No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia
3:30 p.m., CBS
How good has Alabama been over the last few seasons? The Crimson Tide (3-1) come into this game as a 1½-point underdog on the road, which breaks a streak of 72 consecutive games in which Alabama has been the favorite. That streak dates to the 2009 Southeastern Conference championship game.
It is difficult to say which team faces more pressure. Georgia (4-0) has not won a conference title since 2005, and it has been 35 years since its last national championship. This would be a statement victory in front of a home crowd that is hungry for one. The Bulldogs’ schedule does not offer another opponent of this magnitude. This is their chance.
Alabama’s margin for error is gone after its loss against Mississippi. The Tide have proved in the past that they can bounce back from a loss and run the table, but they cannot afford a second loss this week. The last time Alabama started 0-2 in conference play was 1990. Question marks in the passing game suddenly have the Tide looking vulnerable, and unless quarterback Jake Coker can improve, it could be a long season.
This game will feature two of the better backs in the conference. Georgia’s Nick Chubb is the driving force behind his team’s offense, and last week he tied Herschel Walker’s team record with his 12th straight game with more than 100 yards. Alabama’s Derrick Henry, meanwhile, has eight touchdowns.
8 p.m., ABC
Despite their lofty rankings, both teams have a lot of questions to answer. Notre Dame was almost upset by Virginia, and its signature victory over Georgia Tech lost some of its luster after the Yellow Jackets fell to Duke. Clemson is 3-0. Its best victory was a narrow one over Louisville, which fell to 0-3 with the loss. These two teams feel evenly matched. Weather could play a factor, adding another wrinkle.
Notre Dame has struggled with injuries, but players have stepped up. None more than quarterback DeShone Kizer, who has looked good filling in as starter. Receiver Will Fuller has been spectacular at times and running back C.J. Prosise has also moved into a starting role and been one of the biggest surprises in college football.
Clemson has struggled on the big stage of late, but quarterback Deshaun Watson is a talent. A good performance in prime time might put him back into the Heisman Trophy discussion. The Clemson defense has looked good; keep an eye on defensive end Shaq Lawson.
The last time these two teams met was in 1977 when Notre Dame quarterback Joe Montana led the Irish to a thrilling come-from-behind victory on the way to a national title.
No. 3 Mississippi at No. 25 Florida
7 p.m., ESPN
Mississippi is looking to stay on top, while Florida is trying to prove it can contend in the SEC. After a huge victory on the road over then-No. 2 Alabama, Mississippi vaulted into the top five. It had a letdown last week against Vanderbilt, but remains the highest ranked team in the SEC. Florida came back from 13 points down in the final five minutes to beat Tennessee last week and found itself in the top 25 for the first time in nearly two years.
The matchup of Rebels receiver Laquon Treadwell and Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is a must watch. Hargreaves has been banged up this season, but still has two interceptions. Mississippi defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is a beast on defense and has two rushing touchdowns and a 31-yard receiving touchdown. Mississippi is the favorite, but this is the first top-25 matchup in Gainesville since 2012.
No. 23 West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma
After rolling through three overmatched opponents by a combined score of 130-23, West Virginia cracked the top 25. Now the schedule will decide whether they stay there. The Mountaineers lead the nation in points allowed (7.7) and turnover margin (+3), but have yet to face an offense as balanced as the Sooners’. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had a spectacular second half in a come-from-behind victory over Tennessee and is on the cusp of entering the Heisman race. Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine started slowly, but rushed for 152 yards last week and for 242 yards against the Mountaineers last season. For West Virginia, a win on the road signifies it is for real; its coming schedule will keep it in the spotlight. A victory of Oklahoma keeps it on track for a conference title before the challenging part of its schedule comes in November.
Texas Tech at No. 5 Baylor
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Like touchdowns? Hate defense? This is the game for you. The over-under is 87.5, which is thought to be among the highest ever for a college football game. Don’t be scared to take the over. The last four times these two have played, they combined for over 90. Baylor is averaging 64 points a game (most in college football). Quarterback Seth Russell leads the nation in touchdown passes (15) and receiver Corey Coleman leads the nation in touchdown catches (8). Texas Tech is not far behind. The Red Raiders average 53.8 points per game and quarterback Patrick Mahomes is keeping pace with the other Big 12 gunslingers. Both teams can run the ball as well. Last week, Texas Tech almost pulled off the upset against T.C.U. This week, it is a big underdog again.
No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 14 Texas A&M
7:30 p.m., SECN
Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen is off to a great start and receiver Christian Kirk leads the conference in receiving yards. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott ought to expect pressure as the Aggies are among the best teams in the nation at getting after the quarterback.
Texas at No. 4 T.C.U.
Texas is trying to get back on track, but its special teams have not helped. The Longhorns missed a game-tying extra point late in a loss to Cal, and a muffed punt set up Oklahoma State for a game-winning field goal last week. T.C.U.’s defense is beyond banged up. It will need a little luck to survive a high-scoring affair.
No. 1 Ohio State at Indiana
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Indiana is 4-0 for the first time in 25 years, and running back Jordan Howard leads the Big Ten with an average of 168.75 yards per game. Ohio State looked vulnerable against Northern Illinois and quarterback Cardale Jones has been inconsistent, but the Buckeyes are still three-touchdown favorites on the road.
Minnesota at No. 16 Northwestern
Northwestern’s defense has led the Wildcats to big wins over Stanford and Duke and has them climbing the top 25. The Wildcats are 4-0, but have a history of starting fast and fading. Minnesota has a very good defense as well. It lost to T.C.U., but held the Horned Frogs to 23 points, their lowest total of the season.
Iowa at No. 19 Wisconsin
Iowa has quietly started 4-0. Wisconsin seems to have its running game going after a season-opening loss to Alabama. The Heartland Trophy is on the line in this classic Big Ten rivalry.