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2021 College Football Viewing Guide: Week 3

A look at the top games to watch this upcoming weekend in the world of college football.

Michigan at Penn State Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

College football is back, and that means our college football viewing guide is back to help you navigate the busy schedule ahead.

Each week we will do the heavy lifting, and figure out the top games that will be playing during each television window across college football. As the season rolls on, we turn our attention to Week 3 with a few intriguing matchups to watch on Saturday.

Bethune-Cookman v UCF
UCF looks to knock off a Power-5 opponent this week after accepting a future bid to the Big-12.
Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Thursday, September 16

Ohio (0-2) at Louisiana (1-1) —> 7 p.m. CST on ESPN

The Ohio Bobcats have had a tough start to their season, and they have another tough matchup this Thursday. Louisiana lost to Texas in Week 1, but they were one of the better stories in 2020. If you are really needing some college football earlier in the week, this game may be for you.

Friday, September 17

UCF (2-0) at Louisville (1-1) —> 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPN

Friday night surprisingly has two decent games on the schedule. In the first game of the evening, UCF looks to remain undefeated against Louisville. I expect this game to be a solid matchup, and a chance for both teams to bolster their resumes before conference play gets going.

Maryland (2-0) at Illinois (1-2) —> 8 p.m. CST on FS1

The late-game features two Big Ten teams each looking to be undefeated in the conference. Illinois has struggled since beating Nebraska in Week 0, while Maryland scored a big win in their opening game against West Virginia.

Murray State v Cincinnati
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell’s name has been brought up in connection with the vacant USC position this week.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Saturday, September 18

Morning games

No. 8 Cincinnati (2-0) at Indiana (1-1) —> 11 a.m. CST on ESPN

One of the newest members of the Big-12, Cincinnati has yet to really be tested this season. That will change this Saturday, as they go on the road to Indiana. The Hoosiers were beaten badly by Iowa but looked much better against Idaho last weekend. This should be a great game to kickoff your Saturday morning.

Michigan State (2-0) at No. 24 Miami (1-1) —> 11 a.m. CST on ABC

Michigan State has gotten off to a good start this year with wins over Northwestern and Youngstown State behind the play of transfer running back Kenneth Walker, but they will have a much bigger test on Saturday against Miami. The Hurricanes are just inside the top-25 after being blown out by Alabama and narrowly holding on to beat App State a week ago. This game is a major opportunity for both teams.

Other morning games of interest:

  • Nebraska at No. 3 Oklahoma on FOX at 11 a.m. CST
  • No. 15 Virginia Tech at West Virginia on FS1 11 a.m. CST
  • Northern Illinois at Michigan on BTN 11 a.m. CST
  • Minnesota at Colorado on PAC 12 Network at noon CST

Afternoon games

No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at No. 11 Florida (2-0) —> 2:30 p.m. CST on CBS

The headlining game of the day takes place in the SEC. In a cross-divisional matchup, the reigning national champs go on the road to take on Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators. Both teams have inexperienced quarterbacks with huge upside, including a possible quarterback controversy at Florida, but this game represents one of the toughest tests of the season for Alabama. There are other games to monitor in the afternoon window, but this game is the best on paper by a wide margin.

Other afternoon games of interest:

Florida v South Florida
Anthony Richardson has made a strong impression early for Florida fans, and he will likely split reps once again with starter Emory Jones against Alabama this weekend.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Primetime games

No. 22 Auburn (2-0) at No. 10 Penn State (2-0) —> 6:30 p.m. CST on ABC

In their annual White Out game, Penn State welcomes Auburn for a massive matchup in Happy Valley. The Auburn Tigers have put up at least 60 points in both of their first two games against inferior competition, but the Nittany Lions have looked good to start their season as well (sigh). This game should give both fanbases a better sense of what they may be this season.

Other primetime games of interest:

  • South Carolina at No. 2 Georgia on ESPN at 6 p.m. CST
  • Virginia at No. 21 North Carolina on ACCN at 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Utah at San Diego State on CBSSN at 6:40 p.m. CST

After dark

No. 19 Arizona State (2-0) at No. 23 BYU (2-0) —> 9:15 p.m. CST on ESPN

BYU scored a huge win at home last weekend against rival Utah, and they have another huge opportunity against a Pac-12 opponent this week. Arizona State has yet to play anyone remotely as talented, making this a really great late-night matchup to tune in for.

Other late-night games of interest: