Game of the week
USC at UCLA
The Pac-12 South is up for grabs with five teams in contention. Four have two league losses, including the Trojans and the Bruins. Of the group, UCLA is the one that controls its future. If they win out, the Bruins will be the division champion that will oppose Oregon. UCLA made a big move to No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings. USC announced the return of defensive back Josh Shaw, suspended since August after he concocted a story about saving his nephew from drowning. No telling how he’ll be used by USC. And with all that, this ranks among the game’s best rivalries. The Bruins will try to extend their winning streak to three in the series.
Upset of the week
Missouri over Tennessee
The Tigers own a three-game lead over the Vols in the SEC Eastern Division, have defeated them the last two seasons and have won nine straight road games, including seven against SEC opponents. But Mizzou is a field-goal underdog here. Tennessee’s offense has been rolling lately, but Missouri found a new offensive gear at Texas A&M last week as well. Two Vols defensive starters, including linebacker A.J. Johnson, have been suspended because of a police investigation into sexual assault. A better Tigers defense makes the difference here.
Others to watch
Minnesota at Nebraska
This is the week after for the Cornhuskers, embarrassed by Melvin Gordon (NCAA-record 408 rushing yards) and Wisconsin. Nebraska has that debacle as motivation and some revenge after falling to the Golden Gophers last year. Both teams are alive in the Big Ten West chase, but the path is easier for Minnesota. If they win out, the Gophers are in. That would include a victory over Wisconsin next week.
Wisconsin at Iowa
The big mystery about the other half of the Big Ten West showdown is whether Gordon and the Badgers will have a letdown. Wisconsin has won the last two in the series, including a 28-9 victory in Iowa City last year. As much as he respects the Badgers’ running game, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said it’s the defense that really worries him. Wisconsin leads the nation in total defense (244 yards per game) and ranks third in scoring defense (15.3 points).
Lehigh vs. Lafayette at New York
The 150th meeting between the eastern Pennsylvania schools 16 miles apart will take place at Yankee Stadium. Lafayette holds a 77-6-5 lead in the series. Their first meeting was in 1884. The only disruption in the series occurred in 1896, when Lehigh challenged the eligibility of a Lafayette player. Several times, the teams met each other twice in a season.
On the horizon: Nov. 29 games
TCU at Texas (Thurs.)
Thanksgiving Day could have big impact on Big 12, playoff races
Auburn at Alabama
Field-goal return prevention a priority for Tide in practice
Mississippi State at Mississippi
Has there been a bigger Egg Bowl?
| Blair Kerkhoff, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday’s Top 25 Games
No. 1 Florida State vs. Boston College, 2:30 p.m.
No. 2 Alabama vs. Western Carolina, 3 p.m.
No. 3 Oregon vs. Colorado, 3:30 p.m.
No. 4 Mississippi State vs. Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m.
No. 6 Baylor vs. Oklahoma State, 6:30 p.m.
No. 7 Ohio State vs. Indiana, 11 a.m.
No. 8 Mississippi at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m.
No. 9 Georgia vs. Charleston Southern, 11 a.m.
No. 10 Michigan State vs. Rutgers, 11 a.m.
No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 24 Southern California, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Arizona State vs. Washington State, noon
No. 14 Wisconsin at Iowa, 2:30 p.m.
No. 15 Arizona at No. 20 Utah, 2:30 p.m.
No. 16 Auburn vs. Samford, 6 p.m.
No. 18 Marshall at Alabama-Birmingham, 11 a.m.
No. 19 Missouri at Tennessee, 6:30 p.m.
No. 21 Nebraska vs. Minnesota, 11 a.m.
No. 22 Colorado State vs. New Mexico, 12:30 p.m.
No. 23 Oklahoma vs. Kansas, 11 a.m.