Ole Miss (2-1) vs #1 Alabama (4-0), 9pm ET Saturday on ESPN
After beating up on a couple of nobodies (no offense, South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin), Ole Miss fell 27-16 to the Cal Bears two weeks ago by surrendering 20 unanswered second-half points. QB Shea Peterson did more harm than good as he threw a pick-six and another interception that led to a Cal touchdown. The Alabama Crimson Tide must be licking their chops. Last week, ‘Bama threw a shutout, beating Vanderbilt 59-0 as they ran for 496 yards and held the Commodores to just 78 total yards. 78. This is a team that is determined to get back to the National Championship game and right some wrongs.
#2 Clemson (4-0) vs #12 Virginia Tech (4-0), 8pm ET Saturday on ABC/ESPN3
The reigning national champs, the Clemson Tigers, had more trouble than expected last week as they headed into the fourth quarter tied with Boston College 7-7. But Clemson kicked its running game into gear, scoring four TDs on the ground in the final quarter to win 34-7. QB Kelly Bryant scored twice, but had a rough day in the air, hitting 17 of 26 for just 140 yards and two interceptions. He’ll need to step up his game against the Virginia Tech secondary, which is allowing opponents to complete just 45.7% of their passes, and score just 10.3 points per game, putting them in the top six in each category. And, they’re not too bad on the other side of the ball, where Josh Jackson has 11 touchdowns to just one interception in leading the Hokies to 40 points per game.
#5 USC (4-0) vs #16 Washington State (4-0), 10:3-pm ET Friday on ESPN
The USC Trojans once again let an inferior opponent hang around until the fourth quarter, as they were tied at 13 after three quarters against Cal last week before 17 unanswered points put the game out of reach. Sam Dardold threw another pick, bringing him to seven in just 146 attempts, after throwing nine all of last season in 366 attempts. It’s gonna catch up with him eventually if he doesn’t get it together. Luke Falk and the Washington State Cougars have been fattening up on weak opposition thus far, with Falk posting a gaudy 76.9 completion percentage with 14 touchdowns and just one interception. USC will be there first big test of the season – one of these teams could get exposed this weekend.
#6 Washington (4-0) vs Oregon State (1-3), 8pm ET Saturday on PAC12
One of the big story lines toward the end of last season was whether or not Washington and QB Jake Browning were for real. After getting knocked out by Alabama, it was clear there was work to be done – have they done it? Hard to say, as they’ve opened, like almost everyone, against weak opponents. They’re scoring tons of points, Browning is slicing up secondaries, and Myles Gaskin awoke from his slumber last week with 202 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries last week, but they’re not due to face a ranked team until the last two weeks of the regular season. In the meantime, they’ll surely knock the snot out of Oregon State, whose only win has come against second-tier Portland State and that was by just three points. OSU is giving up 47.5 ppg, fourth-most in the land.
Northwestern (2-1) vs #10 Wisconsin (3-0), Noon ET Saturday on ABC/ESPN3
Last week, the Northwestern Wildcats crushed Bowling Green State 49-7, behind a career day from QB Clayton Thorson, who completed 23 of 30 for 370 yards and 2 TDs, and ran 7 times for 28 more yards. The party is likely over for Mr. Thorson, however, as he goes up this week against one of the best defenses in the land. The Wisconsin Badgers are allowing just 10 points, 12 first downs, and 248 yards per game, while also forcing two turnovers a game. The offense ain’t too shabby, powered by QB Alex Hornibrook (49-for-70, 701 yards, eight touchdowns, one interception) and Johnathan Taylor (438 yards, five touchdowns on 53 carries). Wisconsin has the second-best point differential in the country with no one coming within 25 points of them.
#14 Miami (2-0) vs Duke (4-0)
7pm ET on ESPN
#5 USC (4-0) vs #16 Washington State (4-0)
10:3-pm ET on ESPN
Northwestern (2-1) vs #10 Wisconsin (3-0)
Noon ET on ABC/ESPN3
Vanderbilt (3-1) vs #21 Florida (2-1)
Noon ET on ESPN
Murray State (1-3) vs #17 Louisville (3-1)
3:30pm ET on ACC
Miami, OH (2-2) vs #22 Notre Dame (3-1)
5pm ET on NBC Sports Network
#24 Mississippi State (3-1) vs #13 Auburn (3-1)
6pm ET on ESPN
Troy (3-1) vs #25 LSU (3-1)
7pm ET on ESPNU
#2 Clemson (4-0) vs #12 Virginia Tech (4-0)
8pm ET on ABC/ESPN3
#6 Washington (4-0) vs Oregon State (1-3)
8pm ET on PAC12
#15 Oklahoma State (3-1) vs Texas Tech (3-0)
8pm ET on FOX
Ole Miss (2-1) vs #1 Alabama (4-0)
9pm ET on ESPN
Watch college football on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange, on ESPN3, ESPNU, and ACC by subscribing to Sling Orange with Sports Extra, on ABC by subscribing to Sling Orange with Broadcast Extra, on FOX (in select markets) and NBC Sports Network by subscribing to Sling Blue, and on PAC12 by subscribing to Sling Orange or Sling Blue with Sports Extra.