The Week 3 college football slate features no ranked matchups for the first time since October 14, 2017, per Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press.
The lack of high-profile contests could make it hard to get excited for Friday and Saturday, but if you dig deep enough, there are some intriguing contests.
The spotlight focused on Iowa’s rivalry clash with Iowa State is brighter due to the presence of ESPN’s College GameDay in Ames, Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are one of nine Top 25 sides headed on the road for Week 3, and a number of those clashes are capable of producing unexpected results.
Week 3 AP Top 25
1. Clemson (2-0)
2. Alabama (2-0)
3. Georgia (2-0)
4. LSU (2-0)
5. Oklahoma (2-0)
6. Ohio State (2-0)
7. Notre Dame (1-0)
8. Auburn (2-0)
9. Florida (2-0)
10. Michigan (2-0)
11. Utah (2-0)
12. Texas (1-1)
13. Penn State (2-0)
14. Wisconsin (2-0)
15. Oregon (1-1)
16. Texas A&M (1-1)
17. UCF (2-0)
18. Michigan State (2-0)
19. Iowa (2-0)
20. Washington State (2-0)
21. Maryland (2-0)
22. Boise State (2-0)
23. Washington (1-1)
24. USC (2-0)
25. Virginia (2-0)
Week 3 Schedule and Odds
Friday, September 13
No. 20 Washington State (-6.5) at Houston (9:15 p.m., ESPN)
Saturday, September 14
Arkansas State at No. 3 Georgia (-33) (Noon, ESPN2)
No. 6 Ohio State (-14) at Indiana (Noon, Fox)
Pittsburgh at No. 13 Penn State (-17.5) (Noon, ABC)
No. 21 Maryland (-8) at Temple (Noon, CBS Sports Network)
New Mexico at No. 7 Notre Dame (-37) (2:30 p.m., NBC)
No. 2 Alabama (-25.5) at South Carolina (3:30 p.m., CBS)
Stanford at No. 17 UCF (-7.5) (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
No. 24 USC (-4) at BYU (3:30 p.m., ABC)
Arizona State at No. 18 Michigan State (-12) (4 p.m., Fox)
No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State (-1) (4 p.m., FS1)
Idaho State at No. 11 Utah (-35.5) (4:15 p.m.)
Kent State at No. 8 Auburn (-35) (7 p.m., ESPN2)
No. 9 Florida (-8) at Kentucky (7 p.m., ESPN)
Lamar at No. 16 Texas A&M (-43) (7 p.m., ESPNU)
No. 1 Clemson (-25.5) at Syracuse (7:30 p.m., ABC)
Northwestern State at No. 4 LSU (N/A) (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)
Hawai’i at No. 23 Washington (-22) (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Florida State at No. 25 Virginia (-7.5) (7:30 p.m., ACC Network)
No. 5 Oklahoma (-21) at UCLA (8 p.m., Fox)
No. 12 Texas (-30.5) at Rice (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Portland State at No. 22 Boise State (N/A) (10:15 p.m., ESPN2)
Montana at No. 15 Oregon (N/A) (10:45 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Iowa 17, Iowa State 10
Iowa has held the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the last four years.
The Hawkeyes face a Cyclones team that struggled to earn its first win in triple overtime over Northern Iowa in Week 1.
After a week off to stew over the result, Iowa State plays one of its biggest contests of the season on a national stage. A three-point output a year ago should also motivate the Cyclones in their home stadium.
Iowa outscored Miamj (Ohio) and Rutgers 68-14, but now it takes a step up in opposition against a side that was picked by some to contend with Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12.
In three of the last four rivalry clashes, the Hawkeyes eclipsed the 30-point barrier, but they were held to 13 a year ago.
In 2018, both programs ranked in the top 35 in FBS total defense and currently sit in the top 10, with Iowa State seventh and Iowa 10th.
With the margins expected to be slim, experience under center will be massive. Iowa holds an advantage there with three-year starter Nate Stanley at the helm. He started the campaign with 488 passing yards and six touchdowns.
Sophomore Brock Purdy, who took over the starting job in late September of his freshman campaign, will face Iowa for the first time.
In his last two matchups with ranked foes, the 19-year-old has zero touchdowns and three interceptions. If those numbers extend into Saturday, the Cyclones might not have enough offensive firepower to end Iowa’s run.
Houston 55, Washington State 42
If you love offense, we suggest you stay in Friday night and check out Washington State’s trip to Houston.
Washington State opened 2019 with a pair of lopsided victories in which it recorded 117 points, while Houston has reached the 30s in two contests.
Mike Leach’s side has the advantage in offensive numbers going into the battle of the Cougars, but Dana Holgorsen’s squad may have the most talented individual on the gridiron in D’Eriq King.
The dual-threat senior sputtered to start the season with 306 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Friday presents King with an opportunity to break out and replicate the performances that brought him within 18 of the 3,000-yard mark in his junior campaign.
He is also a force on the ground with three scampers to the end zone, but he will need help from Kyle Porter to keep Washington State’s defense off balance.
In three of its five road trips in 2018, Washington State conceded over 30 points to USC, Oregon State and Stanford. In total, eight opponents racked up more than 20 versus the Pac-12 side, which is a good sign for Houston.
King’s experience could be the difference, as Anthony Gordon makes his first road start after taking over for Gardner Minshew.
Gordon has 884 passing yards and nine touchdowns, but that occurred against Northern Colorado and New Mexico State on home soil.
King is used to starring in high-scoring affairs after picking up over 400 total yards in a quartet of contests that produced over 100 combined points in 2018.
The senior’s all-around skill set could be too much for the visitors to handle, especially with the heat beating down on Houston.
There will be a 20-degree difference in heat between Houston and Pullman, Washington, Friday, per Weather.com. That could be one of the factors playing into the dip in point spread from 10 to 6.5 in Washington State’s favor since the initial odds were revealed.