Things to watch: Playoff races; TD record; Upset alert
Huge games, a record-breaking quarterback and some tricky road games for Big Ten powers highlight Week 10 of the college football season.
November started with the first College Football Playoff rankings being released, and before we even got to this weekend, an undefeated team went down. No. 20 Toledo lost at home to Northern Illinois on Tuesday night. (hash)MACtion, indeed.
Here's what else watch for as college football's eventful final month cranks up.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference all have huge games matching playoff contenders.
In the ACC, No. 3 Clemson hosts No. 17 Florida State. Clemson would clinch the Atlantic Division with a victory. Florida State would take control of the division with a win and work itself back into the College Football Playoff race.
No. 5 TCU is at No. 12 Oklahoma State in the first of several huge games in the Big 12 in November. Both the Horned Frogs and Cowboys are undefeated and averaging more than 40 points per game.
In the SEC, No. 4 LSU is at No. 7 Alabama in what has become the most significant rivalry in college football over the last decade. This is the seventh time since 2005 both teams have been ranked in the top 10 when they met.
The Crimson Tide (7-1) was a surprising fourth in the first playoff rankings, but one more loss would pretty much eliminate Alabama from that race. LSU is the only remaining unbeaten in the SEC and Leonard Fournette could be on the fast track to the Heisman Trophy with a big game against Alabama's sting run defense.
UPSET ALERT IN BIG TEN
No. 6 Michigan State and No. 10 Iowa, two of the three unbeaten teams left in the Big Ten, are on the road this weekend and only single-digit favorites against struggling teams.
The Spartans go to Nebraska (3-5), where the Cornhuskers are coming off a loss to Purdue that has shaken the fanbase's faith in first-year coach Mike Riley.
It has been a bizarre season for Nebraska, filled with last-second losses. The Huskers get quarterback Tommy Armstrong back from injury this week, along with a couple of key defensive backs. The Spartans are 5 1/2-point favorites.
Iowa is at Indiana (4-4) to face a Hoosiers team that has lost four straight. Still, Iowa is only a 7-point favorite.
Indiana has one of the best passing games in the Big Ten, led by quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
No. 11 Florida can clinch its first SEC East title and trip to the conference title game since 2009 with a victory against Vanderbilt in Gainesville, Florida.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds can break the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns in a career with one against No. 15 Memphis on Saturday.
Reynolds scored his 77th rushing touchdown last week to tie Wisconsin star Montee Ball's record.
Reynolds is third overall in touchdowns scored, five behind Ball (83) and one behind former Miami, Ohio, star Travis Prentice, who scored 78 from 1996-99.
The game is also a battle for first in the American Athletic Conference's West Division. Memphis, Navy and Houston are all 4-0.
There are 40 bowl games, not including the national title game, this season.
That means 80 teams will play in the postseason. Standard bowl eligibility is six victories, but if there aren't enough six-win teams to fill the spots, the NCAA has guidelines set up that would allow 5-7 teams to get into the postseason.
Heading into Thursday night, 42 teams had achieved bowl eligibility. Five teams (Eastern Michigan, Kansas, UCF, Miami University and Wyoming) have already been eliminated from the postseason).
There are 16 others that can lock it up this weekend, including Georgia against Kentucky; North Carolina State against Boston College and Air Force against Army.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP