Preview: Week 3 Sends Stanford to UCF while Pitt and Penn State Meet for 100th time

September 9, 2019 by Dave Congrove

Week 3 of the college football season is upon us and, perhaps, the most surprising news out of week 2 is that Hurricane Dorian did not cause the cancellation of any FBS games. Here's hoping we get through the rest of the Hurricane season (officially ends December 1) without any more major threats.

One unfortunate thing that seems to be occurring far-too-often is the loss of starting quarterbacks to injury. More reports of that effect came out of the South Carolina and Kentucky programs over the weekend. South Carolina's Jake Bentley is lost for the season after suffering a foot injury (Lisfranc fracture) on the final play of the loss to UNC on opening weekend. Kentucky's Terry Wilson tore a patellar tendon (knee) in Saturday's win over Eastern Michigan and is also out for the season.

The preseason forecast at had South Carolina pulling off a home win over Alabama this week with the Gamecocks favored by less than a point (0.38), according to the Congrove Computer Rankings, but now the Crimson Tide are given a 4.59-point edge. The flip is simply based off of the results of the games that have been played, and has no reflection on the news regarding Bentley. South Carolina defeated FCS member Charleston Southern 72-10 on Saturday with Freshman Ryan Hilinski throwing for 282 yards and accounting for three TDs.

The computer's projection of Florida avenging last year's loss to Kentucky remains steady. The Gators were a 3.20-point preseason pick for this game in Lexington and are a 3.22-point favorite today.  The Wildcats are expected to start Troy transfer, Sawyer Smith, who threw for 2 touchdowns in relief of Wilson on Saturday.

Why have a kickoff classic featuring a single game when you can celebrate the return of football for three days? The AdvoCare Texas Kickoff is part of this week's 68-game slate that begins on Friday night with the first game of a weekend triple-header of college and pro football at Houston's NRG Stadium, home of the NFL's Texans. Washington State is a 7-point Vegas favorite, but a 25.24-point computer pick over Houston. That contest will be followed by Rice and the heavily-favored Longhorns (-30.5 Vegas, -39.07 computer). The weekend will wrap up with the Houston Texans' home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Two other Friday night college games have Boston College (-21.5 Vegas, -17.71 computer) hosting Kansas, and Wake Forest (-3,.5 Vegas, -14.34 computer) visiting a surprisingly hot North Carolina team.

Saturday's ACC tilt that sends Clemson to Syracuse lost a lot of luster after the Orange were crushed 63-20 at Maryland this past Saturday. The 'Cuse was only a 3.01-point computer home dog in the preseason but is now a projected 9.44-point loser.

Oklahoma at UCLA is also nothing near the game it could be if the Bruins were any good at all. UCLA has opened 0-2 with losses at Cincinnati, and at home to San Diego State, and the Bruins are a 14.09-point computer underdog to the Sooners (-22 Vegas).

There are some Interesting intersectional matchups, including Kansas State at Mississippi State, Texas Tech at Arizona, TCU at Purdue, Arizona State at Michigan State, and USC at Brigham Young.

Kansas State is off to a 2-0 start in Chris Klieman's first season. The hugely successful North Dakota State coach takes his team to Starkville as a 12.23-point computer underdog. The Bulldogs are favored by 8 in Vegas, even though QB Tommy Stevens is listed as questionable.True freshman Garret Shrader could get the start after performing admirably in relief of Stevens for MSU's win over Southern Miss.

Arizona's start to the season has been less than inspiring. The Wildcats lost at Hawaii in the opener, and then gave up 41 points to FCS member Northern Arizona in a 65-41 win on Saturday. But the computer still has the host team projected to win by 5.22 over the visiting Red Raiders for an opposite pick against the Vegas 3-point spread.

Meanwhile, Purdue (-2 Vegas, -2.4 computer) is a narrow choice at home over TCU, though QB Elijah Sindelar is questionable with concussion symptoms. True freshman Jack Plummer would get the nod if Sindelar can't go.

