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NCAA Football Saturday Guide: Who To Watch, TV Schedules, Start Times

There are several battles among ranked squads this week including a pair of showdowns among top ten caliber teams.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Things are starting to become serious in college football, and the jockeying for position is becoming more intense. There are multiple conference showdowns this week and they have national implications. Let's take a look at the best of what college football has to offer.

Iowa (17) @ Northwestern (20)     12 Noon Eastern     ABC/ESPN2

This Big Ten West showdown features the division leading Hawkeyes and the team that they will have to out-duel for the division crown, the Northwestern Wildcats. The Hawkeyes enter the game unbeaten while Northwestern will be looking to rebound from the thrashing they received last week at the hands of Michigan. The key to this one will be how well the Wildcats gunslinger quarterback can keep the ball away from a ball-hawking Iowa defense. If Clayton Thorson tryies to make the risky throws that he has all season  Iowa's tough secondary will make him pay the price. This one should be close but the Hawkeyes will pull off the road win in Chicago.

Alabama (10) @ Texas A&M (9)     3:30 PM Eastern     CBS

Kyle Field will be rocking for this one. The famed 12th Man is looking to set an all-time NCAA noise record as the Aggies welcome the Crimson Tide to College Station. There is some backstory to this rivalry, with two of Bama's winningest coaches having come to Tuscaloosa after coaching stints at A&M. Those gentlemen were Bear Bryant and one of his former Junction Boys, Gene Stallings. Both sides are aware of the history, but once kick-off rolls 'round that will be in the past.

Offenses like the one Kevin Sumlin runs usually give Nick Sabin fits. If the Aggies can get on track offensively and if John Chavis' improved TAMU defense can shut down the Crimson Tide offense this one could be the game that puts an end to the Alabama dynasty. One the other hand, if the Tide starts to roll there will be questions about Sumlin being more flash than substance. Both teams have a lot to gain and a lot to lose on Saturday. All I am going to say is that it is time to BTHO Bama. Some of you know what I mean.

Michigan State (7) @ Michigan (12)     3:30 Eastern     ESPN

This is one of those in-state rivalries that should always be at center stage. When you think Big Ten football there are few bigger ones. With both teams being highly ranked, this game takes on the relevance that it deserves. The Wolverines pride themselves on a strong running game, and lit up a talented Northwestern defense last week. To counter this the Spartans offer up one of the premiere rushing defenses. This one looks like the irresistible force meets the immovable object. Turn things around and you find a Michigan State running game driven by a injured offensive line that will be doing battle with a defense that rivals what the Spartans put on the field. That will be the difference in this one. The Wolverines hold serve at home in a smashmouth contest.

Florida (8) @ LSU (6)     7:00 PM Eastern     ESPN

The Big Ten/SEC flip flop continues into the night as the Gators travel to Baton Rouge to take on the Tigers.  Florida continues to dance the QB shuffle with Treon Harris getting the nod this week while Will Grier is out. That means that Florida will be more ground oriented than if Grier was in the game. That should help out a LSU secondary that is struggling a bit this season, but it does not mean that the Tiger secondary can relax. Harris is no slouch in the passing game either. When the teams switch sides look for Leonard Fournette to get plenty of chances to gash the Gators defense that recently struggled against Jalen Hurd of Tennessee. If he can get going the Tigers should be able to take care of business.  Look for LSU to come out on top of this one.

That is a lot of talking about this Saturday's action, but all you really need to know is right here.