No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 3 Oregon
Saturday 5:30 p.m., FOX
The first Top 10 contest of the young season will give viewers an extreme clash of styles.
Michigan State’s style worked for them last year as they won the Big 10 championship game and the Rose Bowl. Their offense is serviceable, but does not make their team elite. The defense, however, is smothering. They allowed just 13.2 points per game, third best in the nation.
Oregon is the polar opposite of the Spartans. The high-flying Ducks averaged 45.5 points per game last season, fourth best in the country. They have been effective playing this brand of football, winning at least 10 games in every season since 2007.
No. 14 USC vs. No. 13 Stanford
Saturday 2:30 p.m., ABC
The Cardinals will look to get revenge on the Trojans after the team’s debacle last year in Los Angeles.
USC is led this season by new coach Steve Sarkisian. They have already had some off-the-field issues, but it seemingly was forgotten after their dominant 52-13 victory over Fresno State. The Trojans are not favored to win this game, but it wouldn’t really be an upset if they did.
Stanford is fresh off of a Pac-12 championship and a loss in the Rose Bowl. Their defense is what drives the team, allowing just 19 points per game in 2013. They beat UC Davis 45-0 to open the 2014-15 campaign.
Senior quarterback Kevin Hogan leads an offense that scored 32.3 points per game in 2013-14. Both teams have talented players on both sides of the ball, and should give fans another exciting game in this heated rivalry.
Michigan vs. No. 16 Notre Dame
Saturday 6:30 p.m., NBC
One of college football’s most storied rivalries will write its final chapter on Saturday – for now. In 2012, Notre Dame opted out of the final three scheduled years of the teams’ meetings. Even with the game’s off-the-field significance aside, both teams have a lot to play for.
The Wolverines enter the game unranked, but have received votes in the AP poll. The team finished just 7-6 last season after starting 5-0. They beat Notre Dame 41-30 in 2013. They have started 2014 well, defeating Appalachian State, 52-14. Michigan is an underdog, but has the talent to pull the minor upset.
The last time senior quarterback Everett Golson played a full season for Notre Dame, his team found themselves in the national championship game. The Irish lost their quarterback for 2013 due to an academic mishap. With Golson back, the team has high expectations once again.
Virginia Tech vs. No. 8 Ohio State
Saturday 7 p.m., ESPN
Ohio State will have their first test of the season, facing a Virginia Tech team that is coming off of an 8-5 record.
The Hokies have a new quarterback this season, transfer Michael Brewer. Brewer performed well in the team’s opening game against William and Mary, throwing for 251 yards and two touchdowns. Frank Beamer’s bunch had solid defense in 2013, allowing only 19.3 points per game. That sort of stingy defense could help them pull the upset this weekend.
The Buckeyes had a damper put on their season before it started, losing starting quarterback Braxton Miller to injury. Ohio State is still led by a coach that perennially has competitive teams in Urban Meyer. The squad started slow in their opening game, but rebounded to beat Navy 34-17. The Buckeyes are heavily favored to win this game, but no one knows how they fare against good competition without Miller at the helm.