There are five matchups between ranked teams this week – at least according to the first College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday – but all of the country’s attention may be on a primetime matchup in Ann Arbor.
The game itself is not particularly interesting, with a struggling Purdue squad set to face Michigan, but it does offer intrigue because it will be the first time it takes the field since the Wolverines’ sign-stealing scandal started dominating national headlines.
But other than the happenings up north, there is plenty of excitement throughout the schedules, with important games taking place in the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC that have significant implications on conference standings with the regular season beginning to wind down.
Here are some of this week’s top matchups:
No. 23 Kansas State at No. 7 Texas: Oklahoma suffered an upset last weekend, falling to Kansas, but is it Texas’ turn to be on the wrong end of a shocking loss?
The Longhorns are expected to be without starting quarterback Quinn Ewers, who was injured a few weeks back in a loss to Oklahoma and has been relieved by Maalik Murphy, who threw for 170 yards, two touchdowns and an interception last week in a 35-6 win over BYU. Texas has an opportunity, though to avenge the loss to the Sooners in the conference championship game, assuming the Longhorns can take care of business the rest of the way.
But plucky Kansas State is hoping to pull off the upset. It is off to a 6-2 start this season, with single-possession losses now-ranked Missouri and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats’ defense has been strong this season, limiting opposing teams to just 15.9 points and 343.8 yards per game.
No. 12 Missouri at No. 2 Georgia (3:30 p.m., CBS): Missouri’s only loss of the season was a 49-39 defeat at the hands of now-No. 14 LSU, but the Tigers have a shot to redeem the loss with maybe the biggest win of the college football season, handing Georgia the Bulldogs’ first loss since 2021 and first regular-season loss since 2020.
Missouri has been led by the stellar play of quarterback Brady Cook, who has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 2,259 yards and 15 touchdowns to just three interceptions, with star wideout Luther Burden (61 catches, 905 yard, 6 TDs) account for a good chunk of that production.
But Georgia’s defense has continued strong play of the past few seasons, allowing just 14.8 points and 272.5 yards per game. And with an offense that has largely not missed a beat despite the loss of star tight end Brock Bowers, it might be more than Missouri can handle, even if it will be the Bulldogs’ toughest test of the season so far.
Purdue at No. 3 Michigan (7:30 p.m., NBC): If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how the Wolverines respond to the last couple weeks of tomfoolery.
Michigan is favored by over 30 points – no word on if this accounts for stolen signs – so it shouldn’t be all that close, but the Wolverines will likely be looking to make a statement after taking a beating from media and opposing fans since the sign-stealing scandal broke. Even if Purdue has changed all of its signs and signals ahead of this one, I don’t think things bode well for the Boilermakers – but never say never.
No. 14 LSU at No. 8 Alabama (7:45 p.m., CBS): Georgia and Missouri’s matchup has significant implications for the SEC East, and the same is true for Alabama and LSU for the SEC West.
The Crimson Tide have rebounded to a 7-1 record after an early-season loss to Texas and have looked among the strongest teams in the country, with an offense that is building momentum from week-to-week and a defense that is allowing just 16.5 points per game.
LSU, meanwhile, suffered a blowout loss to Florida State to begin the season and an even uglier loss to Ole Miss a few weeks back, but have scored at least 48 points in four consecutive games while pitching a 62-0 shutout of Army in the Tigers’ most recent outing.
Other notable games on the schedule include:
- Arkansas at Florida (12 p.m., ESPN2)
- Nebraska at Michigan State (12 p.m., FS1)
- No. 15 Notre Dame at Clemson (12 p.m., ABC)
- No. 1 Ohio State at Rutgers (12 p.m., CBS)
- Texas A&M at No. 10 Ole Miss (12 p.m., ESPN)
- Arizona State at No. 18 Utah (2 p.m., P12N)
- Army at No. 25 Air Force (2:30 p.m., CBSSN)
- Illinois at Minnesota (3:30 p.m., BTN)
- Iowa at Northwestern (3:30 p.m., Peacock)
- No. 9 Oklahoma at No. 22 Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m., ABC)
- No. 11 Penn State at Maryland (3:30 p.m., FOX)
- California at No. 6 Oregon (5:30 p.m., P12N)
- No. 5 Washington at No. 20 USC (7:30 p.m., ABC)
- No. 16 Oregon State at Colorado (10 p.m., ESPN)