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2023 College Football Watch Guide - Week 3

Tuck leavin’?

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NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to lawyer up in this week’s College Football Watch Guide.

Not for anything involving us, of course. We here at the Pants are as mild as newborn lambs. Rather, it seems like half the CFB world is tangled up in legal mischief of one form or another. There are typically a few legal stories that pop up throughout the season, but when they involve high profile coaches and a conference suing its own commissioner, that’s when people really sit up and take notice.

It started with Washington State and Oregon State, suing the conference to prevent any outgoing members from taking any action regarding league governance. In addition to safeguarding the conferences assets, according to The Athletic the move is also intended as a way to prevent the departing ten schools from keeping WSU and OSU from attempting to rebuild the conference in any way. Last Wednesday, a Washington Superior Court Judge granted the two schools the restraining order they sought. Pretty heady stuff, but understandable action on the part of the Cougars and Beavers are looking to safeguard their futures as best as they can.

Richmond v Michigan State Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

The biggest legal bombshell was dropped late Saturday, when USA Today broke the news of Michigan State coach Mel Tucker’s alleged sexual harassment of a prominent activist and rape survivor in April of 2022. Before the story became public, the university had hired a Title IX attorney to investigate and a formal hearing is scheduled for early next month, but now Tucker has been suspended without pay. It sure seems like the public attention pushed Michigan State to take more severe action against Tucker, similar to how Northwestern suspended and eventually fired Pat Fitzgerald this past summer. I would be shocked if Tucker continues as the Spartans’ coach after the hearings, this kind of public attention is not the kind a university wants.

I’m sure Michigan State will find someone fine and upstanding to help guide the team in the meantime.

Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!

Anyway, now that I’ve absolutely destroyed the mood in the room, let’s see what games are on this weekend.

Thursday, Sept. 14 & Friday, Sept. 15

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Bethune-Cookman @ #22 Miami Thursday, 6:30 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
Navy @ Memphis Thursday, 6:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Virginia @ Maryland Friday, 6:00 PM FS1
Army @ UTSA Friday, 6:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Utah State @ Air Force Friday, 7:00 PM CBSSN

Virginia @ Maryland

The only all power-5 game on the weeknight schedule. That in and of itself doesn’t always mean a game will be good, we’ve seen plenty of such pairings land with a wet splat. Still, such games do intrinsically have higher stakes for the teams involved.

Honorable mention: Navy @ Memphis, Army @ UTSA

Saturday, Sept. 16 - Morning

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
#3 Florida State @ Boston College 11:00 AM ABC WatchESPN
#7 Penn State @ Illinois 11:00 AM FOX
#14 LSU @ Mississippi State 11:00 AM ESPN WatchESPN
#15 Kansas State @ Missouri 11:00 AM SEC Network WatchESPN
Liberty @ Buffalo 11:00 AM CBSSN
Louisville @ Indiana 11:00 AM BTN
Georgia Southern @ Wisconsin 11:00 AM BTN
Wake Forest @ Old Dominion 11:00 AM ESPN 2 WatchESPN
Long Island University @ Baylor 11:00 AM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Iowa State @ Ohio 11:00 AM ESPN U WatchESPN
Central Connecticut @ Kent State 11:00 AM N/A N/A
North Dakota @ Boise State 11:00 AM FS1

#7 Penn State @ Illinois

Okay, so far my expectation that the Illini would have a strong year isn’t looking the best. After a struggling against Toledo I thought they’d bounce back at Kansas last weekend. The Illini were down 28-7 at halftime. Jayhawk QB went 21-29 for 277 yards and two scores. This isn’t the same team Bret Bielema had last year and it only looks to get tougher with Penn State coming to town.

Iowa State @ Ohio

Iowa State has a good team which has suffered attrition because of the betting scandal, but I think Rocco Becht can be a solid QB for them with a great enough defense to help smooth over the mistakes we see out of young signal-callers. But this will be his first road game, so we’ll see how Becht bounces back from a loss. After a Cy-Hawk win, it’s easy to be a bit magnanimous.

Apparently it’s easy to be petty after a loss too.

