Saturday, October 8
TCU Horned Frogs 3-2 (1-1 Big 12) at Kansas Jayhawks 1-3 (0-1 Big 12) @ 11 a.m. (CT) on ESPNU
No longer an injury fill-in as he was last season, or #2 in a QB competition as he was for the first four games this season, Ryan Willis’ time as Jayhawks starting QB starts for real this weekend. Will it make the difference against the only team in the Big 12 that Kansas seems consistently, and inexplicably, able to scare?
Maryland Terrapins 4-0 (1-0 Big 10) at Penn State Nittany Lions 3-2 (1-1 Big 10) @ 11 a.m. (CT) on Big Ten Network
Bonus points to anyone who actually knew that Maryland was one of only 15 teams still undefeated in the FBS. Double bonus points if you knew what the hell a “Nittany Lion” is. Apparently, it refers to mountain lions, now hunted out, that once lived on or around Nittany Mountain near State College, PA. Thanks Wikipedia! Props to Penn State on that one. The sports world is too full of generic mascots so attaching a regional significance – like, say, the Jayhawks – to your team is all the better.
Texas Longhorns 2-2 (0-1 Big 12) vs #20 Oklahoma Sooners 2-2 (1-0 Big 12) @ 11 a.m. (CT) in the Cotton Bowl on FS1
The 111th Red River Showdown. Forget beating an overrated Notre Dame to open 2016, the Longhorns victory over the Sooners in last year’s meeting in this long standing rivalry is beleaguered Texas coach Charlie Strong’s signature win. Man, could he use a repeat performance in the old Cotton Bowl this season. It was after losing to Texas that the Sooners took off and ran all the way to the College Football Playoffs. In large part it was because the Sooners offense found balance in actually using star running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Lincoln Riley was ignoring the two again in the first four weeks of OU’s 2016 season. That wasn’t the case last weekend against TCU when he fed the two and the Sooners beat TCU on the road as a result.
LSU Tigers 3-2 (2-1 SEC) at #18 Florida Gators 4-1 (2-1 SEC) @ 11 a.m. (CT) on ESPN
One-time interim USC Trojans coach, Ed Orgeron, kicked off his interim stint at LSU by beating the piss out of Mizzou. Much like when he was passed over for the USC job despite finishing the season with an impressive 6-2 record and a bowl win, there is, most likely, little to nothing Orgeron can do to keep the head coaching job in Baton Rouge as LSU boosters will be clamoring for a big time name. But Orgeron is quality enough to make things interesting down the stretch in the vaunted SEC West division.
Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish 2-3 at North Carolina State Wolfpack 3-1 (1-0 ACC) @ 11 a.m. (CT) on ABC
The Irish have amounted to one of the season’s biggest disappointments. Crazy to think that with Clemson and Louisville coming up in successive weeks for the Wolfpack, what had been a jewel of NC State’s non con schedule now looks like an over glorified tune up.
#25 Virginia Tech Hokies 3-1 (1-0 ACC) at #17 North Carolina Tar Heels 4-1 (2-0 ACC) @ 2:30 p.m. (CT) on Watch ESPN
The Tar Heels are coming off the biggest win of the Larry Fedora era. Like last year, following a loss in their opener, Fedora has the Heels rolling. Without Clemson and Louisville on their conference schedule, if UNC can get by the Hokies this weekend and the Miami Hurricanes next, they will be in prime position to make it to a second straight ACC title game.
#9 Tennessee Volunteers 5-0 (2-0 SEC) at #8 Texas A&M Aggies 5-0 (3-0 SEC) 2:30 p.m. (CT) on CBS
After last week gave us three Top 10 match-ups, this game is the only one on this week’s slate. But it should be a good one. The Volunteers have had to come from behind in all five of their wins this season. Their luck may finally run out against a solid A&M squad playing at home. Still, the Vols are a lot of fun to watch, and not a team it’s safe to bet against. The end of their win over Georgia was absolutely insane.
#21 Colorado Buffaloes 4-1 (2-0 Pac 12) at USC Trojans 2-3 (1-2 Pac 12) @ 3 p.m. (CT) on Pac 12 Network
Meanwhile, out west, Mike MacIntyre has quietly resurrected the Buffaloes program. Colorado hasn’t won more than four games since 2010. Aside from already matching that total, the Buffaloes enter this week ranked for the first time since November of 2005.
#5 Washington Huskies 5-0 (2-0) at Oregon Ducks 2-3 (0-2 Pac 12) @ 6:30 p.m. (CT) on FOX
Since the Pac 12 expanded in 2011, the North Division title has come through Stanford and Oregon. Well, the Huskies have already rolled through the first part of that equation. This week they get a chance at the Ducks in Autzen Stadium. Oregon is suffering through its first three game losing streak since 2007. They haven’t lost four straight games in the regular season since 1996.
#23 Florida State Seminoles 3-2 (0-2 ACC) at #10 Miami Hurricanes 4-0 (1-0 ACC) @ 7 p.m. (CT) on ABC
This was the game of late 1980s and early 90s, revived again in the early 2000s. So many thrilling contests. So many missed ‘Noles field goals. Mark Richt has his alma mater of Miami dreaming of a return to national prominence. Jimbo Fisher has folks in Tallahassee wondering what the hell is wrong with the ‘Noles defense. Going back to their bowl loss to Houston on New Years Eve last year, the ‘Noles have allowed 30+ points in five of their last six games.