Game of the week
No. 14 Georgia Tech at No. 8 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. on NBC
With fast starts, both teams can think about College Football Playoff berths, but the Irish have to deal with the loss of quarterback Malik Zaire. Redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer takes over and looks to build on his terrific finish at Virginia last week when he threw a game-winning 39-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining. Tech’s Paul Johnson returns to South Bend for the first time since he led Navy to a triple-overtime victory there in 2007, snapping the Midshipmen’s 43-game losing streak in the series.
Upset of the week
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Nebraska over Miami, Fla., 2:30 p.m. on ABC
The perception of the Cornhuskers, a field-goal underdog at Miami, is shaped by the BYU loss on a Hail Mary. Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya was terrific against Nebraska last season, throwing for a career-best 359 yards, but the Cornhuskers won by 10 behind a great ground game. This one figures to be high scoring with the Huskers’ offensive balance making the difference in the end.
Others to watch
No. 15 Mississippi at No. 2 Alabama, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN
The guess here is Mississippi’s run of 70-plus points will end here. The Rebels put up a total of 149 on Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State, and yes, quarterback Chad Kelly has been terrific, especially on deep balls. But the Tide’s defense may be the nation’s best. Also, Alabama is riding a 17-game home winning streak and for the only time this season the Tide has the revenge motive. Mississippi was the only team to defeat Alabama in the regular season last year.
No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 LSU, 2:30 p.m. on CBS
What to make of this one? Before LSU was gutting out a victory at Mississippi State in its first game (the scheduled opener was canceled because of weather), Auburn flirted with disaster against Jacksonville State before prevailing in overtime. Auburn’s offense isn’t working and LSU has running back Leonard Fournette, and that should be enough.
Colorado vs. Colorado State at Denver, 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
The Rocky Mountain Showdown doesn’t get as much national attention as the state rivalries played at the end of the year, but this one is intense and typically draws a large crowd in Denver. The Buffs have won eight of the last 12 but the Rams have won two of the last three. Last year, Colorado State overcame a 10-point third-quarter deficit and won by two touchdowns.
ACC vs. Big Ten
Five meetings between the conferences this week, most with an undercard feel, but a good showing by one of the leagues will improve its perception. The games: Nebraska at Miami, Fla., Virginia Tech at Purdue, Pittsburgh at Iowa, Northwestern at Duke and Illinois at North Carolina.
On the horizon: Sept. 26 games
UCLA at Arizona
Pac-12 takes center stage
Utah at Oregon
Ducks looks to rebuild CFP resume
Missouri at Kentucky
If Wildcats beat Florida, they go for 3-0 in SEC here
Saturday’s Big 12 games
Tulsa at No. 16 Oklahoma, 11 a.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Louisiana Tech at Kansas State, 2 p.m. (Fox Sports KC)
UTSA at No. 25 Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Texas Tech at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
California at Texas, 6:30 p.m. (Fox)
SMU at No. 3 TCU, 7 p.m. (Fox Sports KC)
Iowa State at Toledo, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
Saturday’s SEC games
Connecticut at No. 22 Missouri, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Nevada at No. 17 Texas A&M, 11 a.m. (SEC Network)
No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 LSU, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Austin Peay at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Northwestern State at Mississippi State, 3 p.m. (SEC Network)
South Carolina at No. 7 Georgia, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Western Carolina at Tennessee, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Texas Tech at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Florida at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
No. 15 Mississippi at No. 2 Alabama, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Top 25 games
All games Saturday unless noted
Northern Illinois at No. 1 Ohio State, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Air Force at No. 4 Michigan State, 11 a.m. (ABC)
Stanford at No. 6 Southern California, 7 p.m. (ABC)
No. 14 Georgia Tech at No. 8 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (NBC)
No. 9 Florida State at Boston College, 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN)
No. 19 BYU at No. 10 UCLA, 9:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Georgia State at No. 12 Oregon, 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Northern Arizona at No. 20 Arizona, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
No. 21 Utah at Fresno State, 9:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
No. 23 Northwestern at Duke, 11:30 a.m. (No TV)
Troy at No. 24 Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)