Arizona State is a heavy underdog at Michigan State (-12 Vegas, -14.34 computer), and visiting USC is a modest favorite (-4 Vegas, -5.02 computer) at BYU.

The best game this weekend could be Stanford at UCF as that game has morphed into a genuine opportunity for the Knights to take down another Power 5 opponent - even with K.J. Costello back at QB for the Cardinal. USC's wide open offense wore down Stanford in the second half and the Cardinal went from a 20-10 lead to a 45-20 loss. UCF also likes to sling it around the field and it's very possible that Stanford will be ill-equipped to keep pace. UCF actually opened as a 7.-5-point favorite at William Hill sportsbook on Monday morning following the news of Costello's return. The computer, however, has the Cardinal favored by 9.07.

Hawaii looks to start 3-0 against PAC-12 teams when the Warriors visit Washington (-22 Vegas, -19.16 computer) on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Pitt and Penn State (-17 Vegas, - 13,62 computer) will meet for the 100th time on Saturday when they face-off in Happy Valley.

Iowa hosts Iowa State for their 67th meeting. Vegas installed the visiting Hawkeyes as a 1.5-point favorite while the computer likes the Cyclones by 2.14.

Miami (Ohio) visits Cincinnati for the 124th edition of that rivalry game. The Bearcats are coming off a 42-0 demoralization at Ohio State, but are still favored by 16.5 in Vegas and by 20.68 with the computer.


114 games this year pit FBS teams against FCS schools. That's two more than a season ago when FBS teams won 105 of 112 games.

There are 20 such games scheduled this week.

FBS teams were 27-1 last week after going 39-1 vs. FCS teams over the Labor Day holiday.

FBS schools are 66-2 (.971) for the season  Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS schools are 1,390-126 (.917).

FCS victories over FBS teams in 2019:
August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20

FCS victories over FBS teams in 2018
August 29: UC Davis 44, San Jose State 31
September 1: Villanova 19, Temple 17
September 1: Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10
September 1: Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 (OT)
September 2: North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23
September 8: Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28
September 22: Illinois State 35, Colorado State 19


CLEMSON - Won 17 straight over-all (FBS longest). Won 19 straight regular season games.
Last: 24-10 home win vs. Texas A&M on September 7.
Next: Visits Syracuse on September 14.

UCF - Won 18 straight conference games including consecutive AAC titles (FBS longest). Won 24 straight regular season games (FBS longest).
Last: 48-14 win at FAU on September 7.
Next: Hosts Stanford on September 14.

ALABAMA - Won 27 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: 62-10 home win over win vs. New Mexico State on September 7.
Next: Visits South Carolina on September 14.

OKLAHOMA - Won 20 straight true road games (FBS longest).
Last:: 70-14 home win vs. FCS member South Dakota on September 7.
Next: Visits UCLA on September 14.

RUTGERS - Lost 13 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: 30-0 loss at Iowa on September 7.
Next: Hosts Boston College on September 21.

LOUISVILLE - Had lost 10 straight over-all (FBS longest).
Last: 42-0 home win over FCS member Eastern Kentucky on September 7.
Next: Plays Western Kentucky in Nashville on September 14.

USF - Lost 8 straight overall (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 14-10 at Georgia Tech on September 7.
Next: Hosts FCS member South Carolina State on September 14.

CONNECTICUT - Lost 17 straight vs. FBS teams (FBS longest).
Last: 31-23 home loss to Illinois on September 7.
Next: Visits Indiana on September 21.

RICE - Lost 14 straight road games (tied FBS longest).
Last: Lost 41-21 at Wake Forest on September 6.
Next: Plays Texas at NRG Stadium on September 14.
(Note: Tulsa's 13-game road losing streak came to an end with a 34-16 win at San Jose State. SJSU still has a 13-game road losing streak.)