College football schedule 2023: Week Three analysis

By Kyle Dubbels -

An exciting Week Two brought us questions like “Is Texas Back”? (answer: yes), and “Is Miami back”? (answer: no), and “How does a conference that has 8 ranked teams and the best class of QBs not get a TV deal?” (answer: ask the TV bosses).

Now we are left to sit and wonder while we enjoy the slate that Week Three of the college football season provides us.


When was the last time Alabama played a road game at a non-Power 5 school and who did they play?
*Answer at the end of article.


Unfortunately, Week Three provides us with the fewest number of games of the season to this point – only 75 games total.

  • 21 of the games showcase a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team taking on a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team, the lowest total of the season.
  • 23 games pit a Group of Five opponent against a Power 5 team.
  • 14 games will pit two Group of Five opponents against one another.
  • 17 games see two Power 5 opponents taking on each other.


Week 3 matchups that have been 30 years in the making:

Indiana Hoosiers vs. Louisville Cardinals
The Hoosiers and Cardinals meet for the first time since 1986 when Mr. Howard Schnellenberger was the head coach of the Cardinals. Indiana head coach Bill Mallory defeated him both times giving the Hoosiers a 2-0 series lead.

San Jose State Spartans at Toledo Rockets
The Spartans travel to Toledo, Ohio to meet with the Rockets for the second time and first since 1981. The Rockets have blasted off to a 1-0 series lead.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Oregon Ducks
Hawaii and Oregon haven’t met since 1994 (29 years ago) and the Rainbow Warriors have won three straight but trail 4-3 in the series.

Idaho Vandals at Cal Golden Bears
The Idaho Vandals leave the friendly Kibbie Dome for the second week in a row for a matchup not seen since 1934. Cal leads the series 4-0.

*Special Mention* 

Maryland and Virginia played every year from 1957 through 2013 but will meet for the first time in ten years on Friday. Maryland leads the series 44-32-2.


These games have never been seen before by the eyes of college football fans:

  • Georgia Southern at Wisconsin
  • Central Michigan at Notre Dame
  • Minnesota at North Carolina
  • Western Kentucky at Ohio State
  • Kansas at Nevada
  • VMI at NC State
  • Long Island at Baylor
  • Tarleton State at Texas Tech
  • NC Central at UCLA
  • Prairie View A&M at SMU
  • Norfolk State at Temple
  • North Dakota at Boise State
  • Duquesne at Costal Carolina
  • Stony Brook at Arkansas State
  • Jackson State at Texas State
  • Central Connecticut at Kent State


Week Three offers up eight games in which fans both love and hate to see on the schedule:

Tennessee at Florida – “The Third Saturday in September”
Tennessee hasn’t won two straight since ’03-’04, have lost nine straight in the Swamp.

Pitt at West Virginia – “The Backyard Brawl”
106th meeting, first time in West Virginia since 2011. Pitt leads the series 62-40-3.

New Mexico State at New Mexico – “Rio Grande Rivalry”
113th meeting between these Land of Enchantment Universities; the Lobos lead the series by a commanding 73-34-5 margin.

Miami (OH) at Cincinnati – “Battle for the Victory Bell”
Will be the 127th battle for the victory bell. Cincinnati has won 16 straight and now leads this historic series 60-59-7.

Kansas State at Missouri
99th meeting. Played every year from 1927-2011; Missouri leads series 60-33-5.

Tulane at Southern Miss – “Battle for the Bell”
This southern rivalry will be played for the 34th time, with Southern Miss leading 24-9.

Indiana State at Ball State – “Battle for the Blue Key Victory Bell”
66th meeting of these Hoosier state rivals and first since 2014. Indiana State holds the Victory Bell while Ball State leads the series 38-24-1.

Colorado State at Colorado – “Rocky Mountain Showdown”
92nd meeting between the Rams and Buffaloes. This Fort Collins vs Boulder matchup pits the nations #2 passer in Shedeur Sanders vs. the country’s worst pass defense.


The shortest and longest trips in Week 3 are:

• Texas Southern at Rice – Less than one mile separates these two schools, forget the bus!

• Weber State at Utah – The buses will only have to travel 35 miles for this in state matchup.

• Miami (Ohio) at Cincinnati – These longtime rivals are separated by a mere 39 miles.

• Colorado State at Colorado – A 55 mile drive down I-25 is all that separates these two Rocky Mountain schools.

• Pitt at West Virginia – The Backyard Brawl is literally that since these two rivals battle for the 77 miles of road that keep them apart.

Kansas at Nevada – Kansas has to travel 1,588 miles, through three states and two times zones, to visit the Wolf Pack.

• Vanderbilt at UNLV – The Commodores will fly 1,787 for this early season matchup.

• San Jose State at Toledo – This Group of 5 matchup requires a few airplanes to make the 2,386 mile trek.

• NC Central at UCLA – NC Central will travel a whopping 2,538 miles for this non-conference matchup.


#15 Kansas State at Missouri
Noon ET, SEC Network

These former Big 12 rivals meet with Kansas State coming off a 42-13 win over Troy while Mizzou is limping in after only beating Middle Tennessee State 23-19.

#8 Washington at Michigan State
5 pm ET, Peacock

The powerful Huskies offense comes to town to take on a Michigan State squad embroiled in its second controversy in as many seasons. Do the Spartans stand a chance?

James Madison at Troy
7 pm ET, NFL Network

This would have been the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Title game if James Madison had been eligible. Could we see a preview of the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Title game?

#11 Tennessee at Florida
7 pm ET, ESPN

The Third Saturday in September will see if the Volunteers can snap a nine game losing streak in The Swamp.


2003 at Hawai’i. The Crimson Tide lost 37-29.

How rare is Alabama’s road trip to the USF Bulls? In Nick Saban’s 17 years at Bama, he has only played three true non-conference road games against Power 5 opponents and certainly not against a Group of 5 team. Now he will be heading to Tampa to take on the Bulls. The two schools have only played once, a 40-17 Crimson Tide victory.

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