10) Pittsburgh (6-3) at Duke (6-3)
VER: 28-24, Duke
Duke’s POW: 65%
*Each team won its first two games, dropped its third, won four in a row, and has lost its last two. One will right the ship; the other’s disappointment with a promising season gone awry will deepen.
*A key dynamic here is that both teams like to run the ball but both are vulnerable in the secondary. The team that has more success in the air may be the winner.
*If it’s really close, kicker Ross Monday of Duke has been more accurate than Pitt’s Chris Blewitt.
9) North Carolina State (6-3) at #19 Florida State (7-2)
VER: 31-21, Florida State
Seminoles’ POW: 70%
*What will motivate the Seminoles now that they’re not in contention for an ACC title?
*North Carolina State defensive end Mike Rose’s 9.5 sacks leads the conference.
*There are three FBS quarterbacks with at least 250 pass attempts and two or fewer interceptions. They are Paxton Lynch of Memphis, Dak Prescott of Mississippi…and Jacoby Brissett of
North Carolina State.
*The Wolfpack seeks a fifth road win this season, something they haven’t accomplished since 1957.
8) Arkansas (5-4) at #9 Louisiana State (7-1)
VER: 32-24, L.S.U.
L.S.U. ‘s POW: 65%
*Arkansas may be the most dangerous 5-4 team in the country., but a night game in Death Valley remains a tall order.
*Under Les Miles, L.S.U. is 27-2 following a loss. (The Tigers fell at Alabama last Saturday.)
*Running backs will take center stage. Both L.S.U.’s Leonard Fournette and Arkansas’s Alex Collins have seven 100-yard games; only Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State has more.
*Arkansas has rung up 50 points or more in three straight games, something it hadn’t done
*Regarding the battle of the Brandons…Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen has more than doubled L.S.U. quarterback Brandon Harris in both passing yards (2,476 to 1,226) and touchdown passes (21 to 10).
7) Georgia (6-3) at Auburn (5-4)
VER: 27-26, Auburn
Auburn’s POW: 50%
*The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry…The all-time series is tied at 55 wins apiece, with 8 ties.
*Problems at quarterback have plagued both disappointing teams. Georgia played three men behind center last week against Kentucky: Greyson Lambert, Brice Ramsey and Terry Godwin. Godwin got the call when Georgia ran from its Wild Dog formation. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn could go with Jeremy Johnson or Sean White.
6) Washington State (6-3) at #18 U.C.L.A. (7-2)
VER: 38-28, U.C.L.A.
U.C.L.A.’s POW: 70%
*With Luke Falk at the controls of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, Washington State has averaged 456 passing yards over its past five games.
*U.C.L.A. kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, who has been good on 15 field goals while missing one all season, should become the Pac-12’s all-time scoring leader in this game. All he needs is one field goal or two PATs.
5) Miami Hurricanes (6-3) at #17 North Carolina (8-1)
VER: 38-26, North Carolina
North Carolina’s POW: 75%
*North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams has a bevy of targets to whom to throw. Junior receivers Mack Hollins, Ryan Switzer and Bug Howard have 553, 535 and 407 receiving yards, respectively. Senior Quinshad Davis boasts a school-record 186 receptions with 23 of them going for touchdowns, which is also a school record. Among the four only Switzer stands less than 6’4″.
*Can quarterback Brad Kaaya and his Hurricanes keep up while operating against coordinator Gene Chizik’s vastly improved defense?
4) Oregon (6-3) at #7 Stanford (8-1)
VER: 39-30, Stanford
Stanford’s POW: 70%
*Stanford looks to clinch the Pac-12 North. To do so it will have to find a way to slow down mobile Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, who, after returning from a broken right index finger, has averaged almost 300 passing yards in three games.
*The Cardinal may be up to the challenge, having allowed 30 points or more just three times in the last 45 games.
3) #25 Memphis (8-1) at #16 Houston (9-0)
VER: 38-32, Houston
Houston’s POW: 65%
*Both offenses rank in the Top 10 nationally in both points per game and yards per game.
*Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. averages 92 rushing yards per game. Among FBS quarterbacks only Navy’s Keenan Reynolds does better.
*Memphis counters with 6’7″ Paxton Lynch calling signals; the Tigers average more than 350 yards per game through the air.
*Neither team will be able to count on stopping the other: Memphis ranks 99th nationally in total defense, while Houston is 106th in pass defense.
2) #3 Alabama (8-1) at #20 Mississippi State (7-2)
VER: 30-23, Alabama
Crimson Tide’s POW: 65%
*Will the Tide suffer a letdown after its domination of L.S.U.?
*Can ‘Bama contain Mississippi State dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott? He ran for 82 yards in this matchup last year and was sacked only once.
*Alabama has beaten the Bulldogs seven consecutive times, a streak that includes three wins in Starkville.
1) #12 Oklahoma (8-1) at #4 Baylor (8-0)
VER: 40-37, Baylor
Baylor’s POW: 65%
*How will Baylor’s freshman quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, perform in his first big game and just his second start? Receiver Corey Coleman thinks Stidham will be fine: “He’s really confident. He acts like he’s played college football for two years already.”
*Baylor has destroyed Oklahoma the past two seasons, 48-14 last year and 41-12 the year before.
*Since losing to Texas, the Sooners have scored 50 points or more in their last four games. Such offensive prowess sounds a bit like…well, Baylor! Expect smoke to emanate from the scoreboard.