10. (4) Florida State @ South Florida, 6:00 PM ET on ESPN; Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman.
This is – by far – the best Seminoles team in a long time. Their defense is 2nd in completion percentage allowed (45.7). They rolled up 697 yards last week at home vs. Clemson, and QB E.J. Manuel had 27/35, 380 yards and 2 TDs passing along with 12 carries for 102 yards.
9. (14) Ohio State @ (20) Michigan State, 3:30 PM ET on ABC/ESPN; Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit.
Notre Dame’s made things tough for the Big 10 this year, ruining undefeated dreams for Sparty, and giving Michigan its second loss. If Michigan State wins, they have a shot at the BCS title game. If they lose, it could crack the door open even further for Purdue and Northwestern. I’d rank this game higher – given that there are 2 Heisman candidates in Buckeyes QB Braxton Miller and Michigan State RB La’Veon Bell – but Ohio State has a postseason ban.
8. Ole Miss @ 1 Alabama, 9:15 PM ET on ESPN; Joe Tessitore and Matt Millen.
Alabama beat them 52-7 last season, but a new head coach – Hugh Freeze – and a no-huddle offense has Mississippi hoping they can do better this time. The Rebels are 28th in Division 1 in scoring at 36.8 PPG, while Alabama is #2 in scoring defense with 5.3 PPG allowed. The game may not air immediately on ESPN as the FSU game should carry over.
7. 19 Louisville @ Southern Mississippi, 8:00 PM ET on CBS Sports Network; James Bates and Aaron Taylor.
Louisville is possibly the #1 dark horse BCS team to watch, and this should be a more competitive game than #8. Southern Miss is 0-3 and ranked 111th or worse in passing offense, total offense, scoring offense, rushing defense, pass-efficiency defense, scoring defense, passing efficiency and sacks allowed. That said, they seem to have finally found a QB in Ricky Lloyd, and this team won CUSA last year.
6. (2) Oregon @ Washington State, 10:30 PM ET on ESPN2; Mark Jones and Brock Huard.
This is a measuring stick for Washington State, and I’m guessing they’re about 42 points behind where Oregon’s at right now. Folks, it’s the 4th-ranked offense (52.8 PPG) vs. the 82nd-ranked defense (28.0 PPG allowed) in the country. Guilty pleasure of the week! Thankfully for Wazzou fans, most of the country will be asleep when this happens.
5. Tennessee @ (5) Georgia, 3:30 PM ET on CBS; Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson.
The Volunteers haven’t finished the season in the top 25 since 2007, while Georgia has BCS Championship dreams. After this road test, Tennessee must travel to #21 Mississippi State, come home for #1 Alabama, then head to #6 South Carolina. Georgia RB Todd Gurley is tops in the nation with a 9.2 yards-per-carry.
4. Virginia Tech @ Cincinnati, 3:30 PM ET on ESPNU; Anish Shroff and Gary Barnett.
Cincinnati is 2-0 and coming off of a bye, Virginia Tech is unranked but has finished in the final AP Top 25 Poll 8 straight seasons and 13 of the past 14. Va Tech is allowing 14.8 PPG, Cincinnati 8.5.
3. Houston @ Rice, 3:30 PM ET on most FSN networks; Joel Meyers and Brian Baldinger.
You want scoring? You will probably get scoring. This is a match-up between two of the six worst scoring defenses in Division I, as Houston allows 41.0 PPG and Rice 45.8, no easy task since the only ranked team either team has played has been UCLA, who played Rice before being ranked and Houston afterwards. Rice has scored 37 and 51 in back-to-back weeks, both losses.
2. (25) Baylor @ (9) West Virginia, 12:00 PM ET on FX; Justin Kutcher and Eric Crouch.
Baylor’s offense under Nick Florence is not the same as it was under RGIII, yet it remains formidable (5th in Division I with 51.3 PPG) and West Virginia has a powerful balance of offense and defense (10th in offense with 47.3 PPG; 22.3 PPG) Baylor WR Terrence Williams is 6th in the country with 117.7 YPG. Heisman candidate – and possible #1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft – WVU QB Geno Smith has 12 TD passes, has run for another, and has tossed 0 interceptions.
1. (12) Texas @ (6) Oklahoma State, 7:30 PM ET on Fox; Gus Johnson, Charles Davis.
Two highly-ranked teams in a Big 12 rivalry with Gus Johnson and Charles Davis on the call.
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