No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 10 LSU Tigers
7:00 p.m. CDT, CBS
The unbeatable Alabama Crimson Tide will look to keep on rolling as they take on the 7-2 LSU Tigers in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday night. The rivalry between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers is one of epic proportions in this modern era of college football. The last time these two met, Alabama squeezed out a 21-17 victory in the final seconds in Tiger Stadium before going on to win the National Championship. The season prior, No. 2 Alabama upset the No. 1 LSU 21-0 in the BCS Championship rematch — LSU had won the season’s regular season meeting 9-6.
I would say that the 8-0 Tide should roll through the 2-loss Tigers, but honestly you never know with these two teams. I would go as far as to say that we could even put this one on upset watch. This one isn’t for the papers; this one is for the blood, heart and glory.
No. 7 Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers
11:00 a.m. CDT, ESPN
The early morning ball game will consist of running. Lots and lots of running. The Tigers have plowed their way into potential National Championship contenders with a running game that wins ball games. Against Arkansas last week, quarterback Nick Marshall threw a measly nine passes and the Tigers still won 35-17. Between the mobile Marshall and tailback Tre Mason, the Tigers average 306.2 yards on the ground. In stark contrast, Tennessee gave up 339 rush yards to a then-No. 10 Missouri Tigers program in a loss last weekend.
On average, the Vols give up 201.7 rush yards on average. If Tennessee wants any chance at winning this one against a hot Auburn Tigers group, they need to shut down the run.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. No. 14 Miami Hurricanes
6:00 p.m. CDT, ESPN
In this east coast battle, the turbulent Miami Hurricanes will be coming for blood. After starting the season at a slick 7-0, the Canes had their sights set on Pasadena, Calif., and the BCS national championship game. However, a loss to the Florida State Seminoles last week grounded the Miami squad. That was a big game, but realistically, not their biggest of the season.
The match up with the Virginia Tech Hokies will be yet another dramatic chapter in what has become a deep-seated rivalry. Keep in mind that Miami is still in a rebuilding phase and with runningback Duke Johnson breaking his ankle last week in Tallahassee, the Hurricanes will have to come out firing the best that they can. Virginia Tech has won five of their last seven meetings with the ‘Canes dating back to 1995. This one, folks, will be one to watch.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
2:30 p.m. CDT, ABC
The 6-2 Michigan Wolverines will take on the 6-2 Nebraska Cornhuskers at home this Saturday afternoon. With last week’s loss to the Michigan State Spartans, the Wolverines are looking to pick up the remains of their disappointing season. This season will mark the 10th straight season in which Michigan will fall short of a Big 10 Championship.
Nor has Nebraska been pretty thus far. The Huskers’ win last week over Northwestern was decided by the final play: a Hail Mary from quarterback Ron Kellogg that was tipped by the Northwestern safety Traveon Henry into the hands of a perfectly placed Jordan Westerkamp in the back of the end zone.
With Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner beaten and bruised to the point that he was not cleared to practice on Sunday and Monday after seven sacks and another half-dozen hits in their loss to the Spartans last weekend, look for a more aggressive Cornhusker team to come away with a victory.
BYU Cougars vs. No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers
2:30 p.m CDT, ESPN
The 6-2 Cougars will get back to the grind after their second bye week of the season as they travel to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. This will be the teams’ first matchup since 1980 when the Cougars took down the Badgers 28-3 in Madison.
BYU, in their third year of independence, will need everybody to bring their “A” game to defeat the Big Ten powerhouse. The Badgers are the only team to have come remotely close to toppling over undefeated Ohio State. In addition, Wisconsin has a two-running back assault that features rushers Melvin Gordon – 134.3 yards per game – and James White – 100.5 yards per game. Coincidentally, BYU is the only other team in the country with a dual 100-yard running-back threat.
Like with the Auburn-Tennessee game, expect lots and lots of running. To put it simply, the team who establishes an iron curtain on defense will be the team to win. Don’t expect either team to air it out.