Week 3 of the 2016 college football season serves up a delicious 67 games with the top three teams in the land all squaring off with a ranked opponent on the road.
Thursday night features one game (No. 6 Houston at Cincinnati), Friday has three offerings and Saturday has 63. The blockbuster contests are spaced out nicely—(2) Florida State at (10) Louisville at Noon EST, (1) Alabama at (19) Ole Miss at 3:30pm EST and (12) Michigan State at (18) Notre Dame and (3) Ohio State at (14) Oklahoma both at 7:30pm EST.
Games featuring FCS opponents drop all the way down to 12, or roughly 18% of the weekend’s action.
Both the Big 12 and Pac-12 kickoff conference play this weekend with TCU-Iowa State and USC-Stanford respectively.
Also worth noting are the whopping 11 first-ever FBS vs. FBS matchups, up from seven in Week 1 and only two last week. The only Power-Power game in that subset is Pitt-Oklahoma State, who in their combined 243-football years have never met previously.
Following is the rundown for Week 3. As always, the facts are unique to this week and are limited to FBS vs. FBS action.
OFF THIS WEEK (6)
- Air Force
- Boise State
- West Virginia
RANKED vs. RANKED (4)
- (2) Florida State at (10) Louisville
- (1) Alabama at (19) Ole Miss
- (12) Michigan State at (18) Notre Dame
- (3) Ohio State at (14) Oklahoma
FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (11)
- Arizona State at UTSA
- Army at UTEP
- Eastern Michigan at Charlotte
- Georgia State at (9) Wisconsin
- Maryland at UCF
- (25) Miami (Fla.) at Appalachian State
- Middle Tennessee at Bowling Green
- New Mexico at Rutgers
- New Mexico State at Kentucky
- Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State
- Texas State at Arkansas
LONGEST SERIES OF THE WEEK
No. 20 LSU and Mississippi State play for the 110th time this Saturday night in Baton Rouge. The series dates all the way back to 1896. The Tigers hold a 72-34-3 all-time advantage.
OLDEST SERIES OF THE WEEK
Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt first played 124-years ago in 1892. The Commodores won the game 20-10 in Atlanta. It was the same year that the first-official basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts.
REUNITED (and it feels so good)
- Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech play for the first time since 1933.
- (23) Florida and North Texas play for the first time since 1947.
- Northern Illinois and San Diego State play for the first time since 1971.
- (3) Ohio State and (14) Oklahoma play for the first time since 1983.
- Nebraska and (22) Oregon play for the first time since 1986.
STREAKS OF THE WEEK
7: (21) Baylor has won 7 straight over Rice.
8: Washington State has won 8 straight over Idaho.
MOST-LIKELY WEEK 2 WINNERS BASED ON HISTORY (FBS vs. FBS only):
American: Memphis (1-0 all-time) vs. Kansas
ACC: NC State (2-0 all-time) vs. Old Dominion
Big 12: Kansas State (1-0 all-time) vs. FAU and Texas Tech (1-0 all-time) vs. Louisiana Tech
Big Ten: Penn State (39-4-1 all-time and 4-1 in last five) vs. Temple
CUSA: Southern Miss (2-0 all-time) vs. Troy
MAC: Akron (3-6 all-time and 2-3 in the last five) vs. Marshall
MWC: Fresno State (2-0 all-time) vs. Toledo, Nevada (2-0 all-time) vs. Buffalo and San Diego State (2-0 all-time) vs. Northern Illinois
Pac-12: Arizona (4-0 all-time) vs. Hawaii
SEC: (15) Tennessee (1-0 all-time) vs. Ohio
Sun Belt: Georgia Southern (4-2 all-time) vs. ULM
Florida has NEVER beaten North Texas
The Gators and Mean Green have only played once previously, 69-years ago in 1947. North Texas was classified as a “College Division – Small College” by the NCAA that year, but managed to upset the Gators 20-12 in Gainesville.
Florida finished the season 4-5-1, ranked 73rd historically among its 120 seasons of football. The Mean Green posted a 10-2 record, the only losses a 12-0 shutout at the hands of Arkansas and a 13-6 defeat to Nevada in the New Year’s Day Salad Bowl in Phoenix.
It was the first-ever bowl appearance by North Texas and one of only two double-digit finishes in program history.
Florida State makes a rare out-of-state visit
Week 3’s road trip square off with No. 10 Louisville is a big exception to the rule for the No. 2 ‘Noles as its one of only three times it will leave state lines in 2016.
