Bold predictions for Week 3 of the college football season

Published 12:10 p.m. ET Sept. 13, 2019 | Updated 12:12 p.m. ET Sept. 13, 2019CLOSE
SportsPulse: Can Jalen Hurts pad his Heisman resume against Chip Kelly and UCLA? Can UCF actually get into the Playoff if they beat Stanford and Pittsburgh? Paul Myerberg provides his prognostications for Week 3.
USA TODAYShocking disappointments and better-than-expected performances are anticipated each weekend in wild world of college football. It’s especially true early in the season as teams have yet to get into the swing of the schedules and are more prone to mistakes. The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, George Schroeder, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken — weigh in with some bold predictions for Week 3 of the college football season:Jace EvansCapturing the Cy-Hawk Trophy is the most glaring thing missing from Iowa State coach Matt Campbell’s resume, but Saturday presents a golden opportunity. While the Cyclones’ Week 1 performance might give some pause – they needed triple overtime to beat Northern Iowa, an FCS team – they have not played since, so they have had two weeks to improve and prepare for the Hawkeyes. Iowa State’s Jack Trice Stadium can be a tough place to play even in the worst of times for the Cyclones’ program, but Campbell has this team at a level it hasn’t been in decades after posting back-to-back 8-win seasons for the first time since the 1970s. An added bonus for Iowa State? “College GameDay” will be in Ames for the first time, which is sure to have the fans and players fired up.STAFF PICKS: Playoff contenders face road tests this weekIMPACT GAMES: Week 3 matchups with playoff implicationsEARLY SURPRISES: Nine things we didn’t expect so far this season  Paul MyerbergNo. 16 Central Florida beats Stanford and reignites the debate over the Knights’ place in the early College Football Playoff conversation. Unfortunately, UCF is drawing a team coming off a bad loss to Southern California, which will impact how most people would view the quality of the win. It would nonetheless be another notch in the belt for a program eyeballing yet another unbeaten regular season.George SchroederA year ago, when Kentucky snapped a 31-game losing streak to Florida – yeah, that’s 31 years – it was a cool moment, but that’s what it felt like: a cool moment in a special season. With stars like Josh Allen and Benny Snell gone, projections are for Kentucky to fall back to earth in 2019.Meanwhile, Florida might not be as good as its No. 8 ranking, but the Gators generally appear to be trending upward in Dan Mullen’s second season. And finally, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson went down last week with a season-ending knee injury. It’s a recipe for a Florida victory.But Sawyer Smith, the graduate transfer from Troy, will play solidly. Backed by the home crowd, the Wildcats push their winning streak over the Gators to two.Erick SmithMuch has been made about how Virginia is going to be the favorite in the ACC Coastal this season. While that might be true, the Cavaliers will be fighting for their lives when Florida State comes to town.The addition of Jim Leavitt to the coaching staff should pay immediate dividends for the Seminoles defense. And playing away from home will alleviate some of the pressure they’ve been playing with. Don’t be surprised when FSU takes down Virginia and gives Willie Taggart a much-needed win to boost the atmosphere in Tallahassee.Eddie TimanusRemember last week when Army went into the Big House and came within an eyelash of taking down Michigan? Well, this week, it’s really going to happen.No, we don’t mean an Army win. That wouldn’t be all that bold. The Black Knights will be at Texas-San Antonio, and, with all due respect to the Roadrunners, that should be a ‘W’ for the West Pointers.But another service academy team is going to visit a power-five conference member and pull off the upset. Yep, Air Force is going to take down Colorado in Boulder.Sure, the Buffs are feeling pretty good after rallying to upend former conference rival Nebraska last week. But they had to use a lot of energy to do it. It’s never easy to prepare for an option team under ideal scheduling circumstances, and the Falcons, who tuned up against Colgate in Week 1 and had an open date last weekend, will be fresher. Oh yeah, and it’s an in-state game so Air Force will have plenty of motivation as well.Dan WolkenWhy did USC schedule a game at BYU in the first place? That’s a big mistake just about any time, but particularly for a program like USC with a freshman quarterback and a lot of questions about the overall stability of the roster and coaching staff. Coming off the miracle win against Tennessee, BYU fans are going to create a crazy road atmosphere for the Trojans, who will also have to deal with playing at altitude. Coming off a great second half to beat Stanford, this just seems like a classic letdown spot for USC. AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide

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