College football games to watch: Iowa and SEC showdowns top matchups

Hunter Echols and USC had plenty to celebrate during a 45-20 defeat of Stanford on Sept. 7, 2019.
(Luis Sinco)

A look at five games to watch during Week 3 of the college football season:

No. 24 USC at Brigham Young, Saturday, ABC, 12:30 p.m. PDT

For the first time since winning the 2017 Pac-12 championship game, USC enters a big game with actual momentum on its side. Behind a masterful debut from freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, the Trojans finished a 45-20 romp of rival Stanford on a 35-0 run. It was so fun they’d like to try it again, but this will be Slovis’ first road start, and Lavell Edwards Stadium will be rocking after the Cougars upset Tennessee last Saturday in overtime at Neyland Stadium.

Stanford at No. 17 Central Florida, Saturday, ESPN, 12:30 p.m. PDT

The Cardinal were humbled by USC, but now they’ve got their leader back in quarterback K.J. Costello. Stanford should be able to move the ball better than they have the first two weeks, and if not, this could be a long, long year in Palo Alto. Central Florida appears to be explosive offensively once again, but the Golden Knights are still figuring out their quarterback situation. Freshman Dillon Gabriel usurped graduate transfer Brandon Wimbush last week, but if he struggles, will Wimbush get another shot?


No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State, Saturday, FS1, 1 p.m. PDT

The potential game of the day features one top-25 team and one just outside the rankings. The ESPN “College Gameday” crew will make Ames, Iowa, home for the weekend, introducing the country to one of the nation’s most underrated rivalries. This one is just about always tight. Ever-reliable Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has a veteran quarterback in Nathan Stanley who can manage the game but also take advantage when a defense gets sleepy. Iowa State sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy will have to play a near-perfect game against a tough Hawkeyes defense to pull this one out.

No. 9 Florida at Kentucky, Saturday, ESPN, 4 p.m. PDT

Last fall, Kentucky beat Florida for the first time since 1986, ending the Gators’ 31-game winning streak against the Wildcats. That the streak ended in “The Swamp” was even more shocking. With this year’s game in Lexington, there’s a chance Kentucky could make it two in a row, despite the Wildcats still being overmatched from a talent perspective. Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks nearly cost the Gators with a late interception in the opener against Miami. If he doesn’t clean up his performance, this one could be the first top-10 upset of 2019.

Hawaii at No. 23 Washington, Saturday, Pac-12 Networks, 4:30 p.m.

The Rainbow Warriors are already 2-0 in the Pac-12 this season, knocking off Arizona and Oregon State in Honolulu. Going to Seattle and beating the Huskies, coming off a surprising 20-19 loss at home to California last week, will be a much taller task. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. While Washington is still figuring itself out with quarterback Jacob Eason, Hawaii is confident in quarterback Cole McDonald and his stable of speedy wide receivers, and coach Nick Rolovich will have his team mentally prepared.