The only other non-Florida games on the books are a Week 10 trek to play NC State and a Week 12 date at Syracuse.
Georgia Tech hasn’t lost to Vanderbilt at home since 1935
Not only are the Yellow Jackets 11-0-1 vs. the Commodores since 1948, they haven’t suffered a loss in Atlanta since 1935. They’ve won eight-straight home games over Vandy since.
Back in 1935, Georgia Tech-Vandy was a conference game, both teams hailing from the SEC. The Yellow Jackets went 5-5 that year while the Commodores went 7-3 including back-to-back wins over Tennessee and Alabama to close out the season.
Georgia Tech left the SEC to become independent in 1964, it joined the ACC in 1983.
Houston hasn’t won at Cincinnati since 1971
The No. 6 Cougars have dropped six straight road games to the Bearcats. Overall, they’ve lost nine of the last 12 to Cincinnati, most recently posting back-to-back wins in 1972 and 1974.
Houston was an independent in 1971, posting a 9-3 record including a loss to No. 7 Colorado in the now-defunct Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. They finished the season ranked No. 17 in the AP.
After falling to the Cougars, Cincinnati, also independent, roared back the next week, travelling to College Station, Texas and blanking the Aggies 17-0. The Bearcats finished 7-4 that year.
Louisville has only beaten Florida State once in 13 tries
Not only are the No. 10 Cardinals underdogs going into this Saturday’s showdown with the No. 2 Seminoles, they’ve only beaten them once in program history. That was 2002, when as an unranked commodity they zapped then No. 4 Florida State 26-20 at home in a shocker.
Prior to that, the Cardinals had dropped 10 straight to FSU. In four of losses they didn’t score a single point. The two teams have met twice since Louisville joined the ACC, Florida State hanging up 40-plus points on the Cardinals on both occasions.
No MAC team has an all-time winning record vs. its FBS opponent in Week 2
If history predicts future events, Week 3 will be a tough one for the MAC. Of the 10 members playing an FBS school this week, none are over .500 in the all-time series.
Akron is 3-6 all-time vs. Marshall, Bowling Green has never played Middle Tennessee, Buffalo is 0-2 vs. Nevada, Central Michigan is 1-3 vs. UNLV, Eastern Michigan has never played Charlotte, Miami (Ohio) is 0-1 vs. Western Kentucky, Northern Illinois is 0-3 San Diego State, Ohio is 0-1 vs. Tennessee, Toledo is 0-2 vs. Fresno State, and Western Michigan is 1-3 vs. Illinois.
But, of course, this is the same conference that took down two Big 12 members in Week 2.
Notre Dame and Michigan State briefly renew their 77-game series
The No. 18 Irish and No. 12 Spartans only missed playing one another four times between 1948 and 2013, the exceptions coming in 1953, 1958 and 1995-96.
Week 2’s game, slated for Saturday night in South Bend, is the front end of a home-and-home series that wraps up next season. It’s also the only future date the two long-term rivals have booked.
The series dates back to 1897.
New Mexico State is 0-19 vs. the SEC
New Mexico State’s road trip to Lexington to play Kentucky this Saturday afternoon represents its 20th time to try and knock off a current SEC member.
It’s a quest that the Aggies have yet to be successful at.
NMSU is 0-5 all-time vs. Arkansas, 0-3 vs. Auburn, 0-2 vs. Florida, 0-4 vs. Georgia, 0-2 vs. LSU, 0-1 vs. Ole Miss and 0-2 vs. South Carolina.
All 19 of the games were played on the road.
Penn State has NEVER lost to Temple at home
Temple’s win over Penn State last season was the first in 39 tries. Though that super-streak has been vanquished, one remains—a 0-24-1 all-time mark in Happy Valley.
The only non-loss the Owls have ever managed in State College came in 1950, a 7-7 tie. Temple went 4-4-1 that season while Penn State posted a 5-3-1 record.
Tennessee and San Diego State have NEVER lost to a MAC opponent
More bad news for the boys over at the MAC, two of this week’s play dates have never fallen to one of its current members.
The No. 15 Volunteers (who host Ohio) are 6-0 vs. the MAC—2-0 vs. Akron and 1-0 apiece vs. Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Illinois and Ohio.
San Diego State (traveling to Northern Illinois) is 10-0-1 vs. the Mid-Americans—1-0 vs. Akron, 2-0-1 vs. Bowling Green, 1-0 vs. Buffalo, 2-0 vs. Kent State and 4-0 vs. Northern Illinois.
Historical data courtesy of Stassen.com and College Football Data Warehouse.