On paper, the schedule isn’t as exciting as last week. But these overlooked weekends are often when the some of the most shocking upsets of the season emerge.
And with eight different ranked teams going on the road to face unranked opponents, at least one major surprise feels likely.
Here’s what we’re keeping an eye on Saturday (All times ET, odds from BetMGM):
Time: Noon | TV: ESPN | Line: LSU -9.5 | Total: 54.5
LSU was ranked No. 5 to start the year but came up short in a high-profile matchup with Florida State in Week 1. Now down at No. 14, LSU has the chance to start gaining confidence as SEC play gets underway. Mississippi State is in its first season under Zach Arnett, who took over after the sudden death of Mike Leach. Arnett has moved away from Leach’s famous Air Raid offense and made the Bulldogs into a run-heavy team. It has worked through two games as the Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start. Now they will take a step up in competition and put that new offense to the test against LSU.
Time: Noon | TV: SECN | Line: K-State -5.5 | Total: 48.5
Kansas State won the Big 12 and went to the Sugar Bowl last fall and is now off to a 2-0 start in 2023, the program’s fifth season under Chris Klieman. The K-State offense if off to a strong start behind the RB duo of DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward, while QB Will Howard has thrown for 547 yards and five TDs with two rushing scores. K-State will face much tougher opposition this week as it heads on the road to face Missouri. The Wildcats blasted Missouri 40-12 in Manhattan last year and the Tigers are looking for payback. Missouri hasn’t been anywhere near as dominant as K-State as the Tigers topped South Dakota 35-10 in Week 1 before an underwhelming 23-19 win over Middle Tennessee last week.
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS | Line: UGA -27.5 | Total: 54.5
On the heels of consecutive national titles, top-ranked Georgia has flown under the radar through two weeks. The Bulldogs predictably blew out UT Martin and Ball State, winning by a combined margin of 93-10. UGA has been dealing with quite a few injuries in the early going. While WR Ladd McConkey’s status is still up in the air, Kirby Smart said RB Daijun Edwards is expected to return for the SEC opener vs. South Carolina. The Gamecocks got off to a rough start to this season with an ugly 31-17 loss to North Carolina. Last week, the Gamecocks trailed Furman 14-7 midway through the second quarter but were able to storm back and win 47-21. This is obviously a far tougher opponent for South Carolina.
Time: 5 p.m. | TV: Peacock | Line: UW -16.5 | Total: 57.5
Last year, a ranked Michigan State team came to Seattle and lost to a then-downtrodden Washington team. The script has basically flipped this season as a top 10 Huskies team is riding high headed to East Lansing to face a Spartans team in turmoil. Michigan State, though off to a 2-0 start, saw head coach Mel Tucker get suspended last weekend after being accused of sexual harassment. With Tucker suspended, MSU secondary coach Harlon Barnett was promoted to interim head coach and Mark Dantonio — MSU’s head coach from 2007 to 2019 — is back on staff. How will the Spartans respond without their head coach?
No. 11 Tennessee at Florida
Time: 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: UT -6.5 | Total: 58.5
Tennessee is looking to get back into the national conversation after an awesome 11-win 2022 campaign. The Vols are off to a 2-0 start in 2023, but last weekend’s 30-13 win over Austin Peay was a bit underwhelming. Joe Milton has been solid in his first year as UT’s starting QB. How will Milton handle the toughest road SEC environment he’s faced in his career? Tennessee hasn’t won in Gainesville since 2003. Florida is 1-1 after losing at Utah in a mistake-filled mess to open the season. Will the Gators be able to avoid those mistakes at home and pull off a big upset?
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