|Top FBS Matchups|
Who: No. 9 Michigan State Spartans at No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Who: Baylor Bears at No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Who: No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 10 Kansas State Wildcats
Who: No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs at Florida Gators
Who: No. 25 West Virginia Mountaineers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Who: No. 4 Stanford Cardinal at No. 20 USC Trojans
Who: No. 6 Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
|Watch Them Now|
7 Collin Klein
Key Notes: In the biggest surprise of the season, Kansas State is back in the national top 10 for the first time since 2003. The Wildcats, who were picked eighth in the preseason Big 12 coaches’ poll, can thank the resilient Klein for a large part of that success. Much like his head coach, Klein is not flashy but gets the job done by being a workhorse, leading the team with 670 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while passing for 934 yards and eight scores. Klein is fourth nationally in rushing TDs and 34th in rushing yards per game, helping KSU to its first 7-0 start since 1999. KSU will be tested this week as No. 11 Oklahoma invades Manhattan, Kan., a week after seeing its national title hopes dashed.
Other Players to Watch this Week: Matt Barkley, Southern California (Jr., QB); Chris Givens, Wake Forest (Jr., WR); Jeremy Grove, East Carolina (Fr., LB); Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State (So., LB); Bernard Pierce, Temple (Jr., RB); Jackson Rice, Oregon (Jr., P); Geno Smith, West Virginia (Jr., QB).
|Keep Your Eyes on This|
A week after making what may be the play of the year to win at the gun against then-No. 4 Wisconsin, Michigan State jumps right back in the saddle as it hits the road to face Nebraska for a spot at the top of the Big Ten’s Legends Division. The Spartans have something Nebraska has been known for the past few years under coach Bo Pelini: a salty defense that bends but doesn’t break. MSU is ranked second nationally in total defense and seventh in scoring defense, and will need every bit of its muscle to stop the resurgent Huskers’ ground attack led by RB Rex Burkhead. The junior has helped Nebraska rank seventh nationally in rushing and taken pressure off QB Taylor Martinez. The noon ET kickoff in Lincoln, Neb., gives MSU a chance to add to its recent success as the Spartans have won 10 of their last 11 Big Ten games, their best conference stretch since 1977 to 1979.
The Southeastern Conference has boasted some of the nation’s best teams for decades, and in particular, the past five years when a league school has won the national title each season. This year is no different, and the matchup won’t get any bigger — unless they meet again in the national title game. No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, both undefeated teams with off weeks on Oct. 29 to prepare and get healthy, will be playing under the lights in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 5 and will, in all likelihood, be vying for a spot in the national title game. It will be the first regular-season matchup in SEC history between Nos. 1-2 ranked teams, and only the second time the league has ever had a top-two matchup.
Houston is off to just the third 7-0 start in school history and its first since 1990. QB Case Keenum, who leads the nation in total offense at 389.3 yards per game, has been a big reason why as he’s lead the Cougars to seven consecutive games scoring at least 35 points. Last week, Keenum became the NCAA’s career total offense leader, improving his totals to 17,173 yards (16,271 pass, 902 rush) to pass Hawaii’s Timmy Chang, who accumulated 16,910 yards from 2000 to 2004. Next up on the list for Keenum: the NCAA career passing yards and passing touchdowns records. He is currently in second on the NCAA passing list with 16,271 yards, trailing only Chang’s 17,072. While he won’t reach the passing total on Thursday, he could break the NCAA passing touchdowns record as he has 130, trailing all-time leader Graham Harrell of Texas Tech by four (134 from 2005 to 2008).
Georgia has fought its way back from an 0-2 start with five consecutive wins to earn a spot in the top 25. This week, the Bulldogs get their fans’ favorite matchup as they play host to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against Florida. The contest will feature two of the three winningest programs in the SEC the past decade. Georgia is second at 74.4 percent (93-32) and Florida is third at 73.6 percent (92-33).
Virginia Tech looks to extend the nation’s longest road winning streak Saturday as it rolls into Durham, N.C., to face Duke. The Hokies, who have won 11 consecutive games against the Blue Devils, have the only active double-digit road win streak in the country by winning their last 11 contests away from Blacksburg, Va.
It’s all about the QB, right? Just because the Cardinal have the player most likely to be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, don’t think Stanford is one-dimensional. A perfect example is last week’s 65-21 blowout against then-No. 22 Washington, the Cardinal rushed for a team record 446 yards, while Andrew Luck threw for just 169 yards on 16 of 21 passing. This week in another top-25 matchup at No. 20 Southern California, Stanford will look to push its nation-leading win streak to 16 games against at team with another hot-handed QB in Matt Barkley.
And who says a bye week in the regular season isn’t earned? After getting off to a strong start and cruising into the top 15, South Carolina will try to maintain its lofty ranking with an offense that barely resembles what took the field in September. Since its last game on Oct. 15, the Gamecocks have had to refine an offense that no longer includes QB Stephen Garcia, who was finally dismissed from the squad after numerous violations of team policies, and is now missing star RB Marcus Lattimore, who went down for the season with a left knee injury against Mississippi State. Lattimore had 30 rushing touchdowns in his first 20 career games, a statistic to bear in mind this week as South Carolina faces a Tennessee defense that is giving up just 362.7 yards per game. The Gamecock D is also pretty good, ranking seventh nationally by allowing just 277.6 yards per game and will now get even more attention heaped on it.
Rutgers has quietly regained its stride this year and is just a half game out of first place in the league standings while owning a 5-2 overall record. The Scarlet Knights’ biggest asset has been its defense, which ranks sixth nationally in sacks with 3.4 per game. It is one of four Big East teams along with South Florida, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to enter the week ranked in the top 15 nationally in sacks.
The Big East is tied with three other conferences with four overtime games this fall and the biggest reason can be found in Syracuse, N.Y. The Orange have had three OT games in their first seven games while jumping out to a 5-2 record. Syracuse has won two of its three OT games, with the only setback coming last week against Rutgers.
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