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National Games to Watch: Week 3

NCAA Football: Ball State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes are out of the top 25, but a trio of games have the ability to put them back within reach of a national ranking. Of course, Utah will need to take care of business against San Diego State, but with a little help from some underdogs, the boys in red could see themselves as a fringe top 25 team heading into week four.

Michigan State vs #24 Miami - Saturday 10:00 AM MT - ABC

Miami started the season as a darkhorse candidate to win the ACC, but an all-out drubbing against Alabama in week one, followed by a too-close-for-comfort win against Appalachian State has hampered those expectations. The undefeated Spartans put away Northwestern and Youngstown State with ease to start the season and shouldn’t be overlooked despite their +6.5 underdog status against the Hurricanes in week three.

#22 Auburn vs #10 Penn State - Saturday 5:30 PM MT - ABC

Auburn has snuck into the top 25 thanks to a laughably weak schedule that saw dominating wins against Akron and Alabama State with a combined score of 122-10. Their level of competition steps up dramatically in week three when they take on Penn State, who already have a top 25 win under the belts when they bested the then #12 Wisconsin Badgers 16-10 to open the season. Auburn will either launch themselves into potential ‘Bama beaters status or straight out of the national spotlight depending on how this game ends, but Utah fans should be hoping for the -5 point favorite Nittany Lions to keep the Tigers at bay.

Virginia vs #21 North Carolina - Saturday - 5:30 PM MT - ACC Network

The Tar Heels may be -8 point favorites but their week one loss to Virginia Tech still suggests North Carolina is a bit overrated on the gridiron. Virginia has quietly dominated admittedly bad competition in the form of William & Mary and Illinois, but junior quarterback Brennan Armstrong just might be the best QB on the field Saturday night when compared to UNC’s highly touted junior, Sam Howell. Expect offense to be the name of the game here, but don’t be surprised if Virginia pulls out the upset to start 3-0.