Week 3 of the 2023 college football season might not feature the big traditional matchups between heavyweight teams that fans are accustomed to seeing headlining the Saturday schedule — in fact, it’s the earliest week in a season without a top 25 clash since 2019 — but there are a number of showdowns on the slate that should pique fan interest. Among them is the much-publicized prime time matchup with Deion Sanders and No. 18 Colorado hosting rival Colorado State at Folsom Stadium.
More than three-touchdown favorites, the Buffaloes appear poised to improve to 3-0 in Coach Prime’s first season despite a completely revamped roster. Getting to 5-0 will be a bit more difficult with No. 13 Oregon and No. 5 USC on the docket the following two weeks.
Elsewhere, the top four teams in the SEC East — at least historically — will battle as division opponents for the final time this season. No. 1 Georgia hosts South Carolina in the first SEC on CBS Game of the Week of 2023, while Florida hosts No. 11 Tennessee with the Gators looking to win their 10th straight meeting in The Swamp against the Volunteers.
Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games in Week 3.
Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern
No. 11 Tennessee at Florida
7 p.m. | ESPN, fubo (Try for free) — These teams combined for 71 points last season as the Volunteers squeaked out a 38-33 victory in a game that featured nearly 1,200 yards of offense. But both teams have since downgraded at quarterback and have questions to answer offensively. Tennessee’s critical downfield passing game is a work in progress, and Florida must prove that it can run the football better than it did during a Week 1 loss at Utah. With neither unit close to peak offensive capacity, the punters should stay busier this year. Pick: Under 59 — David Cobb
Colorado State at No. 18 Colorado
10 p.m. | ESPN, fubo (Try for free) — Colorado has hit the ground running under Deion Sanders. The Buffaloes have had a more impressive start than almost any team in the entire nation, opening with a ranked win against TCU before dismantling Nebraska. More importantly, for a picks segment at least, Colorado is 2-0 against the spread and the Buffaloes should cover again Saturday. Colorado State’s secondary got picked apart in its season opener, giving me good reason to believe that Shedeur Sanders and his potent cadre of offensive weapons should have no problem getting whatever they want offensively. Pick: Colorado -23.5 — Will Backus
No. 7 Penn State at Illinois
Noon | Fox, fubo (Try for free) — While Illinois has struggled defensively to begin the season, I anticipate it’ll look better this weekend. As talented as Drew Allar may be, he’s not the dual-threat type that has posed the Illini so many problems. Illinois was hesitant to bring pressure in the first two games for fear of Toledo’s Dequan Finn or Kansas’ Jalon Daniels breaking free for long runs. On the other side, while the Illinois offense has looked good, Penn State will be the toughest defense it’s faced by far. I don’t think it’ll be as ugly as the nine-overtime game of 2021, but I don’t think it’ll feature many more points, either. Pick: Under 48.5 — Tom Fornelli
No. 14 LSU at Mississippi State
Noon | ESPN, fubo (Try for free) — The Tigers will show the college football world that the hype bestowed on them prior to the season was warranted. Jayden Daniels will pick apart the Bulldogs secondary, and the Tigers defense will bring enough pressure to force multiple mistakes from Will Rogers. Plus, the morning local time start will temper the enthusiasm inside Davis Wade Stadium. Pick: LSU -10 — Barrett Sallee
South Carolina at No. 1 Georgia
3:30 p.m. | CBS, Paramount+ with Showtime, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App — It’s going to be difficult for South Carolina to maintain its offensive production against Georgia, especially given the apparent advantage in the trenches when it’s time to put the Gamecocks to the test against the Bulldogs’ front. I think Georgia’s strange sack drought — just one sack all season — ends on Saturday, and the defense shines in a Bulldogs win. Pick: Under 55 — Chip Patterson
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 3, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.