Week 3 Preview

September 5, 2017 by Dave Congrove

NOTE: With Hurricane Irma threatening a large portion of Florida, games involving Florida, Florida State, Miami, UCF and USF were canceled following the publication of this article.

Injuries have already taken their toll in 2017. In the Florida State-Alabama game alone, the Seminole QB and 2 'Bama linebackers were lost for the season. Neither of those teams should be tested this week so they will have the luxury of getting needed reps for their replacements. Florida State hosts Louisiana-Monroe as a 29.3-point computer pick. The Tide are a 32.35-point choice over a visiting Fresno State team that has dropped 13 straight to FBS foes and is 2-22 versus its last 24 FBS opponents.

The big games this week send Oklahoma to Ohio State, Stanford to USC, and Auburn to Clemson. The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com takes the Buckeyes, Cardinal and Clemson in those matchups.

Ohio State, No. 2 in the CCR Top 130, has a 4.81-point edge over the 5th-ranked Sooners. The game comes 51 weeks after Oklahoma's 45-24 loss at home to the Buckeyes.

No. 6 Stanford is a 2.23-point computer favorite to extended its domination over 11th-ranked USC. The Cardinal have taken 3 straight from the Trojans, and 7 of the last 9.

No. 8 Auburn lost by 6 at home last year to Clemson and is a 7.35-point computer underdog on this year's visit to the Palmetto State. The defending national champions are currently No. 7 in the computer rankings.

This week also sees 12th-ranked Oklahoma State and 18th-ranked Miami (Fla.) go on the road for reciprocal visits to South Alabama and Arkansas State, respectively. It was a loss by the Cowboys at Troy (Alabama) in 2007 that precipitated Mike Gundy's infamous "I'm a man, I'm Forty" rant (though the rant actually took place following a win at Texas Tech in response to an article with which he took issue).

The computer likes Oklahoma State by 21.99 over the Jaguars in Mobile on Friday night, and the 'Canes by 14.13 in Jonesboro over the Red Wolves,

This week also delivers Georgia at Notre Dame, TCU at Arkansas, Boise State at Washington State, Louisville at North Carolina, Nebraska at Oregon, and Pittsburgh at Penn State.

Georgia will be without starting QB Jacob Eason who suffered a knee injury on the third series in the win over Appalachian State last week. The computer still favors the Bulldogs by 4.89 over the homestanding Irish in what will be the first-ever regular season meeting between the two schools.

The last two games between TCU and Arkansas have been decided by 1 point and 3 points - both in favor of the Razorbacks. However, last year's meeting was the first between the old Southwest Conference rivals since 1991. Overall, Arkansas has dominated the series 44-23-2 while taking 31 of the last 34.

Boise State was a 31-28 winner at home last season over Washington State, and the Broncos are on a 4-game winning streak vs. PAC-12 opponents. This week's game takes place in Pullman where the Cougars get an 11.87-point computer edge.

Louisville and North Carolina will clash for the first time as ACC foes. The Cardinals, who joined the league for the 2014 season, get a miniscule 0.01-point nod in Chapel Hill.

Nebraska's 35-32 home win over Oregon in 2016 began a 5-game losing streak for the Ducks who went on to a dismal 4-8 season. This week, the Cornhuskers visit Autzen Stadium as a 2.27-point underdog.

Pitt and Penn State have engaged in gridiron war 97 times, but last year's meeting in Pittsburgh was the first since 2000 with the Nittany Lions falling 42-39. The computer loves Penn State for the rematch in Happy Valley, giving James Franklin's squad a 24.71-point rout.

Get the computer's pick of every game here.


98 FBS teams play 1 FCS opponent this year. 26 of those games take place this week. FBS schools are 43-4 vs. the FCS this season and 1,173-112 (.913) since 2003.

These are the FCS victories in 2017:
September 2: Liberty 48, Baylor 45
September 2: Howard 43, UNLV 40
September 2: James Madison 34, East Carolina 14
August 31: Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10.

The 98-game total for this season is down substantially from the 110 schools that played 113 games vs. FCS schools last year.


Alabama - Won 37 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 11 straight road games (tied FBS longest). Won 17 straight conference games (FBS record). Hosts Fresno State on Saturday.

Oklahoma - Won 11 straight overall (FBS longest). Won 11 straight road games (tied FBS longest). Visits Ohio State on Saturday.

Houston - Won 15 straight home games (tied FBS longest). Visits Arizona on Saturday.

Fresno State - Lost 13 straight FBS games (FBS longest). Visits Alabama on Saturday.

Rutgers - Lost 10 straight overall (now FBS longest).  Lost 14 straight conference games (FBS longest). Hosts Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

Kansas - Lost 41 straight road games (FBS longest). Hosts Central Michigan on Saturday.