Week 3 might not look exciting on paper, and is surely not as exciting as last week, but there could be some potential upsets this week that could make it significant and quite memorable. Some of the top teams this week will be heading into hostile environments like Knoxville, Tennessee and Lubbock, Texas, so wins won't be a given. Nebraska and Auburn each face tough opponents in matchups that could shake up the rankings. Here is a breakdown of this weekend's matchups and other fun things:
Nebraska at Washington
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Coming away with five interceptions will not be so easy this week for the Cornhuskers. Facing Jake Locker is going to be a challenge for the Nebraska defense, but they believe they're up for the test. Defensive Coordinator Carl Pelini believes his team is ready considering they have faced quarterbacks like Todd Reesing (Kansas), Colt McCoy (Texas), and many other great quarterbacks from the Big 12. While the defense might be ready, the offense isn't after last week's performance that consisted of eight fumbles. If the offense has the same problem this week, then look out for an upset bid.
The story of this game will be the Huskies quarterback Jake Locker and how well he performs against Nebraska's stingy defense. Locker had a poor game the first week of the season against BYU, but had a bounce back game against Syracuse. Washington will need a similar performance out of Locker this week if they want to upset the Cornhuskers. Watch this game, as it may be the marquee game in Locker's Heisman bid.
Florida at Tennessee
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The Florida Gators will have to overcome two problems if they want to win: the crowd and the hole left by Chris Rainey's suspension. The Gators started their season off slow and will need John Brantley and Co. to step up this week. However, Jeff Demps has played well so far and might be the key to this game, as he has basically won the first two games for the Gators, rushing for 139 yards while carrying the ball only 11 times last week. This week might be Florida's "time to die" (in the words of suspended Rainey), losing their first game and potentially other games down the road. It could also be Brantley's coming out party. Stay tuned and see what unfolds because this game will be interesting to watch.
Tennessee will have to fix their second half collapses if they want to beat the Gators. They will have to play four quarters of football and nothing less. They already have an advantage coming into this game in their home stadium, which should cause problems for the inexperienced Brantley. In order for an upset, Tennessee will need running back Tauren Poole to put up similar numbers as he did last week, running for 162 yards on 23 carries.
Texas at Texas Tech
Mack Brown, one of the most successful coaches in college football, and his Texas teams have had problems in recent years traveling to Jones AT&T Stadium. Texas has gone 3-3 in their trips to Lubbock under Brown, with those three loses costing Texas the Big 12 and the National Championship. The Longhorns have not forgotten their last trip to this stadium that resulted in a last second defeat on Michael Crabtree's touchdown reception. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert will be tested this game, as it is his first away game at one of the most hostile environments. The running backs will have to play well this week, quieting the crowd, but also more importantly taking some pressure off of Gilbert.
Texas Tech, under coach Tommy Tuberville, is an underrated team that could cause some problems for Texas. Not only will the crowd be a factor, but also the defensive line and quarterback play could lead this team to victory. The defensive line has pressured the quarterbacks resulting in nine sacks and forcing five turnovers. Quarterback Taylor Potts has played well so far this season connecting with wide receiver Lyle Leong for five touchdowns this season. This is another upset alert that should come down to the wire.
Iowa at Arizona
Iowa's defense has played like they should, with eight starters returning from a team that was ranked 11th nationally last year. However, the offense has been a surprise. After being ranked 92nd with 330 yards per game last year, the offense has improved tenfold, averaging 457 yards per game. The reason for their success is the play of quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who has thrown 433 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Adam Robinson, who has ran for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Iowa has become a well-rounded team, and we'll see that in the next couple of months as they move up the rankings.
Arizona's offense has been impressive also, averaging 503.5 yards and ranked 10th in passing with 344 yards. While we know that Iowa's defense is going to be stingy, Arizona's defense was ranked 21st last season. Arizona is going to have to stop the run if they have any chance of beating Iowa. Since 2008, Arizona is 15-1 when holding teams under 120 yards rushing. This is an exciting matchup, however, Iowa is too strong of a team and therefore will win this matchup.
Clemson at Auburn
After two easy games at the beginning of the season, Clemson will be tested this week as they play a talented Auburn team. Even though they played easy teams, it seems as though Clemson is ready for this matchup. Quarterback Kyle Parker looked sharp in his limited time on the field, throwing for 283 yards and four touchdowns. Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper will lead the rushing attack that will be critical to this game if they are to upset Auburn.
Auburn comes into this game beating Clemson 13 straight times. Auburn could make it 14 straight, but that hinders on the performance of QB Cameron Newton. After two games this season, Newton has thrown for 322 yards and rushed for 241 yards with a total of seven touchdowns. Auburn's defense is also talented, preserving a 17-14 win with an offense that did not score in the second half. Auburn has beaten Clemson since 1951, and look for Auburn to continue that streak under Newton.
Player to watch out for: Jake Locker, quarterback, Washington. Locker started the season off slow, but has picked it up as of late, throwing for 555 yards and 5 TD's so far this season. His success against Nebraska's defense will be important to the result of the game. He is on the Heisman Watch List, therefore this week could improve or hurt his stock. Look for Locker to have a solid game against a top notch Nebraska defense.
Tailgate Item of the week: Let's kick it up a notch this week and go with a nice, juicy steak. Do what you want to it; add a mixture of spices and/or a marinade to add a nice flavor. While you're grilling your steaks, throw on some vegetables for a light side. You could also throw on some shrimp and go for some surf and turf. Enjoy the steak; you have now treated yourself and others to a quality tailgate meal. - Jared Levine
Jared is a Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami providing introspective, insight, information and opinion on the world of College Football.
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