I’m Learning Here, People: Five Games to Watch in Week Three

This has been quite the season.

We now have two Group of Five teams ranked, and a growing number of upsets in our favor as well, which now include wins by Arkansas State, San Diego State, and… Coastal Carolina?!

When Army and Louisiana-Monroe can push traditional powerhouses Michigan and Florida State to the edge you know you are in for a truly landmark year for the Group of Five.

This week has a handful of compelling televised matchups as well, and here are my five to watch:

1. #21 Maryland at Temple (Saturday, Noon, CBSSN)

This tops the list for two reasons.

One, the last time these two teams met was an upset victory by the Owls in College Park last year. So there is the high likelihood of back-to-back wins with this one in Philadelphia.

And two, the absolutely surprising offense of the Terps.

We will see what happens when they hit their respective conference schedules, but this game here should, at least on paper, be full of scoring and absolutely competitive.

2. Air Force at Colorado (Saturday,  1 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

The in-state rivalry on the list, this one has the strong possibility of an upset in Boulder.

The Falcons have plenty of tape on what works against Colorado, as the Buffaloes were pushed in week one by Colorado State, and lost a halftime lead last week to Nebraska. To say that the MWC has the Pac-12’s number this year so far is probably an understatement.

Also in the Falcons’ favor is the extra week they have had to prepare for this showdown. Meanwhile, Colorado can hope for a possible rebound in their second consecutive home game.

No doubt that this will be a showdown, in their first meeting since 1974.

3. Stanford at #17 UCF (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN)

This game opens with the Knights as the favorite, which in and of itself is quite an accomplishment for the home team.

UCF has shown that it has a strong core in its offense, having two quarterbacks play through a game each (and a third cleared to play). It’s not yet determined who has the reins of the offense so far, but this game might do so.

Its defense is also pretty sturdy, though this will be its biggest challenge so far this season by a lot. The Cardinal got upset last week against rival USC, and now travel cross-country for an opportunity to prove that loss was a fluke.

The Knights have the added bonus of this being their first game against a Pac-12 team since traveling to Stanford in 2015. It was a 21-7 loss in route to their winless season, so a win here could put that dreadful season even farther in the past.

4. Hawaii at #23 Washington (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

If the line holds, this could end up being a bigger upset on paper than Georgia State over Tennessee.

There were a lot of people heading into this season thinking that the Pac-12-laden non-conference schedule would overwhelm the Rainbow Warriors.

So far, the 2-0 Fighting Roloviches have proven these concerns to be quite unfounded.

Washington, their third Pac-12 opponent in a row, was hyped to be in the running for the conference crown this year. A surprise loss at home last week to Cal has brought their status down considerably, and perhaps also comfortably within range for another very possible upset loss, this time to the Rainbow Warriors.

I pick Hawai’i here, and either way, you cannot miss Hawai’i football this year, if at all possible!

5. #20 Washington State at Houston (Friday, 9:15 p.m., ESPN)

It is slim pickings before Saturday this week, and this is the only game with a Group of Five team.

On one side of this battle of Cougars, you have a Pac-12 team that is somehow ranked, even though their competition up to this point has been of lower caliber than those competing for such rankings, like Army.

They have proven so far that they have a loaded offense, but the Houston offense will be an incredible challenge and test for their defense.

For Houston, it is another big-name game. Sure they fell flat in primetime against the high caliber Sooners, but that was on the road. This time around, they will be in the friendly confines of NRG Stadium with a very vocal home-field advantage in their favor.

 

Honorable Mention: Ohio at Marshall (Saturday, 6:30 p.m., Stadium Football’s Facebook page)

The more compelling of two Facebook FBS games is this battle of teams who are riding in on high season expectations but posted middling performances last week.

The Bobcats were picked to at worst make their game against Pitt competitive and at best to beat the Panthers, even by some here at Forgotten5. Instead, they came out of the gate flat and never really made it a game.

Marshall, on the other side, hopes that an extra day to prepare and returning back home helps them bounce back from a competitive if lackluster showing in Boise.

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