Alabama and Oregon are currently atop of the BCS standings and are likely to meet in the national title game, if their winning ways continue in 2013. Both have gotten off to 8-0 starts and will have the weekend off, before facing division rivals and arguably their toughest tests of the year. While the top two teams in the land wont be suiting up on Saturday, there are still plenty of intriguing matchups to keep an eye on, with BCS and national title implications. Several of these showdowns are rivalry games that will have more on the line this weekend, than just bragging rights for the next 12 months.
10. Mississippi State vs. #14 South Carolina (-12.5) (12:21pm, Peachtree TV): South Carolina wont be playing in a national championship game this season, but their come from behind win against Missouri, puts them back in to an uphill battle for an SEC East title. This is the beginning of gauntlet three game stretch for the Bulldogs who face the Gamecocks, Aggies, and Crimson Tide in consecutive weeks.
9. Arizona State (-12) at Washington State (10:30pm, Thursday, ESPN): This matchup in Pullman will feature two of the top-15 passing offenses in the country. Arizona State has scored a combined 107 points in their last two games and are leading the Pac-12’s South division.
8. #24 Wisconsin (-9.5) at Iowa (12pm, ABC): The Badgers and Hawkeyes will meet on the gridiron on Saturday for the first time since 2010. Iowa is coming off a 17-10 win over Northwestern and would all but eliminate Wisconsin from Big Ten title game contention with an upset at home.
7. Northwestern at Nebraska (-7) (3:30pm, Big Ten Network): Norhtwestern has been one of the most disappointing teams in the country after unprecedented pre-season hype in Evanston. The Wildcats have lost four straight games and could be in danger of missing a bowl game all together, if things can not turnaround over the next few weeks ago. Nebraska is coming off a loss to unranked Minnesota.
6. Tennessee at #9 Missouri (-10.5) (7pm, ESPN): A missed field goal in overtime ended Missouri’s surprising unbeaten start, however upset-filled beginnings for the other SEC East schools, still gives them a one game lead for a trip to Atlanta. Next up is a Tennessee squad that ended the national title hopes for the same team that beat them a week ago.
5. USC at Oregon State (-4) (9pm, Friday, ESPN): Losing to Stanford last Saturday has not eliminated the nation’s top ranked passing offense from Rose Bowl contention. Sean Mannion and the Beavers will get a final tune-up against the Trojans before their tough stretch to end the season, that will include trips to Tempe and Eugene.
4. Georgia (-2.5) vs. Florida (3:30pm, CBS): The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party may not be on the national radar like it was a year ago, but this rivalry is always one of the most anticipated SEC games of the year, no matter what the teams records are. The Bulldogs are looking to make it three in a row against the Gators for the first time since 1987-1989.
3. #21 Michigan at #22 Michigan State (-6) (3:30pm, ABC): This showdown in Lansing could be the de-facto Legends Division title game in the Big Ten. The Spartans are still unbeaten in conference play with their only loss this season occurring against Notre Dame, while the Wolverines only conference loss was a 43-40 quadruple overtime defeat in Happy Valley. Michigan’s win last year in Ann Arbor ended a four game losing streak in the series.
2. #18 Oklahoma State at #15 Texas Tech (2.5) (7pm, Fox): The Big 12 title race will become more clear going in to November, now that the conference’s ranked teams will start meeting on the field. Texas Tech’s hopes for a BCS title in Kliff Kingsbury took a big hit last week during a 38-30 loss in Norman to the Sooners, but a win over their in-state rivals would keep them alive in the standings. The Red Raiders will be the first ranked team that Oklahoma State has played this year, who finish the season with back-to-back games against Baylor and Oklahoma.
1. #7 Miami at #3 Florida State (-21.5) (8pm, ABC): The ACC will get their second Game of the Century this month, based on the rankings of these teams alone. This is what the conference had in mind when the Hurricanes joined nearly a decade ago. Miami and Florida State have not met on the field with so much on the line since their meeting in the 2004 Orange Bowl. While this top ten matchup has brought up memories of great games from years past (and wide right), the three-touchdown spread is the largest ever in a game between top ten teams. The Hurricanes needed a fourth quarter comeback to beat North Carolina on the road two weeks ago and trailed during the majority of their most recent game against Wake Forest. Florida State has justified their status as a 20+ point favorite after their demolishing of Clemson a few weeks ago and will be well on their way to a perfect regular season if they can get past Al Golden’s squad at home.