Mississippi State (4-5, 2-3 SEC) at Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) (11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN): The Bulldogs haven’t looked good and even lost to South Alabama to start the season. But Mississippi State is riding momentum following an upset of A&M. Alabama’s defense will have to check surging QB Nick Fitzgerald, who threw for 209 yards and ran for another 182 in a 35-28 victory against the Aggies.
LSU (5-3, 3-2 SEC) at Arkansas (6-3, 2-3 SEC) (6 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): LSU failed to score in a 10-0 home loss to Alabama, and Arkansas is trending up after a dominant home win against Florida. This rivalry seems to thrive on drama and upsets, but this year the teams are evenly matched. It should be a fun, smashmouth SEC showdown. LSU will need to find its offense after Danny Etling threw for just 92 yards and star running back Leonard Fournette ran for just 37 last week against Alabama.
USC (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) at Washington (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12) (6:30 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/Ch. 4): USC has won five straight after starting 1-3, including a dismal 52-6 loss to Alabama in the season opener. The Trojans have climbed back into the polls, and their resurgence could be a boon for a Washington team trying to prove it belongs.
College football playoff watch
No. 1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC): Even when teams play well against the Crimson Tide, the game never seems to be in doubt. LSU had several key opportunities against Alabama, but it didn’t matter. The Crimson Tide dominated on defense and continues to claim the unquestioned No. 1 spot.
No. 2 Clemson (9-0, 6-0 ACC): Clemson still has more quality wins than Michigan or Washington, but the Tigers have looked beatable. But championship experience, gained during its run to the title game a year ago, has Clemson sitting in perfect position.
No. 3 Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten): Michigan continues to dominate poor competition, but the Wolverines should be wary of Ohio State. At the end of the year, Michigan will have to go to Columbus, Ohio, to play a Buckeyes team that just demolished Nebraska in a top 10-matchup.
No. 4 Washington (9-0, 6-0 Pac 12): Washington should have been the No. 4 team in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, but the Huskies didn’t panic. They simply went out and won their showdown at Utah. Paired with a Texas A&M loss, Washington is poised to make the playoff.