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NCAA Fast Forward: Week 3 saved by Alabama-Texas A&M

Ben Fisher, TSN.ca

9/12/2013 8:56:40 PM

The early-season schedule is almost always thin with impact matchups before conference play but fans have lucked out with at least one marquee game per week so far this year. Clemson topped Georgia to open the season before the Bulldogs evened their record against South Carolina - and Michigan downed Notre Dame - in Week 2. Week 3's headliner trumps all of that; the pre-season pick for Game of the Year.

No. 1 Alabama plays host to Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and No. 7 Texas A&M.

The game is of course a rematch of last year's mid-October affair in which A&M upset the Crimson Tide, ranked first in the nation at the time. Alabama of course went on to reclaim the top spot before the year was out and win the BCS Championship, but they'll still be looking to avenge their only loss come Saturday.

The key matchup will be between two Heisman candidates in Manziel and AJ McCarron who have similar stats through the first two weeks of the season. If either has a big game they'll likely vault to the top of the Heisman Watch list ahead of Week 4. It's not fair to say A&M surprised anybody last year, but Bama will be extra ready for them this time around and should take the win and retain their top spot in the rankings.

As mentioned earlier, the week's schedule is rather thin but there is one more intriguing matchup as No. 18 UCLA takes on No. 22 Nebraska. The Bruins returned to prominence under former NFL head coach Jim Mora last year and their early season win over Nebraska was what first put them back on the map. Another win would cement the team's status as a top 20 contender. Nebraska won big last week against Southern Miss but looked a little soft in their season opener against Wyoming. Under Bo Pelini, the Huskers have struggled to play big in big games, so expect UCLA to continue their ascent with a win here.

Action on TSN2 - No. 9 Louisville at Kentucky and Tennessee at No. 2 Oregon

It's a double header on TSN2 starting at noon et. First, get a look at the early frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and potential first overall draft pick Teddy Bridgewater and his No. 9 Louisville Cardinals take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Then check out the post Chip Kelly Oregon Ducks - they've looked just as explosive on offence, take on the Tennessee Volunteers, fresh off a big win over Bobby Petrino - remember him? - and the Western Kentucky Hilltopers.