We’re down to six undefeated teams at the top of the college football rankings and following Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle injury, the Heisman race is down to just LSU’s Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma. The smarties at ESPN give the edge to Burrow, but the numbers aren’t quite so clear.
Burrow still has to face #11 Auburn and #1 Alabama over the next two weeks, before coming in for a soft landing against Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Texas A&M, while Hurts has a much easier path ahead, with Kansas State, #24 Iowa State, #14 Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State. Even if you agree that Burrow is in the lead, Hurts has ample opportunity to chase him down.
This week’s slate of big time college football includes a big Big Ten showdown, Alabama without Tagovailoa, and Notre Dame at Michigan.
Saturday, October 26
#13 Wisconsin Badgers (6-1) vs #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0)
Noon ET on FOX
The Badgers’ mighty defense finally stumbled last week, giving up 10 points in the final six minutes, including a game-winning field goal with time running out, in a 24-23 loss. Wisconsin had been favored by 30.5, making it the biggest upset of the season. The Buckeyes remain undefeated and in the title hunt following last week’s 52-3 drubbing of Northwestern. Ohio State is third in PPG with 49.7 and second in points allowed with eight, making them easily the most dangerous team Wisconsin has faced this year.
#5 Oklahoma Sooners (7-0) vs Kansas State Wildcats (4-2)
Noon ET on ESPN3
The Sooners lead the nation with 50.4 PPG following their 52-14 win over West Virginia last week, as Jalen Hurts had one of the more ridiculous days of his career. Hurts completed 16 of 17 for 316 yards and three TDs and ran for another 75 yards and two more touchdowns on 10 carries. He now leads the country with a passer rating of 226.1, which would shatter the record of 199.45 set last season by Tua Tagovailoa. The Wildcats are coming off a 24-17 win over TCU, as Skylar Thompson overcame an 11-for-23 day by passing for two TDs and running for a third.
#6 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0) at Michigan State Spartans (4-3)
3:30pm ET on ESPN3
The Nittany Lions survived a fight from the Wolverines last week, coming out on top 28-21 to stay undefeated, as Sean Clifford completed 14 of 25 for 182 yards and three TDs. The Spartans are back at after a week off, trying to recover from the 38-0 beatdown suffered at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, one that knocked them out of the top 25. Spartans QB Brian Lewerke was pulled from that game in the 4th quarter after going 7 for 16 for 53 yards with an interceptions, but is due to be back as the starter.
Arkansas Razorbacks (2-5) at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0)
7pm ET on ESPN
Dear Razorbacks, welcome to the wood chipper. Arkansas has lost their last four in a row, including 51-10 loss to Auburn last week in which they gave up 298 yards on 51 carries. Quaterback Nick Starkel is tied for the 10th most interceptions with seven, a total he may well add to this week. The Tide will be without all-world quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is recovering from surgery to address an ankle injury sustained in the team’s 35-13 win over Tennessee. Filling in at QB will be red-shirt sophomore Mac Jones, who this year has completed 20 of 32 for 237 yards, one TD and one interception — the Alabama defense should be able to carry the day.
Boston College Eagles (4-3) vs #4 Clemson Tigers (7-0)
7:30pm ET on ACC Network
The Eagles are coming off their best game of the season, a 45-24 win over North Carolina State, in which AJ Dillion had 34 carries for 223 yards and three TDs, and David Bailey carried another 16 times for 181 yards and two TDs. Dillon is now number two in the country with 968 yards rushing, while teammate Travis Levy has the dubious distinction of being number two in the land with 23 kickoff returns, though he’s also number four in kickoff return yards. How frustrating must it be for Clemson to slip one spot in the polls each of the last three weeks despite winning all of their games? It would seem that last week’s 45-10 win over Louisville wasn’t decisive enough for voters. QB Trevor Lawrence thew two more interceptions last week, but Travis Etienne went 192 yards on 14 carries to keep the chains moving.
#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1) vs #19 Michigan Wolverines (5-2)
7:30pm ET on ESPN3
The Irish are coming off a bye, a week after barely surviving a 30-27 scare from USC as they rolled up 308 yards and two TDs on 48 carries. The ND offense isn’t flashy, just brutally efficient, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and having committed just four turnovers all year. This has been a maddening season for the Wolverines, who are coming off a 28-21 loss to Penn State in which Shea Patterson completed just 24 of 41 for 276 yards and an interception. Still, they’re talented and dangerous and would surely love to knock Notre Dame off their high horse.
All stats courtesy of SR-CFB.com