Projecting the biggest CFB games of 2023: Week 3

This is Part 3 of a series where I go week by week ranking what I expect to be the biggest games in college football. For a longer description of what this series is, start with part 1 here!

Week 3 is the first week where I don’t expect consensus on the “biggest game of the week.” Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that none of the games this week will have the hype going in that the best games of weeks one and two had. That doesn’t mean that after kickoff some of these can’t be classics in the making. A season always looks different looking back than it does looking forward.

3rd – Washington at Michigan State

Just looking at the brands, this game looks like an exciting non-con matchup. Unfortunately for Michigan State, this game is showcasing two programs headed in opposite directions. Washington’s rise last year was just as dramatic as Michigan State’s fall. Washington QB Penix Jr. is a Heisman candidate. Michigan State lost their QB1, Payton Thorne, to the portal. He only left because he saw his best WR, Keon Coleman, enter the portal (along with 20 other Spartans, including some quality starters). 

Michigan State lives and dies by the portal. Maybe some of their additions, plus a quality home environment at night can help them challenge Washington. If they can’t, we will at least get to see Washington firing on all cylinders. They should be on the short list with Oregon and USC for Pac-12 dominance this year. It’s really too bad none of us will watch this game with it being exclusively on Peacock. 

2nd – South Carolina at Georgia

Is Georgia undefeated at this point? Yes. Is South Carolina undefeated? We will have to wait until after week 1 to find out (they play Furman in week 2). SEC fans and playoff hopefuls will want to see how Georgia fairs against their first quality opponent of the season. Are they as dominant as the last couple of years, or are there cracks in the armor from too much NFL attrition? Either way, their defense will be formidable. 

Gamecocks QB Spencer Rattler will have his work cut out for him. He was pedestrian at best last year until the final 2 weeks when he played out of his mind against top 10 competition. Maybe he just plays to the quality of his opponent. South Carolina has outperformed their Vegas win total 2 years in a row. When everyone thinks they are going to regress, I think they are going to continue to overachieve. That should make this a quality game for at least the first half.

1st – Pittsburg at West Virginia

That’s right. The biggest game of week 3 features two teams that are not in the playoff conversation. They aren’t even in the conversation to win their respective conferences. But, if you ask someone, “What is the greatest part of college football?” Their answer:


Every. Single. Time. 

The Backyard Brawl kicked off the season last year and it was spectacular. It was regular-season football. All that mattered was winning that one game for these two teams; postseason dreams be damned. Even though it’s week 3, I expect the exact same intensity this time around too. West Virginia’s head coach, Neal Brown, is viewed as already gone. Winning this game could go a long way to saving his job. Pittsburgh brought in transfer QB Phil Jurkovec from Boston College. He’s in year 6 and has plenty of experience, but his stats leave something to be desired. This game could be anything: sloppy, a shootout, a defensive battle, a blowout, an overtime thriller. It’s all on the table because anything can happen in a rivalry game. 

Honorable Mentions: PSU at Illinois, Tennessee at Florida

If the home underdogs win, these games could be season-defining. If the favorites roll, these are likely just games the respective fan bases have a good time with.

Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out part 2 of this series here.

This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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