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Games to Watch - Week 3

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Editor's Note: Don't miss out on college football winners in Week 3 from Christian Alexander. Click to win!

Saturday - Alabama at Arkansas (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Matchup Skinny
Alabama at Arkansas
Jonh L. Smith filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Thursday and 48 hours later he lost at home 34 - 31 to ULM or the University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks for those of you scoring at home. To make matters worse, early reports said Arkansas lost their All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson to a collar bone injury but he's now listed as day-to-day with a concussion. Now Alabama comes to town. And you thought your week was bad? This game could end about as well as a motorcycle ride with Bobby Petrino for the Razorbacks. With all due respect to John L. Smith he is no Bobby Petrino…and Bobby Petrino was no Nick Saban. Nick Saban took over at Alabama 5 years ago and in a related story, 'Bama has won five straight over the Hogs. Arkansas was a great football team the last two years under Petrino, unfortunately for them they play in not only a conference, but a division that has won the last three BCS national championships, four of the last five and had a runner-up. In that two-year stretch Arkansas has only lost 5 games…all of which have been to teams ranked seventh or higher in the polls, including Bama twice. It's basically like being an elite PGA golfer born the same year as Tiger Woods. In last year's 38-14 blowout loss in Tuscaloosa, Arkansas was outgained by the Tide 197 to 17 on the ground. The good news for Arkansas is that running back Trent Richardson is gone. So are most of 'Bama's defensive starters, including three first-round draft picks that led the nation in just about every defensive statistic possible for Alabama last year. The bad news for Arkansas is that Saban is still there and he simply reloaded with freshman running back T.J. Yeldon and another stellar defense that has already held Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson to a pedestrian like game. Maybe the scariest thing for Arkansas and the rest of the SEC for that matter is that fact that AJ McCarron is actually starting to look like more than just the bus driver on offense. The only thing Arkansas has going for them is RB Knile Davis, and he will need to have the game of his life and get the Arkansas faithful in it and loud early if they want to have any chance of winning this game…and quite frankly, even then it won't be enough. The questions isn't will Bama win, but by how many?
Saturday - Florida at Tennessee (ESPN, 6:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Skinny
Florida at Tennessee
This rivalry has produced some of Steve Spurrier's finest work; "You can't spell Citrus without UT" and "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year: he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP." Unfortunately for those of us on the outside looking in, those days are gone, and so is the hype that once surrounded this game. While he's no Steve Spurrier, Florida coach Will Muschamp did take a jab at the Aggies immediately following their win on Saturday saying, "To be able to disappoint these people is a lot of fun." No doubt a jab that stems from his days as the defensive coordinator at Texas. Once upon a time this was the annual early season matchup in college football. The winner was pretty much a lock for the SEC East spot in the SEC Championship. Now, Florida has won seven straight in the series, including a 33-23 win last year in "The Swamp. " Both teams enter the game 2-0, with Florida coming off a tough win (20-17) at Kyle Field spoiling A&M's SEC debut after a lackluster week one effort against Bowling Green. Tennessee comes in off a "hand-ride" win over lowly Georgia State (51-13) after an impressive week one victory over N.C. State (35-21). As for which team will move to 3-0 and leave this game as a legitimate contender to Georgia for the SEC East will come down to the Florida defense against a rejuvenated Tennessee offense. Can Muschamp and his defense slow down QB Tyler Bray, his emerging WR's Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter and the high-flying Tennessee offense? If so Florida could pull off the rare SEC road upset, if not Vols' head coach Derek Dooley may finally be able to cool down the hot seat he's been on the last two years.
Saturday - Notre Dame at Michigan State (ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Skinny
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Last year the Irish rolled over Sparty in South Bend 31-13. However nine of the last 12 meetings between these two teams have been decided by seven points or less and that includes two overtime decisions. None more exciting than two years ago right here in East Lansing with MSU lining up for a 46-yard field goal to tie the game in overtime. However Aaron Bates took the snap, and hit Charlie Gantt for a 29-yard touchdown that gave the Spartans a 34-31 victory, which sent coach Mark Dantonio into such a state of elation that he was taken to the hospital after the game for a heart attack (where he made a full recovery). ND opened the year in Ireland and looked impressive (50-10) against a less than impressive Navy squad and then hung on in week two to beat Purdue (20-17) at home on a last minute field goal. Sparty is also 2-0 coming off a blowout win against Central Michigan and an impressive opening week home win against Boise State. ND leads the all-time series 46-28-1, although Sparty has won 10 of the last 15. This game should come down to whichever team wins the battle at the line of scrimmage between the Irish defensive front and the Spartans nasty offensive line. Notre Dame won that battle last year and easily won the game. Look for Sparty to have revenge on their minds as short favorites at home against this Irish Saturday night.
Other Games to Watch
Matchup Skinny
USC at Stanford
USC at Stanford - The Cardinal won 56-48 in triple overtime at USC last year. This isn't last year. Former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck spent this past Sunday throwing interceptions all over Soldier Field while Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley returned to USC and has looked very efficient so far against two lesser opponents. With Luck gone, Stanford took a step back in week one grinding out a 20-17 win while being out gained by San Jose State. However they looked much better in week two albeit against the non Mike Krzyzewski version of the Duke Blue Devils winning 50-13. This will be the first real test USC will face this season and on the road no less. So far road games have already stumped several top 25 teams this year, which makes you think that the Trojans could be the next highly-ranked road victim as an early touchdown favorite or do they simply have too much horsepower for the Cardinal?
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn - Seriously. This game might not have made many people's radar three weeks ago but the biggest story in college football so far this season was clearly ULM's overtime win at Arkansas last weekend. It's the ULM Warhawks against War Eagle with one team looking to remain undefeated and the other just trying to get their first win of the season. While some will consider the Warhawks win over Arkansas a fluke, keep in mind this is the same team that beat Alabama back in 2007. Auburn has looked less than impressive in their two losses so far to Clemson (19-26) and Mississippi State (10-28) while ULM QB Kolton Browning accounted for 481 yards of total offense and four touchdowns Saturday night against Arkansas. Another alarming stat to consider is that Gene Chizik's winning percentage was obviously 100% while he had Cam Newton, however Chizik's winning percentage as a head coach in the years he didn't have Cam Newton is an alarming 40%. With all that said, the Warhawks are still opened as 17-point underdogs against Auburn. For a lesser team that might be too much to overcome but ULM has already won in the SEC this year as a 30-point dog and will look to post an undefeated SEC record before returning to their day jobs in the Sun Belt conference.

  
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