The first week of October presents the best week of college football this season. Well, that’s on paper, but starting Thursday night, games will have major conference implications all across the landscape.
Four of the top five teams have a legitimate chance of losing without deeming it a major upset. However, that’s only the beginning of what should be a great week. Depending on which poll you’re looking at, there are seven or eight games that pit ranked teams against each other. The SEC West will finally have some major losses, and one team could be out of the running for a college football playoff berth.
None of those games include the Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks. Not only are both teams undefeated, the Ducks are trying to avenge a loss to the same Arizona team that thoroughly destroyed them last season. This time, Oregon is at home as a heavy favorite.
In addition to the rankings looking brand new, plenty of high profile players will make their run into the Heisman talk. However, teams must win in order for the accolades to accompany these players. Check out the best games of the wee.
No.2 Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats
Marcus Mariota has been on point this season, but he hasn’t come close to accomplishing the team goals yet. Mariota hasn’t thrown an interception, and he hasn’t blinked in the face of tough competition. Oregon will have to do a better job protecting Mariota in the passing game if Oregon is to remain undefeated.
No.18 Brigham Young vs. Utah State
This game has been one of the toughest in recent years for both teams. Taysom Hill’s magnificent play has led to discussion of BYU going undefeated and earning a spot in the four team playoff.
No.6 Texas A&M Aggies vs. No.12 Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs are 2.5 point home favorites over Texas A&M on Saturday. Both teams are sitting undefeated and ready to make their mark in the SEC West. Dak Prescott has been phenomenal for Mississippi State. He’ll need to be even better to defeat the Aggies.
No.3 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No.11 Ole Miss Rebels
The Alabama Crimson Tide are playing their first road game of the season. The tensions are already high as ESPN’s College GameDay makes their first visit to Oxford, Miss. Blake Sims has been a pleasant surprise for the Alabama offense. However, he’s going against the best defense they’ve faced this year. Ole Miss has only given up 34 points total.
No.4 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No.25 TCU Horned Frogs
The Oklahoma Sooners have probably been the most impressive team this season. Their defensive tenacity has changed games and their running game is potent. Oklahoma has also gone on the road quite a bit for a team ranked this high. They’ll have one more opportunity for a big win against TCU. The Horned Frogs are outscoring opponents 134-21 in three games.
No.14 Stanford Cardinal vs. No.9 Notre Dame Irish
If Stanford knew how to score touchdowns, they would still be undefeated. Defensively, they’ve given up 26 points in four games. That point total includes turnovers for touchdowns. The last time these teams met in South Bend, the game was decided by an inch. Everett Golson still has only loss one game as a starter.
No.15 LSU Tigers vs. No. 5 Auburn Tigers
Les Miles named Brandon Harris the starter for LSU against Auburn. LSU was the only team to beat Auburn in the regular season last year. For Auburn, they need to get their offense rolling early. A win by Auburn will likely knock LSU out of the title hunt.
Arizona State Sun Devils vs. No. 16 USC Trojans
USC bounced back from their loss to Boston College by crushing Oregon State. Arizona State had a beat down at the hands of UCLA. It’s now or never for the Sun Devils to stay in the PAC 12 South race.
No.19 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. No.10 Michigan State Spartans
Nebraska is the lone Big 10 undefeated team left. Michigan State is widely regarded as the best team in the conference. There will be a clash in the trenches and both teams aren’t trying to sugarcoat how the game will be played out. Michigan State can really score now, so they are more dangerous than previous years.
Utah Utes vs. No.8 UCLA Bruins
Utah gave away to Washington State after jumping out to a big lead. Otherwise, this would be another battle of undefeated teams. The Bruins finally looked like the PAC12 South favorite in a win over Arizona State. UCLA can score on defense quickly. They have playmakers at receiver, but it will be a tough match up with Utah’s secondary.