Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press
Saturday brings the first matchup of the college football season featuring a pair of ranked teams. And ESPN’s College GameDay will be there to set up the entire day’s action.
No. 18 Louisville is set to host No. 17 Miami in an exciting early-season ACC clash that represents the most high-profile matchup of the 2020 season thus far. College GameDay will air live from Cardinal Stadium beginning at 9 a.m. ET.
The college football season got off to a bit of a slow start, as no Power Five school played during the opening week. But many ACC and Big 12 teams got their seasons underway, and SEC teams will join in on the action Sept. 26.
However, Week 3 again belongs to the ACC and Big 12, as many of those conferences’ top teams will be back in action. Here’s a look at the schedule for ranked teams, along with a prediction for each matchup, followed by a breakdown of the top games to watch, including Miami at Louisville.
Top 25 Schedule, Predictions
Saturday, Sept. 19
Tulsa at No. 11 Oklahoma State, noon, ESPN
Austin Peay at No. 13 Cincinnati, noon, ESPN+
No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia State, noon, ESPN2
Syracuse at No. 25 Pittsburgh, noon, ACC Network
No. 23 Appalachian State at Marshall, 1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
South Florida at No. 7 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., USA Network
Charlotte at No. 12 North Carolina, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
No. 14 UCF at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ABC
The Citadel at No. 1 Clemson, 4 p.m., ACC Network
No. 17 Miami at No. 18 Louisville, 7:30 p.m., ABC
All times ET. Picks in bold.
Complete Week 3 schedule available at ESPN.
Week 3 Matchups to Watch
No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia State
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
This is the first time that Louisiana-Lafayette has been ranked in the AP Top 25 poll since 1943. And if the Ragin’ Cajuns are going to make legitimate noise in the Sun Belt this season (and perhaps even on a national level), they need to win games like this one.
Coming off an upset road win over Iowa State to open the season, Louisiana-Lafayette will play its first conference game when it goes on the road again to take on Georgia State, which will be taking the field for the first time this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns put themselves on poll voters’ radars with their 31-14 win at Iowa State. They trailed 14-7 late in the first quarter, before scoring 24 unanswered points to pull off the upset. That included a 78-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Levi Lewis to sophomore wide receiver Peter LeBlanc in the third quarter and an 83-yard punt return touchdown by junior cornerback Eric Garror in the fourth.
Louisiana-Lafayette could be a fun team to watch this season. Its next big test will likely be a road matchup at No. 23 Appalachian State on Oct. 7. The Ragin’ Cajuns should win Saturday, and it will be interesting to see how they follow up their huge win over the Cyclones as they get into conference play.
No. 23 Appalachian State at Marshall
Appalachian State won’t begin Sun Belt play for several weeks. In the meantime, the Mountaineers have what could be a challenging matchup in their first road game of the season when they travel to take on Marshall of Conference USA on Saturday.
Although the Thundering Herd aren’t ranked, they could be close to entering the AP Top 25 poll if they can beat the Mountaineers. Marshall opened the season with a 59-0 win over Eastern Kentucky, and it will look to land a more impressive victory when it returns to action Saturday.
Appalachian State opened its season with a 35-20 win at home over Charlotte. The Mountaineers held only a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but they put away the game with a pair of fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from junior running back Daetrich Harrington.
There aren’t many potential upsets for ranked teams on the Week 3 schedule, but this is a game that could go either way. While Appalachian State is probably the better team, don’t be surprised if Marshall plays a competitive game and potentially even secures a win.
No. 17 Miami at No. 18 Louisville
This is easily the best game of Week 3—it’s the best matchup we’ve gotten so far in this young college football season. That’s why it has the Saturday night national spotlight on ABC and why Louisville’s campus is hosting College GameDay.
Both teams have some challenging games ahead, but neither has been tested this season. Miami opened the year with a 31-14 home win over UAB on Sept. 10, while Louisville notched a 35-21 home victory over Western Kentucky two days later.
Although both teams are in the ACC, the conference foes don’t have a ton of history. Miami leads the all-time series 10-3-1, which included going 9-0-1 in the first 10 meetings between the schools. Louisville won three straight meetings with Miami between 2006 and 2014, but the Hurricanes won the most recent matchup, notching a 52-27 home win over the Cardinals last season.
While Miami dominated the 2019 contest (jumping out to a 42-14 lead early in the third quarter), it should be a closer game this year. And both teams have exciting starting quarterbacks (Miami redshirt senior D’Eriq King and Louisville junior Micale Cunningham), which could lead to some big offense.
Regardless of which way this contest goes, enjoy watching two high-profile ranked teams battle it out in prime time Saturday night.