Honorable mention: #15 Kansas State @ Missouri, Louisville @ Indiana

Saturday, Sept. 16 - Afternoon

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Weber State @ #12 Utah 1:00 PM Pac-12 Network
VMI @ NC State 1:00 PM CW CW
UMass @ Eastern Michigan 1:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Norfolk State @ Temple 1:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Indiana State @ Ball State 1:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Central Michigan @ #9 Notre Dame 1:30 PM Peacock Peacock
South Carolina @ #1 Georgia 2:30 PM CBS
#10 Alabama @ South Florida 2:30 PM ABC WatchESPN
San Diego State @ #16 Oregon State 2:30 PM FS1
#19 Oklahoma @ Tulsa 2:30 PM ESPN 2 WatchESPN
Minnesota @ #20 North Carolina 2:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Northwestern @ #21 Duke 2:30 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
Western Michigan @ #25 Iowa 2:30 PM BTN
Virginia Tech @ Rutgers 2:30 PM BTN
FIU @ UConn 2:30 PM CBSSN
East Carolina @ Appalachian State 2:30 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Western Kentucky @ #6 Ohio State 3:00 PM FOX
UL Monroe @ Texas A&M 3:00 PM SEC Network WatchESPN
Idaho @ Cal 3:00 PM N/A N/A
Tulane @ Southern Miss 3:00 PM ESPN U WatchESPN
#8 Washington @ Michigan State 4:00 PM Peacock Peacock
Northern Colorado @ #23 Washington State 4:00 PM Pac-12 Network
North Carolina Central @ #24 UCLA 4:00 PM N/A N/A

Western Michigan @ #25 Iowa

The final non-conference game for the Iowa Hawkeyes is also the last opportunity for some fine tuning before the Big Ten slate begins. The Broncos are 96th in total defense this year, twenty-three spots below Utah State, and the 112th scoring offense. To be fair, Iowa has the 103rd scoring offense but I’ll take what I can get. The coaches and team say the offense is coming together, this is the show me game, because you don’t want it to be next week.

#8 Washington @ Michigan State

I’m fascinated to see how Michigan State comes out in this game in the midst of the Mel Tucker saga. The Huskies have one of the best offenses in the country, but the Spartans aren’t too shabby on that side of the ball either, with a solid defense to boot. This is a prime opportunity for Michigan State to get some good publicity in the midst of all the bad.

Honorable mention: South Carolina @ #1 Georgia, San Diego State @ #16 Oregon State

Saturday, Sept. 16 - Evening

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Georgia State @ Charlotte 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Villanova @ UCF 5:30 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
#11 Tennessee @ Florida 6:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Samford @ Auburn 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
North Texas @ Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Murray State @ Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Northern Illinois @ Nebraska 6:00 PM FS1
Vanderbilt @ UNLV 6:00 PM CBSSN
Miami (OH) @ Cincinnati 6:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
South Alabama @ Oklahoma State 6:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Tarleton State @ Texas Tech 6:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Louisiana @ UAB 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Prairie View A&M @ SMU 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Texas Southern @ Rice 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Duquesne @ Coastal Carolina 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Stony Brook @ Arkansas State 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
James Madison @ Troy 6:00 PM NFL Network NFL Network
San Jose State @ Toledo 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Bowling Green @ #2 Michigan 6:30 PM BTN
Georgia Tech @ #17 Ole Miss 6:30 PM SEC Network WatchESPN
BYU @ Arkansas 6:30 PM ESPN 2 WatchESPN
Akron @ Kentucky 6:30 PM ESPN U WatchESPN
Syracuse @ Purdue 6:30 PM NBC Peacock
Pittsburgh @ West Virginia 6:30 PM ABC WatchESPN
Wyoming @ #4 Texas 7:00 PM Longhorn Network WatchESPN
Hawai'i @ #13 Oregon 7:00 PM Pac-12 Network
New Mexico State @ New Mexico 7:00 PM N/A N/A
Sacramento State @ Stanford 7:00 PM N/A N/A
Florida Atlantic @ Clemson 7:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
TCU @ Houston 7:00 PM FOX
Jackson State @ Texas State 7:30 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Colorado State @ #18 Colorado 9:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Fresno State @ Arizona State 9:30 PM FS1
Kansas @ Nevada 9:30 PM CBSSN
UTEP @ Arizona 10:00 PM Pac-12 Network

Northern Illinois @ Nebraska

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Nebraska needs to this win to get their season back on track. After an 0-2 start the Rhule era has had an ignominious beginning. But I believe it was Shakespeare who said “beware MAC schools bearing non-conference games”. An 0-3 start and loss to the Huskies would be tragic for Nebraska, and delightful for the rest of the world.

Pittsburgh @ West Virginia

The Backyard Brawl returns for only its second installment in a decade. Last year’s game was a tremendous welcome back party for this rivalry, featuring a 56-yard pick-six with under three minutes remaining for the Panthers to pull a 38-31 win. In a weekend devoid of high-profile game hype, a rivalry game like this one can pick up the slack.

Honorable mention: BYU @ Arkansas, #11 Tennessee @ Florida

There may not be much in terms of heavyweight fights this weekend, but that can be fertile soil for those magical upsets we all love. I’m hoping we’re not disappointed.

Enjoy the weekend and stay out of trouble, y’all.