No. 1 Alabama (1-0) at No. 6 Texas A&M (2-0)
This is the first game of the season with true national championship implications. Alabama is looking forward to the rematch after the Aggies handed the Crimson Tide its only loss in last year’s national championship season. The Aggies are out to prove that last year’s game, which helped Johnny Manziel become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, wasn’t a fluke.
Tennessee (2-0) vs. No. 2 Oregon (2-0)
Oregon’s high-powered blur offense gets another shot to measure up to a team from the Southeastern Conference. The Ducks defeated the Vols 48-13 in Knoxville in their only previous meeting in 2010. That season Oregon faced another SEC team, Auburn, in the BCS national championship game. Overall the Ducks are 4-5 against teams from the SEC, but they’ve won the last three of four — with the only loss coming against the Tigers in the title game.
No. 4 Ohio State (2-0) at California (1-1)
Ohio State is looking to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games in its toughest nonconference test of the season. California is seeking its first win over a top 5 team in 10 years to give first-year coach Sonny Dykes a signature victory.
No. 5 Stanford (1-0) at Army (1-1)
The Cardinal entered the season with high expectations and the team’s highest preseason ranking. Army should be a tuneup. A victory over Stanford would be Army’s biggest win in decades.
No. 7 Louisville (2-0) at Kentucky (1-1)
Louisville seeks its third straight win over in-state rival Kentucky and its second consecutive 3-0 start. Kentucky begins a four-game stretch against ranked teams over the next five weeks aiming to beat its first top-25 opponent since October 2010 (South Carolina).
Kent State (1-1) at No. 8 LSU
LSU aims to build on its early season momentum in advance of its first Southeastern Conference game against Auburn the following week. The Tigers also cannot afford an upset to a five-TD underdog if they hope to retain their top-10 ranking. Kent State seeks a landmark first victory against an SEC team — after losing in 11 previous tries — in what is also the program’s first foray into Death Valley.
Nevada (1-1) at No. 10 Florida State (1-0)
All the praise Florida State and quarterback Jameis Winston have gotten since the Seminoles trounced Pitt 41-13 in the season opener. Winston completed 25 of 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns on the road — the most productive start by a freshman QB in school history.
Akron (1-1) at No. 11 Michigan (2-0).
Michigan seems to be set up for a 5-0 start with a relatively easy schedule before playing Oct. 12 at Penn State. The Zips and coach Terry Bowden, broke a 10-game losing streak last week. They haven’t one more than one game in a season in four years. This would qualify as the biggest win in school history.
Lamar (1-1) vs. No. 12 Oklahoma State (2-0)
After convincing road victories against Mississippi State and Texas-San Antonio, Oklahoma State finally plays at home, looking to avoid a letdown against an FCS opponent. Lamar, from the Southland Conference, is coming off a competitive 27-14 loss at Louisiana Tech last week and is looking to pull off what would be a monumental upset.
Vanderbilt (1-1) at No. 13 South Carolina (1-1)
Staying alive in the Southeastern Conference East race since the loser will have two league losses three weeks into the season. The Gamecocks defense gave up their most points in two seasons and their most yards in three, surrendering 536 yards in a 41-30 loss to Georgia. South Carolina’s won four straight in the series, including a 21-3 victory two years ago.
Tulsa (1-1) at No. 14 Oklahoma (2-0)
Oklahoma wants to maintain momentum heading into a difficult three-game stretch following Saturday’s game, with contests at Notre Dame, at home against TCU and in Dallas against Texas. Tulsa, often an afterthought in a state with two Big 12 Conference teams, wants to strike a blow for the little guy. A win by the Golden Hurricane would help ease the sting of an embarrassing lopsided loss to Bowling Green in the opener.
No. 16 UCLA (1-0) at No. 23 Nebraska (2-0)
Last year’s 36-30 win was a breakthrough for UCLA and set the stage for its run to the Pac-12 South title in coach Jim Mora’s first season. The Bruins, favored to win the South again, can get a good measure of themselves playing in a tough environment. The Cornhuskers left the Rose Bowl embarrassed after UCLA rolled up 653 yards against them. Try as he might to downplay the revenge factor, you know coach Bo Pelini wants this one badly.
Western Michigan (0-2) at No. 17 Northwestern (2-0)
Northwestern is simply trying to keep the momentum going after winning at California and pounding Syracuse 48-27 at home last week. The Wildcats host Maine next week and are off before Ohio State visits Ryan Field on Oct. 5, a huge test for a team that wants to show it can beat the best in the Big Ten. So far, the Wildcats are looking good. They’re averaging 46 points and 544½ yards.
No. 19 Washington (1-0) vs. Illinois (2-0)
The Huskies try to protect their new Top 25 ranking and build momentum two weeks ahead of the Pac 12 opener against Arizona State. Illinois hopes to build on the surprise success of last week’s 45-17 win over Cincinnati, a win that was nothing short of a relief for what had been a struggling team. For the Illini, don’t underestimate the importance of playing well in this matchup in Chicago, too. The downstate school has struggled to win over Windy City fans.
No. 20 Wisconsin (2-0) at Arizona St. (1-0)
After easy victories to open the season, both teams face their first real tests. The Badgers beat up Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech by a combined score of 93-0, the first time they’ve started a season with consecutive shutouts since 1958. The Sun Devils rolled over FCS school Sacramento State 55-0 in their opener.
No. 21 Notre Dame (1-1) at Purdue (1-1)
If Notre Dame has any chance of reviving its national title hopes, the Fighting Irish must avoid back-to-back regular season losses for the first time since the start of the 2011 season. Purdue wants to show a prime-time audience that it can compete with the nation’s top teams as coach Darrell Hazell chases a second straight win.
No. 25 Mississippi (2-0) at Texas (1-1)
Mack Brown’s job? One game won’t decide it, but the pressure is rising in Austin after a blowout loss at BYU, pushing to the point where every game this season may be a referendum on Brown. For Mississippi, a quality road win over a wounded Texas would show the Rebels could be for real this season.
By wire sources