Texas @ #20 Oklahoma 12 Noon Eastern Fox Sports 1
Texas and Oklahoma get together each season in the Cotton Bowl to renew one of college football's great match ups. Both schools have long and storied histories, they share a common border defined by the Red River, and the two campuses are approximately the same distance from the site of the game. Both teams heavily recruit the talent-rich North Texas high school scene each year. When Bevo and Boomer Sooner get together anything can happen and it usually does. The Red River Rivalry is the epitome of what college football is all about.
This year both programs started with 2-2 records and some mounting frustrations from their respective fan bases. Oklahoma entered 2016 with national title hopes before Houston dashed their dream on opening weekend. The Longhorns also expected greater success this season, and for a short while it looked like they might be getting on track to be the Texas of old. Now both Bob Stoops and Charlie Strong are in danger of having to update their resumes. The loser in this contest stands a fair chance of being out of work come the end of the season. The victor might be in jeopardy too, depending on how the rest of the season plays out.
The Sooners enter the game as 11.5-point favorites against their long-time rivals, but that does not mean much unless you have money riding on the outcome. Texas has a history of winning against the spread in this one, and they have a decent shot at pulling it out straight up too. For this one I am saying Hook 'em Sooners; or is that Boomer Horns? Either way this one will be close.
Iowa @ Minnesota 12 Noon Eastern ESPN2
The Big 10 meets the Big 12 with a rivalry game of their own. Both of these schools bring the beef and the battle in the trenches should be back and forth all game long. If you like line play, then this battle of three-win teams is a game you do not want to miss. If top notch corner play is your thing, Iowa - Minnesota has a treat for you as well.
Iowa's Desmond King is the reigning Jim Thorpe award winner and the only thing that looks to stop him in his quest to double down on the award is the respect being shown to him by opposing offenses. They usually don't go to his side of the field, but when they do it is usually King who wins the battle.
Iowa is in a must-win situation if they want to achieve their season goals. It will be a close one but the Hawkeyes should return home with a win.
#9 Tennessee @ #8 Texas A&M 3:30 PM Eastern CBS
Kyle Field will be rocking as the Aggies play host to the Volunteers. Both schools find themselves on the verge of breaking into the elite of the 2015 season. Something somewhere has to give as the two SEC schools lock horns. The difference in this game should be the defensive front of the Aggies. The defensive line that John Chavis has put together in College Station is one that would make Rod Marinelli dance for joy, Myles Garrett may lead the pack, but he is not the only reason A&M is second in the country in tackles for a loss this season. The entire group can get the job done.
Then there is that other slight advantage that comes from playing in Aggieland; the 12th Man. Call me a homer if you will, but this one goes the way of the maroon clad Aggies. BTHO Tennessee.
#1 Alabama @ #16 Arkansas 7:00 PM Eastern ESPN
The other match up of ranked teams features Nick Saban and the Tide going on the road to face the Arkansas Razorbacks. Normally I would like to say that the battle of ranked schools could prove interesting and that having the home crowd behind them might give the Hogs a chance against Alabama. I will refrain. Though I hate to admit it, the Crimson Tide is just that much better than any other team in the SEC West, or the country for that matter. The only thing that stops Bama is the Tide itself.
#25 Virginia Tech @ #17 North Carolina 3:30 PM Eastern ESPN
This is a big one in the ACC's Coastal Division. Miami remains the team to beat, but the Hokies and Heels will be jockeying for position to challenge the Hurricanes. The wildcard in this game will be another hurricane, this one named Matthew. Top to bottom the Tar Heels look to be the better team, but this one will all come down to which school is better able to adapt to the nasty conditions that will be pounding Chapel Hill during the contest. Far too often the special teams play can make or break a game, especially one played under such lousy conditions. This week the advantage in that category goes to Va Tech. The Heels are the better team but the advantage this time around falls to the Hokies.
#5 Washington @ Oregon 7:30 PM Eastern Fox
These are not the Ducks of Chip Kelly. Oregon has dominated the battle between the two schools in recent memory, but now it is the Huskies who come into the game as the highly touted team while Oregon is struggling. The Ducks have won 12 straight against Washington, but playing in Eugene this weekend will do little to help the Quack Attack as they are forced to take some of what they have dished out over the past dozen seasons. Expect the Huskies to put an end to the 12-game losing streak against their cross-border rivals.
#23 Florida State @ #10 Miami 8:00 PM Eastern ABC/Watch ESPN
Some of us remember when this was one of the biggest rivalry games of the year. It has not been too many years since both of these schools could be counted on for single digit rankings year in and year out. Just because this game is not pitting a pair of top ten teams does not tarnish the luster of the contest. This is serious Florida football and Miami is looking to reverse its recent fortunes against a Seminole team that is not quite up to its normal standards. Not even Hurricane Matthew will dampen the enthusiasm the home crowd will be feeling this weekend when Mark Richt finally adds a win over the hated rivals from Tallahassee this weekend.