida in Week 1, this is a blowout waiting to happen.
Prediction: Utah 55, Weber State 3
Central Michigan at 9 Notre Dame
South Carolina at 1 Georgia
10 Alabama at South Florida
This is a weird one for a couple of reasons. Alabama is coming off of a loss and it’s playing on the road at a Group of Five school in USF. The Bulls aren’t exactly a good team, and Alabama is licking its wounds, but the Tide should roll in Tampa, regardless.
Prediction: Alabama 31, USF 3
San Diego State at 16 Oregon State
People are underestimating Oregon State, but it does have a potentially tough matchup against the Aztecs. The expectation is a Beavers blowout, but this one will take a while for OSU to pull away.
Prediction: Oregon State 27, SDSU 17
19 Oklahoma at Tulsa
It’s unclear if Oklahoma has cured its ails from a year ago and if Brent Venables is truly the answer here. But the Kevin Wilson-led Golden Hurricane are coming off of a blowout loss to Washington and this doesn’t appear to be a game that will be…a game.
Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Tulsa 12
Minnesota at 20 North Carolina
Despite being 2-0, North Carolina is falling in the polls and Drake Maye hasn’t lived up to the hype from the offseason. Still, Minnesota isn’t the same team it was a year ago either, and though it ran the ball well last week, it still appears to be a work in progress.
Prediction: North Carolina 17, Minnesota 14
Northwestern at 21 Duke
Northwestern beat an FCS team last week, convincingly, which is a step in the right direction. But Duke is operating on another level at the moment. If the Wildcats can’t beat Rutgers, they’re not beating the Blue Devils on the road.
Prediction: Duke 35, Northwestern 7
Western Michigan at 25 Iowa
Iowa appears to be good but also doesn’t appear to be any different, even with Cade McNamara at the helm. Expect more of the same.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Western Michigan 13
Western Kentucky at 6 Ohio State
It’s unclear if Western Kentucky still has the prolific passing offense it had with Bailey Zappe at the helm, and it’s also unclear whether Ohio State has fixed its defense because it’s shut down two historically not great offensive outfits. WKU is known to have a great offense and a bad defense, so if OSU can’t get its offense going for a third straight week, it really is in trouble.
But it won’t be this week.
Prediction: Ohio State 42, WKU 13
8 Washington at Michigan State
Michigan State is flying high after a 2-0 start, but is going through turmoil behind the scenes with head coach Mel Tucker suspended. Meanwhile, Washington is proving to be formidable. While this game is in East Lansing and the Spartans hope to rally, the Huskies are a complete team and more talented than their Big Ten counterpart in this contest.
Prediction: Washington 42, Michigan State 24
Northern Colorado at 23 Washington State
Much like Oregon State, Wazzu gets little national attention, yet it keeps winning and playing at a high level. It will do so for the third straight week, playing even better than it did last week against Wisconsin.
Prediction: Washington State 52, Northern Colorado 6
North Carolina Central at 24 UCLA
The Bruins have truly reloaded and are playing an FCS team. It’s another game for Dante Moore to get comfortable in his role as starting quarterback.
Prediction: UCLA 48, NCC 0
11 Tennessee at Florida
It’s unclear if Joe Milton will step into that Heisman-level quarterback role that was being projected all offseason, but the Vols are in a much better spot than the Graham Mertz-led Florida Gators. There might be some topsy-turvy plays and haphazard situations, but Tennessee will emerge victorious.
Prediction: Tennessee 28, Florida 14
Georgia Tech at 17 Ole Miss
Ole Miss is coming off of a tough win last week, but should bounce back against a Georgia Tech team that just isn’t truly competitive against good teams.
Prediction: Ole Miss 42, Georgia Tech 17
Wyoming at 4 Texas
Wyoming proved it can take down a good team in Week 1 when it bested upstart Texas Tech, and Texas is coming off of an emotional win over Alabama. But these aren’t teams in the same league. Expect a Longhorns hangover, but they’ll still easily prevail at home.
Prediction: Texas 40, Wyoming 10
Hawaii at 13 Oregon
Oregon might not be as good as many might have thought after Week 1’s throttling of Portland State, but perhaps not as bad as its struggle session against Baylor, either. Hawaii plays teams tough, but this one should be a game where the Ducks flex.
Prediction: Oregon 45, Hawaii 3
Colorado State at 18 Colorado
Jay Norvell shouldn’t have said anything. This rivalry fodder he provided a red-hot Deion Sanders will not work out well for the Rams.
Prediction: Colorado 48, Colorado State 10
Bowling Green at 2 Michigan
There are a lot of ties between Michigan football and Bowling Green, whether it’s the Harbaugh family patriarch meeting its matriarch at BGSU, or Scot Loeffler cutting his teeth in Ann Arbor. It’s a night game, the atmosphere will be electric. But Michigan won’t show anything beyond what it has. The run game will be better, the pass game will remain hot, and the backups will again struggle to stop the opposing starters late in the game.
Prediction: Michigan 35, Bowling Green 3