Top FBS Matchups 

Who: No. 2 Oklahoma State Cowboys at Iowa State Cyclones
When: 8 p.m. ET Friday


Who: No. 17 Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 20 Michigan Wolverines
When: noon ET Saturday


Who: Georgia Southern Eagles at No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide
When: 2 p.m. ET Saturday


Who: Mississippi State Bulldogs at No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks
When: 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday


Who: SMU Mustangs at No. 11 Houston Cougars
When: 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday


Who: No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 25 Baylor Bears
When: 8 p.m. ET Saturday


Who: No. 18 Southern California Trojans at No. 4 Oregon Ducks
When: 8 p.m. ET Saturday

Watch Them Now

Sammy Brown
6-3 | 240 | Sr. | LB

Key Notes: Houston is 10-0 and ranked No. 11 in the AP poll and knocking on the door to the BCS party. When you think of how the Cougars got there, obviously record-setting QB Case Keenum comes to mind. Surprise your friends and tell them you know a little about LB Sammy Brown too, who leads the nation in tackles for loss (2.15 per game) and is sixth in sacks (0.95 per game). Sure, Houston's overal defensive ranks aren't great, but between Brown and LB Marcus McGraw (20th nationally in tackles per game), the Cougars' D is doing more than enough to aid its super-sonic passsing attack.       

Other Players to Watch this Week: David Amerson, North Carolina State (So., DB); Chris Borland, Wisconsin (So., LB); Marcus Coker, Iowa (So., RB); Danny Hrapmann, Southern Miss (Sr., PK); Casey Pachall, TCU (So., QB); Eric Page, Toledo (Jr., WR); Bacarri Rambo, Georgia (Jr., DB); San San Te, Rutgers (Sr., PK); De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (Fr., RB); Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (Jr., QB).

Keep Your Eyes on This

Oklahoma State gets a jump start on the weekend as the Cowboys continue their trek down destiny's road with a trip to Ames, Iowa, where it will face Iowa State on Friday night. The Cowboys will bring in a 10-game road winning streak -- third in the FBS behind only Virginia Tech (13) and Oregon (11) -- and the hottest offense in the nation. QB Brandon Weeden is finally gaining some traction as a viable Heisman contender -- we've been saying it since September -- as he ranks fourth in total offense (354.0 ypg) and eighth in passing effiicency (164.2) while guiding OSU to its best start in school history. This week he faces a Cyclone defense that ranks 91st in total defense and 81st in scoring defense, allowing opponents 29.8 points per game. OSU is averaging 51.7 points per game to rank second nationally. If the Cowboys make it 11 in a row, the focus will immediately shift to the date most people have had circled on the schedule since August -- Saturday, Nov. 26, at home against Oklahoma with a likely BCS spot riding on the outcome of Bedlam.

The state of Mississippi is hopeful to put a wrinkle in the SEC lineup for the BCS. This weekend Mississippi State hits the road to face No. 6 Arkansas while Ole Miss plays host to top-ranked Alabama. From the start, the woeful Rebels, who have already announced coach Houston Nutt will be gone after the season, were barely hopeful to even be in the game, but without the services of two key players -- Nutt suspended starting QB (Randall Mackey) and leading rusher (Jeff Scott) on Tuesday -- the outlook is more bleak. So it may be up to Mississippi State to put a wrinkle in the league standings, just a week before LSU and Arkansas are set to face off for the SEC West lead. Mississippi State had high hopes entering the season and was even in the top 20 early on. Now it's 5-5 and fighting for bowl eligibility. All that's left on the schedule is this week vs. the Razorbacks, who come in with one of the nation's top passing attacks, and a Nov. 26 date with Ole Miss. 

Where, oh where, have the Buffaloes gone? One place we can tell you they haven't gone to play is on the road, where Colorado has lost a nation-leading 21 consecutive games away from Boulder, Colo. This weekend, CU tries to snap that streak and pick up its second consecutive Pac-12 victory as it heads to UCLA. One interesting storyline from the contest besides CU not winning a true road game since 2007 -- yup, you read that right -- is the father-son matchup. Head coach Jon Embree will lead his Buffaloes into the City of Angels where they'll take on a Bruins squad that includes Taylor Embree, Jon's son and the fourth-leading receiver on the squad. Jon was also an assistant coach at UCLA from 2003-05.      

The Badgers, after two last-second heartbreakers, have been back on track the past two weeks and still rank in the top 10 for both scoring offense and defense, and total offense and defense. On the offensive side, QB Russell Wilson received a lot of the early hype, but don't forget about the importance of RB Montee Ball. The battering ram has bowled his way to 1,242 yards on the ground and 23 rushing touchdowns. Last week he set the Big Ten single-season touchdown record and still has two regular-season games remaining. 

One of the most under-the-radar performances this season has been sophomore QB Casey Paschall, who has guided TCU to an 8-2 record. Since losing the opener by two points to upstart Baylor, the Horned Frogs have only slipped up once -- in overtime to SMU -- before making a splash back into the rankings last week as they handed Boise State its first loss and dashed its BCS title dreams once again. Paschall, who took over for program-record-setting QB Andy Dalton, has quietly gone about his work, and currently ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency (167.2) and has TCU ranked 10th in scoring offense.

Last week, LSU was in a dog fight with Western Kentucky until after halftime. Will another lesser-known give a top-ranked team fits this week? With Alabama's ridiculously good defense it's hard to say yes, but Georgia Southern, one of the top FCS programs in the nation that is averaging 320.4 rushing yards and 37.4 points per game, could provide some anxiety for a while in Tuscaloosa. Special teams may be the key as both squads have outstanding kick return games, including Georgia Southern's Laron Scott, who is second in FCS with a 34.4 yards-per-return average.

Despite the atrocious off-the-field issues surrounding the program, Penn State still has its goal of a Big Ten championship firmly in place. The Nittany Lions can take a large step toward that marker with a win this weekend against Ohio State, which would then set up a showdown for the Leaders Division on Nov. 26 against Wisconsin for the chance to play in the inaugural Big Ten championship game. The opponent for the Nittany Lions or Badgers isn't as clear to see as Michigan and Nebraska, who play this weekend in the Big House, along with Michigan State are still in the thick of the race. MSU holds the upper hand but, much like the SEC, no easy route to the title contest is clearly visible on either side of the divisional divide.