The college football season has officially reached its midpoint, and while this week’s slate isn’t chock-full of ranked matchups like we've seen in the past, last weekend showed that upsets can happen when you least expect it.
Thus, the games worth keeping an eye on Saturday include No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Texas (12 p.m. on FOX), No. 10 Michigan State at Indiana (12 p.m.. on FS1), Auburn at No. 17 Arkansas (12 p.m. on CBS), No. 11 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia (3:30 p.m. on CBS), No. 13 Ole Miss at Tennessee (7:30 p.m. on SEC Network) and No. 18 Arizona State at Utah (10 p.m. on ESPN).
Perhaps no undefeated team has flown further under than the Cowboys, who beat Boise State on the road and both Kansas State and Baylor by double digits. A victory over the Longhorns would put them squarely in the race for the Big XII championship… and maybe more.
Texas, on the other hand, is hoping to keep its own conference title hopes alive after blowing a 21-point lead to Oklahoma last week. How the Longhorns respond this week will tell us a lot about where the program stands under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian.
With Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State off this weekend and with Iowa as a double-digit favorite against Purdue, the Spartans will have the spotlight in the Big Ten. It will be the perfect opportunity for running back Kenneth Walker to add to his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
The Hoosiers, meanwhile, aren’t as bad as their 2-3 record would lead you to believe, with losses at No. 2 Iowa and No. 7 Penn State and at home against No. 3 Cincinnati. They’ll need a vintage game from Michael Penix to pull the upset, and he might not even start because of injury.
Both the Tigers and Razorbacks are coming off of tough losses to Georgia and Ole Miss, respectively, and need a win here to keep their slim SEC West title hopes alive. It’s especially important for the latter to bounce back after starting the season 4-0 and suffering back-to-back losses in the weeks since.
Of course, Arkansas will benefit from playing at home for the first time in three weeks, but the crowd won’t compare to what Auburn has already seen at Penn State and LSU. This game could very well be the highest-scoring game of the day and come down to a late defensive stop or costly turnover.
The Bulldogs and Wildcats, meanwhile, are two very similar teams in that they like to run the ball and have stellar defenses, allowing just 5.5 and 17.5 points per game, respectively.
Kentucky is off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 1950, with wins over Florida and LSU on back-to-back weekends, and can take control of the SEC East with another massive victory. It’s just too bad Georgia, which has given up just two offensive touchdowns all season, stands in the way.
Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin makes his return to Knoxville, where he led the Volunteers for just one season (2009) before bolting to USC. That alone is enough reason to tune into this game.
Now, if you actually have SEC Network, you’ll be treated to another high-scoring affair, as Ole Miss is averaging 46.2 points and 561.7 yards per game, while Tennessee is averaging 41.2 points and 474.0 yards per game. Last team with the ball wins?
Finally, the night ends with a matchup of two teams that have played well outside of early season losses to BYU. Both the Sun Devils and Utes are unbeaten in conference play, and the winner be in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South.
Arizona State has one of the most prolific rushing offenses in the country, scoring 21 touchdowns on the ground. Utah, on the other hand, likes to throw the ball around behind quarterback Cameron Rising, who will need another performance like he had last weekend at USC (306 yards and four total touchdowns) in order to get the win.
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