10. East Carolina @ UTEP (Saturday 9:05 PM EST, MASN Regional)
The two leaders in Conference USA get together for what could be a wild affair. While the Pirates have struggled offensively (106th nationally), they have been tested on the road. And UTEP has given up 45 and 47 points in their last two games, both wins.
9. Bowling Green @ Miami-Ohio (Saturday 3 PM EST, ESPN GamePlan)
Two of the leaders in the MAC East meet in Oxford. Miami has one of the nation’s worst scoring offenses (16 points per game), and they will have their hands full with a very good Bowling Green passing attack.
8. #22 Auburn @ Arkansas (Saturday 7:45 PM EST, ESPN)
Both teams look to keep slim hopes alive in the SEC West, and the nation can once again check out one of the best running back duos in the country, Arkansas’ Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Brandon Cox has played better of late at quarterback and will have to continue to do so if the Tigers are to win on the road.
7. Texas A&M @ Texas Tech (Saturday 3:30 PM EST, ABC)
Two bitter rivals in the Big 12 South get together for a game that could be considered a “must-win” for both if they want to entertain any thoughts of winning the division. Also, Dennis Franchione is getting some heat in College Station, and they’d rather he not come back home with a loss. The Aggies will have to keep Graham Harrell and the Tech offense off the field if they want to have any chance at winning.
6. #19 Wisconsin @ Penn State (Saturday 3:30 PM EST, ABC)
While the Badgers are trying to get healthy (P.J. Hill should be fine this week; Luke Swan is done for the year), Penn State has been dealing with a myriad of off-field problems recently. Running back Austin Scott is once again unavailable due to suspension, meaning that Rodney Kinlaw will see the bulk of the carries. Who wins this one could be up to which Anthony Morelli shows up at quarterback for Penn State.
5. Connecticut @ Virginia (Saturday 3:30 PM EST, ESPNU)
UConn comes into this one 5-0, but they haven’t played anyone of note thus far. Virginia, despite being 5-1, has struggled with inconsistency at the quarterback position but they do have the versatile Cedric Peerman at running back. The Huskies have three good options of their own in Donald Brown, Andre Dixon and Lou Allen, as well as the nation’s fourth best defense. This one will answer the following questions: is Connecticut for real; and does Virginia have to quarterback play necessary to stay on top of the ACC Coastal?
4. #16 Hawaii @ San Jose State (Friday 8 PM EST, ESPN2)
QB Colt Brennan and the Warriors will be on a national stage for the first time this season, but corners Dwight Lowery and Christopher Owens and safety Jonathan Harris are no pushovers. Both teams are atop the WAC in the loss column, so any looking ahead to the BCS or Heisman could be dangerous for Hawaii.
3. #4 Boston College @ Notre Dame (Saturday 3:30 PM EST, NBC)
QB Matt Ryan and the Eagles also have a national platform this weekend, taking on rival Notre Dame in a nationally televised game. Despite their highest ranking since the Flutie Era, the Eagles find themselves behind the Red Sox and Patriots in the Boston sports pecking order. A big effort this weekend could change that…if only for a couple of hours.
2. #1 LSU @ #17 Kentucky (Saturday 3:30 PM EST, CBS)
Could LSU suffer a letdown following last week’s emotional win over Florida? Can Kentucky’s Andre Woodson add to his Heisman portfolio? Even with Midnight Madness this weekend, football has to be the talk of the town this weekend in Lexington with the nation’s best team in town…and the home-standing Wildcats have a chance to pull off the upset. Their last meeting in Lexington: a 33-30 LSU win on a Hail Mary as time expired.
1. #11 Missouri @ #6 Oklahoma (Saturday 6:30 PM EST, FSN)
A week after throttling Nebraska at home, the Tigers hit the road to take on the Sooners in a game with major implications on both the Big 12 and national title races. Can the OU defense slow down Chase Daniel? Can Missouri slow down Sam Bradford? How these questions are answered will determine this one. One note: under Gary Pinkel, the Tigers are 2-15 against ranked opponents.
ACC: Georgia Tech @ Miami (Noon EST, ESPN)
Big 12: Oklahoma State @ Nebraska (12:30 PM EST)
Big East: Louisville @ #15 Cincinnati (7 PM EST, ESPNU)
Big Ten: Purdue @ Michigan (Noon EST, Big Ten Network)
C-USA: Central Florida @ #5 South Florida (Noon EST, ESPNU)
MAC: Army @ Central Michigan (3:37 PM EST)
Mountain West: BYU @ UNLV (9:30 PM EST)
Pac-10: Arizona @ #10 USC (3:30 PM EST, ABC)
SEC: #7 South Carolina @ North Carolina (3:30 PM EST, ABC)
Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette @ Arkansas State (7 PM EST)
WAC: Nevada @ Boise State (Sunday 8 PM EST, ESPN)