Game of the week
Clemson at Florida State
This ACC battle matches top-10 teams for the ninth time in the league’s history, and first since 2007. The Big 12 had three such battles last year, and five in 2008. The SEC has had 11 in the previous three seasons. Not since 2000, when Florida State fell to Oklahoma in the national title game, has an ACC team finished in the final AP top five. The Seminoles are favored here, but Clemson has had the upper hand in recent years, going 4-2 against Florida State since 2006 and the Bowden Bowl years. Both have nice victories — Clemson over Auburn and the Seminoles over Wake Forest — and the winner remains in the national championship discussion.
Michigan over Notre Dame
How can they top last year’s classic, won by the Wolverines 35-31? This one comes down to the Irish defense vs. Denard Robinson, and Robinson has won that battle in recent seasons. He had 502 total yards in 2010, and last year he threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns. But Notre Dame’s defense has been rock-solid this season and dominated Michigan State last week.
Others to watch
When the Sooners have lost at home under Bob Stoops, it’s been to unranked underdogs: Oklahoma State in 2001, TCU in 2005 and Texas Tech in 2011. A Stoops-coached OU team hasn’t lost to a ranked opponent in Norman, and often wins such games by comfortable margins. Will Saturday be the exception?
Arizona at Oregon
The Ducks should roll, but the Wildcats have played well enough in coach Rich Rodriguez’s first year, including a victory over a ranked Oklahoma State team, to put this game on the radar. Third-ranked Oregon has to keep making an impression every week to maintain its position in the national championship race.
On the horizon
Baylor at West Virginia
Mountaineers make their Big 12 debut
Ohio State at Michigan State
Season’s best Big Ten matchup?
Texas at Oklahoma State
Cowboys look to return to the polls