College Football
Oklahoma vs. new-look Nebraska, Ohio State gets help, more we're watching in Week 3
College Football

Oklahoma vs. new-look Nebraska, Ohio State gets help, more we're watching in Week 3

Updated Sep. 15, 2022 1:38 p.m. ET

By RJ Young and Laken Litman
FOX Sports College Football Writers

Oklahoma vs. Nebraska is a rivalry rich in history.

The storied programs first battled each other in 1912, with the Huskers outlasting the Sooner 13-9. They've played each other 86 times since, with Oklahoma holding a 46-38-3 edge.

Related: The Oklahoma-Nebraska series, by the numbers

As they prepare to meet on Saturday in Lincoln, though, both teams find themselves in a state of transition. 


The Huskers (1-2) will take the field with a new coach leading the way, Mickey Joseph having been promoted to the role on an interim basis after the firing of Scott Frost on Sunday.

And the Sooners (2-0) will see if they can drum up some offense under their first-year coach Brent Venables, who is known more for his defensive expertise.

But that's not all we have going on this weekend. Here's what we're looking forward to watching in some of the biggest matchups on Saturday.

What are you watching in No. 6 Oklahoma at Nebraska (noon ET; FOX and the FOX Sports App)? 

Young: This Oklahoma team is the most balanced one I’ve seen in the past five years. In fact, OU held its last opponent, Kent State, to just three points, cementing the defense’s best showing against an FBS opponent in five years. However, the offense is a bit worrying. 

Though the Sooners scored 33 points against the Golden Flashes, they didn’t score a single point until the final minute of the first half. If the Sooners can’t roll up a Nebraska program that gave up 45 to Georgia Southern last Saturday, I’ll question just how potent Jeff Lebby’s offense can be against the class of the Big 12.

The Sooners are second-to-last in FBS in time of possession and run 30 fewer plays than their opponents so far on average — boom(er) or bust is the best description for this offense. Silver lining? Oklahoma has converted all eight of its red-zone trips into points, with six TDs and two field goals. 

Litman: We probably won’t learn too much about Oklahoma until it gets into its Big 12 schedule next week. While this is a fun reunion between old Big Eight (and Big 12) rivals, Nebraska is in such a state of disarray right now, firing Scott Frost last week following a home loss to Georgia Southern. How will the Cornhuskers come together against the No. 6 team in the country and salvage the rest of their season? Can it even be salvaged? Will the players get up for this game? Will the fans?

What storylines are you watching in Texas State at No. 17 Baylor (noon ET; FS1)? 

Litman: Baylor was picked to defend its Big 12 title this season. Now, after a tough double-overtime loss at BYU last week, it's out of the top 10. This matchup against Texas State is a chance to regroup at home and get a solid W before settling into its conference schedule. The Bears’ first Big 12 game is next week at Iowa State, which is never an easy place to play.

Young: After a rock fight with a Brigham Young program I’ve been high on this season — even picking the Cougars to beat Baylor — I’m interested to see how the Bears bounce back against a Bobcats program they should handily defeat. This is a moment for the Bears to remind us they are the defending Big 12 champs.

How about Connecticut at No. 4 Michigan (noon ET; ABC)? 

Young: Now that Jim Harbaugh has settled on J.J. McCarthy as QB1, I’m watching to see how he leads a program that is not only looking to defend its Big Ten crown but earn a second consecutive invitation to the College Football Playoff. I think Harbaugh was smart to make McCarthy the starter — he can be for Michigan what Trevor Lawrence was for Clemson in 2018. However, I don’t understand not naming him the starter for the rest of the year. It only feels like Harbaugh doesn’t trust the five-star quarterback as much as he should. 

Litman: This is officially McCarthy’s team now. He went 11-for-12 for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Hawaii, which was enough for Harbaugh to give him the QB1 nod over Cade McNamara. Time will tell if this was the right decision, but Michigan fans seem to be happy with Harbaugh’s choice. 

J.J. McCarthy wins Michigan's starting job

FOX Sports' lead college football analyst Joel Klatt goes in depth on the decision from coach Jim Harbaugh to choose J.J. McCarthy as the starting quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines this season after a two game in-season competition between him and former starter Cade McNamara.

How about No. 12 BYU at No. 25 Oregon (3:30 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports App)?

Litman: Is BYU a dark horse CFP contender? It has a tough and impressive-looking schedule, which so far has included a double-overtime win over reigning Big 12 champion Baylor. The Cougars also have matchups against Notre Dame and Arkansas this season.

Next up: Oregon on the road. After getting blown out by Georgia in Week 1, the Ducks hung 70 points on Eastern Washington last week. BYU’s defense held Baylor’s normally prolific offense under 300 yards last week, so this will be another tough test for Kalani Sitake’s group. 

Young: BYU has an opportunity to build a résumé that could make them just the second program outside the Power 5 to earn an invitation to the CFP.

