No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Florida State
Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
Despite both the Fighting Irish and Seminoles’ storied football history, this is only the 10th ever meeting between the two teams. History, both distant and recent, heavily favors Florida State, with the Seminoles holding a 7-2 all-time lead in the series and coming into the game on a 22-game streak. But Notre Dame has been one of the quietest undefeated teams in some time. Senior quarterback Everett Golson has come back from his academic suspension on a mission, amassing 1,683 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions this year, and the Fighting Irish are eighth in scoring defense, giving up just 17.2 points per game. Meanwhile, defendng champion Florida State has been struggling, barely surviving upset bids from Clemson and North Carolina State. Sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has not had a great year, throwing just 11 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Still, both teams are undefeated, and this game could determine who gets a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
No. 14 Kansas State at No. 11 Oklahoma
Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.
While the SEC West seems to dominate the headlines, the Big 12 has produced back-to-back weeks chock-full of solid matchups, and this one continues that trend. As always under Bill Snyder, the Wildcats have quietly put together a solid team that should contend for the Big 12 title or, at the very least, make a lot of noise. Kansas State nearly pulled off a big Thursday night upset over Auburn a few weeks ago and are led by senior quarterback Jake Waters, who’s thrown for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns and has run for six more scores, and senior receiver Tyler Lockett, who has three receiving touchdowns. On the other side, the Sooners hope to continue their bounce-back efforts after losing to TCU a couple weeks ago. Oklahoma will need a much better effort from sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight, who’s thrown for just 438 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the past two games. This will be the best early game Saturday, with the winner being in a great position to take the Big 12 crown if Baylor ever goes down.
No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 12 TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, Texas
Saturday, 3:00 p.m.
Fox Sports 1
The Big 12 slate continues with Oklahoma State and TCU squaring off in a similar situation to the Kansas State-Oklahoma matchup. OSU has rebounded well, winning five straight game, after losing the season opener to Florida State, but this will be the Cowboys’ biggest test since that loss. Junior quarterback Daxx Garman has played well since J.W. Walsh went down with an injury, but the Cowboys have struggled, beating Kansas by just seven points last week. TCU, on the other hand, looks to rebound after blowing a 21-point lead against Baylor last week. The Horned Frogs, led by a defense that was allowing just 13.5 points per game before the Baylor game, have been the surprise team in the conference as junior quarterback Trevone Boykin has shown the potential to be another one of the talented quarterbacks in the Big 12. The winner of this game, as in the Kansas State-Oklahoma matchup, will be in a great position to capture the Big 12 title if Baylor slips up.
No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 7 Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
No, this game is unlikely to impact who will win the SEC West considering both teams have lost to Ole Miss. But it could determine how the rest of the season will go for both teams. Texas A&M is coming off of back-to-back losses to Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and the vaunted defense that held South Carolina to only 28 points in the opener has been exposed, conceding 48 and 35 points in each of the past two games. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill has struggled in the past two weeks, throwing five interceptions. Alabama has also struggled the past two weeks, losing to Ole Miss for the first time since 2003 and barely holding off Arkansas by a point. The main struggles for the Crimson Tide have come from senior quarterback Blake Sims, who has completed only 58 percent of his passes in the past two games and has thrown only two touchdown passes. No, this game may not have any College Football Playoff or SEC West implications. but the loser of this one will have a long way to go to stay afloat in such a difficult division.