College Football Week 3 Rankings & Projections: Maryland Surges Into Top 20 (2019)

Maryland crushed Syracuse and is rising in our ratings (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

In this post we highlight our biggest College Football rankings and season predictions changes heading into Week 3 of the college football season.

Last week featured only two games between ranked teams (Clemson-Texas A&M and Texas-LSU). It did, though, have its share of upsets and blowouts.

The highlights are below, but remember to check out the latest updates to our full college football projected standings and win totals and college football power ratings.

College Football Week 3 Ratings Updates

10 Biggest Ratings Increases for Week 3

SchoolConferenceRatingRating ChangeTotal WinsWins ChangeResult
OregonPac-1223. vs. Nevada 77-6
MarylandBig Ten16. vs. Syracuse 63-20
Kansas StBig vs. Bowling Green 52-0
Arkansas StSun Belt0. vs. UNLV 43-17
San Diego StMountain West- at UCLA 23-14
BaylorBig vs. UTSA 63-14
LA MonroeSun Belt- at Florida State 45-44
Central FLAAC18. at Florida Atlantic 48-14
S CarolinaSEC10. vs. Charleston Southern 72-10
Utah StateMountain West3. vs. Stony Brook 62-7

Oregon bounced back from its tough opening loss to Auburn by destroying Nevada, who were coming off a last-second upset of Purdue a week earlier. That move launched Oregon to the top of this week’s ratings increases.

Maryland is surging early under new head coach Michael Locksley. The Terrapins have scored 142 points in the first two games of the season, and annihilated formerly-ranked Syracuse by 43 points in Week 2. That blowout win has Maryland now at No. 16 in our college football rankings, just ahead of another Big Ten East school, Michigan.

10 Biggest Ratings Decreases for Week 3

SchoolConferenceRatingRating ChangeTotal WinsWins ChangeResult
UNLVMountain West-14-4.33.9-1.1L at Arkansas State 43-17
TX-San AntCUSA-21.8-4.33.5-0.9L at Baylor 63-14
MichiganBig Ten16.4-4.77.5-1.3W vs. Army 24-21 (OT)
Arizona StPac-12-1.1-4.95.2-1.2W vs. Sacramento State 19-7
UCLAPac-12-0.3-5.83.7-1.9L vs. San Diego State 23-14
U MassIndependent I-A-32.4-5.81.4-1.5L vs. Southern Illinois 45-20
CincinnatiAAC2.5-5.96.9-1.4L at Ohio State 42-0
Bowling GrnMAC-20.9-6.64.0-1.2L at Kansas State 52-0
SyracuseACC1.3-7.46.1-1.7L at Maryland 63-20
NevadaMountain West-13.1-8.65.5-1.8L at Oregon 77-6

The aforementioned Michigan Wolverines are among the biggest decliners entering Week 3, after needing overtime to beat Army at home. Meanwhile, UCLA dropped to 0-2 in Chip Kelly’s second season, losing at home to San Diego State.

UMass was already ranked No. 130 in our 2019 college football ratings (as in, dead last) entering Week 2. They will go to Week 3 rated nearly six points below the No. 129 team, UTEP, after losing by 25 points to FCS team Southern Illinois.

CFB Week 3 Projections Updates

Top Three Conference Championship Odds for Each Conference

ConferenceFavorite% Chance2nd Favorite% Chance3rd Favorite% Chance
ACCClemson81%Miami-FL5%Virginia 4%
BIG 12Oklahoma50%Texas21%Baylor10%
BIG TENWisconsin 40%Ohio State28%Penn State9%
PAC 12Oregon51%Utah18%USC16%
MWCBoise State36%Fresno State20%Utah State15%
CONF USAMarshall30%Southern Miss21%Florida Atlantic16%
MACOhio18%Toledo17%Western Michigan16%
SUN BELTAppalachian State32%Arkansas State28%Troy14%

The biggest shift since the preseason among the Power Five Conferences has come in the Big Ten, where Wisconsin is now the favorite. Michigan’s unimpressive start has taken them from being the preseason conference winner favorite in our 2019 college football preseason predictions to not even in the top three in the conference.

Oregon, meanwhile, may have lost in a big non-conference matchup to Auburn two weeks ago, but they are now the favorite to win the Pac-12. The combination of their big win in Week 2 plus other teams in the conference faltering (particularly Washington) boosted their conference champion odds dramatically.

Biggest Increases in Bowl Eligibility Odds

TeamConferenceBowl Eligibility OddsBowl Eligibility Change
San Diego StMountain West91%31%
Kansas StBig 1282%27%
MarylandBig Ten95%25%
N CarolinaACC88%24%
S CarolinaSEC54%22%
Arkansas StSun Belt93%20%
LA MonroeSun Belt58%19%

California’s bowl eligibility odds took a big leap with an upset win at Washington. The Golden Bears are now projected to win 5.9 games in our college football standings projections, with a tough schedule still ahead (Oregon, Washington State, Utah, and USC).

Colorado (win over No. 25 Nebraska), South Carolina (72-10 win over Charleston Southern), and Louisiana-Monroe (close 45-44 loss at Florida State) also saw their bowl eligibility odds rise above 50% with last week’s results.

Biggest Decreases in Bowl Eligibility Odds

TeamConferenceBowl Eligibility OddsBowl Eligibility Change
NevadaMountain West50%-33%
Florida IntlCUSA43%-26%
Arizona StPac-1241%-26%
Bowling GrnMAC17%-24%
UNLVMountain West17%-22%

UCLA and Tennessee have both started 0-2 and their 2019 bowl chances have taken a nosedive as a result. On the other hand, Arizona State is 2-0, but the Sun Devils’ bowl odds also dropped thanks to a less-than-impressive 19-7 win over FCS Sacramento State.

Stanford and Syracuse also suffered blowout losses that lowered their season outlook.

Odds of Going 11-1 or Better in Regular Season

TeamConference11-1 or Better
Central FLAAC65%
WisconsinBig Ten53%
OklahomaBig 1253%
Boise StateMountain West46%
Ohio StateBig Ten42%
Notre DameIndependent I-A28%

While factors like schedule strength and particular matchups will certainly play a role, one of the best indicators of being in the running for the College Football Playoff is being a Power Five Conference team that goes 11-1 or better.

(No team that has been 10-2 or worse before conference championship games has finished in the Top 4 in the CFP rankings.)

Heading into Week 3, Clemson and Alabama, unsurprisingly, top the list of the most likely contenders to get to 11 wins, while Central Florida has the best chance of the teams outside the Power Five.

Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Georgia each have around a 50% chance of getting to 11 wins before a conference title game. After Notre Dame, no other Power Five team has above a 20% chance of getting to 11 wins.

Playing in a college football pick’em contest or betting the games? Check out our Football Pick’em Picks and College Football Betting Picks.