College Football Week 3 Games to Watch: The Battle for Iowa

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We're all still reeling from the "Game of the Year" contender between LSU and Texas on Saturday night.

The Tigers' 45-38 victory over the Longhorns highlighted another wild weekend of action and gave us a real look at two College Football Playoff contenders going head to head. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. 

This week's slate is a little different with no Top 25 matchups on the schedule, but still plenty of intriguing games. 

Here are the biggest games of Week 3 of the 2019 college football season. 

No.20 Washington State at Houston

Friday, 9/13 — 9:15 P.m.

It's Cougars vs. Cougars in the heart of the Lonestar State on Friday night. This will be Washington State's first challenge of the season, as their first two games pitted them against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado. 

Quarterback Anthony Gordon has put up some astronomical numbers for Mike Leach's side early in the year, throwing for 884 yards and nine touchdowns over two games. The main offensive target has been Brandon Arconado, who has 193 yards on 14 receptions in two games. 

Houston was put in a tough position in Dana Holgorsen's debut as head coach, falling to Oklahoma 49-31 in their season opener. But the Cougars bounced back last week against a lighter opponent, defeating Prairie View 37-17. Houston has relied heavily on their ground game to run the offense, averaging 239.5 rushing yards through the first two games. 

No.2 Alabama at South Carolina

Saturday, 9/14 — 3:30 p.m.

The Crimson Tide start their SEC campaign on the road with a trip to Williams-Brice Stadium. 

Alabama's defense has allowed only 13 points through two games this season and will have its collective mouthwatering at South Carolina freshman Ryan Hilinski making his second career start at quarterback. 

After senior quarterback Jake Bentley was ruled out for the season following the Gamecocks' opening week loss against North Carolina, Hilinksi guided USC to their first win of the season last week against Charleston Southern. 

This game is of upmost importance to the Crimson Tide when it comes to early season rankings. Currently slotted at No.2 in the AP poll, dominant conference wins could be what Nick Saban's side needs in order to jump Clemson in the rankings even if the Tigers don't drop a game. 

Stanford at No.17 Central Florida

Saturday, 9/14 — 3:30 p.m.

After years of being told that their schedule isn't strong enough, the Golden Knights welcome a strong Power 5 opponent to Orlando this week. 

While true freshman Dillon Gabriel will likely start, coach Josh Heupel also has the option of putting Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush or Darriel Mack Jr., who is healthy for the first time after breaking his ankle over the offseason, behind center. 

Stanford is looking for redemption after an embarrassing 45-20 defeat to Southern Cal last Saturday that knocked them out of the Top 25 rankings. David Shaw's side are still contenders in the Pac-12, but a second consecutive loss could hurt the program's confidence as it ventures more into conference play in the following weeks.

No.19 Iowa at Iowa State

Saturday, 9/14 — 4:00 p.m.

This is the closest matchup we'll get all weekend to two ranked teams. While the Cyclones didn't find themselves in the Top 25 this week, they received the most votes of any team that didn't get ranked. So let’s just call them No.26 for the time being. 

This in-state rivalry should take all the headlines over the weekend with Iowa State looking for its first win in the series since 2014. 

The Cylcones are coming off a bye after a near-defeat in Triple Overtime to Northern Iowa in Week 1, giving them an extra weeks rest to prepare for their next try at the Cy-Hawk Trophy. This could prove monumental for running back Kene Nwangwu, who is still healing from a sprained knee obtained in the Northern Iowa win. 

The Hawkeyes come into Ames looking for their fifth consecutive win in the series. Their performance will depend on quarterback Nate Stanley, who has impressed so far this season with six passing touchdowns and zero turnovers. 

No.9 Florida at Kentucky

Saturday, 9/14 — 7:00 p.m.

Kentucky is still riding the high from their victory over Florida last year — snapping a 31-year losing streak to the Gators.

The two sides meet again this year in an early SEC clash, with the Gators now in the Top 10 and the Wildcats looking for their first victory over Florida in Lexington since 1986. 

This game will feature the debut of new Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith, a graduate transfer from Troy. Regular starter Terry Wilson suffered a torn patella tendon in the Wildcats Week 2 victory over Eastern Michigan, ending his season. 

Can the Gators continue their ascent up the rankings, or will the Wildcats officially change the direction of this rivalry?

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