There may not be a large amount of top-tier games on tap this weekend, but there are certainly some solid matchups that will keep us glued to the television sets.
So once again, dust off that grill and get it fired up because we’re starting this weekend’s tailgate.
The marquee matchups
X-Factor: Crimson Tide exotic looks up front vs. Arkansas QBs...Last week against Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas quarterbacks had trouble with the Warhawks' 3-5-3 defensive scheme. La.-Monroe constantly shifted defenders near the line to disguise their looks, and it really hampered freshman quarterback Brandon Allen, who stepped in when Tyler Wilson was injured. Allen finished 6 of 20 passing for 85 yards. Expect similar movement from the Crimson Tide despite playing a different base defense. We saw how the Tide battered Wilson last year when he was healthy. Even if he plays, he'll have a similar challenge. And if Allen gets the call, it could get ugly for John L. Smith's squad.
X-Factor: Driskel vs Sunseri's 'D'...Last week in Florida's road test at Texas A&M, Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel struggled with avoiding sacks. The Gators netted a win, but it'll be tough to do that this Saturday against a Vols defense under Sal Sunseri that is primed to take advantage of a one-dimensional offense. And I'm not certain that Gators running back Mike Gillislee is 100 percent healthy. The Vols have lost seven in a row to the Gators, and I think Derek Dooley's squad puts that streak to an end.
Notre Dame at Michigan State: Everett Golson will face his first true road test as Notre Dame's starting quarterback. The question is whether he can deal with a Michigan State defense that is one of the best in the nation. If Golson struggles early, expect backup Tommy Rees to see the field.
USC at Stanford: The Trojans have lost four of their last five to the Cardinal. Chase Thomas and the Stanford front seven could cause problems for a USC offensive line without center Khaled Holmes. But the Cardinal secondary has not tackled or covered well this season, and that's great news for a potent Trojans offense.
Other games to keep an eye on
Wake Forest at Florida State
California at Ohio State
Arizona State at Missouri
North Carolina at Louisville
Virginia at Georgia Tech
Texas at Ole Miss
BYU at Utah
Arkansas State at Nebraska
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn
Utah State at Wisconsin
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