Cincinnati @ #8 Michigan - Noon Eastern - ABC
The Bearcats quarterback, Hayden Moore, might have felt like he was working against a scout team last week. Austin Peay was unable to get any heat on the passer. Things will be much more intimidating when he goes to the Big House this weekend. The Wolverines recorded six sacks against Florida last week and they are still hungry. Jim Harbaugh’s revamped defense will look to tee off against the Cincinnati passer at every opportunity.
Going the other way the maize and blue running game will likely go four backs deep on the depth chart against a team that was not ranked in the top 100 teams against the run last season.
The Bearcats will have a tough task ahead of them on Saturday but that has not stopped the first year head coach, Luke Fickell, from saying that his team is going to shock the world.
Florida Atlantic @ #9 Wisconsin - Noon Eastern - Big Ten Network
As it usually is, the Big Ten is loaded with ranked teams and the Badgers come in this week just behind Michigan. This week they will host the FAU Owls and Lane Kiffin. FAU might escape the impact of Hurricane Irma but they will hardly be riding out the storm.
The Owls were brutalized by the Navy ground game last week and now they face an even more dominating rushing attack. The Wisconsin offensive front averages over 320 pounds and they will be looking to bulldoze the opposition this week much as they did Utah State seven days ago.
There is one word that sums up this contest, one that my esteemed colleague OCC will appreciate..... schadenfreude. Some folks will tune in to see Kiffin and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles in their suffering.
#17 Louisville @ North Carolina - Noon Eastern - ESPN
Louisville may not be the same level of program they were under Charlie Strong, but they are not half bad. The Cardinals will be opening ACC play on the road against a UNC team that is in a rebuilding process.
The Tarheels will be looking to rebound after a disappointing opening performance against Cal. That will be tough to do against Louisville. If they are to find success it will likely come on the ground. While they struggled to pass the ball last week, freshman Michael Carter had a solid debut with 94 yards rushing and two scores against the Golden Bears.
Fresno State @ #1 Alabama - 3:30 Eastern - ESPN2
The Bulldogs will be the fodder for the Crimson Tide. They went 11-1 last season and even the hometown Fresno Bee is questioning if they can stay within 6 scores of Nick Sabin’s team.
On the bright side, Fresno did put up 66 points in last weeks contest with Incarnate Word. That is something that they will be able to build on as the season rolls along, but this week the only thing rolling will be the Tide.
Pittsburgh @ #4 Penn State - 3:30 Eastern - ABC
Does anyone remember the days when the Eastern Independents were considered power schools in college football?
This contest will offer you shades of those days. The two in-state rivals used to have a storied history together, but that got put on hold as the eastern schools started moving away from not being affiliated with a conference.
The Panthers got the best of Penn State last year as the teams met for the first time in 17 seasons, and the Nittany Lions will be looking for some payback. They outclass the visiting team, but you know how things can get when old rivals meet.
#13 Auburn @ #3 Clemson - 7:00 Eastern - ESPN
When you are the defending National Champions you have a target on your back. There is nothing that Auburn would like more than to show their in-state rival Alabama how to handle Clemson.
This game could go either way. It will likely come down to which defense can put the most pressure on the opposing quarterback. If you like hard hitting defensive football, you will enjoy this. One thing is certain, the Tigers will come out on top in this one....unless they tie.
#5 Oklahoma @ #2 Ohio State - 7:30 Eastern - ABC
This one is going to be worth waiting for. Two legendary programs will square off in the Horseshoe. The winner will be doing a lot to set themselves up in a good position to be the biggest threat to Alabama once we get down to crunch time.
The loser might not eliminate themselves from national title consideration, but they will make it more difficult for them to find their way into the play off.
It is not just the teams that will have a lot at stake Heisman candidates start at quarterback for each school. Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Ohio State's J.T. Barrett will have the opportunity to make a major case for themselves in this clash of powerhouse teams.
#15 Georgia @ #24 Notre Dame - 7:30 Eastern - NBC
The other game in this time slot might feature high profile passers but this one pairs a couple guys looking to make a mark on the college football landscape. Jake Fromm from UGA and Brandon Wimbush at Notre Dame will have a chance to excel for their first time on the national stage.
The last time these two traditional powers met it was the Bulldogs, behind some guy named Herschel Walker, who walked off the field with a a Sugar Bowl win and a National Championship. It has taken 37 years for the Irish to get another crack at Georgia. The stakes are not as high this time, but a win could propel either school up in the rankings.
#14 Stanford @ #6 USC - 8:30 Eastern - Fox
Not to be outdone, the PAC 10 offers up a battle of in-state conference rivals. USC may be the higher ranked team, but Stanford could be the toughest test on their schedule. That is not good for a Trojans squad with national title aspirations.
Over the past decade the Cardinal have dominated USC. Their current win streak stands at three games. Heisman Trophy front-runner Sam Darnold has his work cut out for him if the Trojans are going to be inhospitable hosts to a tough and disciplined Stanford squad this weekend.