Games to watch
No. 15 LSU (7-2, 4-2 SEC) at No. 22 Ole Miss (7-3, 4-2 SEC) (2:30 p.m. Saturday, KTVT/11): While the season has been disappointing for the Tigers and Rebels, this rivalry game means a lot to both teams. LSU has been dominated in consecutive losses to Alabama and Arkansas, and reports from Baton Rouge, La., say coach Les Miles’ job may be on the line. Ole Miss has floundered since beating Alabama early in the season.
1914 The last time that North Carolina won nine consecutive games, until this season.
No. 9 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) (2:30 p.m. Saturday, WFAA/8): It’s the game of the season in the Big Ten. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott (142.5 yards per game) will be challenged by a Michigan State defense that holds opponents to 121 rushing yards per game. While Michigan could still take the Big Ten East with an Ohio State victory and then an upset of the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Nov. 28, the conference should be determined Saturday in Columbus.
81 FBS-record career rushing touchdowns for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who passed Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (77) with four scores against SMU on Saturday.
No. 24 USC (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) at No. 23 Oregon (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) (2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): Though they’re out of the playoff picture, both teams are still loaded with talent and fighting to get a head start on a championship push in 2016. The Ducks have come on strong, winning 38-36 Saturday at Stanford to knock the Cardinal out of the playoff race. Now Oregon has a chance to hurt USC’s chances of playing in the conference title game.
I’m glad the score stayed 31-14 Saturday, so people who didn’t watch the game knew it was a whooping.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema after his team’s win against LSU
Power 5 grades
C ACC: Clemson is still top dog with the top slot in the College Football Playoff rankings, and North Carolina’s surge has added another power team to the conference.
C Big Ten: Everything has been building up to Saturday’s showdown between Michigan State and Ohio State. The Buckeyes are lined up for a chance at a second straight national championship, but Ohio State’s two toughest games are ahead with rival Michigan following the Spartans. Iowa should stay undefeated heading into the Big Ten title game.
C- Big 12: Baylor’s loss to Oklahoma took the Big 12 one step closer to repeating 2014, when TCU and Baylor each finished with a loss and both missed out on the playoff. Fortunately for the Big 12, a back-loaded schedule will keep the door cracked open for the Bears, Sooners, Horned Frogs and still-unbeaten Oklahoma State.
D+ Pac-12: The Pac-12 is guaranteed a spot in the Rose Bowl, but with no teams with fewer than two losses, this season will feel like a disappointment across the conference.
C+ SEC: While Alabama is surging, the SEC is starting to crumble, with traditional power teams (such as LSU) losing to opponents that should be inferior.
RB Derrick Henry, junior, Alabama: Last week, 22 carries for 204 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-6 win at Mississippi State.
QB Deshaun Watson, sophomore, Clemson: Last week, 34-for-47 passing for 360 yards and two touchdowns with one interception; 14 carries for 105 yards and one touchdown in a 37-27 win at Syracuse.
QB Baker Mayfield, junior, Oklahoma: Last week, 24-for-34 passing for 270 yards and three touchdowns with one interception; 15 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown in a 44-34 win at Baylor.