7 games to watch in college football this weekend

LSU head Coach Ed Orgeron.

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LSU head Coach Ed Orgeron.
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Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Week 3 of the college football season is here, and that means another Saturday of non-stop action.

Like most weekends in the fall, there is no shortage of games to choose from. But even though it is still early in the season, we already have a sense of which teams are in the playoff hunt and which games are the most important.

This week we have three top-25 matchups, three other top-25 teams playing on the road, and a sneaky important game for Notre Dame.

Here are the can’t-miss college football games to watch this weekend.


(5) Oklahoma @ Iowa State

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The Sooners take on Iowa State who is playing their home opener.
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Brett Deering/Getty Images

Network and Time: ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET

Records: Oklahoma (2-0), Iowa State (0-1)

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: Oklahoma (5)

Why it is important: Prior to the season there were some concerns that the OU defense would not be good enough this year, and that the Sooners were ripe to be picked off in the Big 12. But outside of a shaky start against UCLA, it is clear that Oklahoma is the class of the Big 12 and a big-time playoff contender. At the same time, this seems like a good spot for OU to trip up if they are not careful – Iowa State is playing their home opener after being shut down by an Iowa team that is probably better than most realize.


Vanderbilt @ (8) Notre Dame

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Notre Dame needs a dominant performance.
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Network and Time: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET

Records: Both teams are 2-0

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: Notre Dame (6)

Why it is important: Notre Dame’s win over Ball State was not as close as the score might suggest, but the 8-point win was still closer than it should have been. Meanwhile, Vandy has defeated their first two foes by a combined score of 76-17. The Irish have bigger names on the schedule, but they can’t afford another ho-hum performance against a lesser team.


(12) LSU @ (7) Auburn

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Neither team can afford to lose this game.
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Michael Chang/Getty Images

Network and Time: CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET

Records: Both teams are 2-0

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: LSU (12), Auburn (8)

Why it is important: This could be an elimination game in the SEC West. Both teams still have to play Georgia and Alabama, so neither can afford a loss here.


(17) Boise State @ (24) Oklahoma State

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Boise State can stake their claim as the GoF1.
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Loren Orr/Getty Images

Network and Time: ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET

Records: Both teams are 2-0

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: Boise State (17)

Why it is important: Neither of these teams is a legit threat in the playoff picture yet. But the winner of this game will start to get noticed. If OSU wins, they have a decent shot to get to 9-0 before they have to play Oklahoma, West Virginia, and TCU the final three weeks. If Boise State wins, they will take a leg up on UCF as the GoF1 (top playoff candidate in the Group of 5).


(1) Alabama @ Ole Miss

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Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu has thrown for 7 TDs (no interceptions) and nearly 800 yards passing in two games.
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Bob Levey/Getty Images

Network and Time: ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET

Records: Both teams are 2-0

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: Bama (1)

Why it is important: Ole Miss would probably be the second-best team in the SEC West, but they are flying under the radar right now because they play in the same division as Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M. Bama should win easily, but the game will likely be a fun shootout as Ole Miss is going to score points.


(4) Ohio State vs (15) TCU in Arlington, TX

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TCU is the first real test for Ohio State.
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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Network and Time: ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Records: Both teams are 2-0

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: Ohio State (4), TCU (11)

Why it is important: The final game of Urban Meyer’s suspension is also Ohio State’s first real test.


(22) USC @ Texas

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This is a loser-go-home game.
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Tim Warner/Getty Images

Network and Time: Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Records: Both teams are 1-1

CFB Playoff Power Rankings: Both teams are unranked

Why it is important: This series has a chance to turn into a sneaky-good rivalry. The season is not lost yet for either team, but it will be for whoever loses here.


Now check out the rest of the playoff power ranking

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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Alabama tops the Week 3 College Football Playoff power ranking