Game of the week
Miami, Fla., at Florida State
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A great rivalry has implications outside of Florida for the first time in a decade. The Seminoles, No. 3 in the polls and the BCS, have been unstoppable on offense, scoring touchdowns on 54.2 percent of their possessions. Only Baylor scores at a higher rate (57 percent). Quarterback Jameis Winston is having a Heisman-worthy season but his backs — Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams and James Wilder Jr. — have been superb, combining for 13 rushing touchdowns. Seventh-ranked Miami gets it done with Duke Johnson, who has rushed for 823 yards and averages 29.2 yards per kickoff return. Both teams carry a nine-game winning streak into the game.
Iowa over Wisconsin
The Hawkeyes are home and feeling good after last week’s overtime victory against Northwestern, and check out the records of the three teams that have defeated Iowa — 23-1. The Badgers are in an odd spot, one game behind Ohio State in the Big Ten’s Leaders Division, but already lost to the Buckeyes, so a division title seems improbable. If Iowa can contain Badgers back Melvin Gordon, who originally committed to Iowa, it can take the Heartland Trophy.
Others to Watch
The winner gets the Paul Bunyan Trophy and has a leg up in the Big Ten’s Legends Division. The Spartans had won four straight in the series until the Wolverines broke through last year. The contrast is Michigan’s offense, which averages 42.2 points and 446 yards, against Michigan State’s defense, which allows 12.2 points and 215 yards. The Spartans rank first nationally in total defense and rushing defense (54.9 yards). The defense has surrendered a total of 12 touchdowns this season.
Southern California at Oregon State (Friday)
Great offense met great defense last week in the Pac-12 and defense won when Stanford checked Oregon State. The Beavers see another solid defensive team in Southern California. The teams are playing for the first time since 2010, and Oregon State has won three of the past five meetings. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion goes against a Troy defense that has yielded 17 points in the past two games. Here’s an interesting stat: There is one member of the Trojans from Oregon, and 45 members of the Beavers from California.
On the horizon
Oklahoma at Baylor (Nov. 7)
Bears’ first game against team with winning Big 12 record
Oregon at Stanford (Nov. 7)
Pac-12 North Division on the line
LSU at Alabama (Nov. 9)
Tigers prevailed in last trip to Tuscaloosa