As the calendar has flipped to November, college football has entered its, typically, most chaotic month of the season as divisional races heat up across every major conference in the country.
While Saturday may not provide the most challenging game for No. 2 Ohio State, as the Buckeyes trek to Evanston, Ill., to take on 1-7 Northwestern, there are several marquee matchups with College Football Playoff implications going on elsewhere in the country.
No. 1 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia (3:30 p.m., CBS): Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., will serve as the center of the college football universe on Saturday when a pair of SEC titans clash in a top-five matchup.
The Volunteers have been rolling as of late, with three ranked wins across their last four games — including a 52-49 nail-biter over then-No. 3 Alabama and a 44-6 drubbing of then-No. 19 Kentucky. Tennessee boasts both the top-ranked total offense (553 yards per game) and scoring offense (49.4 points per game) in the country behind the arm of Heisman Trophy frontrunner and quarterback Hendon Hooker, who has tossed 21 touchdowns compared to just one interception.
Opposite of Tennessee’s high-powered offense is a similarly dominant Georgia defense. The Bulldogs hold the fourth-best total defense (262.6 yards per game) and second-best scoring defense (10.5 points per game) in the nation en route to their 8-0 start, which includes a win over Oregon in Week 1.
No. 6 Alabama at No. 10 LSU (6:00 p.m., ESPN): Another top-10 SEC matchup follows Tennessee and Georgia’s meeting, as the Crimson Tide will look to keep their outside hopes of a CFP berth alive in Death Valley.
After their previously mentioned loss to Tennessee on Oct. 15, Alabama bounced back well with a runaway 30-6 win over then-No. 24 Mississippi State at home. Quarterback Bryce Young remains a capable arm for the Crimson Tide, throwing for 1,906 yards and 18 touchdowns to this point in the season.
LSU head coach Brian Kelly has seen reasonable success in his first season in Baton Rouge, La., leading the Tigers to a 6-2 record through eight games. The Tigers scored a marquee win prior to their off week, dismantling then-No. 7 Ole Miss 45-20 at home.
No. 24 Texas at No. 13 Kansas State (6:00 p.m., FS1): While TCU remains the only unbeaten team in the Big 12, The Longhorns and Wildcats remain players for a spot in the Big 12 title game.
Texas boasts a familiar face for Ohio State fans at quarterback, as freshman Quinn Ewers has flashed his potential in his first season as the starter for the Longhorns — tossing 11 touchdowns compared to five interceptions. Ewers will need to be dynamite against an emerging Kansas State team, which is coming off a 48-0 drubbing of then-No. 9 Oklahoma State.
No. 4 Clemson at Notre Dame (6:30 p.m., NBC/Peacock): Although Clemson finds itself in playoff position at this point in the season, the Tigers have had their fair share of close calls during the last two weeks. Despite carrying a 34-14 lead into the fourth quarter against Florida State, the Seminoles came roaring back with a pair of touchdowns during the frame — however, Clemson shut the door on FSU’s comeback attempt, completing the win by a final tally of 34-28. Confidence in the Tigers dwindled further against Syracuse on Oct. 22, when starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was benched in favor of freshman Cade Klubnik after tossing two picks. Klubnik led Clemson on a furious fourth-quarter comeback, overcoming a 21-10 deficit entering the final frame.
Notre Dame is also trending upward after an 0-2 start, which included a season-opening loss to Ohio State, winning five of its last six. The Fighting Irish also played the Orange in their most recent game, dominating Syracuse by a tune of 41-24 as running back Austin Estime led the way with 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Other notable games on the schedule include:
- No. 2 Ohio State at Northwestern (12 p.m., ABC)
- Texas Tech at No. 7 TCU (12 p.m., FOX)
- No. 17 North Carolina at Virginia (12 p.m., ACCN)
- Iowa at Purdue (12 p.m., FS1)
- No. 15 Penn State at Indiana (3:30 p.m., ABC)
- Michigan State at No. 16 Illinois (3:30 p.m., BTN)
- No. 18 Oklahoma State at Kansas (3:30 p.m. FS1)
- No. 5 Michigan at Rutgers (6:30 p.m., BTN)
- No. 21 Wake Forest at No. 22 NC State (7:00 p.m., ACCN)