After a lopsided loss to Georgia, the Ducks handed out their own lopsided loss to FCS Eastern Washington. The Ducks know this is their last opportunity to make a mark in their nonconference schedule against a team with CFP aspirations.

Add to this one terribly incriminating stat for the Pac-12? BYU went 5-0 against the league last season. 

What interests you most in Toledo at No. 3 Ohio State (7 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports App)?

Young: Ohio State coach Ryan Day expects to play wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming against the Rockets on Saturday, but I don’t expect them to see a lot of action. This is the last opportunity for the Buckeyes to tune up before beginning their conference schedule against a Wisconsin program with a point to prove. It behooves the Buckeyes to put Toledo away early and come out of the game uninjured. 

Litman: Ohio State gets two talented receivers back. Smith-Njigba, who is quarterback C.J. Stroud’s favorite target and closest friend on the team, suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Ohio State’s season opener against Notre Dame. Fleming suffered an undisclosed injury during fall camp. 

While Ohio State has plenty of depth at wide receiver and we’ve seen what the running game can do, the offense is more electric when Smith-Njigba is playing.

What’s worth watching in No. 11 Michigan State at Washington (7:30 p.m. ET; ABC)?

Young: This is the first challenge for either program this season and the best opportunity yet to measure the budding Kalen DeBoer era at Washington. With Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard carrying the rock for the Spartans, I’ll be interested to see how the Huskies hold up against the strength of Mel Tucker’s offense.

Litman: I’ll be watching Michigan State’s running game. Berger and Broussard combined for 188 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 52-0 win over Akron last week. Through these first two weeks, Washington has a top-15 defense, so how will this matchup unfold? Meanwhile, the Spartans’ defense is coming off a monster performance in which it recovered four fumbles and had five sacks. Can Mel Tucker’s defense similarly get after the Huskies’ offense?

How about No. 13 Miami at No. 24 Texas A&M (9 p.m. ET; ESPN)?

Litman: How does Texas A&M bounce back after suffering one of the biggest upsets in program history? Last week Appalachian State came into College Station and beat the Aggies, 17-14, which sent a previously No. 6-ranked Texas A&M tumbling 18 spots in the rankings.

Currently 102nd nationally in total offense, the Aggies tallied just nine first downs and 186 total yards of offense on 38 plays. Quarterback Haynes King went 13-for-20 for 97 yards with no touchdowns and was sacked twice. This week, coach Jimbo Fisher said he would "evaluate" everything moving forward, including potentially giving up playcalling duties down the road if things don’t get better.

The Aggies were a sexy pick in the preseason to make the College Football Playoff. And this week, they have an opportunity to get back on track against No. 13 Miami and star quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. Another loss at home, even to a ranked team, would be devastating for the overall mentality of this team before it even gets into its SEC schedule.

Young: After a shocking loss to Appalachian State, Texas A&M needs this win as badly as Miami does. For the Aggies, this game represents the last chance for them to convince us they’re still a factor in the race for the CFP. Alabama’s close win against Texas helps them here, too, but a loss to the Hurricanes could be the end of what began as a promising season for Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies. 

Keys to Miami vs. Texas A&M

RJ Young and Geoff Schwartz break down the matchup between the Miami Hurricanes and the Texas A&M Aggies, as well as the matchup between the BYU Cougars and the Oregon Ducks.

And finally, what catches your eye in Fresno State at USC (10:30 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports App)

Young: I circled this game on the calendar after Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams made clear they’re going to get the band back together at USC — not unlike Jeff Tedford and Jake Haener at Fresno State. 

Haener was looking to transfer again until Tedford told him he was returning to lead the program after DeBoer became head coach at UW. Now that’s a quarterback and offensive-minded head coach tandem at two programs who expect to compete for their respective conference titles, and this game could end as a high-scoring affair. 

Litman: I think we’re all just generally intrigued by everything Riley and Williams are doing at USC. Last week Williams completed 20 of 27 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Stanford. We don’t really know how good Stanford’s defense is yet, but Willliams moved the ball with ease, racking up more than 500 yards of total offense and averaging eight yards per play. 

With the way things are going for Riley’s high-powered offense, the No. 7 Trojans might not face any true roadblocks until they play Utah on the road on Oct. 15.

Can USC be College Football Playoff bound?

Joel Klatt talks about the USC Trojans and their chances of making the College Football Playoff later this season.

Read more:

- How Oklahoma's Dillon Gabriel and other transfer QBs are fitting in this season

- Joel Klatt's top 10 rankings

- CFB Week 3 by the numbers

- Key matchups NFL scouts are watching in Week 3

- Panic time at Texas, Notre Dame, Alabama and more?

- How to bet Oklahoma-Nebraska

- Can new Huskers coach make an impact?

- At the top of college football, a familiar scene

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously covered college football, college basketball, the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team and the Olympics at Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. Her first book, written in partnership with Rizzoli and Sports Illustrated and titled "Strong Like a Woman," was published in spring 2022 marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube.


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